“Up-and-coming” is a regular FedScoop feature profiling the rising stars in federal government.
What inspires you to work for government?
What drives me is that the work is so important. For example at the Energy Department, we’re responsible for diversifying the nation’s energy portfolio through an all-of-the-above energy strategy, expanding the frontiers of knowledge with cutting edge science and technology, as well as mitigating the world’s nuclear security risks. It’s an incredible mission – and I’m very passionate about telling the story of who we are at the Department, what we do, and why it really matters to people in the most efficient, yet creative waypossible.
Speaking of creative, have you seen Energy.gov’s recent infographic, Wind Energy in America?
What does your typical day look like?
The only thing typical about a digital strategists day is that it’s atypical. One minute I may be leading a brainstorm with my talented team about how we might use animated gifs to engage our online audience; the next, directing the development priorities of an upcoming deploy; or I may find myself producing a video with Secretary Chu on home energy efficiency; or drafting the Department’s social media policy. And that’s all before lunch.
In my role, I’m responsible for the digital presence of the Energy Department and that takes me to as many places as the digital world – in all its fast-paced, ever-evolving glory – travels. It is one of the most awesome parts of my job.
What advice do you have for senior level executives to help them cultivate the next generation of public servants?
I think it’s important to foster an environment for young leaders – especially in the digital space – that empowers them to “fail fast, fail forward, fail better.” Challenge young leaders to try new things, learn what works, and iterate quickly. It’s ok to make mistakes – we all do. But young leaders need a supportive environment that empowers them to grow both professionally and personally from those experiences. You’ll develop a stronger staff and digital program as a result.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what role have they played in your career?
Several folks in public service have been a tremendous source of inspiration for me. Vivek Kundra’s leadership during his tenure as the first U.S. CIO guided me toward including open source and cloud technologies as cornerstones in my vision for digital at the Energy Department. In addition, the tireless advocacy of leaders like Bev Godwin and Sheila Campbell, both of GSA fame, for a forward thinking digital government are a constant source of motivation for me.
What’s your favorite DC hangout?
I have a mild – though my husband would claim extreme – obsession with oysters right now. So, I’m making a habit of exploring DC’s finest oyster bars.
I’m also a runner. You can frequently find me on a Saturday morning running my usual loop through the Logan, Dupont, and Georgetown neighborhoods of the District.
How do you unwind?
Three words: wine, kitties, and Journey. And yes, I mean the band. “Don’t Stop Believin’!”