Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers ’78 MPA Uses Career Experience to Promote Good Governance Internationally

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jacquelynJacquelyn Williams-Bridgers is an international development consultant based in Washington, DC with a wealth of experience working in the Federal government. She earned her MPA from the Maxwell School in 1978, and also holds a BA in Urban Studies from Syracuse University. A native of Washington, DC, Jacquelyn now lives in Bowie, MD.

In her work, Jacquelyn acts as a consultant to international development organizations and international donor agencies. Primarily, she provides technical assistance to governments to build their capacities to implement good governance, combat corruption and enhance the rule of law. Recently, as Chief of Party for the US Agency for International Development-funded “Integrity Project” for the Philippines, she managed institutional reforms and capacity building strategies for the Philippines’ Office of Ombudsman, Commission on Audits, and the Department of Justice.  Jacquelyn’s assistance included forensic auditing and legal training for investigators and auditors, facilitating development of interagency protocols for conduct of corruption investigations, and design of public-private-NGO dialogues for national anti-corruption strategic planning.

Previously, Jacquelyn was the managing director of International Affairs and Trade for the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), and led program evaluations and policy analyses in support of US Congressional oversight of the United States’ development assistance, counter-terrorism, security assistance, trade policy and agreements, and US foreign affairs agencies’ global operations and management. Her accomplishments at GAO were immense, as she notes, “Over $10 billion in financial benefits to the US Government resulted from my teams’ recommendations.”

Prior to her position at GAO, Jacquelyn served as the Inspector General for the US Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors and advised three Secretaries of State and the US Congress on recommendations from performance audits, security and intelligence inspections and investigations of the operations of US government agencies engaged in formulation and implementation of US foreign policy, public diplomacy, and international broadcasting.

When asked about her time at Maxwell, Jacquelyn notes that she was surprised how the school helped to shape her appreciation for foreign affairs even though her undergraduate major and her MPA never touched on international affairs – though, times have changed now that the MPA and MAIR departments have merged! As she puts it, “While academics clearly focused my attention on domestic issues during the first half of my career, my transition to the international arena was seamless with a good grounding in government budgeting, economics, intergovernmental relations, policy analysis, and leadership qualities.”

Jacquelyn also appreciates the support and strength of the Maxwell community: “The network of contemporary classmates at Maxwell and the larger Maxwell alumni have remained my strongest network – – as invaluable colleagues at GAO, State Department, and now internationally where some of my partners are Maxwell grads.” As she advises current students: “Maintain your Maxwell network, and ‘pay it forward.'”

She also advises current students to know that the skills sets they acquire at Maxwell and during each job during their careers are largely transferable to a multitude of environments. Her final key advice for young professionals out of Maxwell? “Stretch yourself, seek feedback to improve your performance, identify the added value that you can bring to your organization, and create coalitions to make improvements and ensure that you obtain input from all cognizant stakeholders before making significant decisions.”

Jacquelyn can be contacted at dbjwb@verizon.net.


To read more alumni profiles, visit the Office of Alumni Relations website.

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