MEET YOUR BOARD: Patty Todaro Bolin

Patty is a private-sector executive and former federal employee with more than 30 years of experience directing complex national and regional organizations for government and industry, including at least 20 years at DHS and its predecessor agencies. As a member of a leadership team during DHS’ earliest days, she has first-hand knowledge of the challenges inherent in creating a new federal department.  After leaving federal service, she applied her leadership skills to small businesses and major consulting firms (including Booz Allen Hamilton and PricewaterhouseCoopers.) Patty is currently the Senior Vice President for XLA‘s Business Development and Capture, where she is responsible for business development, capture and teaming solutions.
1. What do you “do” in your day job?

 I’m responsible for all new business and capture for my firm.  We support DHS (TSA, USSS, FEMA and ICE), DEA, State and USAID.  I’m also an Executive Board Member for the Border Security Technology Consortium (BSTC); EAGLE II Unrestricted IPT Co-Chairperson; and, an Inaugural Member of the US Border Patrol Industry Academy.

2. What did you study in school, and why?
 I studied labor and employee relations at the Robert M Smith School of Business (University of Maryland).  My first job was a Labor and Employee Relations Specialist at U.S. Customs.
3. Looking back on your life and career, what makes you most proud?
 It was difficult to successfully balance family and career, and I managed that. I’ve been fortunate to have leaders who trusted my abilities and gave me unique opportunities.  I took risks, but maintained my personal integrity and fortitude. This balance made me a better, more “whole” person – professional woman, wife, grandmother, friend and colleague.
4What advice do you offer to young women considering a career in homeland security?
The best thing you can ever do is to support the diverse mission of DHS.  Whether as a fed or a contractor, you make a difference in the success and protection of our country, our values and our livelihood.
5.  Homeland security is a complex and evolving goal. DHS describes as a “distributed enterprise.” In the simplest possible terms, how do you define it? 
 Mission-focused people, with IT as a force multiplier.
6.  How does WHS contribute to securing the homeland?  
This is a great group of women, united by a common cause. We create opportunities to teach—and learn—about each other and about the DHS mission. We create forums for government and non-government to collaborate and share experiences. We enable women to gain experiences through our forums and fundraisers, to gather best practices, and to enhance existing friendships and form new ones.
7.  If you were in charge and had all the resources you need, what would you do first to improve homeland security? 
I would take best practices of other successful business and government organizations and adopt them.  I would ensure that all mission support personnel were trained, through field trips and training, to understand the front-line and mission-facing stakeholders they serve.  I would ensure that everyone receives the time and opportunity to remain current and certified.  Too often, employees become obsolete or complacent because management doesn’t invest in their workforce.