Stacie Boyd: The portfolio manager

A relative novice found she has a knack for managing an e-government initiative to streamline the grant-making process across all federal grant-making agencies

When Stacie Boyd applied for a job at the Office of Management and Budget, agencies’ efforts to initiate the Grants Management Line of Business had stalled. Participants had agreed on a vision for managing grants, but they struggled to decide on an operating model. Each agency had its own way of issuing grants.

The grants management initiative strives to streamline federal grant-making programs. Rather than operate independent systems, the theory is that the 26 agencies that issue grants could use a shared service that would reduce costs and improve service.

Searching USAJobs, Boyd found a posting for a government-to-government portfolio manager in OMB’s Office of E-Government and Information Technology.

Before applying, Boyd said, she talked with her father, John Higgins, about the job. She said he taught her from an early age that life is neither easy nor fair and that she had to work hard to be successful. Higgins, an engineer in the coal mining industry for 30 years, had lived out those realities.

“When I started to look for a job, he encouraged me to look for a challenge,” Boyd said.

She decided to apply for the OMB portfolio manager position despite having no knowledge of the grant-making process and little experience in government work.

Boyd was hired two years ago and quickly took charge of the situation. As a new manager, she reinvigorated the Grants Management Line of Business.

Tim Young, associate administrator for e-government and IT at OMB, said Boyd helped construct a framework for the grants initiative by clarifying its goals. She built mutual trust among agency task force members and focused on improving federal grants management through IT.

Stacie Boyd

Boyd worked diligently to identify and resolve issues among agencies and other stakeholders, referring problems to senior agency and OMB officials when necessary to break down barriers to change.

Boyd pushed forward, talking to agency officials and other stakeholders to decipher the differences and similarities among their operating models.

She knew she had to find a model that would bring the parties together. “Once you have an operating model, it no longer is a concept,” she said.

Boyd got participants to decide how to run the line of business and start the process of selecting service providers. She led meetings that included representatives from the grants community, and she persuaded senior OMB leaders to advance the initiative. Boyd said she made sure agencies knew that OMB was working with them and not simply trying to direct them from afar.

“I could see the light at the end of the tunnel for grants management,” she said. “It was just a matter of starting the process for moving things forward.”

Boyd said she found the initiative challenging. A desire to meet the challenge coupled with her fresh perspective helped propel the program. She sees the results of her work in the grants community. She hears from people receiving grants to start new businesses or build new homes.

“I get to hear their stories of how the initiative makes a difference in their lives,” she said.

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