Rising Stars

Farrell O'Neill Proffitt

Farrell O'Neill Proffit's job is to help agencies implement the emerging technologies and digital services they need -- even when they're not entirely sure what they need.

She excels at "getting to the core of what we do and where we'd like to go…[while] remaining an objective third party," said Susan Thares, digital engagement lead at the Education Department's Office of Federal Student Aid. Proffitt has used social media monitoring and engagement to transform the department's aid application process.

As vice president of RIVA Solutions, Proffitt addresses the full spectrum of digital services for her clients, which also include the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Agriculture and State.

Sally Dadjou, chief of IT systems at HHS, said Proffitt "is a master of building relationships…and [has come to] approach our problems as a fed" with a full understanding of the constraints that agencies face throughout the implementation process.

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The Future of Federal IT- FCW (Volume 28 Number 18)

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When confronted with federal restrictions and resistance to change, Dadjou said Proffitt's attitude has always been "we'll find a way to make it work."

Rory Schultz, deputy CIO at USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, described Proffitt as tirelessly dedicated and "unafraid of being a woman in a male-dominated field."

"The psychology and sociology behind social media [are] really exciting," Proffitt said. Agencies have a "vast audience they can reach" but often face difficulty in implementing a standardized approach that works within the rules and regulations of federal policy. She said the solutions are "re-engineering networking" and using social media to "build bonds with customers."

About the Author

Jonathan Lutton is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him at jlutton@fcw.com

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