Forge Your Future: An FBI Fireside Chat by Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker
Section Chief of Business Strategy and Analytics Section
Victoria "Vikki" Ludwig
Strategic Recruiter
Automatic Summary

Behind the Scenes with the FBI: An Exclusive Fireside Chat with Tanya Tucker

Welcome to another edition of "Forge your Future" and FBI Fireside Chat. Today, we bring you exclusive insights from one of our top leaders, Ms. Tanya Tucker, shedding light on important topics like business analytics, digital transformation and leadership.

Delve into our conversation to learn more about pursuing a STEM career at the FBI, the supportive federal networks at the bureau and how our commitment to diversity is improving engagement and making a real difference.

The conversation was led by Vicky Ludwig, a Strategic Recruiter for the FBI, who was joined by Tanya Tucker, a veteran IT professional with the Bureau.

A Glimpse into FBI's Recruitment Focus

"Our overall engagement at this 2023 Women Tech Conference supports the FBI's focus to improve engagement, impact to support diverse applicants and champion authentic and meaningful relationships with all diverse communities." - Vicky Ludwig.

As part of the FBI's national recruitment efforts, Vicky Ludwig is primarily tasked with sourcing IT specialists for various roles across the bureau. Her widely varied career path, driven by her diverse experiences accumulated from organizations like Marriott, Bank of America, United Airlines, and West Virginia University, underscores her passion for her work at the FBI.

Meet Tanya Tucker: A STEM Leader Making Strides at the Bureau

With over 20 years of experience in IT and a significant portion of her career spent at the FBI, Tanya Tucker has played a critical role in the Bureau's digital transformation. One of her notable accomplishments includes the launch of a data warehouse for the agency. This has enabled the Bureau to leverage data for strategic decision-making, enhancing its recruitment process, and building a data-driven culture within the institution.

"We started using data to drive decisions. For example, analyzing data to see which schools yield the most successful recruits and tailoring our recruitment strategy accordingly." - Tanya Tucker.

Breaking Glass Ceilings: A Word of Advice from Tanya Tucker

As one of the few African-American females in a leadership role surrounding STEM at the FBI, Tanya Tucker shares two key pieces of advice for aspiring women in STEM:

  1. Preparation: Equip yourself with relevant knowledge in your field and ensure that you are well-versed with the technical aspects of your profession.
  2. Confidence: Believe in your skills and expertise. Let your voice be heard and assertive in your workspace.

Influential Forerunners: Alice, Alfreda, and Michelle Obama

Tanya's path in tech was significantly influenced by Alice and Alfreda—two ex-IBM employees who burrowed their way into the startup world— and Michelle Obama, whom she admires for her ability to connect profoundly with people, something she believes is crucial in IT.

Women Shattering Glass Ceilings

Seeing a rise in women leading revolutions in various fields, Tanya believes it is, indeed, the time of the woman. She credits this progression to women's intelligence, capability, and unmatched multitasking ability.

Forging Ahead: The FBI's Vision

Looking towards the future, Tanya aspires for the FBI to continue to modernize its technological capabilities, maintain a robust commitment to diversity, and continue to adapt to evolving security concerns.

"The way we can stay secure is to actually modernize. As for diversity, I think the Bureau is really taking it seriously. It is not just about our ethnicities or races, but our backgrounds and experiences that are influencing how the Bureau will move forward in the future." - Tanya Tucker

The fireside chat concluded with an informative Q&A session and a thank you to Ms. Tanya Tucker for her insightful conversation. Be sure to bookmark this page to reference interesting insights and check back often for more exclusives. If pursuing a career with the FBI intriques you, sign up for our 'Let's keep in touch' campaign and visit our FBI hiring expo.

Video Transcription

OK. Well, let's get this started. Hello, everyone and welcome to Forge your Future and FBI fireside chat.This is an exclusive opportunity to hear behind the scenes information from one of our top leaders, MS Tanya Tucker on topics that include but are not limited to business analytics, digital transformation and leadership. We will provide insights into pursuing a stem career at the FBI as well as shed light on supportive federal networks at the bureau. Our overall engagement at this 2023 women tech conference supports the FB I's focus to improve engagement, impact to support diverse applicants and champion authentic and meaningful relationships with all diverse communities. With that being said, let's get this conversation started with some introductions.

I'll start with me because I'm not the headline. Greetings. All my name is Vicky Ludwig. I joined the FBI in 2011 after a very interesting stint in the private sector working in sales marketing recruiting and human resources for Marriott Bank of America, United Airlines and West Virginia University.

Among others, I never dreamed I would work for the FBI and here I am. I'm currently a strategic recruiter on the national recruiting team for the bureau. One of my main duties is to help fill it specialist roles across the entire FBI. I have lived all over the United States. I love to travel and I especially love to cheer on my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. Go Irish. Tanya. Let's hear from you.

Good morning. Uh My name is Tanya Tucker. I've actually been with the bureau in support in this position for about 14 years, but I have about 20 years experience in it. Um I also have like a wide ranging background. I worked um 15 years private sector, Blue Cross Blue Shield. I worked um state government uh Governor's Office of Minority Affairs, um but actually landed at the bureau um at a recruitment event uh nearly 14 years ago and it's been pretty exciting since then. Um Outside of working for the bureau, I like to have a little fun. You might see me at the local skating rink or you might find me at the local sneaker store. I am a self proclaimed sneakerhead. Um But I also just enjoy kind of relaxing. I'll get back to you, Vicky.

We're so glad you're here and I heard that you might have 60 plus sneakers in your collection, Tanya. Is that true?

That is very true. Um 60 plus I love shoes in general, but probably around 60 pair of sneakers are in that closet.

I love it. I can't, I can't wait to see some more of those. So, all right, let's get started with why we're here. Can you tell us Tanya what is business analytics and how did you find your path in that field?

Um It's an interesting path. Um Back in 2013, the bureau actually launched a new um enterprise resource planning tool. That tool allows us to uh process our actions to do performance evaluations, manage our positions. And when we did that, we also stood up something called a data warehouse.

So knowing that we would have more data than we've ever had before, more access than we ever had before realizing that people would actually want to know um the data in there, the reporting aspect of that. And so it's not just the counts for things, not just the numbers of things, but really taking that data, analyzing it and actually making strategic decisions. Um I wasn't my lane. Um I wasn't the guru, but I actually had a boss who, who gained the reputation of being like a data guru. And I actually think he had a real impact on the bureau because the bureau started using data to actually drive decisions. You know, it's just a, a little example of that, like, you know, looking at data and realizing that we got really good recruits for school XYZ. And so starting to look at that to see what type of positions those people may have filled. And if we should be doing actual recruiting more from that school.

That's awesome. That's awesome. So that data uh guru role has kind of been passed down. Can you describe a day in the life of Tanya Tucker in that role?

Yes, it is never the same. Um That can be both a blessing and a curse, but we tend to get ad hoc report requests like daily and that's in, that's on top of the normal stuff that the team is doing. Like we're building dossiers, we're taking that information and analyzing it daily. We're sending out information and answering data calls internally and externally to our own leadership to leadership outside of the bureau to include DOJ. And so it's never a dull moment and that's in addition to like building functionality in our system.

Wow. OK. So Tanya, in addition to like having to answer to the director of the FBI on, you know, on occasions at the moment, what would you say your biggest challenge is in your

role? Wow. My, my biggest challenge right now is deciding what's the next path, how are we moving ahead into the future? Um So we're actually looking at new tools, tools that will replace our current er P and actually deciding like, how do we forge ahead? How do we continue to modernize the bureau? How are we using the best tools that are available out there that allow us to continue to modernize? So that is my biggest, um my biggest um obstacle struggle, right? Now?

Awesome. And, and Tanya, you're one of the few African American and female staff to obtain your leadership role surrounding STEM at the FBI with this amazing professional accomplishment, what inspires you? Is there anything you do daily to boost your career?

Um Part of that has to do with my team. They are pretty awesome, pretty smart folks. They actually are driving a lot of what the bureau is doing. And so I'm excited that the bureau is actually uh moving forward with actually modernizing some of his systems. Um We were working on a system that was from the seventies when I came, actually, it was built in 1975 specifically for us. But some of the fact that we are actually taking um real risks now and actually looking at, you know, commercially off the shelf product versus trying to build things custom now. Um forging ahead, we're sitting on the cloud right now. That was almost unheard of, you know, quite a few years ago, you know, that whole cloud first thought process. Um All of that like is really inspiring me um in this job.

So that's so awesome. And you're in, in inspirational to so many, tell us what it's like working for the FBI in general, for, for, for females in particular.

Um It can be a challenge but a good challenge. Um I have enjoyed actually my time here and I've met some really good folks, folks that sometimes have seen stuff in me that I necessarily didn't see in myself, you know, pushed me and drove me to actually continue uh on my leadership path here. Um I remember I had uh uh my PM who would say if you want my job, these are the things that you need to do, you need to understand the technology, but you also need to know the budget, the contract, um the underlying infrastructure um and understand your people. And so I set out to do that. I actually did the work to accomplish that. I'm starting my, you know, own network of folks. Um and hopefully are also inspiring the people that are coming up behind me.

Oh, that's awesome. And so what has been your hardest barrier as an employee of the FBI? And how did you overcome that barrier?

Yeah, it can be a struggle. Sometimes AAA woman, sometimes the only woman in the room and um going into meetings, sometimes I've experienced where, you know, people pivot uh to my leadership or, or my boss or the male that's in the room when they're asking the questions, when I actually ha I'm the person that literally has the answer.

Um I appreciate my, my PM and some of the bosses I've had in front of me who would pivot to me and say, you know, you need to ask Taia that question. She actually has the answer. But I will say, you know, I had to do the work though. Um, the reputation I have now for being knowledgeable and prepared, you know, I worked hard to get that, you know, I made sure I was prepared for a meeting. Um, I did my homework, so to speak. Uh, you know, a class that I needed to take or, you know, a book I needed to read. I made sure that I did those things, um, to actually press forward so that when I walk into a room now, people are pretty confident that, you know, I probably know what I'm talking about.

That's awesome. And it's true. You do. I've been in meetings with you many times. So what advice do you have for women wanting to pursue a stem career at the FBI?

I would say, you know, do the work, um set such a network up, you know, it's always easy to go to class and take classes and go to school, but ask some of those professionals that are actually in those fields, they always give really good advice. It's good to get a good mentor. Um just do your homework and once you do that be bold and confident in what you actually know,

I love it. It's true. So, so you're inspiring. But who are two female leaders past and present, who you admire most and why I'll, I'll start with

the past. Um Right out of college, I went to work for a start up um as a receptionist. If you can believe that. I always say people, I, I can't imagine the kids coming out of school today going to work as a receptionist straight out of college. But I did that and it was for a start up company that delivered medical supplies. Um, and it's actually my footprint into it. Uh, they had the, you know, the best technology that was available. We're talking about early nineties and I met two ladies, um, Miss Alice and Miss Alfreda, they were ex IBM employees who started their own company. Two African American women, they were sharp, they were professional, they were bright and they actually helped us set up our system at the time. And so I always think about them. Um, I don't see them, um, anymore and I wonder actually where they are, but I really saw that because I had never seen anything like that before or met anyone who had actually really been in that field that looked like me. And then as cliche as it may sound, you know, the former first lady Michelle Obama, um, she's not into it, but I feel like she owns her truth and she really has a way of connecting with people.

And I feel like that has been, um, something that I've actually tried to garner over time because I know as it folks, we get the reputation of liking to go off and like, you know, just do our own thing in development. But you actually need to be able to connect with people. That's where you're getting your requirements from. Those are the people you're having to communicate with. Those are the folks that you're having to train. And so you need some really good communication skills on top of your it skills. So I'd say um those folks have actually pretty much influenced my life um have been impactful to me.

That's awesome. Those are, those are truly inspirational leaders for sure. Um So you talked about taking the job as a receptionist and I think you probably um given us some advice already. But what advice would you give your younger, younger self? Looking

back, my younger self, I'd say, be confident, um be bold in what, you know, um take some time to actually read and understand your profession because I, when I graduated from college, I literally thought I was gonna be an attorney somewhere. I actually had no idea that I was going to end up in it. But, you know, like I said, over time, those folks hadn't influenced me, particularly those two ladies I met early on in my life. And so hone your craft, do your homework, be prepared um when you step into a room. So that's the advice I'd give my younger self.

I like it. I, I took note of that. So I love it. Um And how, how can women continue to break, you know, break the glass ceiling? Do you think

I, I think it's possible in some respects we are actually leading the way in lots of areas now. It's true. Uh, it's the decade or, or the time of the woman. Um, and I actually believe that if you actually come over and look at my staff, there's a lot of women that are leading, um, areas in my, in my youth, my section I didn't start out that way. I didn't, um, do it on purpose, but they had some skill sets and some, some knowledge and some backgrounds that, you know, were valuable and, and we've actually done a lot so we can still move forward. I will say this again, be prepared. Um Let your voice be heard. Uh We are smart, we are capable and a lot of times we are the multitaskers in our families and also the multitaskers at work.

That is very true. That is very, very true. So, um we're getting close to the end of time. Can you spend a few minutes telling us what your vision is for the FBI in the next five years?

I'm hoping that we continue to modernize um on the it front. Um There's a lot of new technology out there. We do have to be mindful of security though. Um That's always a concern with the bureau as we start to look at new technology, um particularly, you know, with the uh people are getting smarter. So those cyber attacks are really real and so we need to um still forge ahead though. Um take some risk in terms of modernizing so that we're not having to um customize, but that we're able to use and, and leverage that technology out there because um it affects all of us. Um And the way we can stay secure is that actually modernize. So I'd like to see us move forward with that on the diversity front. I think the bureau is really taking it serious. Um I'm in a lot of meetings. My team pulls a lot of that data that actually shows like how the bureau is really trying to progress. So I hope that we stay on that path. Um As leaders come in, I hope they pick up the manta the mantle and still try to push that forward. Um Because I think it's not even just in race and ethnicity, it's literally like our backgrounds, our experiences that really are influencing how the bureau will move forward in the future.

That's awesome. And you're right, it's true. So, um Tanya in closing, I want to thank you so much for taking time to chat with us today. You and I'm gonna get choked up when I say this, your transparency vulnerability and advice have been invaluable. I've certainly gathered some gems that I will take with me. I also want to thank our attendees for their participation and active listening. Um Please make sure to sign up for our, let's keep in touch campaign. The link is in the chat. Thanks Tony. Um We will be transitioning to our FBI hiring um expo small booth where we have members of our FBI jobs team ready to answer questions with specific focus on how to apply for jobs at the FBI. So thank you, everyone. Thank you Tanya and we'll see you over at the,

we'll see you at the booth. Bye bye. Cheers.