By Colby Hochmuth and Camille Tuutti · Tuesday, March 18, 2014
FedScoop highlights the vibrant, talented and forward-thinking women who shape the conversation on technology in D.C. These 50 women are movers and shakers, all with diverse backgrounds, representing government, Congress, the commercial sector, defense and academia. What they all have in common is their passion for using tech as a force multiplier to push government and industry to the next level by leveraging and improving information technology services in unprecedented ways. Read the full introduction here.
Cristin Dorgelo Assistant director, grand challenges Office of Science and Technology Policy White House
"I think we can find success if we approach challenges in government like an entrepreneur. Even though we work in large organizations, there is an opportunity to try new things."
Cristin Dorgelo is up for more than a simple challenge. For about two years, she has worked at OSTP as assistant director for grand challenges. Empowering organizations to reach for their goals is part of her everyday routine -- she works with government agencies, private industry, universities and philanthropic entities to collaborate and form relationships. In the last two years, Dorgelo and her team have worked to offer more than 300 prizes by more than 60 agencies, spanning from very small to the multimillion-dollar range. This year, Dorgelo has zeroed in on increasing the number of organizations pursuing what she fondly refers to as "moon-shot goals" -- and she especially wants them to focus on their own milestones, not just those the administration has set. Dorgelo also wants to launch more incentive prizes on challenge.gov to solve more software and predictive model issues.
Teresa Carlson Vice president Worldwide public sector Amazon Web Services
"It's truly about looking at every day as an opportunity, being a good listener to your customers and deliver what you have promised to deliver. It's really that simple."
She's been named among the 100 most powerful women, as a tech titan and as one of the most influential women in technology. But Teresa Carlson isn't resting on her laurels. As Amazon Web Services' vice president of the worldwide public sector, Carlson is constantly pushing the envelope to drive forward the business -- and innovation. Tasked with sales and business development for AWS and the cloud computing business, Carlson says the most impactful projects include working with systems integrators' line of business to achieve a more agile public sector and creating an environment for government to think differently about how it uses IT. 2014, Carlson promises, will be "a fantastic year" for government customers implementing cloud solutions. As the daughter of teachers who gave back to the community, Carlson said STEM education and philanthropy are close to her heart, and she supports the Red Cross and the Children's Inn, among other charitable causes.
Beth Beck Open innovation program manager Office of the Chief Information Officer NASA
"The thing about innovation is that most people will adopt it when they see it is successful. I want to be the person who will go out there and prove it can be successful."
In the dark ages of the 1990s when most government websites were bare-bones affairs, Beth Beck helped NASA buck that trend, becoming one of the first agency sites to feature animated graphics and music, thanks to the then-new Flash software platform. Since then, Beck, who's spent nearly 30 years in the government, has been instrumental in developing the International Space Apps Challenge that will be taking off (no pun intended) in April this year, as well as launch.org, a challenge site, which she has been working on since 2007. In her role, Beck has also been involved with the agency's digital strategy, figuring out where the data at NASA is and how to catalogue, store and make it useful to the public.
Michele Weslander Quaid Public sector chief technology officer & innovation evangelist Google
"Success is the result of a lot of hard work, persistence, determination, dedication, perseverance, never taking 'no' from someone who can't give you a 'yes' in the first place, staying true to yourself and your convictions, and having a healthy disregard for the 'impossible.'"
A trailblazer who's held several inaugural senior government roles, Michele Weslander Quaid has taken on challenges others have considered "impossible," and through her successes, she has become a recognized and sought-after leader of change and innovation. Prior to joining Google in 2011, she was the youngest chief engineer in the history of her company before becoming one of the youngest people ever sworn in as a government senior executive. She served as the first deputy technical executive for NGA, the first intelligence community deputy CIO for the DNI, the first CTO for NRO, and the DNI's senior representative to the Defense Secretary's Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Task Force. Applying technology to solve problems and enhance people's lives has been a primary focus of Weslander Quaid's career -- particularly connecting people to data, services and expertise, and enabling them to share information and collaborate for a common cause. "By making a positive difference and not only improving but possibly saving lives through innovative technology application, the resultant impact for the tech community is relevancy to the mission at hand," she said.
Zoe Lofgren Representative California's 19th congressional district House of Representatives
"It's important for representatives to know what they're doing and whom they represent. I try to know as much as possible about the issue I'm talking about and be informed and prepared."
When a lawmaker represents nearly half of Silicon Valley -- as Rep. Zoe Lofgren does -- she has to be just as passionate and savvy about technology as her constituents. Renowned by her colleagues for her know-how in that area, Lofgren's legislation track record includes the Innovation Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Stop Piracy Act, Unlocking Technology Act, Surveillance Order Reporting Act, and the Global Free Internet Act, to name a few bills. Lofgren has worked to promote STEM education, introducing bipartisan legislation that would create a U.S. science laureate position to inspire and promote STEM education among U.S. students. She's also passionate about investing in research and making that data transparent to citizens. The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, which she introduced in early 2013, would require federally funded research by agencies to be made available online to the public. Lofgren has been in Congress since 1994; before that, she worked on the Santa Clara board of supervisors and for her predecessor, Rep. Don Edwards.
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