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Donna Dodson – D.C.'s Top 50 Women in Tech 2015

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Donna Dodson

Chief Cybersecurity Adviser and Director of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Associate Director Chief Cyber Security Adviser
Information Technology Laboratory

Donna Dodson leads NIST's work with industry, academia and other government agencies to forge a consensus on how best to secure the nation's information and communications infrastructure.

Her efforts to develop common standards, metrics and best practices on a range of IT security issues – including security management, testing and assurance, cryptography and identity management – have led to a number of widely recognized technical documents and resources, including NIST's Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Framework.

Leadership [is] … appreciating the diversity that you bring and others bring to the table.

It's also taught her a lot about collaboration and leadership.

“Leadership … is not necessarily about being the loudest person at the table…or a matter of being right or wrong," she said. Rather, it's “appreciating the diversity that you bring and others bring to the table that's important."

It's also taught her a lot about collaboration and leadership.

“Leadership … is not necessarily about being the loudest person at the table…or a matter of being right or wrong," she said. Rather, it's “appreciating the diversity that you bring and others bring to the table that's important."

She credits her leadership style to the inspiration of a former NIST mentor who “taught me the value of being able to listen, of bringing different experts in, and understanding the views and objectives of people will be different, and … bringing them all together to reach a consensus."

What she values most about leading in the public sector – and as director of NIST's National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence – is trying “to actualize those standards and practices and develop blueprints" that industry and agencies can put to work.

Of equal importance, she said, is the opportunity to develop people and “making sure we have the appropriate pipeline of practitioners and researchers in this [cybersecurity] space."

– Wyatt Kash

Read the full story about this year's selection of D.C.'s Top 50 Women in Technology, and view the full list here.