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Acquisition Workforce Spotlight Lisa Bravo, DOJ

Jace, Lisa's ACM assistant.

Published on June 25, 2021

1. How long have you worked at the Department of Justice?

I started with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) back in January 2020.

2. What is your quick background before coming to the Department of Justice?

I started with the Federal Government in 2005 with a Bachelor’s in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration. My first position was as a Contract Specialist (1102), and I have stayed within this job series my entire Federal Career. This would probably explain why I have such a quirky and bizarre personality. If you have been an 1102 for any length of time, you would understand. In addition to my work as an 1102, I have some experience in Financial Assistance.

I have been highly involved in a lot and had some interesting experiences throughout my career. I have obtained a FAC-C Level III Certification, FAC-COR Level III Certification, Grants Management Certification, and NCMA’s Certified Professional Contract Manager Certification. I was also fortunate enough to complete the Excellence in Government Fellows Program.

It has been a wild ride so far, and I still have about 20 more years to go!

3. What is are major efforts your agency is currently working on?

If I said the DOJ’s major effort is the FAITAS to FAI CSOD Migration, that would be a boring answer. All agencies are currently working on this, and the transition is not unique to DOJ.

To come up with something more interesting, I decided to ask around to see what some of the DOJ Bureaus were working on. I received answers involving things like not having a high enough security clearance or being forced to disappear suddenly. I am not exactly sure what this whole “disappearance” would involve, but I doubt my dog and husband would be pleased. Ultimately, I decided not to ask any further questions, and I came up with my own answer.

The DOJ has been involved with continuing efforts in Category Management. We have been bringing in representatives from GSA, Homeland Security, AbilityOne, and Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) to present information on what each of their respective organizations has to offer and how these offerings would benefit the agency. Because the Bureaus have a wide variety of needs, exploring and comparing all the options available has been very beneficial to the procurement process.

Additionally, UNICOR, a DOJ Bureau, has begun offering training to the DOJ acquisition workforce (AWF) on what supplies, services, and assisted acquisition support that they provide. This promotion has been named "Utilizing UNICOR."

4. Tell us about one of your biggest successes achieved by you/your team/agency.

Wait, you mean to tell me I am supposed to achieve success in order to be featured in the Acquisition Workforce Spotlight? Uh oh… we may have a problem here!

Joking aside, I consider the increase in DOJ’s overall presence at various Interagency Meetings and Committees to be a success for me, the team, the agency, and the civilian acquisition workforce.

As one of the three individuals that make up the Justice Management Division-Office of Acquisition Management (OAM), we are involved in acquisition policy and compliance for the entire agency. This responsibility includes representing DOJ at various interagency working groups and committees. Even with the limited personnel and resources that we have, DOJ is a powerful force that is actively involved in these discussions with other agencies. I am the newest member of the team, but I still take some credit for being responsible for DOJ being that driving force.

I take pride in knowing that DOJ is becoming a more well-known and well-respected agency by being actively involved in these interagency efforts.

 5. What is the biggest challenge in your position supporting the AWF?

Other than the sheer number of AWF members, my biggest challenge as the DOJ ACM is supporting all members of the AWF while they are constantly involved in the agency’s primary mission of law enforcement.

As an example, a warden of a Federal Prison may also be designated as a Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR). Taking a forty hour in-person training course for FAC-COR Level II during regular working hours is not possible in that role. Similar circumstances arise for a Special Agent or an Investigator with the Federal Bureau of Investigations or the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is difficult to provide convenient education and training opportunities to workforce members who cannot be away from their duty station.

Another difficulty along these same lines involves the location of the individual. DOJ personnel are located in various time zones and remote locations. Simple conversations become complicated when they are in a time zone that is completely opposite to your own.

Even with these challenges, the Bureaus are doing a fantastic job with keeping people up to date and informed of Department-wide efforts.

 6. What skills do you think are most critical to successfully perform your job?

Here we go again with that being successful thing… These questions are really putting the pressure on me to impress my supervisor and make her think I am successful!

There are different skills that I feel make me successful in performing my job. First and foremost, my technical knowledge leads to success. I believe in being able to prove myself by what I know and not who I know. If I do not know something, I want to actively find the answer. At heart, I am still one of those school kids in the front row squirming around in my seat and waving my arm around saying, “Pick me! Pick me! I want to say something!” Yes, I realize most people find that annoying and not a factor of success, but I have always been actively engaged with my work.

The second skill would be my ability to listen to what is being said and understanding what that actually means. As an example, someone asks me a question, but it seems like they are asking the wrong question to get to the answer they are looking for. Delving further to get to the heart of the issue makes me good at what I do…or makes me a very nosey person.

The third skill would be the attitude I have regarding my job in general. If you’ve ever interacted with me on a professional or personal level, you come to find out very quickly that I do not like to be plain. Regardless of the position description, the job of an 1102 comes with working with regulations, policies, and other very dry content. It can get tedious digging into policies and memos very quickly. My approach to working with others is to make it educational, memorable, relatable, and occasionally entertaining. This could mean I provide a simple example that someone can understand or some over-the-top explanation to makes things a bit more comical. I use this technique to make the discussion stick out in someone’s mind when they need to recall that information later. If what I taught helps the individual and they were able to enjoy that interaction with me, I feel as if I achieved success.

 7. What words of wisdom would you offer to your fellow acquisition career managers (ACM) or the acquisition workforce?

Take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. No matter if it is relevant to what you are doing or not, you never know what you will learn and where that opportunity may take you. If I didn’t take advantage of certain opportunities that were presented to me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.


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