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FCW : November and December 2014
November/December 2014 FCW.COM 15 Now, Ayers is manager of performance management solutions at OPM and is leading the team responsible for creating a software system that is expected to change the way agencies track and man- age their employees’ performance. “I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland going further down the rabbit hole,” Ayers joked. “No one has ever quite done this before with the technology that we have now.” OPM estimates that the USA Perfor- mance program could save agencies hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars by automating and streamlining the existing paper process. “I think in two years we’re going to have the best performance management system out there,” Ayers said. Leslie Pollack, deputy associate director of HR strategy and evaluation solutions at OPM, praised Ayers’ focus and ability to move quickly. “In a very short time frame, she was able to bring together resources, lay out requirements and start developing in an agile way,” Pol- lack said. Ayers also convinced senior leaders that the new performance manage- ment system was the right move for government, an impressive feat, said Pollack, who added, “It really is going to transform the way we do performance management.” — Colby Hochmuth Kelli Bell Eight years after coming to work for the federal government as a contractor, Kelli Bell now leads a team of about 10 people who are in charge of conducting risk assessments for the Navy’s IT systems. It’s a crucial role, but she always remem- bers that she was once in the same shoes as the people she now oversees. “In the role that I’m in today, I lead a group of analysts supporting that same function that I started out in in 2006,” said Bell, an information assurance validator in the Crane, Ind., division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Part of Bell’s job is to advise and train her staff on any new technical guidance that the Navy or Defense Department issues related to the certification and Isaiah Joo has seen the embassy of the future. It is in Seoul, South Korea, and it is buzzing with entrepreneurial technologists. The program analyst in the State Department’s Office of eDi- plomacy returned to his birthplace for a three-month stint last winter. There he worked closely with an information officer and sometimes accompanied her to meetings with U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim. Part of the job was shaping the embas- sy’s message to people in South Korea, the region and beyond, he said, “and that was extremely interesting because...of the buzz around North Korea.” That hands-on experience inspired his work back in Wash- ington, D.C., where Joo is part of an office that uses technology to advance diplomacy. Joo studied philosophy and political science at American University and saw himself going to law school after graduating in 2012. Instead, an internship at the Department of Homeland Security opened the door to government service. Now as a program analyst in the Office of eDiplomacy, Joo is responsible for engaging civil society groups and experts in aca- demia who might have ideas on, for example, using open-source platforms such as GitHub. Joo spoke with fervor about TechCamp, an ongoing, world- wide series of workshops his office hosts to bring civil society leaders and technologists togeth- er. The most recent event took place in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and involved more than 50 civil society groups from Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. — Sean Lyngaas Isaiah Joo