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
Letitia Long Director National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
"I've enjoyed many mentors who have had a tremendous impact on my professional life. At each step along the way, every mentor helped me stretch -- go beyond my comfort zone. They challenged me to do more than I thought I ever could. I also learned the value of honest feedback. They prepared me for tougher jobs and increased responsibilities. Without their mentoring, there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today."
When Letitia Long took the reins at NGA in 2010, she shattered the glass ceiling by becoming first female head of a major U.S. intelligence agency. Since arriving at NGA, one of her top priorities has been enabling the multi-INT integration for the intelligence community. Geospatial intelligence is built on providing the foundation upon which NGA and its partners are layering and synthesizing intelligence information across the community, she said. An emphasis on recruiting, training and retaining a diverse and agile workforce enables NGA's IT transformation and concentration on critical skill sets such as big data analytics, visualization and advanced sensor phenomenology. Last year, the agency launched the Map of the World initiative, which provides easy access to NGA's GEOINT data. In 2014, Map of the World will continue to be a major focus area, enabling users to visualize and access integrated intelligence content fixed to accurate and authoritative geographic features on the earth, Long said.
Anne Altman General manager U.S federal government and industries IBM
"I'm focused on being true to myself and being an authentic leader. I've spent a great deal of my time investing in my knowledge and reputation, and listening and taking action."
When Anne Altman started as an intern at IBM, she had no idea she would be there 30 years later. That first opportunity gave her a leg up as a college graduate, and she was offered a systems engineer role at IBM. Although Altman has worked on countless projects, the most impactful are those that directly affected agencies' missions and delivered societal benefits. Among those, she cites GSA's smarter-buildings effort and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. For role models, she looks no further than to IBM CEO Virginia Rometty for her passion for business and making a difference. But there's another, notable role model: Bonni Tischler -- known as "the girl with the golden gun" because she carried a gold-plated Smith & Wesson .38. Starting at U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 1971, Tischler rose through the ranks and became the most senior female law officer. She died of cancer in 2005, having served 30 years in government. "She was an amazing woman who battled cancer fearlessly for many years," Altman said.
Micheline Casey Chief data officer Federal Reserve Board
"I try to watch how leaders interact with other people -- how they lead, engage with staff and empower their team around them -- and then bring that to the work that I do. I've inherited a great group of people, and we now have a really unique opportunity to start up something new in a 100-year organization. It's a chance for me to get people involved with something new and explore their talents."
Micheline Casey isn't just the first chief data officer at the FRB -- she was also the nation's first-ever state CDO. She came to that inaugural role in 2009, after a stint in the Colorado governor's office, where she supported the CIO. She joined FRB in May 2013, after two decades in the tech industry, with the latest role as a consultant focused on all things data. Casey says her office is still in start-up mode, hiring more staff. For her specifically, this year is all about getting data governance efforts moving, creating a data strategy and thinking strategically about what type of data comes in to board and making it more efficient, she said. Open data also ranks high on her list of priorities. FRB is officially a federal, independent agency, but it still tries to follow the spirit of the open data executive order, she said.
Susie Adams Chief technology officer Federal government Microsoft
"I love learning new things, and I'm always looking to learn more when it comes to anything in IT. My desire is to continue on that learning path. I'm always looking for new challenge. I never give up."
Susie Adams' tech savvy has evolved considerably from nearly three decades ago when she wrote her first program to track her own college baseball stats. An information systems degree and several tech-focused books later, Adams today serves as Microsoft's CTO for the federal government business, managing all technical planning and IT decisions. Although she has spent nearly 28 years in the industry, Adams has yet to get tired of it. The evolution of technology has made the world a more interesting place than compared to 10-15 years ago, she said. With a movement to the fifth generation of computing, Adams said it will be an even more exciting time of her career. Similarly to many of her colleagues in industry and government, Adams says her 2014 focus will include three tenets: cloud, mobility and big data.
DeEtte Gray President Intelligence & Security sector BAE Systems
"I have a vivid memory of myself as a high school student watching Sally Ride on TV … and just being so inspired that this brave woman, a scientist, dared to break so many barriers. In that moment, I realized … I could be whatever I wanted to be. A few years later, I became the first member of my family to go to college. I guess you could say Sally Ride helped launch my career, too."
As a science and math educator in North Carolina, DeEtte Gray was one of the first teachers to integrate computers into the classroom. She also took that opportunity to teach herself programming. After she earned her master's degree, Gray was offered a job as a software developer specializing in geospatial information. Lockheed Martin soon hired her to work with geospatial information systems. Over the next 13 years, she kept seeking new challenges within the company and took on increasing management responsibilities. She left Lockheed Martin to join BAE Systems in 2012, where she now runs the Intelligence & Security sector. As for her secret to success, Gray cites making the most of every opportunity and daring to try new things. Throughout her career, she says she's volunteered to help tackle hard problems. It's not always easy, she admits, but it's worth it. Also: Don't be afraid to always dream and dream big, she said.
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