Women Tech Leaders

Women Tech Leaders

Women Tech Leaders
Women Tech Leaders
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Washington, D.C.

The future of the federal government will comprise a workforce that better represents the diverse population it serves, and agencies are strategizing on how to make this a reality. In many ways, these initiatives will impact technology priorities and processes, including recruitment efforts, Agile frameworks, artificial intelligence, data management and more. With women representing only a quarter of the entire STEM field, the calling for women technology leaders to public service is vital and urgent. These prominent women discuss the solutions to challenges many technology teams are facing governmentwide. 

July 14, 2022
8:00 am
Washington, D.C.
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Dr. Kelly Fletcher is a career member of the Senior Executive Service and the Principal Deputy CIO.  In this capacity, she supports the DoD CIO in serving as the primary advisor to the Secretary of Defense for information technology, cybersecurity, communications, spectrum, and position, navigation and timing.  She has served in DoD CIO since February 2020 in a variety of roles including Performing the Duties of the DoD CIO and as the Principal Director for Resources & Analysis.

Dr. Fletcher’s federal government career has included leadership roles in both the technology and strategic resourcing domains and she has led a number of significant reorganizations.  Prior to joining DoD CIO, Dr. Fletcher served as the Deputy Director for Program Analysis & Evaluation at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where she supervised and coordinated the development of the DHS-wide budget (~$50B appropriated).  She also led the realignment of the Federal Protective Services (more than 10,000 employees, ~$1B annual spend) from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to the Management directorate.

Dr. Fletcher served in the Department of the Navy from December 2016 to September 2018 in roles including Acting Department of the Navy CIO and Business Modernization Lead.  As the CIO, she provided strategic leadership for all Department of the Navy information technology policy and budget decisions and led a Department-wide reorganization of information technology governance and oversight. 

Dr. Fletcher spent six years with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) where she served as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Director and as an operations research analyst.  Prior to her government service, she worked in the private sector as an engineer.

Dr. Fletcher earned her Ph.D. in engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and her B.S. from Washington University in St. Louis. 

Principal Deputy CIO, DOD

Cynthia Kaiser is a Section Chief with FBI Cyber Division. She has covered cyber, technology, and counterintelligence issues for over 16 years for the FBI and has led FBI cyber threat analysis since 2017. In this role, she serves as an FBI lead for cyber threats to elections, meets regularly with the private sector and state and local government officials, promotes information sharing across all levels of government, and collaborates with partners to help place the FBI in the best position possible to impose risks and consequences on malicious cyber actors. Cynthia holds a Master’s degree in security policy focused on science and technology, and an Executive Master’s degree in leadership.

Section Chief, Cyber Division, FBI

Monica Langley was appointed as FEMA’s Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) in January 2020 after serving as Acting Deputy CIO in the months prior. As Deputy CIO, Ms. Langley provides leadership and oversight for Information Technology (IT) Management, including resource planning, strategic and capital investment planning, enterprise IT procurement, customer relationship management, and help desk support. Ms. Langley’s portfolio focus covers budget, governance, and policy to enhance IT management, reduce audit findings, and improve FEMA’s Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) scorecard.

Ms. Langley completed a one-year rotational assignment as the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Operations (A); where she led the management, operations, and maintenance of FEMA information systems, networks, and IT services that provide critical IT and communications infrastructure for both steady-state and disaster operations. 

Ms. Langley has served in multiple federal agencies over her 30 years in government, starting her service in 1988 as a United States Marine where she was the first woman to become a Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival. Ms. Langley went on to serve as a primary developer for the Corporate Information Management System at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Chief of Information Resources Management for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Public Affairs, before joining FEMA as the Office of Response and Recovery’s Information Technology Management Branch (ITMB) Chief in August 2016.

Ms. Langley holds a Master of Science in Software Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management. She is also a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute, Harvard Business School for Executive Education, and holds a Chief Technology Officer Certificate from the National Defense University.

Deputy CIO, FEMA

Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia. She is responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for policy formulation, planning, evaluation, oversight and leadership of Air Force intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations capabilities. As the Air Force's Senior Intelligence Officer, she is directly responsible to the Director of National Intelligence and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. She leads six directorates and supports a 73,000-person intelligence and cyber operations enterprise with a portfolio valued at $72 billion across the Air Force.

Lt. Gen. O'Brien received her commission upon graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. She has served in a variety of intelligence command and staff assignments. Her commands include the 22nd Intelligence Squadron, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland; 691st ISR Group, RAF Menwith Hill, United Kingdom; and 70th ISR Wing, Fort George G. Meade. Lt. Gen. O’Brien has also served in numerous staff leadership positions including the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force Legislative Liaison, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and Air Force Space Command and served as the U.S. Cyber Command Director of Intelligence.

Prior to her current assignment, she served as Commander, Twenty-fifth Air Force, and was responsible for more than 29,000 personnel conducting worldwide operations and the delivery of multisource intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance products, applications, capabilities and resources. In addition, she served as the Commander of the Service Cryptologic Component responsible to the Director, National Security Agency and Chief, Central Security Service, as the Air Force's sole authority for matters involving the conduct of cryptologic activities.

Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations, U.S. Air Force

Katie Olson is the Director of the Defense Digital Service (DDS). DDS is a SWAT team of nerds based at the Pentagon tasked with solving the DoD's most pressing problems leveraging the best in modern technology.

Prior to DDS, Olson led the launch of the City Tech Collaborative in Chicago, a tech organization that remakes essential city services and infrastructure using advanced technology, in partnership with corporations, philanthropies and universities.

Olson holds a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies from American University in Washington, D.C. From 2008-2010, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.

Director, Defense Digital Service

Ms. Heidi Shyu is the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). In this role, she serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Defense (DoD), mandated with ensuring the technological superiority of the U.S. military, and is responsible for the research, development, and prototyping activities across the DoD enterprise. She also oversees the activities of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), the Space Development Agency (SDA), the DoD Laboratory and Engineering Center enterprise, and the Under Secretariat staff focused on developing advanced technology and capability for the U.S. military.

Previously, she served as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)), from September 2012 to January 2016. Prior to this, she was Acting ASA(ALT) beginning in June 2011 and appointed the Principal Deputy in November 2010. As the ASA(ALT), she served as the Army Acquisition Executive, the Senior Procurement Executive, the Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Army, and the Army’s Senior Research and Development official. She had principal responsibility for all Department of the Army matters related to logistics. Ms. Shyu also led the execution of the Army’s acquisition function and the acquisition management system. Her responsibilities included providing oversight for the life cycle management and sustainment of Army weapons systems and equipment from research and development through test and evaluation, acquisition, logistics, fielding, and disposition. 

Prior to her government service, Ms. Shyu was the Vice President of Technology Strategy for Raytheon Company’s Space and Airborne Systems.

Ms. Shyu holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Canada, a Master of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Toronto, Master of Science Degree in System Science (Electrical Engineering) from UCLA, and the Engineer Degree from UCLA. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the UNB. She is also a graduate of the UCLA Executive Management Course Program.

A member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 2000 to 2010, she served as the Vice Chairman from 2003 to 2005 and Chairman from 2005 to 2008. Ms. Shyu is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and AIAA Honorary Fellow.

Under Secretary for Research and Engineering, Department of Defense

Kiersten E. Todt is the Chief of Staff at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). As the Chief of Staff, she is responsible for the planning, allocation of resources, and development of long-range objectives in support of the department's goals and milestones; she provides strategic vision, guidance, and direction to ensure CISA's Director is prepared to interdict or respond to threats to the homeland.

Prior to her role at CISA, Kiersten served as the Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI), a non-profit initiative that convenes senior executives of global companies to develop free cybersecurity tools and resources for small businesses, worldwide.  She co-founded CRI in 2017 with the CEOs of Mastercard, Microsoft, PSP Partners, and the retired CEO of IBM.  She was also the non-resident scholar at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security.   

Prior to her CRI role, Ms. Todt was the CEO of Liberty Group Ventures, LLC (LGV), where she developed risk and crisis management solutions for cybersecurity, infrastructure, homeland security, emergency management, and higher education clients in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.  Ms. Todt advised senior executives and Boards on cyber risk management, including the development and execution of tabletop exercises and senior-level education and training programs.  She also provided strategic advice and counsel to senior leaders in industry and government.  Ms. Todt was a member of the team supporting the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the development of the Voluntary Cybersecurity Framework called for in President Obama's 2013 Executive Order 13636 on cybersecurity.    

She most recently served in the federal government in 2016  as the Executive Director of President Obama's independent, bipartisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.  In this role, she led the twelve commissioners, who were leaders from industry, government, academia, and law enforcement, to develop a consensus document of cybersecurity recommendations for the incoming Administration. 

Ms. Todt was also a partner at Good Harbor Consulting and was responsible for building and managing the company's North America crisis management practice.  Before joining Good Harbor, she worked for Business Executives for National Security (BENS) and was responsible for integrating the private sector into state and local emergency management capabilities, following Hurricane Katrina; she also worked with the White House to develop the Federal Maritime Security Strategy.  Prior to BENS, she was a consultant for Sandia National Laboratories and worked with the California Governor's Office to develop the homeland security preparedness plan for the Bay Area. Ms. Todt was an adjunct lecturer at Stanford University.

Ms. Todt served as a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  She worked for the Committee Chairman, Senator Joseph Lieberman, and was responsible for co-drafting the cybersecurity, infrastructure protection, emergency preparedness, bioterror, and science and technology directorates of the legislation that created the Department of Homeland Security.  Prior to her Committee role, she worked in the personal office of Senator Lieberman and focused on economic policy and appropriations.   Before working in the Senate, Ms. Todt served in the Office of the Vice President on domestic policy issues.

Kiersten started her career in the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under Director Barry R. McCaffrey, and was responsible for addressing demand-reduction issues.

Ms. Todt’s commentary on cybersecurity, homeland security, and sport security issues has been featured in national television and print media outlets including NBC, CBS, CNN, Bloomberg, BBC, NPR, Fox News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fortune, and Business Insider. 

Ms. Todt graduated from Princeton University, with a degree in public policy from the School of Public and International Affairs and a certificate in African-American Studies.  She holds a master's degree in Public Policy and a certificate in negotiation and conflict resolution from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Chief of Staff, CISA



Breakfast & networking


Opening Remarks

  • Amy Kluber, Editorial Director, GovernmentCIO Media & Research

Fireside Chat: A Secure Future

  • Kiersten Todt, Chief of Staff, CISA

Fireside Chat

  • Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary for Research and Engineering, Department of Defense

Panel: Human Capital Management and A Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive Future

Faced with a 2021 executive order for the federal government to prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, agencies are developing new strategies that impact technology and human capital management teams. This also includes maintaining an effective HR staff that can protect the diversity and equity principles for how federal employees are hired and managed. These leaders discuss how they are overcoming challenges to shape a more technologically equitable future.

  • Monica Langley, Deputy CIO for Operations, FEMA
  • Angie Weldon, Director of Human Capital Operations, VA

Panel: Leveraging Data to Promote Equity

Following a 2021 executive order calling on agencies to advance racial equity and an OMB memo directing agencies to assess their equity barriers, federal agencies are embracing data as a strategic asset for these goals. As agencies develop data governance, policy and infrastructure, advancing equity remains critical. We'll discuss with federal leaders how they're using data, building modernized infrastructure and reducing burdens via emerging technology in order to promote equity and representation while driving their missions forward.

  • Jennifer Moser, Associate Director of Scientific Programs, Million Veterans Program, VA
  • Katie Olson, Acting Director, Defense Digital Service
  • Charneta Samms, CTO, DEVCOM, U.S. Army

Panel: The Next Generation of Cyber Defenders are Women

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly said she wants 50% of the cybersecurity workforce to be women by 2030. CISA estimates there are half a million unfilled cybersecurity jobs, which poses a national security risk due to the prevalence of malicious cyber activity impacting critical infrastructure sectors. Female cyber leaders will discuss the paths that led them to their roles and their priorities in these agency leadership positions.

  • Dr. Kelly Fletcher, Principal Deputy CIO, DOD
  • Lt. Gen. Mary O'Brien, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations, U.S. Air Force
  • Cynthia Kaiser, Section Chief, Cyber Division, FBI

Closing Remarks

  • Amy Kluber, Editorial Director, GovernmentCIO Media & Research