Julia Pierson, 53, will be appointed by President Obama to be the first female director of the Secret Service. It is about time! The Secret Service is in desperate need of a culture change.
Pierson currently serves as chief of staff for the agency. Her appointment does not require Senate confirmation. She began her career over thirty-years ago in Miami where she joined the agency directly out of college. Pierson is an ardent and loyal member of the service, “The Secret Service provides unique opportunities to witness history.”
Her appointment comes after a particularly embarrassing year for the Secret Service whose responsibility it is to protect the president and his family. During a presidential trip to Cartagena, Colombia, some members of the Secret Service bought prostitutes and engaged in other unprofessional behavior which ended in a Congressional investigation. Mark Sullivan will step down as the agencies current director. His reputation suffered handily after the Colombia fiasco. Many blame Sullivan for promoting and permitting an environment that tolerated partying and lewd behavior.
Pierson will hopefully bring with her breadth of experience a new tone of professionalism and shift in the hyper masculine culture. Her appointment to the top position within the Secret Service is a most welcome blow to the glass ceiling that women usually find themselves hitting at work. It may not be the end of the struggle women face in breaking into the top spots of companies and organizations but it is one giant leap in that direction.