Why We Serve: Alissa Bookwalter
In this series you’ll hear stories from USDSers and learn why they decided to join, why they stay, and how their work is making an impact for all Americans.
Alissa Bookwalter (she/ her), Deputy Director, Talent Management & People Operations at USDS HQ. Previously General Dynamics. From Grove City, PA
What’s your background?
I’ve spent a good portion of the past 10+ years supporting & consulting for various defense health programs. I’ve been so fortunate to work with the DoD and the United States Olympic Committee, supporting wounded, ill or injured Service members and veterans at the DoD Warrior Games (Go Army!), served on an inspection team that traveled and evaluated Warrior Transition Units on compliance with Army policy, and most recently, supported a diverse DHA traumatic brain injury program, that provided clinical, research, educational, and outreach services to Service members, veterans, and their families.
What inspired you to join USDS?
My inspiration to join USDS is a very personal one on two levels. The first being the challenge of enrolling my brother Greg in health insurance. He was struggling with substance abuse and wanted to enter a treatment facility. We used Healthcare.gov to help him obtain health insurance and ultimately, he was able to enter a treatment facility and successfully recover from addiction.
Without Healthcare.gov being both fully functional and user friendly, my brother’s path to recovery would have taken much longer.
The second inspiration for joining USDS is my husband, who is a disabled veteran. USDS works to ensure that veterans have access to earned benefits through the VA. By utilizing key concepts like user centered research and design, the process for applying and obtaining those benefits is made easy for millions of veterans, like my husband Kenny.
How does your work or the work of USDS make an impact?
My work at USDS makes an impact on current staff and all new folks who join our team. I’m a firm believer that people are an organization’s most valuable asset. It is extremely important that people feel and understand their value, impact, and have concerns addressed in a timely manner. My work contributes to what I hope is an exceptional candidate and staff experience.
The amazing work done at USDS is challenging enough; keeping processes, systems, and information readily accessible for current staff and new hires should be made easy.
What do you want to do after USDS?
Right now, I hope to continue in government service. I would love to support the VA or work to improve processes and experiences for Service members and their families. Ultimately, I just want to continue to support and serve a mission driven organization that makes a difference!
What will you miss most about USDS when you leave?
Hands down, the people. USDS has some of the best and very brightest. I will likely never have as much fun in a job as I do now. I’m thankful for this awesome experience!
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If you have questions regarding employment with the U.S. Digital Service, please contact us at email@example.com and visit usds.gov/apply.