The FedUpward Podcast gives federal employees and friends of feds strategies and tips for navigating everyday problems. This is a place for federal employees to network, share ideas and get better. Don't get fed up. Get FedUpward!
info_outline 173. Shutdown Countdown? 09/01/2023
173. Shutdown Countdown? Public administration guru Dr. Don Kettl joined me on the podcast to talk about what feds can expect over the next month - will the gov shut down? Will feds get repaid if it does? Explore these questions and more. Don recently authored a book, one of many he's written about public management and operaitons. Don specializes in public management and public policy. He previously served as dean in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance, the Brookings Institution and the Partnership for Public Service. It was an honor to have him back on the show.
info_outline 172. University of Maryland Global Campus - Programs for You 07/03/2023
172. University of Maryland Global Campus - Programs for You Looking for a degree program that fits YOUR needs? UMGC might be just what you're looking for. Justin Hasty, director for UMGC's federal strategic partnerships, and Daniel Mintz (), Department Chair for information technology, joined me on the show to discuss how an online degree program can help build your skills in areas needed across the federal government.
info_outline 171. Public Service Motivation and Belonging with Doug Wilson 07/03/2023
171. Public Service Motivation and Belonging with Doug Wilson Nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate in February 2010 as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Doug Wilson was the first openly-gay individual to be Senate-confirmed to a senior-level Pentagon position. Prior to retiring from government in March of 2012, he served as Senior Spokesman for the Department of Defense and the Principal Communications Advisor to the United States Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense. Doug brought us a master class in motivation and belonging in this episode. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did! He touched on how to stay excited about service, working on politically sensitive issues, belonging, combatting negative perspections of public servants, and so much more. Learn more about Doug's charity here: https://www.vetscommunityconnections.org/
info_outline 170. Federally Employed Women (FEW) National Training Event - Register Today! 06/28/2023
170. Federally Employed Women (FEW) National Training Event - Register Today! The President of Federally Employed Women (FEW), Pam Richards, explained what FEW does, why you should join and what's coming up in this year's National Training Program in Columbus, Ohio, July 9-13. You can register for the event and become a member . FEW is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1968 shortly after government issued Executive Order 11375 which added sex-discrimination to the list of prohibited discrimination within the Federal Government. Although E.O. 11375 was an important milestone, several women were concerned that the Civil Service Commission and individual agencies may not put forth the vigorous effort necessary to ensure compliance with E.O. 11375. Although the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) had been established, the early organizers of FEW realized that the government could dismantle FWP, and they wanted to ensure that there would always be an organization dedicated to promoting equality for women and addressing concerns of women in the Federal workforce. Additionally, because FWP is a government function, it is limited in its political scope, and cannot lobby Congress. As a private organization, FEW is not restricted in that area. As a private organization, FEW works as an advocacy group to improve the status of women employed by the Federal government. This includes contact with Congress to encourage progressive legislation. FEW national officers meet with management officials at all levels of agencies to demonstrate support of the FWP, encourage officials to support the program and to obtain insight on the effectiveness of the FWP at agency and local levels
info_outline 169. How to Request Telework the Smart Way & Latest Exec Order on Remote Work 06/24/2023
169. How to Request Telework the Smart Way & Latest Exec Order on Remote Work Mika Cross, former federal employee, federal work and future of work expert, joined me in this episode to talk about the latest news in the Biden Administration on telework guidance, how to expertly request telework flexibilities, and how to search for jobs that offer flexibility. She also discussed a new tool she's built to help your organization survey how things are going. You can contact her directly through the links below to test it! OPM's April 2023 guidance on returning to work:
info_outline 168. Pay Compression: How it Hurts You & the Public (and What You Can Do About It) 06/18/2023
168. Pay Compression: How it Hurts You & the Public (and What You Can Do About It) I welcomed back to the show for a frank talk about pay compression for federal employees. He's one of the few people you'll hear speaking publicly on behalf of feds about this issue. Think about it - how do we attract talent to federal service if pay in high cost areas doesn't come close to keeping pace with private industry,;political appointees often have HUGE responsibility. but make less than their subordinates; getting promoted to senior executive service means tons more hours and work but no more pay ...????? None of this makes sense, y'all. Jason discusses the problems pay compression causes and how you can advocate inside and outside your organization to spark action on this. Get educated here: Start with the actual pay tables -- Then move to discussions of why have people cap out early on pay ain't great: This isn't new...
info_outline 167. Debt Ceiling Chaos - What to Do, What to Watch 05/26/2023
167. Debt Ceiling Chaos - What to Do, What to Watch Anxious about debt ceiling repercussions? Not getting your paycheck? Not knowing what's coming? Even if a deal is reached, the programs and services you administer might be cut or reduced. There's lot of uncertainty ahead of us this summer, feds. Dr. Donald Kettl joined me on the podcast to try to make sense of it all. Dr. Donald Kettl specializes in public management and public policy. He previously served as dean in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance, the Brookings Institution and the Partnership for Public Service. He also has degrees in everything... Ph.D., Yale University, Political Science M.Phil., Political Science, Yale University M.A., Political Science, Yale University B.A., Scholar of the House, Yale University ... and has written numerous books on government and public administration. If you want to read more of the latest news on potential impacts for feds, click on the links below. Also, join the FedFam Facebook group to hear from your peers about how they're dealing with this drama.
info_outline 166. Building Bridges to Solve Big Problems 05/24/2023
166. Building Bridges to Solve Big Problems Meet Bill Eggers, executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights, where he is responsible for the firm’s public sector thought leadership. He and public administration stcholar Dr. Don Kettl recently published a book on building bridges: in this podcast, he highlights a few strategies you can use to overcome obstacles in your day to day work as a federal employee. To learn more about the Center for Government insights, head to this site:
info_outline 165. The Rodel Federal Executive Fellowship 05/19/2023
165. The Rodel Federal Executive Fellowship The Rodel Institute is an independent nonprofit organization devoted to strengthening American democracy and improving the quality of public leadership in the United States. A nonpartisan center for leadership and intellectual growth, Rodel helps America’s most promising leaders reach their full potential as public servants, deepen their commitment to democracy and the rule of law, and work together to address some of our nation’s most important domestic and international challenges. The Institute’s programs convene diverse leaders from across the political, legal, and policy spectrum in an effort to find common ground, build relationships, and encourage the understanding and cooperation needed to move our nation forward. The Institute kicked off the first Federal Executive Fellowship this year and Katie Galgano, the Deputy Director for the fellowship program, joined me on the podcast to discuss the program's unique benefits and why you might want to apply. To learn more, you can reach out to Katie directly or head to the websites below. Katie Galgano's direct email address: General email:
info_outline 164. So You're Under Investigation - Here's What To Do First 05/03/2023
164. So You're Under Investigation - Here's What To Do First Under investigation? Just filed a complaint? Guest Kevin Shehan of Shehan Legal explains when you might want to contact an attorney to set you off on the right path. Kevin worked as a federal employee and now helps them with EEO and other issues. He's seen both sides of federal employee issues and offers tips to help when you're in sticky situations (labor and employment issues, litigation, general counsel needs). Want to learn more about Kevin and his practice? Click here:
info_outline 163. Take Your #$%^!# Leave 04/06/2023
163. Take Your #$%^!# Leave This episode is more rant than anything else. And it's self-directed. I need reminders from my husband to just take my leave. This episode is your permission to take YOUR leave and learn a little about how much you earn in pleasant and not so pleasant circumstances you might encounter during your federal career. Please excuse my repeated whining about parental leave coming online after I had both of my kiddos. I referenced Government Worker Fi's article on leave. Here's the link: And here's the OPM website:
info_outline 162. ADHD: Superpower and Challenge for Feds 03/29/2023
162. ADHD: Superpower and Challenge for Feds If you're a federal employee with ADHD, work with one, supervise one, (or like me, your household includes loved ones with ADHD), this episode is for you. ADHD can be a challenge, AND a superpower. Enter Elle O'Flaherty who provides tips and advice on how to provide support when appropriate, and better understand what ADHD is and isn't. Elle spent many years working as a federal employee before transitioning to full time coaching and training. Following a 17+ year legal career and certifications in ICF-accredited executive, ADHD, and career coaching, Elle founded her coaching firm, Interlace Solutions, dedicated to tapping into clients’ potential to accelerate their achievement. She coaches executives, executive teams, and professionals with a subspecialty in ADHD coaching. Clients partner with her on leadership, productivity, executive function, workplace culture, prioritization, organization, and building upon ADHD strengths, among many others. Want to connect with Elle and learn more?
info_outline 161. Feds in Motion Challenge - Join the FedUpward Community Team 03/11/2023
161. Feds in Motion Challenge - Join the FedUpward Community Team Robyn Kehoe from The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) joined me to discuss the upcoming Feds in Motion Challenge. The 3rd Annual Feds In Motion Challenge kicks off on May 1, 2023, continues during Public Service Recognition Week (#PSRW) May 7-13, and keeps on going through June 6. It’s all about moving in your favorite way — walk, run, bike, swim, or roll your wheelchair on your favorite route — to reach the goal of 37 miles (or more!) in 37 days. Register now and join the FedUpward Community team (use the password fedupward). Let's raise money for feds in need. AND get a little healthier in the process! is the only independent, nonproﬁt 501c3 organization devoted solely to providing emergency ﬁnancial assistance and scholarships to our dedicated civilian federal and postal public servants and their families. The deadline for this year's FEEA scholarship applications is March 16th, 2023. .to submit an application for you, your spouse or your college age children.
info_outline 160. Inspiring Workplaces - Join Me on March 16th! 03/11/2023
160. Inspiring Workplaces - Join Me on March 16th! In this episode, Dr. Russel Robinson and I discuss an upcoming event specifically for public servants - No decks, no slides, no handouts. The purpose is to connect with like minded professionals, learn, and affect change in your sphere of influence. Here are the details: Stories have the power to inspire, strengthen, and heal. And the stories we tell, especially about how we celebrate our triumphs, overcome adversity and help shape how we think about our lives. Replicate how workplaces should be by actively listening, giving people a voice and making it more human. No distractions, just a focus on storytelling and action. INSPIRE: Inclusive; No Presentations; Storytelling; Psychologically Safe; Insightful; Relationship building; Empowering. Listen to the following four storytellers from the public sector share their experiences and what they learned: Dr. Elida Sarmiento, PhD, US Department of Justice Herb Rouson, JD, DC Courts Dr. Theresa Horne, PhD, Defense Counterintelligence and Systems Agency Love Rutledge, Host of the FedUpward podcast The hosts of this event include Dr. Russell Robinson, Chief Inspiration Officer, Inspire:DC; Founder, Amplified Research and Consulting; Adjunct Professor, and Key Executive Leadership Programs at American University. Because of the intimate and powerful nature of this experience, seats are limited. Only 50 participants can join and you can register at this link:
info_outline 159. Mindful Fed 02/21/2023
159. Mindful Fed Feds - do you have a stressful job of importance and need to take a few minutes to practice mindfulness? The Mindful Fed community is exactly what you're looking for. NOAA employee Garth Smelser runs an amazing group that you can sign up for FOR FREE to help you stay focused and balanced. And if you happen to work at an organization that can help Garth find a permanent home for the program which he runs on an ad hoc basis in addition to his full time federal job, PLEASE reach out to him to keep this great program running and thriving! To join the iMindful Fed community or learn more, email Garth at [email protected]. Federal employees can send a blank email HERE -- -- to receive community email invitations and stay tuned for expanding services.
info_outline 158. Looking to Upskill? Northeastern University's NEW DMV Campus 01/20/2023
158. Looking to Upskill? Northeastern University's NEW DMV Campus Jamie Jones Miller, former federal employee in the executive and legislative brances, joined me on the show to discuss her new role as the dean and CEO of Northeastern University's new Arlington, VA campus. They're open for business and offering degree and certificate programs specifically for federal employees and the contractors who support them. Northeastern hopes to fill critical skills gaps for federal agencies and departments with programs on Blockchain, software enginerring systems, and information systems - think STEM with a public service flavor. Learn more here:
info_outline 157. Short Term Disability Insurance For Feds 01/20/2023
157. Short Term Disability Insurance For Feds Tony Zerante, Chief Strategy Officer, and Stephanie Baker, Chief Experience Officer, at WAEPA, joined me to discuss short term disability insurance and why you might need it. They walk us through the product WAEPA offers and how to learn more. WAEPA is a proud sponsor of the FedUpward Podcast. To learn more about WAEPA and the products they offer public servants, head to You can get a quick esitmate on how much you'd pay for life insurance or short term disabilty insurance. (Spoiler alert: WAEPA's life insurance rates beat FEGLI for many feds.)
info_outline 156. What is Federal Executive Institute? 11/06/2022
156. What is Federal Executive Institute? Dr. Heath Harding of the Office of Personnel Management's Center for Leadership Development, described what the Federal Executive Institute is and why you want to attend. FEI, located in Charlottesville, VA, offers leader development and networking opporunities you should know about. I attended many years ago and had a great exerpience that included working in teams with representatives from agencies and departments across the government. Listen to learn more.
info_outline 155. You NEED this Tool For Open Season - AND get a discount code only for you 11/01/2022
155. You NEED this Tool For Open Season - AND get a discount code only for you Consumers' Checkbook, a non-profit organization that helps youi make better financial decisions, offers a fantastic tool to compare FEHB plans. With open season coming mid-November, you should explore changes to your current plan, what other plans offer, and how much premiums are changing (spoiler - rate increases are NOT uniform across plans). Kevin Moss explains how you can leverage the tool and save a few dollars using a code available only to FedUpward listeners. The comparison tool will be available in the next week. Right now, you can check out the website and sign up to use it as soon as it's available.
info_outline 154. So What Exactly Is AI and How Can Govvies Use It? 10/25/2022
154. So What Exactly Is AI and How Can Govvies Use It? Tom Davenport, an AI/machine learning expert who also happens to be my first cousin once removed (yes, I said it), discussed what AI is, how feds might leverage it. If you feel like you *should* already understand AI but you don't, this is a great place to start. Tom is a world-renowned thought leader and author, is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, a Fellow of the MIT Center for Digital Business, and an independent senior advisor to Deloitte Analytics. Tom's written TONS of articles and books on this topic, and you can find his latest here: And you can find him on LinkedIn here:
info_outline 153. You're the Manager and it's Return to the Office Time 10/02/2022
153. You're the Manager and it's Return to the Office Time What should you be thinking about when higher level leadership says it's time to return to the physical office? If you're facing questions and resistance from your team, this episode is for you. FEDS Protection CEO and founder Tony Vergnetti reminds us of the liability coverage his company, a proud aponsor os this podcast, offers federal employees. Tony runs through many considerations you should have top of mind as you navigate through the return to work mine field (and yes, many of us are STILL going through this saga). Learn more about professional liability insurance at the link below.
info_outline 152. Considering an EEO or IG Complaint? Start Here 09/14/2022
152. Considering an EEO or IG Complaint? Start Here Something awful happened at work and you're considering an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint, or maybe you should go to the Inspector General (IG) in your agency/department. Or maybe your supervisor's supervisor could help. Where do you even start? Enter Kevin Shehan.of Shehan Legal. He's worked in federal employment law for a federal agency and served as a fed. Now he serves folks like us and delivers advice you'll find helpful if you're considering a filing a complaint, helping an employee going through it, or you had a complaint lodged against you. This episode is NOT an ad. You can find Kevin and his team at the links below:
info_outline 151. How to Hack Your Bureaucracy 09/08/2022
151. How to Hack Your Bureaucracy Wish there was a playbook on how to work more efficiently in a federal agency or department? Look no further. Marina Nitze and Nick Sinai wrote the book on strategies you can use in your daily work to get things done. They've worked at the highest levels of the federal government and were both known for getting the job DONE. Marina joined me on the podcast to discuss why they wrote the book, what's in it, and how you can make it work for you. I am super jealous I didn't write this book first! Find info on where to buy the book and any upcoming author events at this link:
info_outline 150. When You're The FIRST Person to Hold a Big Gov Job 09/01/2022
150. When You're The FIRST Person to Hold a Big Gov Job Sunayna Tuteja, the first ever Chief Innovation Officer at the Federal Reserve System, isn't your typical civil servant. She spent most of her career in fintech working on emerging technologies (think crypto currency). She laughed when a recruiter claled her about taking on the role of innovation officer at the Fed. But her outsider status made her exactly the right person to take the job. In this episode, she outlines how she came to government service, what it's like to be the first in a role, and gives career civil servants advice on how to deal with newbies like her who can bring SO much to an organization. I had the plesure of hearing her speak at a conference and knew immediately I had to have her on the show. She's a fast talker, so buckle up. You won't want to miss a word.
info_outline 149. How to Get the Skills You Actually Need 08/25/2022
149. How to Get the Skills You Actually Need SOOO excited to welcome Rob Seidner back to the podcast. While working at the Office of Management and Budget, he explained how the rules for civil service really suck. The history lesson helped us understand WHY they suck. Rob recently transitioned to a job outside government. He talks about why that was a difficult decision and why the mission of his current employer drew him in. EdX, where Rob serves as the director for government partnerships, works to democratize learning. MAJOR colleges and universities use this platform to offer micro degree and upskilling opportunities that cost WAY less than in-person degree programs. If you're a federal agency/department training lead or a manager/employee looking for an easy way to get access to great content feds can use to uplevel, you need to talk to Rob. On this platform, you can take individual classes, work toward professional certificates and more. And no, this isn't an ad. Find Rob on LinkedIn -
info_outline 148. Federal Training Academy 08/24/2022
148. Federal Training Academy The Federal Training Academy, a company dedicated to your learning, offers tailored training, consulting, and coaching to federal agencies and departments. Angela Kochuba, the founder and managing director, created the organization in 1999 and never looked back. Grounded in public service, she offers a long list of services that can help you and your team. Their offerings are specifically tailored for government employees. Listen for more info and click on the link below: #notanad
info_outline 147. Defending Civil Servants: - How the PMA Does it 08/22/2022
147. Defending Civil Servants: - How the PMA Does it Do you hear the outrageous accusations against federal employees just doing their jobs (think IRS, FBI right now) and think, "I really wish someone was sticking up for them!" The Professional Managers Association (PMA) does just that. Executive Director Chad Hooper shared thoughts on what the PMA is and how they advocate for IRS employees right now. Learn how you can help in this podcast. Want to join or support? Head to:
info_outline 146. TSP - Crying into Our Statements 08/07/2022
146. TSP - Crying into Our Statements Your TSP statement making you cry? I talked to certified financial planner Brian Sigwart about the long-term outlook and new funds available for us to choose. Need personalized advice? You can contact Brian here: Brian Sigwart CFP® , RICP ® CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional Financial Services Representative 11350 McCormick Road, Executive Plaza IV, Suite 200 Hunt Valley, MD 21031 | T: (410) 937-9098 | F: (410) 785-7655 (410) 773-4451
info_outline 145. Federal Executive Boards and What They Can Do For You 07/25/2022
145. Federal Executive Boards and What They Can Do For You If you live outside the DC/VA/MD area and haven't connected with your regional Federal Executive Board, you need to explore all your FEB has to offer. They provide regional news for feds, policy changes that may impact you, training, development opportunities and much more. Here's the FEB website and a few examples of the regional board sites: And on LinkedIn:
info_outline 144. Roe v Wade Thoughts and Why I Needed a Break 07/25/2022
144. Roe v Wade Thoughts and Why I Needed a Break Y'all, I needed a break. With the recent Supreme Court ruling, my head has been spinning. I recorded my thoughts on recent events. Link below for OPM guidance on use of sick leave to cover travel for medical care for yourself or an immediate family member. And some guidance about the Hatch Act and Roe v Wade