My dad was career military so there was a degree in our family of service to our country and my brother, my older brother, obviously followed my dad into the military, made that a career as well. I initially was thinking about law school, but during my senior year in college did an internship with the Reno Police Department and that got me started thinking about a career in law enforcement. So when I graduated from college, I started with the Reno Police Department.
I had spent six and a half years on the police department. I had risen to the rank of sergeant. As you know, law enforcement is a very male dominated environment and during the six and a half years I’d had a number of assignments, but it also demonstrated my ability to handle myself, both on the street and in some of the other assignments. So the transition to the FBI, while it was a new organization and the transition through the academy, of course everybody wants to make it though. You want to get your badge and your creds and you want to graduate with your class, I was very comfortable operating in the male environment.
Those who know me well certainly know that number-one I think I am somewhat modest in talking about what I viewed as accomplishments or firsts. The fact that I was named as SAC Philadelphia having from the assignment where I was currently serving was the SAC of the counterterrorism program in Los Angeles. Now going and taking the ninth-largest field office with its own set of unique challenges because of the violence in Philadelphia. I think I viewed it more as, wow, now I own the totality of the field office; not just a sliver of it. I am responsible for not only what transpires inside the office, but externally. And I certainly hoped that everything that I had done before that, in terms of stepping stones and preparation, was going to make me successful as an SAC. But I didn’t approach it from the standpoint of wow I’m the first female SAC who’s now in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office. Does it strike people when they walk into the executive area and they see the row of all the former SAC’s and at the end of the line is one female. It is novel and I grant you that. But I never viewed myself as a female special agent or a female SAC. I was either a special agent of the FBI or an SAC of the FBI or an ADIC of the FBI.