NEW SERIES: INSA Achievement Awards Winner Margaret Dobrydnio, Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award


Margaret Dobrydnio, DIA

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) will hold its 3rd annual Achievement Awards Ceremony Thursday, December 6th, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. The ceremony will honor six young professionals in the intelligence and national security sectors for their professional contribution to the community.

The ceremony’s keynote speaker will be Letitia A. Long, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the event will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with registration closing November 29th.

WashingtonExec got a chance to chat with the award recipients as they told us about their nomination, what it means to them, their mission and more.

Our first participant is Margaret Dobrydnio, Senior Intelligence Analyst and Liaison Officer for the Intelligence Community Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Analytic Cell within the DIA, who is a recipient of the Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award.

WashingtonExec: Did you know you were nominated for the award, or was it a surprise?

Margaret Dobrydnio: My leadership notified me I was being nominated for the award. I was honored to learn I was nominated and a complete surprise that I was selected.

WashingtonExec: How would you describe your mission?

Margaret Dobrydnio: Providing all‐source analysis in support of hostage and personnel recovery matters worldwide. Identifying threats of capture and threats to recovery forces for military personnel operating in difficult and challenging environments.

WashingtonExec: Finish the sentence: The best part of about my job is…

Margaret Dobrydnio: The amazing and talented group of people that I get to work with each and every day. Their abilities, passion and dedication to meet the needs of the mission impress me and most importantly inspire me to meet any and all challenges thrown my way.

WashingtonExec: Could you name an aspect of your job that you did not expect when you were first brought on?

Margaret Dobrydnio: I didn’t expect to be exposed to the number of opportunities I have had this early on in my career. At times I am in awe at the type of work I get to do and the level of interest it garners across the community.

WashingtonExec: Who is someone you admire? or Who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?

Margaret Dobrydnio: Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have a number of people guide me along the way. The person who has a profound impact on my development as an analyst is U.S. Army MAJOR who served as my supervisor in Iraq in 2006 (who I decline to name because he works in intelligence). He believed in my abilities as an analyst and taught me invaluable lessons in understanding the type of information military forces need in order to successfully execute their combat missions. He also inspired me to become a leader in my field – his passion for analysis was contagious and his focus on supporting the forces kept me and my colleagues focused on meeting their needs on a daily basis.

WashingtonExec: What is something you are most proud of, personally?

Margaret Dobrydnio: I am most proud of both of my deployments to Iraq, Baghdad 2006/2007 and Mosul 2008/2009, to support military operations. Both deployments had a profound impact on me, personally and professionally. These deployments provided me with invaluable insight into the challenges our military personnel face in combat environments. Today I impart lessons learned from those experiences to analysts in my office especially as they prepare for their own deployments.

WashingtonExec: What organizations are you involved with outside of work?

Margaret Dobrydnio: Most of my free time outside of work is dedicated to my family and friends. When possible I try and participate in alumni events for college and graduate school and fundraising events for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

WashingtonExec: What is your favorite intelligence movie or book?

Margaret Dobrydnio: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ‐ I spent a lot of time studying the Cold War in college and this book does a great job of capturing the intensity of that time.

For Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award:

WashingtonExec: In your opinion, what are the top three things a mentor should be?

Margaret Dobrydnio: A mentor needs to be a self‐starter that leads by example and a person to be emulated by others for their actions and work ethic. A mentor needs to be honest with themselves and those around them – sometimes a mentor isn’t always going to have the answer, let alone the right one, but if they are willing to work towards a solution that is part of the battle. A mentor needs to demonstrate patience and encourage others to be patient as well – in an era of instantaneous results it can be challenging and frustrating when things don’t immediately go the way we hope however if you are patient things eventually work out for the better even if it not exactly how you envisioned.

WashingtonExec: How has the IC changed since you entered?

Margaret Dobrydnio: The level of collaboration amongst the various IC components has increased to such a level that I can’t imagine being able to do my job without the support from my colleagues across the community. We rely on each other’s skills and knowledge and appreciate what our respective organizations bring to the fight.




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