Insight By Government Marketing University

Episode 3: Communication and Collaboration Insight from Federal Senior Procurement Officers

In this episode of Market Chat!, we will hear how federal acquisition officials are trying to improve their engagements and relationships with the vendor commun...

This content is provided by Government Marketing University.

Welcome to Market Chat! – “Bringing Clarity to the Clutter in Government Marketing” with hot topics, best practices, exciting guests and innovative ideas.

Market Chat! is an ongoing series that provides an open and collaborative interaction between government and industry to ensure that listeners will walk away empowered with greater knowledge on how to better market to their targeted federal audience.

In this episode of Market Chat!, we will hear how federal acquisition officials are trying to improve their engagements and relationships with the vendor community as well as how marketing figures into the federal procurement process. Our guests will be three senior-level procurement executives who oversee large federal procurement programs.

Today’s program will cover:

  • Government-vendor engagement: What has improved since OMB issued the famous “Myth-Busting” memos of 2011 and 2012 that sought to dispel myths that often undermine effective communications between agencies and vendors? Where is more work needed?
  • Engagement best practices: What are agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the General Services Administration, and NASA doing to promote a healthier, more robust dialogue with the vendor community?
  • The role of marketing: How do procurement teams consume marketing in support of their procurement activities? How is market research done?
  • Marketing do’s and don’t’s: How can vendor marketers improve their marketing campaigns to better support the needs of federal procurement staffs and executives?

Market Chat! Guest Panelists

Soraya CorreaSoraya Correa, Chief Procurement Officer, Department of Homeland Security

Soraya Correa was appointed as the Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Procurement Officer in January 2015. Ms. Correa provides leadership, policy, oversight, support and professional workforce development for the DHS contracting workforce of approximately 1,500 individuals including the nine operational contracting activities, each of which is led by a Head of Contracting Activity supporting the DHS Components. As the Senior Procurement Executive she also oversees a centralized certification and training program for the DHS acquisition workforce and assists the Chief Acquisition Officer in managing major acquisition programs ensuring each has a sound acquisition strategy, conforms to the Secretary’s Unity of Effort initiative, and fully supports DHS mission needs.

Prior to being appointed as the DHS Chief Procurement Officer, Ms. Correa served as the Associate Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Enterprise Services Directorate and was responsible for delivering identity, immigration status, and employment authorization information in support of the USCIS mission. She joined USCIS in January 2011 as the first Deputy Associate Director of the Management Directorate, where she led key management and infrastructure services to support the USCIS mission. In that role, Ms. Correa was responsible for the Offices of the Chief Financial Officer, Information Technology, Human Capital and Training, Contracting, Administration, Intake and Document Production, Equal Opportunity and Inclusion, and Security and Integrity.

Ms. Correa has held key leadership positions at several Federal agencies including the Naval Sea Systems Command, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Immigration and Naturalization Service , Department of Homeland Security Headquarters and USCIS. Before joining USCIS, Ms. Correa served as the Executive Director of the DHS Office of Procurement Operations and the Director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Procurement.

Her accomplishments as a leader and acquisitions professional are well recognized by the federal government and industry where she has received several awards including the Chief Acquisitions Officers Council’s Individual Award for Excellence, Federal 100, and Public Sector Partner of the Year.

Ms. Correa has an undergraduate certificate in Acquisitions Management from The American University in Washington, D. C. and a B.A. in Management from National–Louis University.


Kay ElyKay Ely, Deputy Assistant Commissioner and Acting Director of the Office of IT Schedule Programs, General Services Administration

Kay T. Ely is the Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and Acting Director of the Office of IT Schedule Programs, for the Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS) in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). The Federal Acquisition Service provides buying platforms and acquisition services to Federal, State and Local governments for a broad range of items from office supplies to motor vehicles to information technology and telecommunications products and services. As an organization within FAS, ITS provides access to a wide range of commercial and custom IT products, services and solutions.

In her current role as Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Ms. Ely supports the ITS Assistant Commissioner in managing the largest fee-for-service information technology (IT) procurement and services operation in the U.S. government.  Ms. Ely shares responsibility for leading a highly-skilled and diverse workforce that manages more than 7,000 contracts, providing access to relevant and timely IT and telecommunications products, services and solutions to defense and civilian agencies, as well as to state, local and tribal governments.

Additionally, as Acting Director of the IT Schedule Program, Ms. Ely is responsible for a portfolio of government-wide contracts to provide government with access to millions of commercial products and services at volume discount pricing. Schedule 70 is the largest, most widely used acquisition vehicle in the federal government valued at over $15 billion annually.

Before coming to GSA’s ITS, Ms. Ely served as the Chief Learning Officer at the Office of Personnel Management where she developed and set the strategic direction of OPM’s learning and knowledge management program. During her tenure with OPM she also served as an Associate Director where she was responsible for providing Federal employees, annuitants and their families with a variety of quality benefits options, as well as retirement processing services. She managed OPM’s nationwide leadership programs, the USAJOBS® program, and the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program. Ms. Ely also served as OPM’s Deputy Associate Director for Contracting, Facilities and Administrative Services. In that role, she was a member of the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) Board of Directors and was the Chairperson for the Chief Acquisition Officers Council’s Competitive Sourcing workgroup. She is now serving her fourth term on the National Contract Management Association’s (NCMA) Board of Advisors.  She was selected in 2010 as a recipient for a Meritorious Presidential Rank Award.

Ms. Ely was selected for the Senior Executive Service (SES) in 2000 as the Associate Administrator for Acquisition Implementation in the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy. She left the federal government for a five-year tour in the private sector with a small and growing acquisition consulting firm now known as ASI Government. Earlier in her contracting career, Ms. Ely worked as a senior-level contracting officer for the Internal Revenue Service. She began her contracting career as an intern at the Department of Defense (DoD), Office of the Secretary of the Army, spending most of her tenure at the Pentagon.


Darlene CoenDarlene Coen, NASA SEWP Deputy Program Manager

Mrs. Darlene Coen currently serves as the Deputy Program Manager for the NASA SEWP Program, which is a premier Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) providing access to the latest in Information Technology products to the entire Federal Government. Mrs. Coen, with more than 25 years of federal government experience, manages procurement oversight, financial policy and SEWP’s overall business administration. Prior to leading this effort, Mrs. Coen served as a NASA Contracting Officer where she provided a full range of procurement support for the most complex acquisitions in access of $250 billion. Prior to NASA, Mrs. Coen worked for various agencies within the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation, as well as several private industry firms. She is an active participant in The National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and has received several federal awards including the Acquisition Improvement Award. Raised in Maryland, Mrs. Coen earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Management Studies from the University of Maryland University College and received her Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level III certification from the Defense Acquisition University in 2005.


Market Chat! hosts

Lou Anne Brossman HeadshotLou Anne Brossman

Lou Anne Brossman is founder and president of Government Marketing University. She has over 30 years of public sector government marketing leadership experience gained while working for some of the leading companies in the market (Juniper Networks, immixGroup, EMC ). Her roots are in the manufacture world which enables her to better understand and relate to the corporate issues her federal marketing customers are facing. She is a sought out speaker on Government Marketing Best Practices and is well recognized and respected for her to drive Thought Leadership campaigns on relevant federal, state and local government policies and mandates. Lou Anne has served on numerous boards including immixGroup and Trezza Media and was a founding member of the Women’s Center Executive Council.   Lou Anne was honored with the Heroines in Technology award presented by Women In Technology and she was the recipient of the ACT IAC Dedication to Making a Difference award.

Lou Anne started Virtual Marketing in 2008 after realizing there was a need for experienced hands-on “virtual” government marketing experts who could provide an economical way for companies to have winning government marketing programs.  She most recently launched Government Marketing University, an innovative learning platform that applies a collaborative, community-based approach toward knowledge sharing and skills development in the field of public sector marketing. Government Marketing University will offer training, research, certifications, mentoring, and community resources all in one place. For more information about Government Marketing University, visit


Steve WatkinsSteve Watkins

Steve Watkins is Chief Content Officer at Government Marketing University, an innovative learning platform that applies a collaborative, community-based approach toward knowledge sharing and skills development in the field of public sector marketing.

He launched Watkins Communications in 2015, providing a variety of tailored communications and consulting services to clients in the federal marketplace and offering expertise in all varieties of content platforms, including live events, webcasts, white papers, video, social media, bylined articles, blogs, and issue briefs.

Prior to launching Watkins Communications, Steve served 15 years as the editor of Federal Times, a leading media brand serving the federal management community, Congress and contractors. Under Steve’s leadership, Federal Times won more than three dozen national and regional peer-reviewed awards for journalism excellence in the categories of investigative reporting, news analysis and government coverage. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at events focused on federal management and technology. As editor, Steve transformed the Federal Times editorial brand from a legacy subscription-based publication into a modern business-to-business model focused on the federal management community. Steve repositioned Federal Times to become a robust digital brand with an emphasis on federal modernization and a platform for thought leadership on federal management issues. During Steve’s tenure, Federal Times consistently ranked No. 1 or No. 2 nationally as the “Top Federal Publication Read” by Market Connections Inc., which began conducting federal market research studies in 2011.


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