Sally “Sarah” Jagger (Nonprofit)

Fellow and Project Lead at the National Academy of Public Administration (Congressionally-chartered professional association)

I knew I wanted a career in public service after growing up with a father in the Navy. Thus, it’s no surprise that I began my career after college working for the Navy here in Washington as a computer programmer. I got “Potomac fever” during high school when my family moved to D.C., and I remember what a tense time it was in D.C. during the anti-war movement and the riots following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King.

After serving the Navy as a civilian, I did federal consulting for a few years before embarking on a 25-year career at the Government Accountability Office. During my time with GAO, I directed programs in public health and health financing, accounting and financial management. I also helped GAO restart its recruiting and hiring and set up exciting new internships and new hire programs as GAO recovered from a 40% cut in staff size in the mid-90s.

Since retiring from GAO in 2005, I served as a Senior Strategic Advisor for the Partnership for Public Service, where I led the Call to Serve program to build bridges for effective recruiting and hiring between federal agencies and universities, and led numerous studies leading to reports on improving the civil service system, and helping agencies improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

I now serve as a Fellow and Project Lead for the National Academy of Public Administration, where with the National Academies of Sciences I lead a 5-year Congressionally-mandated study of DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

My extensive career in public service demonstrates the various ways in which we can serve our country. My advice to those starting out in the field is to not be too concerned about going up a ladder in a specific way, and to use networking for friendship-building and as a way to learn about different aspects of public administration.

I welcome the opportunity to network with fellow public administrators. You may contact me on LinkedIn at: