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2013 Game Changer: Vanessa Graf

Human resources specialist, U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA, Washington, D.C.

August 11, 2013
Related Topics: HR Services and Administration, Policies and Procedures, Game Changers, HR Administration

There’s a lot of buzz regarding employee engagement and retention these days. As Vanessa Graf has demonstrated at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, successfully engaging workers happens when you listen to their concerns.

Vanessa Graf

By expanding the emergency relief agency’s employee viewpoint survey to the entire workforce, Graf helped FEMA’s leaders to get a better overall understanding of employee morale and satisfaction levels. Graf, 29, meshed data analysis with plain-old conversation to find solutions to morale issues plaguing the agency. Her efforts were recognized by FEMA as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Graf also has spent time in the field during emergencies, managing Homeland Security employee teams who delivered provisions, cots and blankets while also communicating FEMA programs and services to residents in need. Because of Graf’s many contributions, FEMA is seen as a leader in best practices among Homeland Security agencies.

“Ms. Graf often tackles the HR projects many shy away from and does not hesitate to choose the road less traveled to deliver optimum results,” says Robert Gunning, human resources specialist with the Department of Homeland Security, in his reference letter.

Rick Bell is Workforce's managing editor. Comment below or email Follow Bell on Twitter at @RickBell123.

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