Marianne O’Keefe’s government job was a far cry from the boring bureaucratic paper-pushing often associated with the public sector.
And now her government training is paying off in the private sector.
O’Keefe, a private investigator who worked as an intelligence officer for the Central Intelligence Agency for seven years, has been promoted to vice president of Bishops Services Inc., a national investigations firm.
As head of the Los Angeles office, O’Keefe’s responsibilities include management of large clients, international investigations and input into company operations.
“Most of our clients are getting ready to invest in businesses that are new or growing, and we do a background check to basically rule out any surprises or skeletons in the closet,” O’Keefe said.
“The work we do gives the investment banker the confidence to know who they are doing business with,” she said. “Very often, the investor may hear part of a story or know an individual today but not know him from the past. It’s our job to look into that possibly shadowy past and turn the information over to the investor so that they may decide how to proceed with the business deal.”
While with the CIA, O’Keefe investigated, analyzed and reported to government officials on the political, economic and military developments in foreign countries.
“One of my assignments was Grenada during the U.S. intervention, and then I was sent there shortly after. That certainly is one of the highlights of my career,” O’Keefe said.
Her work at the CIA in Guatemala and El Salvador was tied into monitoring human rights.
At Bishops, O’Keefe is involved in a growing number of international investigations as more investment opportunities for Americans arise in Europe, Mexico and Central America.
“Investigations in foreign countries are important because, with cultures being so different and business being conducted differently, we have more work to do. Records and courts don’t have as much information as we typically do here (in the United States),” O’Keefe said.