FedScoop’s Top Women in Tech 2017: Sheila Campbell

Sheila Campbell, Director of the Office of Digital, Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs

The Office of Digital within the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs provides all of the modern digital tools and infrastructure for public diplomacy officers in the field.

Sheila Campbell, the office’s director, points to one key example: Her team manages the websites for U.S. embassies.

“We try to be as responsive as possible to the needs in the field,” Campbell said. “So we also provide other tools for them to do their daily jobs.”


Can you talk about the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you conquer that challenge?

I think the biggest challenge is just the mindset, right? It’s the mindset that “oh we’re government, and so we’re just going to continue be mired in a sort of backwards way of doing things, and it’s too hard to get things done.” … It’s our responsibility as public servants — especially those of us working in IT and digital — to really flip that on its head, and really just confront and challenge the status quo at every step of the way. So that we present a different way of thinking, and sort of the art of the possible.

What would you say to young women who are thinking about a career in technology or related fields, or just starting out in their careers? What’s the best advice you could offer for success?

Really embrace the fact that you’re going into a field that is incredibly dynamic and that every day something is going to be new and different, and a different challenge. And it’s not so much about the technology, but it’s really about the business problem that you’re trying to solve. So I think been that’s the thing that I’ve always been constantly having to remind myself is that it’s easy to get caught up in the technology and the operations piece.

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