Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Southeast DC, on Capitol Hill, and lived between RFK Stadium and the Capitol. Lincoln Park is the landmark of that area; it was around the corner from my block. I loved that neighborhood and still have family who live there.
What is your educational background?
I attended kindergarten at the public school and spent the rest of my time as a student in Catholic school. The first eight years I was with the same group of students, and some even through high school. I am still friends with many of them today, and I even met my best friend to this day in the first grade.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
I remember when I was about six or seven we only celebrated Black History Day. I’m now almost 62, so that shows you we haven’t gone as far in this country as we like to believe. I grew up during the Black Pride and Black is Beautiful movements, and the sense of pride and “can-do, don’t let nothing stop you,” attitude really influenced me. I was told to do better than I did, and given the encouragement to do just that from my family and neighbors. I watched my Mom study for her GED when I was about 10 years old, and she encouraged me to read—then read some more. My mom eventually went on to work for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing as a stamp examiner. My mom and grandmother purchased their house back in the mid-1950s as my block slowly integrated. That alone was an accomplishment for two Black women who hadn’t finished school and held meager jobs.
What does being a career civil servant mean to you?
After high school I got my first federal job as a clerk typist at the GS-2 level, and after almost 32 years of service I’ve worked my way up to the GS-13 level. I enjoy people and my positions throughout my service have provided me opportunities to meet those in leadership positions. They encouraged me to explore and get training in a variety of areas in government. With encouragement from co-workers and managers, I took a variety of training courses and received certificates of accomplishment in human resources, budgeting, and more. This includes a Human Resources Certificate of Accomplishment from the USDA Graduate School. I tried the private sector for 10 years, but I came back home to federal service at the right time and haven’t left since.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Outside of the office, my hobbies include reading (mysteries, comedy, history), music, live concerts, photography, writing poetry, and being outside to enjoy God’s work. I also love planning and hosting neighborhood block parties and family cookouts every summer. I planned and coordinated my neighborhood’s first block party that ran every year for about 40 years.
What advice would you have for today's youth interested in a federal government career?
My advice to today’s young people interested in a career with the federal government is to apply, apply, apply—even if you don’t know what you want to do in life. The federal government has lots of opportunities and can provide a pathway to a fulfilling career, not just a job, for now and the future. Give it a try, what do you have to lose