Facebook Live Broadcast: Women Special Agents

Facebook Live Broadcast: Women Special Agents


Hello and welcome, everyone. Thanks for joining us today for our Facebook
live session. My name is Demelza Campbell and I work in
the FBI’s Human Resources Division. I am joined today by Kellie Holland, a special
agent and Unit Chief in charge of our Training Management Unit at Quantico, the real Quantico
I might add, which means she oversees all of the new agents in training. We’re here today to talk about the great careers
women can have as FBI agents and maybe address some of the common concerns and misconceptions
about being a woman in the special agent position. Kellie, thank you so much for joining us today. How are you? I am doing peachy, how are you? I’m fantastic. Awesome. Listen, Kellie, can you do us a favor and
tell the audience a bit about yourself. Sure. I’ve been with the Bureau for 14 years. I started off my career that is right at the
academy, went to Cincinnati, stayed there for a couple of years, went to Anchorage,
Alaska where I spent the bulk of my field office time, a little over 6 years, transitioned
down to the DC area and currently I am the Unit Chief of the Training Management Unit
down at the FBI academy. What that means is that any of the special
agents that come through the training academy, they report to me and my team, and we evaluate
them, mentor them, and evaluate them while they’re with us. Okay, so let’s jump right in, right? I think that a lot of people in the audience
might be interested in finding out, how did you find out about the special agent position
exactly? What was it that pulled you to decide, hey,
I want to be a special agent with the FBI? Like a lot of us in the organization, being
an FBI agent has been a lifelong dream. I wanted to either become an FBI agent or
become an astronaut. I wanted to do something elite and do something
for my country, and the astronaut route didn’t work for me, so then I started to pursue the
FBI special agent route. Once I got my basic work experience that I
needed I started doing some research. I spoke to a couple of FBI agents to see what
the job was about and I put in my application and a couple of years later I was a special
agent. So, with that, I think that sometimes as you’re
pursuing this special agent position there might be some concerns. Were there any concerns that you had before
beginning the special agent process that maybe some of the audience has that you can speak
to? Oh, absolutely. I had two, specifically one, having a family
as an FBI special agent and those were questions that I did ask the two agents that I spoke
to before I put in my application, and I have to say that what they said does hold true,
and that is that it’s extremely doable. It takes coordination, it takes effort, you
have to fight to get that personal time with your family, but it is completely doable,
can have a family and be a special agent. And then, the second one, am I good enough? When I get to the academy, am I going to be
as good as my classmates and am I going to make it through? And you have to have that mind set. The application process is extremely rigorous,
it’s that way for a reason and if they think I’m good enough to get to the academy I’m
not going to fail. Right. So even with that, we, I think, as human beings,
we all have those doubts, we all have those moments. Are we good enough? Were there any differences in terms of the
requirements for you when you went through NAT or New Agents Training that you experienced? Were there any differences? If you mean differences between men and women,
the only difference I noticed was in the physical requirements and when I say that, very specifically
only one and that is the physical fitness test that we have to take. We have to do a different number of push-ups
than the men do, our times for the runs are slightly different, different sit ups, that
kinda of thing. But, outside of the techniques and defense
of tactics that we have to do or clearing rooms in the tactical side of the room, or
house, or doing firearms, academics, everything was the same. Okay. Awesome. So, talking about the process, maybe talking
about the process a little bit more, what was the one thing that you wish that you knew
then that that you know now? Like, God, it would’ve been awesome to know
this at that point. Don’t take yourself too seriously, develop
a sense of humor, if you don’t have one find it before you get to the academy. They’re going to mess up. We mess up, all of us do, we’re human, we’re
not perfect, so make sure that you’re able to laugh at yourself, that’s really important,
not only when we make mistakes whether it’s in training or in the field office, but also
the fact that we deal with very stressful situations in our job, so it’s really good
to balance that with having a healthy sense of humor. So, for those of you just joining us thanks
for tuning in. I’m Demelza from the FBI’s Human Resources
Division and today we’re talking with special agent Kellie Holland about what it’s like
to be a female special agent. Remember to go to FBIjobs.gov to apply for
the special agent position right now. Use #FBILIve to send us questions about the
special agent application and hiring process. So, having a sense of humor, knowing that
we’re going to occasionally make mistakes, course correct, what are some of the things
or how was your expectations different from when you actually entered on duty? Like, I know you had expectations before you
became an agent, how did they line up to when you actually became an agent when you were
actually on the ground? It’s hard to imagine because what do you base
it on? A couple of interviews here and there that
you talk to a couple of agents or you go online or watching TV programs. For me, it was that when I got in the career
was much better than what I ever could’ve anticipated. Not only do I get to do good for a living,
I get to work with phenomenal people, which makes the job that much more fun. But, I also found that this organization,
because it is so large, we have over 30,000 people within this organization, hundreds
of job opportunities that when I wanted to grow myself personally, professionally I was
afforded those opportunities. If I wanted to try or develop my skills or
try a new field division, or new experiences, all I had to do was volunteer, sign up for
it and I was afforded that opportunity of growth. So, I mean, I think you make an awesome point
in terms of you had some many opportunities for growth. a lot of our audience here they may be wondering,
now that you’re on board, in your experience what do women bring to the table as special
agents? Like, what’s so amazing about women or female
special agents at the FBI? Diversity. Imagine if we stayed back where Hoover was
in 1972, where it was all male dominated. You’re missing a whole cross section of the
population and we should reflect what our population is. So, it’s not just women, it’s diversity as
a whole. In order for us to be a successful organization,
we do have to reflect the population that we are asked to defend, and we can’t work
a case properly if we can’t look at it from all different angles and all different backgrounds,
and that takes diversity. I think you make some really awesome points. I want to ask you about your career as a special
agent. You mentioned earlier, I mentioned earlier
that you are the Unit Chief of new agents training. Can you tell us a little bit about that? It’s an amazing experience; it’s a very humbling
experience to be a part of helping these new agents achieve their goal of becoming FBI
agents. It’s a labor of love as well, I manage and
where see anywhere from 200 to over 600 individuals, so it’s a huge amount of responsibility. I have a phenomenal team that I work with,
again, I get to work with great people that we help mold and shape these new agents, so
that when they go out to their field offices they are ready to hit the road running. So, with that and you’re at these amazing
position right now, the evolution of your career, you know, in that time what was it
like when you got started and who pushed you? What was effectively the evolution of your
career as a special agent? That’s a good question. So, I started off in Cincinnati where I was
new agent for a couple of years and then we transitioned up to Anchorage, so that’s really
where I got the bulk of my experience and I transitioned to a squad that I was the only
female on that squad. And, no matter where you go, no matter what
position you hold within the Bureau, when you transition to a new unit or a new squad,
or a new field office you have to prove yourself. That’s a not a matter of me being a female,
that’s just a matter of you being a new employee in a new environment. They want to know that you can hold your own
and once I did that, these guys were the ones that supported me and encouraged me to take
leadership positions. So, I initially was the extended supervisor,
basically a supervisor for an extended period of time, and after that they were the ones
who said that you really needed to look at becoming a permanent supervisor. So, I ended up putting up for some positions
and that’s when I transitioned down here to DC. Did you ever feel limited at any point during
your career at the FBI? Not at all. Again, as long as you are holding your own
and you’re doing the work you should be doing at the level that you should be doing it,
it doesn�t matter what your gender or any of that is. There are promotional and career enhancement
opportunities for you. For those of you just joining us thanks for
tuning in. I’m Demelza from the FBI’s Human Resources
Division and today we’re talking with special agent Kellie Holland and what it’s like being
a female special agent. Remember to go fbijobs.gov to apply for the
special agent position right now. Use #FBILive to send us questions about the
special agent application and hiring process. I want to talk to you about that for a second. I am a big believer of work-life balance,
you know, I like knowing that I have some down time. What is what does work-life balance as an
FBI special agent compare to maybe your previous career experiences? Okay. I don’t see that there’s a difference. If you are in a career and you want to succeed
in that career you have to make sacrifices no matter what, and I found that as an FBI
special agent it is completely doable. I have two children and a husband who is a
special agent, and our life is complete with the soccer games, lacrosse games, award ceremonies,
school plays. Again, it just takes some organizational skills
and a balance between our careers like it would be if you had dual incomes, dual career,
and families. So, we talked a little bit before about your
decision to become a special agent, you’re leading up as Unit Chief’s New Agent Training
down at Quantico. Let’s talk about your career, basically working
in the field office, what was that like? Working in a field office and I specifically
want to know about your life in Anchorage. It was amazing. It was a small community and an even smaller
field office. It’s the smallest office in the FBI. We were a team; again, we are thousands of
miles away from DC or maybe help from the low 48, as we call it when something happens. It was nice to know that because we worked
as a team when something happened we could really rely on each other and, again, that
was just all of us trusting each other and working together. To the extent that you can share, what was
the coolest thing that you’ve done as a special agent? Well, there have been a couple of things and
I’ll narrow them down to two. One field office. I had the privilege and the opportunity of
working a case that involved a cell, I won’t tell you what field office. But, again, collaborating and coordinating
those efforts, not only internally within the FBI and headquarters, but also with our
intelligence community partners were absolutely phenomenal. Second best memory so far with working with
the Bureau is being on stage when the director administers the oath of office to the new
agents. It’s very humbling and inspiring to know that
you have been a very small part of molding them and helping them achieve their goal of
becoming special agents. That’s actually pretty awesome. Now we’re going to take some questions from
the audience. First we have a question from Elizabeth on
Facebook who asked if applicants major in computer science, will they be restricted
to desk work or will they have opportunities in the field? You know, Elizabeth, I’ve worked with plenty
of computer scientists from a professional stand point. Our computer scientists go out and they join,
I think, evidence response teams, they go out to interview victim companies with special
agents, they are absolutely not chained to the desks at all. Has that been your experience? Even more so, computer scientists are someone
that we are it’s a critical hiring need for us, so we have actually a lot of agents that
come through as computer scientists and they end up as squad mates. So, every crime just about that we work these
days has some element of a computer involved in it. So, if you have a computer science background
I would call you my co-case agent. Eve from Twitter asks, I’m 39 years old and
I’ve been told that there’s an age requirement to work at the FBI, is that true? That is absolutely not true. The only age requirement is for the special
agent position. In order to apply it’s between the ages of
23 and 36, and even then if you’re a federal 18/11 or preference eligible veteran you have
some opportunities to apply after that age range and you can absolutely go to fbijobs.gov/special
agents to check that out. But, I know that from a professional staff
stand point we actually bring people across all age ranges. I’ve seen folks come in at their, you know,
third, fourth or fifth career move, they might be 50 or 60 and they come to the FBI, and
they bring that skill, that talent and that drive, that mission, for the mission to the
FBI. So, at this time we want to ask a question
from Taylor on Facebook. Taylor wants to know, can you give advice
for the 20 weeks of FBI agent training? How can I be more prepared including for the
fitness test? Okay. So, the biggest thing Taylor is that you have
to look at our website and make sure that you review what the protocol is for physical
fitness test. I know that we are currently working on getting
some more instructions and assistance out there on our website for you and for others
that are training for the physical fitness test. The biggest thing is you have to be consistent
with your workouts. If you’re not consistent with your workouts
you’re not going to see the progress that you need, but in addition to that, being healthy
and fit it’s just not something that you do to get ready for a PFT, it is a lifestyle,
which means you also need to make sure that your diet and everything else is mirrored
up with what you’re doing physically. It’s a way of life. And Britney asks, as someone applying to the
honors internship program, what training do you suggest for those aiming to set themselves
apart, to stand out, especially for young women? I’m trying to think. If you’re going to be an honors intern, depending
upon what your background is to, that really will help you. I know that we have critical hiring needs
that will put people above when it comes to hiring, but at this point in time when you
get in to be an honors intern, do the best job that you can do, because they look for
referrals from those of us.I have honor interns right now in my unit and they look for us
for those referrals, for those recommendations when that honors internship comes to an end. Coleen asks how is the transition from other
positions in the FBI? Like, intelligence analyst positions, beneficial
or not to becoming a special agent? I think any experience that you can get inside
the FBI before you come to be a special agent is beneficial, so we do have a lot of whether
it’s staff operations specialist or intelligence analysts, who will then transition to become
a special agent. And we have a lot of other professional staff
positions as well. But, yeah, any experience that you can get
inside the FBI will set you up for success as a special agent. Absolutely, and now it’s time to wrap up. Thank you all for sharing your questions with
us and many thanks to Kellie for sharing your experiences. Guys, keep in mind that applications for our
special agent position are open right now, so get your applications in. Learn more about the position by visiting
fbijobs.gov and don’t forget to follow us here on Twitter, on Facebook with the handle
@FBIjobs.gov on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Happy Holidays and we will see you in January. Thanks, guys. Bye.

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