By: Orice Brown
Orice Williams Brown ('18), Government Accountability Office - Chief Operating Officer
Q. Who or what inspired you to work in government?
I often describe myself as an “accidental” public servant. I never wanted to work for the federal government and went to business school with the intent of working in the financial services sector—investment banking, specifically. I backed into federal service as my plan B after the 1987 market crash and a tight job market in that sector. My plan was to work in federal service a few years and then pursue my original career path. That said, my first week on the job I absolutely fell in love with GAO and its mission. I knew very early on that I had found my career. Therefore, I would say that working at GAO is what inspired me to continue to work in government.
Q. What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing a career in government?
My advice would be to do it. It is important work that requires dedication and commitment. If you want to make government work better for the American people, working in federal service is the only way to do it.
I also would suggest that they talk to anyone they know who is working in government or has worked in government to help them navigate the hiring process. Sometimes it can be hard for some folks to translate their background, knowledge and skills into the comparable federal position. Having someone to help translate is helpful.
Q. What do you most enjoy about working for the U.S. Government Accountability Office?
In additional to the mission, people, and purpose, what I enjoy most is working in a constant learning environment. As someone who would have been a perpetual student if left to my own devices, I have the opportunity to learn something new every day. We do work across government and in any given day I can go from reading a report or discussing an audit on the latest weapons system acquisition to being briefed on an audit of persistent chemicals in drinking water to consumer ratings.
Q. What is your favorite cuisine?
Italian, I love any kind of pasta.
Q. What is your favorite hobby or activity that you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have two--reading and walking. I vacillate between reading fiction and nonfiction. I love a good psychological thriller with an unexpected plot twist. On the activity side, I have added a morning walk as my sanity check during the pandemic. For the past two years, I’ve start virtually every day with a brisk 2-mile walk. I love taking in the sounds of nature and I’m always looking out for new birds that I then research. It keeps me grounded and open to the day ahead.
Q. What was your dream job as a child?
I wanted to be a pediatrician.
As GAO's Chief Operating Officer, Orice Williams Brown assists the Comptroller General in providing agency leadership and vision. She is responsible for day-to-day management to ensure that GAO effectively supports Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. Orice also oversees the development of hundreds of reports and testimonies to Congress each year. These and other GAO initiatives provide critical information for decision making, save the taxpayers billions of dollars, and improve a wide range of government programs and services.
From 2017 to 2021, Orice served as the Managing Director for Congressional Relations. She oversaw the receipt of the hundreds of requests from the Congress and statutory requirements for reports that come to GAO every year and supported the Executive Committee’s decisions about accepting and assigning them. She and her team worked directly with Congressional Committees and Members as the liaison between GAO mission teams and staff offices and the Congress.
Prior to this position, Orice was the Managing Director in the Financial Markets and Community Investment Team from 2011 to 2017. She oversaw GAO’s engagements on a variety of crosscutting public policy issues, including housing and financial regulatory oversight and agency operations and management, consumer/investor protection, small business programs, insurance industry oversight, and Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Orice was a Director in the Financial Markets and Community Investment Team beginning in 2005 after her appointment to the Senior Executive Service.
Orice has over 30 years with GAO. She began her GAO career in General Government Division. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Virginia Tech.