Spending her early childhood in the Philippines when there was limited infrastructure, Katrina Tavanlar saw firsthand how lack of essential services means lack of opportunity. Now a senior communication director working with agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), Katrina is passionate about strengthening communities so people can live healthy, safe lives.
How do you feel connected to your work?
At my childhood home in Manila, I saw the thin line between prosperity and poverty. I realized that having access to clean water, safe roads, and continuous electricity led to more economic opportunities. Growing up, we had electrical blackouts and had to reserve water in drum barrels. Under these conditions, taking care of basic food, shelter, and education was difficult. Coming to the U.S. where these basics were the norm, I saw people having the chance to lead fulfilled lives.
How are you making an impact?
Working at Booz Allen gives me access to global issues and problems. I’ve helped Native Americans address environmental impacts from former military activities; assisted the Wolf Trap Foundation in promoting sustainability through their “Go Green With Wolf Trap” Campaign; and increased community awareness of flood risk with FEMA.
Which part of your job do you like best?
I have a passion for solving community problems. I studied environmental science at the University of California at Berkeley and urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology because I wanted to help make neighborhoods more sustainable, livable, and safe. My 20 years at Booz Allen have allowed me to address climate change, encourage responsible land development, and mitigate natural hazards.
Who are you building a future for?
All of us. We only have one planet to live in. I want to make the best of it.