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With a dynamic career trajectory within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Kristie Breshears, Director of Communication and Government Relations, discusses her time as a correctional officer in Wisconsin to now holding a pivotal role at the agency’s headquarters. Her journey, marked by diverse experiences, reflects the breadth of opportunities within the Bureau and her incredible work ethic. Passionate about transparent communication and collaboration across the government, Kristie has been instrumental in steering challenging projects to advance BOP’s mission of managing federal correctional facilities and ensuring public safety. As demonstrated by her commitment to the agency through continuous learning, Kristie offers valuable insights for aspiring public servants.  

Can you tell me about your career path that has led you to where you are now? 

I can tell you I certainly didn’t plan to end up in the role I’m inI began my career as a correctional officer in Wisconsin and thought I would stay there my entire lifeMy path led me through various roles of increasing responsibility in six different prisons, one regional office, and now agency headquartersThat is the beauty of the Federal Bureau of Prisons –the opportunities are endless! 

Which specific policy area or legislative issues are you most passionate about, and how do you stay informed and engaged in those areas? 

I am very passionate about ensuring our Agency’s messages are being truthfully and accurately portrayed to the publicI worked my way up through the field, so having first-hand knowledge of our practices and procedures is invaluable. It helps me to accurately assess a wide range of situations and ultimately convey what is happening with precision. Whether this is through media articles, congressional responses, or hearing testimony, I want to make sure we are being transparent and providing stakeholders with a narrative that truly reflects our agency and what we are doingI routinely engage the media, monitor correspondence, and interact with external stakeholders to stay informed in this area.   

What do you believe sets the federal government apart as a unique work environment, and how do you navigate its challenges in your everyday work? 

The Federal Government is a massive entity that consists of a wide range of diverse professionals from many different walks of life.  Diversity is one of our greatest strengths!  There are organized processes and specific hierarchies that are in place to maintain efficiency.  This can present certain challenges when trying to move quickly on something, but these measures are in place to provide levels of review to ensure accuracy.


Describe a challenging or rewarding project that significantly influenced your growth as a professional. How did you handle the challenge, and what did you learn from the experience? 

When Director Peters assumed her role in our agency, one of the first projects she tasked me with was coordinating listening sessions with stakeholders.  I understood the value but had traditionally spent my time with media outlets and congressional offices, so I was out of my comfort zone.

Listening sessions and stakeholder engagement have allowed me to cultivate a large network of individuals who offer valuable feedback to our agency’s top leadership. We worked so hard to turn some of our most staunch critics into collaborators and supporters. We have made amazing progress in this area and have established many mutually beneficial relationships.

What has made you successful in your role and what advice would you give to individuals who aspire to work in the Federal Government? 

I work hard and care about what I do. Regardless of my role, I fully embrace it and try to achieve the golden standard. I believe work ethic and ownership are what sets individuals apart from one another.   I consistently read agency policy, keep up on current events, listen to the needs of my supervisor, and give the agency the best I can every day.

My advice to any individual aspiring to work in the Federal Government is to get involved, learn your profession, and surround yourself with good people. Never underestimate how others influence and impact the work you do.

Knowledge is power!

Word Association, what is the first word that comes to mind for each of there? 

  1. Media– Transparency
  2. Networking – Relationships
  3. Writing skills – Necessary
  4. Federal Government – Diverse Public Servants
  5. Leadership Connect – Valuable Resource
Anna Stueve

Business Development Representative