Women in Federal History: Five Women Who Lead the Way

Starr Wright USA
Oct 2, 2019 · 4 min read
Photo by Sergey Nivens on Adobe Stock.

In the federal government, there are fewer women than men in leadership roles. However, there are efforts underway to change that. Starr Wright USA has chosen to spotlight five women as role models whose accomplishments, commitment, and initiative exemplify leadership.

Starr Wright USA is fortunate to have business relationships with several associations for federal government workers. While there are many women worthy of accolades, we have decided to focus first on four women who are not only leaders in their chosen fields, but also in organizations dedicated to improving the work life of their fellow professionals.

As the Executive Director for the Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE), Catherine W. Sanz has had a diverse career in law enforcement. She started as a police officer with the Federal Protective Service in Boston in the late 1970s.[i]

Sanz later graduated as a special agent from U.S. Customs basic agent training. As she moved up the ranks, Sanz supervised undercover operations to stop child pornography and money laundering.

After serving as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) she ran the ICE Asset Forfeiture Program. She retired as the Assistant Director, Mission Support, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations.[ii]

Today she works with WIFLE to empower women to leadership in federal law enforcement. “Every woman should at least consider law enforcement as a career because women are great at it.”

Sarah L. Botsai, Ph.D., serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of The Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). Sarah began her career at the National Security Agency (NSA) shortly after graduating from college in 1957. She later earned her Ph.D. in International Relations in 1972.

After spending twelve years in Operations, she was the first woman to serve as the representative for the NSA in the White House Situation Room. After serving for two years, she became the Deputy Director of the White House Situation Room. She was also the first woman who served in the NSA to attend the National War College, where she has also served as a faculty member. The National Cryptologic Museum Foundation has honored her as one of the leading Women in American Cryptology.[iii]

Roxanna Irwin serves as Vice President for the U.S. Marshals Service Association (USMSA). Her career accomplishments include serving as Senior Deputy for the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS), one of the largest transporters of prisoners in the world. Roxanna also served in Investigative Services Division (ISD), which supports the USMS’s judicial security effort. Before her retirement in 2012, Roxanna served as the Associate Director of Operations Office as the SW Border Chief and Indian Country Liaison.

Prior to working for the USMS, Roxanna worked as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Sierra County, Sheriff’s Department, as a New Mexico State Police Patrolman, a Special Agent for Southern Pacific Railroad Police Department, and a Police Officer with the Ralston Nebraska Police Department.[iv]

As Director of Legislative Affairs of Federal Aviation Administration Managers Association (FAAMA), Elizabeth Barcus is still active as an Air Traffic Manager. After graduating cum laude from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, she later earned a Master of Aeronautical Science degree there focused on Aviation/Aerospace Operations

A US Navy veteran, today she oversees operations at a terminal facility, trains and mentors team members, and is responsible for customer service.

Before this role, she served as an Operation Supervisor in an en-route facility. During a highly competitive process, she was selected to participate in the FAA Air Traffic Organization’s first cohort of Aspiring Second Level Leaders.[v]

In 2017, she organized a GoFundMe for Chapter 101 Caribbean Alliance to help FAAMA chapter members in Puerto Rico after the catastrophic Hurricane Maria. “I am lucky to be part of the great organization FAAMA. One of the things we do well is stick together and help our FAAMA Family when times are rough.”[vi]

Our fifth woman leader is Regina Lombardo, who is the new acting deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives — and she is the first woman to head the federal agency. She is a member of several professional organizations including WIFLE.

During her 28-year career, she has taken down gun traffickers and drug dealers in Miami, Tampa, New York and at the Canadian border. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida.[vii]

“My passion is cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce,” she said. “But we only average between 11 and 12 percent females. If I can’t make change, as the highest-ranking woman in the organization, who can?”[viii]

Starr Wright USA is proud to support these organizations, and salutes all of the outstanding women who proudly serve our country.

Article authored by Starr Wright USA.

Starr Wright USA is a marketing name for Starr Wright Insurance Agency, Inc. and its affiliate(s). Starr Wright USA is an insurance agency specializing in insurance solutions for federal employees and federal contractors. For more information, visit WrightUSA.com. Starr Wright USA is a division of Starr Insurance Companies, which is a marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc.

[i] Woman in Law Enforcement

[ii] Dressing the Women in Blue

[iii] Sarah Botsai

[iv] USMA

[v] Elizabeth Barcus

[vi] LinkedIn

[vii] Attorney General Appoints Regina Lombardo Acting Deputy Director of ATF

[viii] New campaign targets women beyond law enforcement

The Federal Starr

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The Federal Starr

The Federal Starr arms federal employees with the wisdom and insight to successfully navigate their career, create stability for themselves and their family, and continue on their mission to serve the public. The Federal Starr is a publication by Starr Wright USA.

Starr Wright USA

Written by

The Federal Starr

The Federal Starr arms federal employees with the wisdom and insight to successfully navigate their career, create stability for themselves and their family, and continue on their mission to serve the public. The Federal Starr is a publication by Starr Wright USA.

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