Susan Irving

Title: Government Executive

Location: Washington, DC, United States

Susan J. Irving Ph.D, Senior Advisor to the Comptroller General of the United States and the COO of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in public policy.

With more than four decades of experience in the government sector, Dr. Irving has been governed by her own beliefs to public service. She cites her parents’ commitment to helping people as the main catalyst for desire to work in the government sector. Her mother worked as an early childhood education specialist and her father flew 37 bombing missions and spent nine months in a German prison camp during WWII. Observing that both her parents dedicated their lives to the pursuit of helping and serving others, Dr. Irving realized she, too, had a passion for people. While originally intending to be a public school teacher, her interest in helping people, whether it be through direct involvement or enacting change via the government, led her to pursue a career in policy.

To prepare for this career, Dr. Irving first earned a Bachelor of Arts in U.S. studies from Wellesley College in 1971, also serving as the President of College Government at the college. She continued her education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, receiving a Master of Arts in teaching in 1972 and a Master of Public Policy from the John F Kennedy School of Government in 1974. Dr. Irving then earned a Doctor of Philosophy in public policy from Harvard in 1976, making history as the first woman to do so at the institution. In addition to her academic success, Dr. Irving is a certified government financial manager with the Association of Government Accountants. In recognition of her work, she was elected as a Fellow of the National Association of Public Administration (NAPA).

From 1976 to 1979, Dr. Irving worked as a a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff, subsequently serving as the staff director for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President from 1979 to 1981. Dr. Irving has also been a lecturer of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, from 1986 to 1989 and has been a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. She has also served as the director of federal budget analysis for the GAO 1992 to 2017 and has taught courses on strategic management in the Kennedy School’s summer “Senior Managers in Government” program for flag-rank officers and civilian SES.

Since 2000, she has been the Director of the Federal Budget Analysis for the US Government Accountability Office. Prior to assuming this role, she was a Fellow and lecturer at Harvard University, a legislative director for US Senator Max Baucus and a senior economic advisor for Mondale for President. She has worked as vice president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and as an external relations officer for the International Monetary Fund.

Throughout her career, Dr. Irving was a member of the Association for Public Policy and Management, the American Association of Budget and Program Analysis, the Association of Government Accountants. She has received three Distinguished Service Awards from the U.S. GAO, the James L. Blum Award from the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (2010) and the Elmer Staats Award from the American Association of Government Accountants (2014). Dr. Irving endeavors to continue working in the coming years. In her spare time, she enjoys going for walks, reading and practicing yoga.

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