Episode 22 of the Public Sector Heroes Podcast feat. Florence Kasule
Written by Talia Semaan
On the latest episode of the Public Sector Heroes podcast, we welcome self-described acquisition nerd and bureaucracy slayer, Florence Kasule. Florence is currently the Director of Procurement at United States Digital Service and has held multiple contracting roles at different civilian and DoD agencies since entering the public sector.
Listening to Florence share her procurement journey with host Frank McNally, her energy for new projects and genuine curiosity about the profession make it clear why she’s risen to her current position. One of the ways she keeps everything in front of her is an emphasis on the human connection, having an authentic presence with her colleagues and everyone she meets in the government market. Especially in an almost completely digital world, she understands the vitality of first being a human being, then a contracting professional.
When asked to describe her style in meetings, Florence’s approach is on display. “It’s important to make the human connection first, then dive into whatever agenda we’re going into.”
Florence talks about how she made the jump from being a recent GW grad with her MBA to working as an 1102 with the Department of Interior. Their government-wide acquisition management intern program is designed to attract thinkers like Florence who had just received their masters, introducing them to government procurement and setting many on a career-long journey. For her two intern years, she took advantage of the rotational opportunities to learn how different agencies do procurement. Her biggest takeaway? The basic principles she learned at one agency could not be applied to another agency.
“I thought, my gosh – everyone is living out the rules and regulations in a different way. How they interpret them and engage with them, it is different from agency to agency.” As we noted before – she is a bureaucracy slayer and hacker – becoming a sponge and soaking up how each agency interpreted the regulations to fulfill their mission led her to work with some really innovative leaders.
As the Director of Procurement at United States Digital Service, Florence has many initiatives under her belt, but one thing she is most excited about is increasing diversity in the government contracting space. Between the actual contractors, production line people and engineers, there are so many roles within each agency. Now is the time to actively pursue diverse representation within each agency. The first step, Florence believes, is to be comfortable going into places where minorities are and have those tough conversations to begin breaking down barriers.
Walking away from Florence’s interview leaves us feeling energized about procurement’s future, and expanded roles for anyone who wants to participate. She aptly embodies a true public sector hero as she continuously builds relationships and seeks to learn new processes.