2012 Causey Awards Winner – Mary Santiago

Mary Santiago, director of VA's Veteran Employment Services Office, was nominated for her work with the VA for Vets program.

Mary Santiago
Veteran Employment Services Office, VA


Mary Santiago, through her innate leadership abilities, dedication, and ability to foster collaboration across stakeholders, has spent the last year leveraging her passion and unwavering commitment to supporting veterans to implement VA for Vets.

VA for Vets is transforming the way VA recruits, hires, retains and reintegrates veterans and military service members. As early as this summer, the federal government is set to fully adopt the VA for Vets platform as a full-lifecycle solution for veteran employment.

Santiago’s accomplishments over the course of last year have been beyond extraordinary. As an Army veteran, her passion for supporting fellow veterans is the catalyst that is transforming veteran employment not only within VA, but across the rest of the government.


Mary Santiago tells Federal News Radio how to translate military skills to “civilian speak.”

Want to hear more from Mary Santiago? Listen to our full radio interview with the Causey Award winner in the “Listen” box above.

Judges’ Comments:

  • “As one of the President’s key initiatives, and as an American, I believe this is a very important initiative during this time of war.”
  • … Clearly has a noble mission and presents the Department of Veterans Affairs with the ability to make positive changes to the federal workforce …”
  • “Stood up the office in record time …”


  1. My job title is Director, Veterans Employment Services Office. My job title should be Chief Veteran Advocate.
  2. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? “Go with your gut.”
  3. What is the worst piece of advice you have ever received? “Don’t stand out.”
  4. Who has been your biggest role model, and why? My parents – their sense of humor, their intelligence and their ability to make eight kids believe there is absolutely nothing we could not do.
  5. If I could do it over again, I would pick my battles and not fight them all.
  6. If I could have one super power it would be appear and disappear at will.
  7. In my opinion, life is too short.
  8. If you didn’t work for the federal government, what would be your dream job? Decorator.
  9. What is the last book you read? “The Help.”
  10. I’d rather be in Tuscany drinking wine and eating pasta.

Federal News Radio awarded six individuals with a 2012 Causey Award. Read more about each of the recipients.

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