Dalton Stokes, BA ‘14, shares insight on his experiences after Batten
Tell us about what you do in your job.
I am currently on contract running “ProviderStat,” an annual, data-driven, management review process for Federal Shared Service Providers. Administrative Shared Services is a concept designed to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of basic administrative functions, such as paying employees and hiring new staff. Any non-mission oriented activities (i.e., tasks that fall outside of protecting the environment, helping veterans, etc.) can be run by Shared Service providers in order to reduce duplication of efforts and increase the buying power of the federal government. I am responsible for the collection and analysis of data for use by Shared Service Provider executives in helping the government to run more effectively.
What is one thing that the Batten education and experience prepared you to do well in the workplace?
I meet with executives at the Office of Management and Budget and other large agencies weekly to discuss pressing issues and advise them on key program decisions. Batten armed me with a holistic understanding of interagency dynamics, organizational missions, and the policy making process, which has helped me to add context to program data in light of the total federal ecosystem, rather than any single group’s space.
What’s one skill or idea do you wish you had focused on more during your UVA/Batten career?
I wish I had spent more time studying advanced statistics. With more data becoming available and more emphasis being put on data in the decision-making process, the ability to identify and understand the most applicable metrics for a given data set would have been a huge help as I started my career.
What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career so far?
“Perception is reality.” Many times the work-related conflicts I’ve encountered or helped to resolve stem from a lack of understanding. Creating transparency in my own decision-making and communicating clearly helps others to understand my position and often times has led to more open and trusting professional relationships.