Mary Ann Monroe: A Familiar Face in a New Role

April 14, 2016   Posted by: Megan Fella

Better. Stronger. Easier. More-efficient. Like many other civil servants with a passion for improving the government, Mary Ann Monroe has lofty goals for GSA and the federal government as a whole. Despite the illustrious nature of these ambitions, however, under Mary Ann’s tenure, OCSIT has seen a marked improvement and progression towards these objectives. In her newly appointed role as chief-of-staff she will further assist USAGov in its pursuit of even higher aspirations.

Joining GSA in October of 2011, Mary Ann has been a part of foundational changes in the way we do business. During the past five years she has witnessed siloed programs evolve into a customer-centric organization with integrated teams focused on making data driven decisions for USAGov.

But how did we make the transition? Our people.

To quote Mary Ann, our people are the “best part of who we are and they’re the ones who work together to move us forward.” In OCSIT/18F we have a great team who understands that you have to change, grow, and try new things to stay relevant and bring value to the public’s experience with government. In an effort to meet our customers’ expectations, we’ve:

  • Done research with the public to learn more about their perception of the government.
  • Educated ourselves on the voice of customer (VOC) and applied consistent measurement across OCSIT programs and services.
  • Used data to drive improvements in our products and services.
  • Completed analyses across office programs about our customers.
    • Who are they?
    • What methods of feedback did we have in place to hear from them?
    • How were we using that feedback to drive improvements in our products and services?
  • Established a customer experience index.
  • OCSIT/18F programs now evaluate VOC using a set of core questions.
  • Used to improve our ability to benchmark across our products/services.  

Preliminary work, such as that listed above has helped us elevate the conversation about our customers/users and incorporate customer data in our decision making.  As a result of these endeavors, we have made tangible improvements -- from how we offer contact center services, to enhancements on our website, to digital content improvements, and interactive voice response system re-engineering. Despite the considerable changes in our organization over the last two years, Mary Ann reminds us that continued evaluation and innovation is necessary to provide valuable and relevant services to the public.

Unsurprisingly, Mary Ann’s passion for growth and improvement extends beyond her work and into her leadership role. Her experience with the Excellence in Government Fellowship taught her the importance of leading by example, the power of collaboration, the art of listening, and perhaps most importantly the “tremendous strength in the people you work with.” She strives to implement these lessons in her everyday interactions and to supplement them with podcasts, blogs, and books on leadership. Her recent favorite TED talk is Reshma Saujani’s “Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection.”  This TED talk posits that it’s critical we teach young girls to embrace imperfection and be comfortable with taking risks, to be brave and know it’s okay to make mistakes.  This is how girls and women learn that success is achieved through perseverance and imperfection.

Mary Ann’s desire to grow as a leader has undoubtedly culminated in her new role as chief of staff. Donning two hats, she will aid in creating a more product-driven organization. Her new position will focus on providing support and communication to our teams, assisting in change management, and investing time in developing relationships with partner agencies and in the private sector in order to collaborate and continue to look for ways to improve the public’s experience with government. With agile methods, new approaches to managing work and operations, and adding products to our Public Experience portfolio, Mary Ann will help shepherd in the next generation for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Megan Fella is a detailee from the Emerging Leaders Program. 

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