Director of Digital Integration
The leap from fighting Guinea worm disease in Togo to innovating federal IT might seem like an unlikely one.
But it was Sheila Campbell's time in the Peace Corps in West Africa that set her on a course to pursue a career in government. She joined in the 1990s, working on a public health program to eradicate the infectious disease that spreads through drinking water. When she returned to Washington, she got a job at Peace Corps headquarters. There, she worked on a special project to establish an intranet system, which brought her into federal IT.
Campbell left Peace Corps and rose through the ranks of the General Services Administration – and eventually became the director of its Center for Excellence in Digital Government. She returned to the agency that first introduced her to public service last year.
I don't think about what my personal legacy is … I'm just driven by the mission of the organization.
Now, she's the senior adviser on digital strategy and digital integration to the Peace Corps' director. She works with offices across the agency to develop a strategic integrated approach to Peace Corps' technology and digital space. In her job, Campbell said the Peace Corps' 7,000 volunteers who serve in more than 60 countries are never far from her mind.
“They're the bread and butter," she said. “They're the heart and soul of our organization."
When asked what she'd tell women pursuing careers in math and science, Campbell channeled advice that astronaut Kay Hire gave Campbell's own two daughters when the family met her in Florida.
“Just stick with it," Campbell said. “She said, 'You just need to keep encouraging them to stick with it, that it's what they want to do.'"
– Whitney Blair Wyckoff