Federal Spotlight: Karen Rainey
MC: How long have you been in Federal Service and what is your main responsibility in your role today?
KR: I can’t believe it’s been 10 years of Federal Service with the Department of Treasury. Throughout my career I was afforded many opportunities in leadership. Currently, as an Information Technology Specialist, I provide dedicated server support to the Internal Revenue Service infrastructure and ultimately our nation’s taxpayers. In this role, I work with a team that is responsible for operations and maintenance of servers including patching, installation updates, security standards, and overall consistency throughout virtual environments.
MC: What keeps you motivated and passionate to stay in the public sector?
KR: What keeps me passionate about the public sector are the vast amounts of memorable opportunities I’ve received in my career. One recent example was when I worked on a detail as a manager overseeing filing season projects. It was a huge challenge, but through it all, we worked as a team and I was motivated by colleagues. Joseph Campbell said that “Passion will lead men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.” I found that Feds are results driven and their passion comes from providing the best service they can to the American people.
MC: What is one of your biggest achievements?
KR: One of the biggest achievements I’ve had is on a personal and professional level. I was fortunate enough to join Federally Employed Women (FEW) in 2011 and had the honor of being selected to serve on the National Board of Directors. FEW is an employee organization that promotes a diversified workforce that includes women and their masterful ability to add value to every agency. In 2015, I was chosen to lead a highly successful National Training Program for FEW which provided training to women who sought excellence in their career. Last year we took a “Journey to Excellence” for self-development and improvement for a stronger Federal workforce. Though training, we provided information on how to utilize process improvement methodologies to help attendees with their everyday work life and how to establish best practices.
MC: What advice would you share on making public service a career and not a pit stop?
KR: The Federal service offers great career opportunities in a variety of positions. President John F. Kennedy said it best: “You, the Federal employee, provide the mind and muscle for carrying out national and international policies, commitments, and programs. . . . Our country counts on you to meet the special challenge with a special effort.” My advice would be to make your career in public service a true investment in yourself and this country. Most Feds work a minimum of 20 to 30 years and never leave until they retire. It is my belief that we invest quickly because of our sense of loyalty, respect, and dedication to public service and this country.
FEW has done a six month study on how “Federal Workers Keep America Running.” Take some time to read how every hour of every day women impact this county. Choosing a career in public service is a decision no one will regret.
MC: What advice would you share with young people on entering government?
KR: My advice to young people entering the government is, stay focused and be persistent. Stay true to your core values and pursue your goals. Create a vision of where you want to be and never lose sight of the vision you have set for yourself. It’s just a matter of time before your vision becomes reality. Make your vision a reality.