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Nonfiction - Government Politics & Social Sciences - Politics and Government

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Herocrats: A Guide for Government Workers Leading Change

ISBN: 9781634896412
Binding: Paperback
Author: Allison Bell
Pages: 328
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 09/26/2023

Whether you're working a local government job, serving on the city council, or wrapping up your poli-sci major, this public policy book celebrates the Herocrat in every bureaucrat, inspiring government employees to lead change from wherever they're positioned.

"Herocrats inspires emerging public leaders to corral their own courage, connection, and creativity to make a difference." -David Thornburgh, civic leader and Public Policy Program professor

Herocrats aren't the result of a radioactive spider . . . they're born from a hope for justice.

Government workers are motivated to eliminate inequities in our systems of transportation, housing, education, and more. But transforming systems and battling social injustice can be slow, bureaucratic, and painstaking. It takes a real herocrat to make real change.

Allison Bell is the founder and CEO of Bellwether Consulting, where she was named one of ELGL's Top 100 Influencers in Local Government for her work across sectors to build more equitable organizations.

This book pairs perspective-shifting best practices from Bell's professional experience and inspiring real-life stories from state and local government workers around the country who are using their superpowers of courage, connection, and creativity to make a difference.

With twelve strategic missions, dozens of tactical moves, and exercises to practice them, Herocrats helps readers discover how to:

  • Own their origin story,
  • Find their cape by embracing their strengths,
  • Work that cape in the position they hold, and
  • Keep flying through hardships and over obstacles.

With the moxie of Grit, the equity lens of From the Inside Out, and the relatable humanity of Parks and Rec, this is the perfect graduation gift for launching a public service career or workplace culture book for those beating burnout at work in government or just looking for some extra inspiration.

Consider this your Bat Signal: Justice is possible, and herocrats working in league with their communities can achieve it.


Allison Bell uses connection, courage, and creativity to embolden changemakers and build equitable communities. Her expertise is rooted in over twenty years of hard-won successes in every sector. As a scrappy Peace Corps volunteer, she learned that getting things done is a matter of bringing the right people together, and not just counting on fancy technology or a big grant.

As the founder and CEO of Bellwether Consulting, Allison has leveraged the power of cross-sector collaborations with partners including the Brookings Institution, the State of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and GREATER MSP. She was named one of the Top 100 Influencers in Local Government by Engaging Local Government Leaders in 2021. Her other superpowers involve riding in a bike gang, trotting the globe, and hanging out with her diabolically adorable family.



"Conventional wisdom from the outside is that government officials only look out for themselves. From the inside, government officials too often struggle to get their jobs done. In this lively and engaging new book, Allison Bell provides a blueprint for how public officials can become heroes who fight against injustice—and deliver the government programs on which the people rely. Herocrats is an indispensable guide for connecting public officials with citizens and becoming the officials they've always wanted to be." —Donald F. Kettl, professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy

"Herocrats celebrates the work of those closest to the ground, and inspires emerging public leaders to corral their own courage, connection, and creativity to make a difference. For too long, thought leaders have ignored public servants who work in state and local government. Allison Bell pushes back and reminds us how important those folks are to improving the lives of people in our neighborhoods, cities, and towns." –David Thornburgh, civic leader and professor of practice at Temple University Master in Public Policy Program

"The foundation of government innovation lives within the frontline employees capable of recreating systems and restoring public trust. Herocrats offers insight into how to lead government with equity, grace, and love. It's a guidepost into what government can be—and what it so often is when we choose to unearth the stories of our most dedicated public servants."  —Melissa Akie Wiley, deputy town administrator of Erie, Colorado and former director of Denver Peak Academy

"Allison Bell's focus in finding and developing herocrats is pure genius. Her work spotlights the many heroes in the public sector who are often unknown and unsung. I hope this book creates a new pipeline of public servants and public professionals who believe in changing the livelihood of others. (Also, I am a little jealous she coined this phrase.) Allison is a once-in-a-generation leader!" —Brian Elms, founder of Change Agents Training and author of Peak Performance

"As someone who has worked in and with many levels of government, I have witnessed the powerful potential of government workers when they join with community members to drive change. Herocrats arrives at a historical time for public investment, giving eager government changemakers the strategies, tactics, and encouraging stories they need to seize the day."  —Mariia Zimmerman, transportation policy leader

"Herocrats shines a spotlight on the many inspiring state and local officials across the country already doing critical change-making work. At the same time, Herocrats offers much-needed practical advice to public officials on the hard work of making change inside government systems and how to effectively organize alongside partners for more equitable and just communities."  —Lavea Brachman, visiting fellow at Brookings Metro

"A practical guide for leaders and employees to energize their organizations for today's challenges. Readers will be inspired to find their inner herocrat."  —Patrick Born, former regional administrator of the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities

"Allison Bell has written about the superpowers that enable ordinary public servants to be herocrats. Her superpower is enabling us, her readers, to see how we can put those same superpowers to work now, wherever we are—to the benefit of those we serve." - —Peter Hutchinson, former commissioner of finance for Minnesota and superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools