Sabrina Segal Nomination

Editor’s Note: Winners of the Causey Awards were nominated by their peers for their outstanding achievements and important contributions to the Human Capital Management field in 2009. Nominators were asked to answer various questions about the nominee including, how did this person go above and beyond in 2009 and what is the impact of this person’s work? Their answers have been posted below. To see the complete list of Causey Award winners click here.

Ms. Segal is an attorney adviser in the Ethics and Administration sub-office within USAID’s Office of the General Counsel. She is the legal adviser to the Office of Security, Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). She also advises specialists in the agency’s Freedom of Information Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Program. In addition to these responsibilities, Ms. Segal is one of USAID’s ethics advisers, available on a walk-in basis or by phone to provide ethical guidance to the agency community. Ms. Segal works with U.S. Attorneys from the Department of Justice who represent the agency in the Federal courts.

In 2009, Ms. Segal reached out to the agency using information technology (IT). These actions went far beyond the responsibilities of her role. For example, to make ethical information more accessible to the agency and easier for attorneys to continuously update, Ms. Segal built an ethics wiki called Ethipedia.

By the end of 2009, this new tool had become the primary resource for ethics information at USAID on all ethical subjects. Ethipedia is currently nominated for consideration by the Federal Office of Government Ethics for an award. Recognizing a weakness in the agency’s field knowledge of the Federal whistleblowing rules, Ms. Segal traveled to several countries in Africa over a month-long period to train offices in ethical conduct and the NO FEAR Act. As government-wide interest increased in the use of cloud computing tools, Ms. Segal met with representatives from Google and other private sector partners to explore the implications of cloud computing for such issues as cybersecurity, privacy, and legal discovery. She became noted among her peers in other General Counsel offices for her cybersecurity knowledge and IT expertise.

Entirely on her own initiative, Ms. Segal formed and led a team of attorneys to build a knowledge management tool for the Office of the General Counsel to replace a failing prior deployment that had generally fallen out of use. When funding for design, consulting, and file migration came up short, Ms. Segal purchased a book about SharePoint, taught herself how to customize a SharePoint website, and assiduously implemented the project manually over several months. Ms. Segal personally trained the entire Office of the General counsel at an ongoing series of group and one-on-one training sessions. The new deployment came into full operation before the end of 2009 and is now used throughout the Office of the General Counsel.

The site includes a meta tagged file storage database, a comprehensive searchable wiki, and communication forums for each individual sub-office, calendars, announcements, and other important knowledge management tools. As a new generation of Foreign Service attorneys are now entering the agency, many have begun adding extensively to the tool. Many attorneys with limited technology knowledge have used the new tool to create wiki pages and post legal decisions.

Sabrina Segal is highly regarded by all of the people that she works with. Having myself worked alongside her and having taken over parts of her portfolio while she was away on temporary duty (TDY), I have seen her professionalism and initiative firsthand. She takes ownership not only for her individual role but for the needs of her office and her agency as a whole. I have seen her show compassion and patience in the face of obnoxious opposing attorneys and frustrating clients alike. She has a reputation for always volunteering for every opportunity that she comes across but she always diligently sees every obligation through to completion. For example, not only is she the agency’s pro bono representative, but I always see her participating in legal clinics when I volunteer to work pro bono. Through her tremendous efforts, Ms. Segal enables and encourages those around her.

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