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Chief Human Capital Officer: Catherine Emerson

Image of Profile picture of Catherine Emerson

Department of Homeland Security

Catherine V. Emerson was appointed as the Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) in August 2011, the first career member of the Senior Executive Service to serve in this role.  Ms. Emerson is responsible for the Department’s human capital program, which includes recruiting, diversity and inclusion, learning and development, workforce planning, policies, and technology in support of the DHS mission.

During her tenure as CHCO, DHS has markedly improved veterans employment, reduced time to hire, deployed a comprehensive leader development framework, contributed to an initiative to create a highly capable cyber security workforce, enhanced the Department’s strategy to address employee engagement, established the first DHS headquarters’ anti-harassment unit, and strengthened decision-making around HR Information Technology strategies, which includes significant progress toward consolidating nine learning management systems into one DHS-wide Enterprise Talent Management System.

Before joining DHS, Ms. Emerson was the Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management at the Federal Aviation Administration.  Ms. Emerson advised and assisted the Administrator in directing, coordinating, communicating and leading an effective human resources program that supported a workforce responsible for ensuring the safety and efficiency of the national airspace system.

While employed at the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), she served as the Director of Policy and Performance Management/Chief Human Capital Officer and the Acting Executive Director for the FLRA.  From July 2008 to October 2008, she served as the FLRA’s administrative head in absence of a presidentially appointed Chairman.  Ms. Emerson is the only federal career employee at the FLRA to have performed this function.

Prior to joining the FLRA, Ms. Emerson served as an Assistant Director in the Office of Human Resources, Justice Management Division, U.S. Department of Justice, where in October 2007, she received the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award, the Department’s highest award presented to attorneys for contributions and excellence in legal performance.  While at the Justice Department, Ms. Emerson also received several Justice Management Division Special Commendation Awards.

Ms. Emerson holds a B.A. and J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.  She is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars.

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