EWG Officer Candidates For 2021-2022

The Executive Women in Government invites you to the annual Membership Meeting on June 10, 2021 at 4:30 pm to learn more about the activities and accomplishments of the Officers this year.

The EWG Nominating Committee has concluded its membership-wide search and solicitation for candidates to serve as EWG Officers for the 2021-2022 term. The EWG Nominating Committee led by Shoshana Grove as the chair, along with EWG past presidents Ana Hinojosa and the Honorable Nancy Harvey Steorts are delighted to present to you the candidates for President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer listed below.

We invite you to join us and meet them in person! Register here!

The election will follow and will be conducted electronically. Results of the election will be announced on June 17, 2021.

Presenting this year’s Officer candidates:

Cynthia Whittenburg, candidate for EWG President:

Recently retired Cynthia Whittenburg was appointed Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, in 2016, charged with overseeing one of the most important aspects of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) complex mission: facilitating lawful trade while protecting our supply chain to support our nation’s economic growth and security. Under her leadership, CBP addressed many of the complex challenges in today’s trade environment including e-commerce, forced labor, unfair trade practices, and regulatory reform.

Ms. Whittenburg’s civil service career began with the U.S. Customs Service at the Port of New Orleans as an import specialist 33 years ago and prior to her current appointment, she served as Executive Director, Trade Policy and Programs within CBP. Her experiences include Course Developer/Instructor at the CBP Field Operations Academy; National Account Manager; Chief of Entry, Summary and Drawback; Director, Trade Facilitation and Administration; and Director ACE Business Transformation, while serving in a parallel career as a commissioned U.S. Army Reservist.

Ms. Whittenburg is a graduate of Dillard University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science/Business and has earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Georgia Southern University. Additionally, she graduated from the Department of Homeland Security Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program in 2013 and the Senior Managers in Government course at Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2016. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Legal Studies, International Business Law, at University of Oklahoma.


Patricia Cogswell, candidate for EWG Vice-President:

Patty Cogswell joined Guidehouse in September 2020 as a senior strategic advisor, working in the areas of innovation, organization and mission transformation and redesign across the national security sector.

Ms. Cogswell is a homeland and national security executive with 24 years of experience;13 years as a senior executive. She led programs at the White House, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice, in transportation, intelligence, policy, border security, screening, and information sharing initiatives. She possesses substantive expertise in: aviation, maritime, and surface transportation security; US government and foreign partner screening and vetting programs; counter terrorism; transnational organized crime; intelligence; information sharing and associated technology architectures; and immigration and border processes.

Ms. Cogswell has led multiple organizations through strategy, policy, technology execution, and operations in support of national security missions, as well as how to construct and implement both business and technical architectures. She led complex initiatives across the federal government and with international partners.

Prior to her arrival at Guidehouse, she served in a number of senior executive positions within the Department of Homeland Security, including as the Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, Assistant Director for Intelligence at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Acting Undersecretary within the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy Integration and Implementation, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Screening Coordination. She previously served at the National Security Council as Acting Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and as Special Assistant to the President for Transborder Security.

During her time in government, Ms. Cogswell received the DHS Outstanding Service Medal, the DHS Secretary’s Award, and the DHS Thought Leadership Award.

Ms. Cogswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania with a minor in Economics and a Juris Doctor degree from the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

Rhonda Shaffer, candidate for EWG Secretary:

Ms. Rhonda C. Shaffer has more than 25 years of senior leadership experience in the federal government and the private sector. She currently serves in the Senior Executive Service corps as the Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Chief Budget Officer with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Previously, Ms. Shaffer served as a key Senior Financial Advisor in the U.S. Department of Army overseeing the budgeting and execution of $1.9 billion in world-wide funding for the movement of people and goods by air, sea, and land. Ms. Shaffer also served as the Director of Support Services, providing executive level oversight of quality-of-life programs to over 13,000 military members, Department of Defense Civilians, Retirees, and Contractors assigned to the Pentagon and its annexes.

Prior to her tenure with the Army, Ms. Shaffer served as the Regional Chief Financial Officer for the U.S. Marine Corps in the Indo-Asia Pacific area overseeing the daily stewardship of more than $180 million in funds. She has also served in senior staff positions with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Coast Guard leading enterprise-level initiatives. Preceding her joining the federal service, Ms. Shaffer held executive level positions in the private sector serving as a Chief Audit Executive for a global manufacturing firm, a Chief Financial Officer for a Midwestern plastics manufacturing firm, and a Chief Executive Officer for a multi-national financial management consulting firm.

Ms. Shaffer is a committed public servant and volunteer. She has served on the Board of Directors for Kansas Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children and for Executive Women in Government where she has been the Treasurer, Vice President, and now proposed Secretary for the 2021-2022 period. Ms. Shaffer is an alumna of Leadership Kansas, one of the oldest and most prestigious statewide leadership programs in the country, dedicated to enhance and motivate future leaders from diverse communities.

Ms. Shaffer holds a Master of Science in Business Intelligence, an advanced business education degree in the fields of technology and decision science, and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Ottawa University, Kansas.

C. Michelle Bryan, candidate for EWG Treasurer:

Michelle Bryan is the Deputy Director for Resource Management at the Federal Protective Service (FPS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She provides strategic leadership and executive oversight of the following programs in support of the FPS law enforcement and security mission: budget and finance, human resources, acquisition, personnel security, procurement, diversity and inclusion, ethics, project management, labor relations and the organizations program analysis and evaluation efforts. In this capacity, she oversees an annual budget of over $1.5 billion and supports a workforce of approximately 1400 federal employees and over 13,000 contractors.

Ms. Bryan directed FPS’ effort to develop and implement a new revenue cost model for FPS Basic Security fees; an effort that was attempted several times since FPS moved to DHS (2003). Under Ms. Bryan’s leadership, FPS was successful in receiving approval for a revenue model, which replaced the antiquated square foot real estate model that had existed for more than 50 years. Her efforts culminated with the approval of the new revenue cost model by the Office of Management and Budget, and the Budget Officer Advisory Council with a fee increase of $28.5M. Additionally, Ms. Bryan led efforts to establish an FPS Cyber-Physical program, focusing on the cybersecurity of building automation systems and the potential impact to facility security.

Since joining FPS in November 1995, Deputy Director Bryan has served in several positions at both headquarters and in the regions. She served as the Deputy Director of Policy and Strategy Development where she provided oversight of the organization’s legislative affairs, communications, engagement, public affairs and Performance Quality and Compliance Division. Ms. Bryan served as the FPS Chief of Staff and strategic advisor to the Director of FPS From 2007-2015. In this role, she led multiple change management initiatives and two major organizational realignments: from the General Services Administration (GSA) to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and later to the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) with minimal impact to agency operations.

Ms. Bryan previously served a detail assignment at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA, as the Deputy Assistant Director for Administration. In this role, she led change management initiatives around human capital programs and operations and partnered with key stakeholders to communicate and implement organizational and cultural change. Ms. Bryan also served as the Acting Chief Diversity Officer for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and as the FPS Chief of Mission Support in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Deputy Director Bryan is a graduate of the DHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, recipient of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Change Management and Leading Government Change certification, and alumni of the Federal Executive Institute Leadership for a Democratic Society Program and a certified Fascinate Advantage Advisor. A native of Georgia, Ms. Bryan and her family now reside in Maryland.

Please join the EWG members to celebrate the 2021 accomplishments and meet these stellar candidates proposed to lead the organization for the upcoming term.

Register Here!


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