NextGen, a national organization out of Washington D.C., is a movement to inspire new leaders through innovation, training, and leadership opportunities in efforts to bridge the generation gap to help develop and retain new talent in the field of public service.
Due to COVID-19, the recent annual summit normally hosted at the nation’s capital, went virtual with the highlight being the announcement of this year’s NextGen “Nation’s Top 12” honorees.
In the 11-year history of the awards program, Yukon’s own Lester Claravall was informed by NextGen’s executive director that he became the first Oklahoman to ever win this prestigious honor. Twelve individuals from across the country were chosen to receive awards in six different categories for this year’s Top 12.
The categories included Courageous Champion, Innovator of the Year, Silent Hero, Exemplary Leader, NextGen Advocate, and Dedication During COVID-19.
Claravall won the Exemplary Leader award for demonstrating benevolence, competence, integrity, dedication, and commitment to improving and inspiring others at the local, state, national or international level.
At the international level, Claravall has graciously volunteered his time and expertise as an international speaker at global and world Congress events held in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.
At the national level, Claravall was the youngest ever two-term national president of the Interstate Labor Standards Association (ILSA), a network of labor and safety officials from each of the 50 states and several countries, to address such hot topics as wage theft, prevailing wage fraud, teen worker injuries, and human trafficking of children.
At the state level, Claravall served under five different labor commissioners at the Oklahoma Department of Labor. During the past 23 years, he has served all 77 counties as Oklahoma’s only full-time child labor officer to protect working children against workplace abuse, exploitation, endangerment, and hazardous occupations.
At the local level, Claravall graduated from the FBI, OSBI, Police, and Fire citizens’ academies, served the Oklahoma City Police Department as an OKC ambassador for three years, and served as the National Volunteer Fire Council Fire Corps state advocate to help support local fire and EMS departments across the state through volunteer efforts.
During his public service and community outreach career, Claravall has been recognized by several national and international organizations for his many contributions to helping others.
He was named one of the nation’s Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the United States Junior Chamber and finalist for Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World by Junior Chamber International.
He received the National Public Service Award presented jointly by the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Society for Public Administration, the Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children and Youth presented by the National Child Labor Committee, the Gold Screen Award presented by the National Association of Government Communicators, and the Labor Excellence Award presented by ILSA.
In addition, he was twice a finalist for Cable’s Leaders in Learning Award presented by Cable in the Classroom.