2016 Rising Star Awards
Deputy Director of Digital Engagement, Commerce Department
- By Chase Gunter
- Nov 11, 2016
Abigail Bowman understands digital messaging and platforms. She also recognizes the power of data and analytics to educate senior executives at the Commerce Department about the value of digital engagement.
Mike Kruger, Commerce’s director of digital engagement, jokingly says he stole Bowman from another bureau within the department, but he’s serious when he says he spotted Bowman’s talent and knew he wanted her on his team -- and he even created a new position to get her in the building.
“In some traditional roles, the director does the fun stuff and the deputy makes the trains run on time,” but because of Bowman’s skills, interests and creativity, “we don’t do that,” Kruger said.
In addition to managing the department’s social media accounts and modernizing aspects of the Commerce website that hadn’t been touched in years, Bowman introduced analytics into the department’s communications programs to quantify what types of outreach work best and on what platforms. Now the department’s writers strive for high engagement, not a specific word count.
Although Bowman is a skilled digital communicator, coworkers say what sets her apart are her interpersonal skills and perfectionism. There is no such thing as "good enough for government work" in her world, and that attitude has rubbed off on her colleagues.
Kruger is a political appointee who will likely be leaving his position during the presidential transition, and Bowman is finishing up her Presidential Management Fellowship this fall, but Kruger has high expectations for her.
“She has so many good ideas for government,” he said. “She has moved quickly and is the only person I'd put in charge of ‘my’ office when I leave. She'll be the boss someday soon.”
Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.
Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.
Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.
Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter