Tag Archives: batala

Meet GAO Employee Ellen Arnold Losey

As a sidebar to the documentary film, we are featuring web profiles of federal employees who also do something creative on the side. Meet Game Inventor and U.S. Government Accountability Office employee Ellen Arnold Losey.

What kind of work do you do? 
I’ve done graphic design, brand management, and web mastering at several federal agencies, currently with the U.S. Government Accountablity Office.

What is your creative outlet?
Batala Washington, an all-woman drumline with more than 80 members currently. We play samba reggae music, which comes from northeastern Brazil.

I’ve been the band’s Associate Musical Director since 2013; I’ve been drumming with them for seven years.

Do you consider this a hobby or a second career?
Totally a second career. It consumes *so much* of my life outside of work.

Why is your creative outlet important to you?
It’s my thing I do that is just for me — not for work, not for family. It’s mine. It’s cathartic to hit drums, and a great source of exercise and stress relief. It’s a community band and the women I play with are fascinating and amazing people who I would not have met otherwise. I get to know the DC community better through our members and through the gigs we play. I get to travel outside the city, even the country, to connect and perform with our sister bands.

How do you feel your creative outlet contributes to your federal work and vice versa?
In my band, I am a leader. Many of our members do not have percussion experience, and since I do (I started playing drums in 4th grade), I have taken a musical leadership position. I conduct the band, lead rehearsals and workshops, teach new songs, and do a lot of behind-the-scenes coordination. Many of these are skills that translate to the work I do. It’s not easy to get and hold 80 women’s attention, and to keep everyone informed about what’s happening from week to week, so I’ve definitely had to hone my leadership and communication skills!

If you are an employee of the federal government but spend your evenings or weekends doing something something creative (whether as a second career or as a strong hobby) and would like to be featured on our Meet the Creatives section of this website, tell us a little bit about your story.