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
Phyllis Schneck Deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity National Protection and Programs Directorate Department of Homeland Security
"I think its important that young girls think science is cool, whether it comes from school or friends. As we build up our workforce at DHS, I'm hoping we can reach into the schools and show how exciting science really is."
Phyllis Schneck has been a top voice in the cybersecurity landscape for several years, working at a leading cybersecurity private sector organization, chairing the CSIS commission advising the president on cyber, and most recently, as a chief cybersecurity official at DHS. Less than a year into that role, she says her top priority is to build trust at the agency: to take a look at the core strengths at DHS and to collaborate with government agencies and the private sector. Schneck came from McAfee, Inc., where she was the CTO for the global public sector.
Dawn Leaf Deputy chief information officer Labor Department
"What we really need to do is build capabilities . . . from the ground up so that our employees in the agencies can go past the traditional data systems that are the typical brick-and-mortar systems."
Dawn Leaf spent 20 years in the private sector before making the leap to government in 1999. Once there, she served in leadership roles at various agencies, including the Commerce Department, the Bureau of Industry and Security, NIST, the Smithsonian Institution, and most recently the Labor Department. At NIST, Leaf was the senior adviser for cloud computing and helped the agency achieve significant cloud computing milestones. Overall and not just specific to cloud, Leaf believes technology can help agencies can reach a higher level of being able to execute their missions.
Kimberley Williams Chief strategist Public sector Informatica
"Information is the secret to success. I am an avid reader of technology, politics and economic news. In order to best communicate with government, federal or state and local, you have to understand the business problems and challenges, operate in the political environment and provide viable solutions and alternatives. I strongly encourage everyone that is new to government IT to read trade publications and blogs, join industry groups and subscribe to any outlet that can provide insight into what is happening and why."
After earning her MBA in 1990, Kimberley Williams began her career with Andersen Consulting (today, Accenture) in the federal practice in Washington, D.C. She was almost immediately assigned to the Treasury Department STAR project, which goal was to design, develop and deliver a new Monthly Treasury Statement and Annual Report for the federal government. After more than five years on the project and gaining invaluable knowledge of federal accounting and financials, "my career in government IT seemed inevitable," Williams said. Among her most impactful projects she includes the development and launch of PeopleSoft Financials for Education & Government and human services programs such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Medicaid. This year, Williams says data security and privacy will dominate the conversation as Congress looks to take on the issue. Representing Informatica, Williams says she will participate in numerous industry events and education programs for partners and systems integrators and government IT and business leaders.
Kristen Baldwin Associate chief information officer Business technology alignment & governance Transportation Department
"I try to apply the same 'back to basics' approach to the work environment. It's very important to treat everyone with respect. You also have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard to accomplish office goals."
Baldwin got her start as a Web developer on an HHS contract while in graduate school, and landed a permanent federal gig at HHS when a new division was created to run the Web. Since then, she has been part of a team that deployed one of the first enterprisewide Content Management Systems at a federal agency. "As one of the first adopters, we made mistakes along the way, but I hope other agencies have been able to learn from them," Baldwin said. She was also a part of the DOT.gov redesign and DOT's adoption of a new IT governance structure. Baldwin credits her hardworking team for the success of the structure and said she hopes the structure might be able to serve as a model to other agencies. Baldwin leads the agency's open government initiative and serves on the White House's Open Government Working Group. In addition, she also is the lead official for DOT's PortfolioStat program. Looking ahead, Baldwin said she and her DOT team are focusing on streamlining service delivery and balancing its workforce.
Lena Trudeau Associate commissioner Office of Strategic Innovations General Services Administration
"It's about empowering a great team; providing an environment where they feel comfortable taking risks. We talk a lot about leveraging the low-cost power of experimentation, which can be a powerful thing. It allows the front lines of your team to get out there and do the right thing."
Lena Trudeau came to GSA for a position at the Federal Acquisition Service to modernize the acquisition platform and work on business models for procurement. However, as the world of tech and procurement became more intertwined, Trudeau found herself in the IT space, which led to her next endeavor: director of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program. What started as an 18-person initiative out of the OSTP quickly gained traction and was moved over to GSA, where Trudeau took over leading the program. Trudeau has become the face of the PIF program, moderating panels with the fellows, facilitating conversations and spreading the word about the work they do. “It's a lot of fun; it's inspiring and gives me a lot of optimism about the future of government," Trudeau said. Trudeau came to GSA three years ago, after a stint in consulting and conflict resolution from a business perspective.
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