MCW INTERVIEW WITH
SANDY WORKMAN BAGGETT is our MODERN CAREER WARRIOR for January 2020.
Sandy is the first in a series of mid-career retrospective interviews featuring inspiring and innovative professionals at AnneMarieSegal.com.
My interview with Sandy covers her journey from Judge Advocate (JAG) and Captain in the U.S. Army to federal criminal defense attorney based in Spokane, Washington. She is eagerly awaiting Spokane’s “real winter” – with an average of eight to ten inches of snow – and loving every minute of it!
We also take a world tour of Sandy’s roles as a prosecutor on three continents, including with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office (New York City), Serious Fraud Office (London) and Attorney General’s Chambers (Singapore), and as a criminal defense attorney at a top U.K. firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Singapore and New York City).
Holding a highly prolific career, Sandy has led at least ten “once in a lifetime” cases and was recognized as one of the top 100 women in criminal investigations by Global Investigations Review. Her global expertise has given her a remarkable level of flexibility to create her own career trajectory. Finally, I couldn’t resist getting the scoop on her house renovations, including a chicken coop in the backyard, as a single mom of three boys.
AMS: When I met you around 20 years ago, you were a JAG Corps lawyer, married and living in a cozy house in New Jersey with a quaint front porch.
SWB: Don’t put that in! About the 20 years, I mean.
AMS: Do you remember your push-up challenge? One time you had at least eight friends over one evening, and you could do more push-ups than the rest of us combined.
SWB: That does sound like me. Always up for a challenge.
AMS: Fitness hasn’t changed about your life, but it seems like just about everything else has.
SWB: I’m the same person I’ve always been, just more confident of myself and closer to my core. And yes, I am all about keeping healthy and exercising.
AMS: Speaking of challenges (and physical fitness), how did your early work in the Army set you up for the rest of your career?
SWB: Military training is truly unparalleled. One of the most important things you learn is how to be an integral part of a well-functioning team. It translates to everything else in your career.
AMS: Your next stop was an apartment in Queens, and you moved from JAG to the Bronx D.A.
SWB: Yep. We lived in an up-and-coming neighborhood in Long Island City, with a great view of Manhattan from our rooftop!
The D.A. was where I learned to prep, lead and win important cases. I specialized in violent crimes, like murder and armed robbery by drug gangs. I also worked on the Cold Case Squad.
AMS: Like the show Cold Case with Kathryn Morris?
SWB: [Laughs.] Not exactly like that, but some of the cases were pretty compelling. And it’s important work.
AMS: Then you moved to Singapore. Literally on the other side of the planet.
SWB: Yes, it was quite a change. I loved it there. We moved after my ex-husband was offered an expat role with a U.S. firm. Neither of us spoke Chinese, but that didn’t stop us. I didn’t have a work visa at first but soon joined the law faculty at the National University of Singapore.
AMS: And you started a family in Singapore.
SWB: That’s right. As you know, when I was younger, I was never really focused on having children. But I ended up having three, all boys, and never looked back.
AMS: Career-wise, what was your next move?
SWB: I became a Prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Chambers focused on Financial and Securities Offenses, which are looming issues in Singapore (just like everywhere else), especially because of its strategic location in Asia.
AMS: What was that like?
SWB: It took everything I learned in the D.A.’s office and brought it to a much larger scale. I was prosecuting all of the major crimes under international law: corruption, wire fraud, money laundering, sanctions, you name it…. I also became a global expert on U.S. and U.N. sanctions on North Korea and continue to get calls about that here in Spokane.
AMS: You told me that you’re fortunate to have had at least ten “once in a lifetime” cases in your career as a federal prosecutor. Can you tell us about a few of them?
SWB: Two were especially interesting. In one case, I prosecuted Chinpo Shipping after they financed a shipment of nuclear weapons on route from Cuba to North Korea. It was the first criminal prosecution for violations of U.N. sanctions of financial assistance to North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. It was covered in the Washington Post and other publications.
AMS: Like your earlier cold cases, this sounds like it could be the plot of a movie.
SWB: So true! The other is the Rolls Royce global corruption case. I collaborated on that prosecution during my secondment to the Serious Fraud Office in London. We generally think of Rolls Royce for cars, but these were multi million-dollar bribes for government contracts in their aircraft and energy divisions. The Department of Justice ((DOJ) coordinated a $170M global settlement agreement.
And last year I was recognized as one of the top 100 women in criminal investigations by Global Investigations Review. That was rewarding. I was honored to be among such good company.
AMS: How did you decide to leave government service in Singapore to join a top international law firm? Was that something you have always wanted to do?
For the FULL INTERVIEW, please:
click here (PDF version), or
visit AnneMarieSegal.com/mcw-sandy-baggett (online version).
Technology, the “gig economy” and globalization have irrevocably altered the modern career. Launched in January 2020, MODERN CAREER WARRIORS is a series on AnneMarieSegal.com that explores the lives of professionals leading robust, resilient and multi-dimensional careers.
DEPTH, COURAGE AND INTENSITY radiate from these Modern Career Warriors, who defy the odds and define their own paths. While they may, like the rest of us, feel side-lined or even defeated at times, their inner drive keeps driving them to their own personal best and inspires others to do the same.
Feel free to post a question or “like” this post below, and click here to explore more articles in this series. Thanks!
Anne Marie Segal, founder of Segal Coaching LLC, is an executive coach, resume writer and author of two well-received books on interviewing and career development. She served as a corporate attorney for 15 years, including roles at White & Case LLP and a prominent hedge and private equity fund manager, before launching her coaching practice.
Based in Connecticut not far from New York City, Anne Marie partners with clients internationally on executive presence, impactful communications, graceful transitions and other aspects of professional and personal development.
Published on January 23, 2020.
Article © 2020 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.
Article images: © 2019 Sandy Baggett. All rights reserved.
Image of Anne Marie Segal: © 2019 Alejandro Barragan IV. All rights reserved.
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