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Member Spotlight: Sasha Taylor

Who are the FBI Association of Intelligence Analysts? We are a diverse and passionate group of intelligence professionals who have taken our experiences in the FBI and the skills we gained from our service to places outside the government. We’re leading public safety organizations and cyber security divisions, we’re driving our companies’ strategic planning and competitive efforts.

This month, check out our interview with Sasha Taylor, whose advocacy work highlights the many capabilities former FBI IAs bring to the table.

Sasha, how long were you in the FBI? And what sorts of things did you do?

I was in the FBI for a little over 11 years. I started my career in the Counterterrorism Division, working on numerous portfolios that included terrorist financing, terrorist use of the internet, and extraterritorial investigation. I also completed a joint duty rotation at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and before I retired from the FBI, I was at  the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, where I work jointly with the Counterproliferation Center (CPC). As Analysts, we get to wear multiple hats, depending on what's happening in our cases. I wrote intelligence papers, conducted tactical targeting, and provided case management support to the field office. It included a bit of everything, depending on which unit I was assigned to, which makes the Analyst role at the FBI so challenging yet exciting.

And so where are you now? And what are you up to?

I parted with the FBI in June 2021 and within three months, started my own advocacy and consulting agency. I chose the name Reality of a Desi Girl®: the word Desi means someone of South Asian birth or descent living abroad. I provide lived-experience-expert consulting on countering honor-based violence (HBV) which includes many forms of harmful traditional practices like; child marriage and forced marriage and their intersectionality with human trafficking, female genital mutlilation/cutting (FGM/C), immigration loopholes that can exploit minors for visas, and many additional forms of violence against girls and women.

I am a child marriage survivor and was forcefully married at age 15. I strongly believe survivors with personal and professional experience should be paid to provide policy makers, organizations, and first responders consultations and training on critical topics like countering violence against women. I work extensively with my fellow survivor sister Genevieve Meyer on providing training in the Midwest. It is an incredibly successful model. One I believe every U.S. state and country across the globe should adopt. 

Considering the wide array of different projects that you're involved with, how would you say that your FBI skills have translated for you?

I definitely bring the FBI streamlined process to everything - researching, analysis, writing, auditing, editing, risk assessments, evaluations, presentations, sourcing, understanding tactical operations - the Bureau is excellent at making sure we check all the boxes. 

When you think about all of that, what do you enjoy the most?

I provide consulting and training services, and yet at the same time I am also advocating for South and Southeast Asian girls and women who may otherwise be ignored in society - including incoming refugee or immigrant populations. There is a lot of trauma and toxicity and harmful practices and a culture of silence that restricts many girls and women from speaking up and seeking help. I am trying to counter that.

I am trying to change the narrative and I am finding that organizations leave my consultation sessions or training sessions with a new sense of empathy, and out-of-box thinking. They learn about harmful traditional practices and their existence, and also learn about them from a place of empathic, historic, and sociopolitical understanding. This is key to helping victims or survivors who may seek safety. 

That's awesome work. All right, to move on from heavy topics, always our last question is, what do you like to do in your free time?

I’m enjoying the art of slowing down. I took a lovely trip this past summer to London and Paris. I'm now deciding where I want to go next summer. I am leaning towards Ireland. I'm traveling more and finding myself planning more mini weekend trips away. I’m also learning to revel in small details in my daily life. My recent splurge are new couch cushions and new cozy winter blankets to match. Such fun!

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