Women Tech Leaders Working Group | GovCIO Media & Research
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Women Tech Leaders Working Group

Mission: Harness the collective power within the federal government to highlight existing workforce gaps in tech and present meaningful solutions to recruit, retain and amplify women in technology.

About: The Women Tech Leaders Working Group is a group of highly successful women leaders from across the federal government. These Women Tech Leaders members tackle important conversations around workforce equity, women in STEM, IT leadership in the federal government and more. The group meets regularly to dive into specific topics, and the insights coming out of these meetings will inform broader conversations in the federal community. 

Women Tech Leaders Working Group

Working Group Insights

WTL Report
Federal leaders highlight challenges to getting more women into government and how to foster a strong work culture where women can flourish.
Shifting working environments and mandates across the federal government presents unique challenges and opportunities for women.


Jessica “Jess” N. Berrellez is the Executive Officer for the Office of Digital Transformation at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Jess has broad leadership experience in a variety of areas and currently oversees strategic initiatives, organizational effectiveness, strategic communications, high priority change initiatives, events and engagement, human capital management, learning and development, and administrative operations. She was previously ODT’s Executive Director for Strategy and Operations, Senior Advisor to the Chief Information Officer, Senior Advisor to the Principal Deputy Commissioner, and Director for Program Evaluation and Process Improvement. Jess is the recipient of agency, federal, and industry honors and has received national recognition for her volunteer work. She is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and also earned an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership. Jess holds a M.A. and M.S. from the University of Arizona and earned a B.A. from Indiana University.

Executive Officer, Office of Digital Transformation, FDA

Adriane Burton has 35 years of federal IT service. Since 2014, she has served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within Health and Human Services. She deployed systems to support HRSA’s COVID response, transformed HRSA’s grants performance reporting systems that provide oversight for over 80 health programs, implemented Business Intelligence capabilities across the enterprise, and deployed a robust infrastructure to support a hybrid workforce. Before coming to HRSA, Adriane Burton worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department Of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.  


Valerie M. Cofield serves as the Chief Strategy Officer of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Ms. Cofield serves as the principal policy and strategic adviser to CISA leadership and senior management, integrating strategy across all the organization’s mission areas and ensuring policy, strategy, and operational consistency throughout the agency.

Prior to CISA, Ms. Cofield served at the FBI for 22 years in a variety of roles. She was a Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) for the Cyber Capabilities Branch within the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Cyber Division where she led coordination and deployment of the division’s technical tools and capabilities, and oversaw cyber-related training, recruiting, hiring, and budgeting for the division. She also served in a senior executive role as chief of staff of the Science and Technology Branch and as a DAD of the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), where she engaged with interagency partners and other key stakeholders on policy issues related to current and emerging technologies and their impact on law enforcement.

In 2019, Ms. Cofield was selected as the FBI’s senior detail to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. This Congressional Commission was authorized through the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Its mission was to develop a national strategy for preventing cyberattacks of significant consequences. While on the Commission, Ms. Cofield was a Senior Director and Task Force Lead. The Commission completed its report in March of 2020 with over 75 recommendations, 25 of which were included in the FY21 NDAA and enacted into law.

Ms. Cofield holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Accounting from UCLA.

Chief of Strategy, Policy and Plans, CISA

Lauren is a seasoned and growth-focused professional with extensive experience in providing strategic direction and oversight to generate multi-million dollar business and ensure continued expansion. One of her biggest passions and leadership skills is centered around creating a collaborative team culture that values individual skills, inspires confidence, and empowers sellers and staff to deliver exceptional results. When Lauren is not working with her outstanding colleagues, you will find her boating on the Chesapeake Bay and running her marina on the Severn River.

Technology Sales Executive, US Federal Civilian Agencies, IBM

Jothi Dugar is a leader in the cybersecurity field, and currently serving as the Acting Deputy Director of the Center for Information Technology (NIH CIT) at the National Institutes of Health. CIT is one of twenty-seven institutes and centers at the NIH responsible for providing trans-NIH IT services, systems, and network capabilities with an annual budget of approximately $500 million and a 1,000-person workforce. 

As the current Acting Deputy Director, Jothi fully shares in providing leadership, management, and vision in carrying out the broad range of executive responsibilities the organization’s work. She is a critical member of the CIT senior leadership team which oversees mission critical systems and services supporting basic and clinical research, extramural research management, and administration and management activities for the NIH. In her past role as the CISO, she was responsible for protecting and safeguarding enterprise systems and services that are used by NIH, other government agencies, and over 300,000 researchers around the world. 

She is a prominent international speaker and frequently speaks about the value of a diverse workforce, women in leadership, holistic approaches to cybersecurity, wellness for the technology world, and other topics and has been published in numerous magazines, media, and press. She is also an international best-selling author, having written three books focused on self-help, wellness, and women in cybersecurity. 

Acting Deputy Director, Center for IT, NIH

Alyssa Feola is a Cybersecurity Advisor for the Innovation Portfolio within GSA. She focuses on injecting Cyber Risk Management practices into the software development process.  Alyssa is currently working on software assurance activities and frequently collaborates with GSA OCISO’s office to manage security authorizations, standing up a DevSecOps program or working through various supply chain management activities.   FLASH:Users:admin:Downloads:alan_thomas_flag_web (1).jpg

Before becoming the Security Lead for the Innovation Portfolio, Alyssa was the Deputy Director of the Technology Portfolio and Cybersecuirty Advisor within the Technology Portfolio team in the Technology Transformation Services. She focused on simplifying procurement, security, and compliance of the Software as a Service so that internal users within the Technology Transformation Services can focus on their individual missions.

With over ten years of experience, Alyssa came to the GSA after supporting the United States Air Force for ten years and the Federal Aviation Administration for two years. She brings a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience in the areas of acquisition, information technology and cybersecurity. Her passions lie with innovation and modernizing government technology.

Cybersecurity Advisor, GSA

Andrea Fletcher is a global health expert, focusing on epidemiology and health information systems. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Digital Service at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In this role she is responsible for leading digital modernization efforts at CMS, which promote interoperability and public access to health data.

Prior to her digital service role, Andrea spent most of the last 10 years traveling around the world building digital health systems across 20+ countries, primarily working in sub-Saharan Africa. She has built mobile apps for healthcare workers, integrated biometric IDs into electronic health record systems, designed national-level interoperability layers, and deployed new disease surveillance systems making contributions to pandemic responses in Ebola, HIV, and COVID-19.

Andrea holds a B.A. in Bioethics from Washington and Jefferson College, and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from Emory University, and is currently a PhD student at the London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Epidemiology and Population Health.

Executive Director of the Digital Service, CMS

I've spent over 10 years supporting various federal departments, including the Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I am passionate about change management, communications, stakeholder engagement, and recruiting and retaining future generations in the federal workforce. I have presented and advised on public relations and millennial recruitment and retention at the national level, including a recent TEDx talk.

In my current role, I work for VA in the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) as the Chief Strategy Officer for DevSecOps. I specialize in strategic communications, outreach coordination, business operations, change management, and stakeholder engagement. I've recently served as the VHA-OIT liaison for COVID-19 response activities and for MISSION Act go-live activities. I've led as the scrum master for VA OIT's COVID-19 response teams in 2020 and Decision Support Tool (DST) go-live coordination activities in 2019. I also completed a special assignment to VA’s EHR Modernization office as the Director of Communications to lead our strategic communication and stakeholder engagement in support of EHRM’s change management efforts.

I thrive in a demanding work environment and enjoy tackling new challenges. I leverage stakeholder input, collaborate with industry partners, and serve as a catalyst for change and continuous improvement throughout my organization. If you're looking for a grammar guru, I'm probably not the person you need. If you want someone to help shape and craft your internal and external messaging and brand in a way that is strategic and resonates with your audience, I'm your girl!

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Politics from George Mason University and an Executive MBA in Strategic Leadership from the University of Tennessee (go Vols!).

I live in the countryside in Woodford County, KY and I enjoy traveling to exotic places and experiencing cultures and food from around the world. In addition to my traditional work duties, I’m also an active member of Federally Employed Women (FEW), and I advocate for legislation that supports equal pay and paid parental leave.

Former Commander, Joint Intelligence Operations Center, CYBERCOM

Arianne Gallagher-Welcher, Esq. serves as the Executive Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Digital Service (DS) in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). In this role, Arianne is responsible for standing up and maintaining the USDA Digital Service, an office designed to recruit and develop an expanded team of technology, innovation, and service delivery leaders to meet the many missions needs across USDA.

Mrs. Gallagher-Welcher has been in the Federal Government for over 12 years, beginning her career as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in August of 2011.  During her Fellowship, she served in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as the co-founder and later Deputy Director of the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program, now housed at the General Services Administration (GSA). Previous positions include serving as a Performance Manager in the office of Performance and Personnel Management in the Executive Office of the President, U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and most recently as the Director of the PMF Program at OPM. Her work has included many different initiatives and disciplines, focusing primarily on Federal workforce recruitment and development and includes innovation, open data, and human-centered design.  Arianne is extremely excited to be working with the USDA OCIO to help the Department meet their many compelling missions through tech talent partnerships and human-centered problem solving.

In addition to being a PMF alum, Mrs. Gallagher-Welcher is also a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute (FEI). She also holds- a Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, is a licensed attorney, and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Executive Director, OCIO, USDA Digital Service

Arlene Gaylord was appointed Executive Assistant Director (EAD) of the Information and Technology Branch (ITB) in August 2023. As EAD, Gaylord leads ITB’s mission to design, build, and operate FBI networks, infrastructure, end-user devices, cybersecurity, applications, and data systems.

Gaylord had previously served as Assistant Director (AD) of the Information Management Division (IMD) since July 2020. Prior to that, in December 2016, she was appointed the FBI’s Equal Employment Opportunity Officer and AD of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs.

Gaylord joined the FBI in 1991 as an Honors Intern with the Visual Investigative Analysis Unit at FBI Headquarters (HQ). In 1992, she was promoted to Spanish Language Specialist, supporting several field offices in addition to HQ.

In 1998, Gaylord became a Supervisory Language Specialist with the San Diego Field Office (FO), where she transitioned to an Intelligence Analyst (IA) in 2004. She joined the Sacramento FO as a Supervisory IA in 2009.

In 2010, Gaylord became Senior Supervisory IA in charge of the Western Regional Intelligence Group. She returned to HQ in 2012 as National Program Manager of the Joint Regional Intelligence Groups.

In 2013, Gaylord was appointed as an executive within the Directorate of Intelligence — first as Section Chief of the Language Services Section, and then, in 2015, as Section Chief of the Global Intelligence Section.

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Gaylord is a certified FBI Intelligence Officer and has been designated a Master Police Instructor by the FBI and Master Instructor by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from American University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.

Executive Assistant Director of the Information and Technology Branch, FBI
image of Nicole Gilbride, Chief Strategy Officer, Office of Information and Technology, VA
Nicole Gilbride
Chief Strategy Officer, Office of Information and Technology, VA

Rebecca Goodman is the Chief Digital Officer for the FDIC. She is a technologist with a background in engineering, user experience, and digital service delivery. Rebecca is passionate about using technology, data, and design to increase access to agency services and products, while improving interactions between government and the people it serves. She strives to deliver exceptional digital experiences that are accessible, inclusive, and equitable.

Prior to her arrival at the FDIC, Rebecca was at the Securities and Exchange Commission where she worked on user experience and compliance across the agency’s digital properties. Before the SEC, Rebecca worked at a variety of government agencies, streamlining web and digital media experiences through data analysis, empathy, and engineering.

Rebecca is active in both the open-source and civic tech spaces. She contributes code to open-source projects, and plans training events + meet-ups for her peers in civic tech with a focus on learning from each other and fostering connections. All of this feeds into her love of cultivating a positive environment where people can grow and excel.

Rebecca was born and raised in DC and Northern Virginia. She holds a Master’s in Software Engineering from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. When not in front of her computer, Rebecca enjoys mixing beats and spinning house music; running ultramarathons; and searching for DC’s best tacos.

Rebecca in Northern VA with her family and two dogs.

Chief Digital Officer, FDIC

Rachelle Henderson is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As the CIO, she leads an Information Technology (IT) organization with over 400 federal employees and approximately 1,000 contractors, providing mission critical IT services for a law enforcement organization with over 20,000 employees. She is privileged to lead an organization dedicated to delivering timely and secure capabilities to our employees and stakeholders. She has also assumed an inter-agency leadership role delivering digital capabilities that are critical for ICE and our partners on the Southwest Border.  

Ms. Henderson joined ICE after serving as the Border Enforcement and Management Systems Executive Director at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), where she led a team of 120 federal employees and 520 contractors with an annual operating budget of $150 million. She delivered IT software solutions for a diverse portfolio that included all CBP operational and mission support organizations. Of note, she was instrumental in creating the Unified Immigration Portal (UIP), serving as both the business and technical lead for the program at multiple stages. This program bridged critical immigration information sharing gaps during an influx in southern border encounters beginning in 2017 and continues to serve as the backbone for current immigration processes among multiple agencies.

Prior to joining the Senior Executive Service, Ms. Henderson supported the legacy U.S. Customs Service and CBP for over 20 years, where she held various leadership roles. In 2005 she was the Branch Director challenged to create a new software development branch responsible for United States Border Patrol (USBP) and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) systems modernization. In 2011, she chose to diversify her experience as CBP’s Regional Director in Arizona and then Texas, directly supporting the IT, surveillance, and tactical communication capabilities for our front-line operators. In 2015, she broadened her skillset as the J-1 Administration Director for the Interagency Joint Task Force West, responsible for budget, human capital, and IT for a newly created inter-agency task force.   

Ms. Henderson holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Montana, a Juris Doctor from the George Mason School of Law, and is a certified Acquisition Program Manager. A Montana native, she and her family in Virginia enjoy the time they spend together in Montana. 


Karen S. Howard is the Director of the Office of Online Services for the IRS (Internal Revenue Services).

Ms. Howard joined the IRS in August of 2020 with over 35 years of private sector retail, manufacturing and financial services consumer direct operations and marketing leadership experience.

In her public service role with the IRS, she and her team are charged with translating the taxpayer community’s voice and behavior, and internal stakeholder requirements, into an empowered user experience that enables easy access to tax-related information and simplified ways to fulfill tax obligations with digital tools and services.

Karen has a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Carolina University and several industry certifications in various project management methodologies and master data management.

Director, Office of Online Services, IRS
Brooke Jordan
Brooke Jordan
Lead, Stakeholder Engagement, VA


Cynthia Kaiser is Deputy Assistant Director 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.

Deputy Assistant Director, FBI Cyber

Krista Kinnard is the Digital Transformation Culture and Communication Lead at NASA. As the former Chief of Emerging Technologies at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in the Office of the Chief Information Officer she led the organization’s discovery and adoption of new technologies and solutions to meet the unique business challenges faced by DOL agencies. She helped foster the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) and other emerging technologies across the organization in support of mission work.

Prior to joining the Department, Krista was a Director of the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence, where she partnered with federal agencies to foster the adoption of AI and automation capabilities. She played a critical role in DOL’s standing-up of a robotic process automation capability for procurement and IT based processes. Additionally, she helped lead the Artificial Intelligence Community of Practice (CoP) for GSA.

Krista has several years of experience as a data scientist and technical project lead in the private sector, leading the design and development of machine learning based systems for government clients.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology, a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of Arizona, and a Master of Science degree in Data Analytics and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Digital Transformation Culture and Communication Lead, NASA

Jarah leads the crowdsourcing, citizen science and prize competition open innovation portfolio at GSA that includes the Challenge.Gov and CitizenScience.gov. Previously, she led the innovation sourcing program at the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation and this portfolio included prize competitions, broad agency announcements, and pay for success/social impact financing. The AAAS Science and Policy Technology Fellowship brought her to the federal government at the US Agency for International Development 10 years ago where she led a large-scale desalination technology development prize competition. Jarah earned her PhD in Cancer Biology at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and is an Air Force Veteran.

Director of Open Innovation, Technology Transformation Services, Challenge.Gov & CitizenScience.gov, GSA
Headshot of Sarah Moffat, COO, HUD
Sarah Moffat
Chief Operations Officer, HUD

Dr. Jennifer Moser is the Associate Director of Scientific Programs for the Million Veteran Program (MVP) in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Research and Development (ORD).   Over the past thirteen years, she has helped manage various aspects of the program including strategic planning, policy development, data generation and access, and executing multi-million-dollar contracts to support genetic data generation from MVP biospecimens. 

Jenny has been instrumental in developing and implementing new funding opportunities and policies to increase access to MVP data.  She also spent time in ORD’s Biomedical and Laboratory R&D Service managing the review panels and portfolios of Epidemiology, Hematology, and Immunology. She has also facilitated MVP partnerships with Lockheed Martin/Leidos, 7 Bridges Genomics, the Department of Energy, and National Institute of Aging (NIA).

Before joining ORD, Jenny received her Ph.D. in Functional Genomics from North Carolina State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH.

Associate Director of Scientific Programs, Million Veterans Program, VA

Lauren Pavlik serves as the Chief for Data and Software Services within the Enterprise Cloud Management Agency under the Army CIO’s Office. In this position she supports the CReATE DevSecOps software environment for the Army, Cloud Cybersecurity modernization and automation, and cData efforts.  

Previously, Ms. Pavlik served as the Chief Information Officer for PEO Soldier. In this position she supported the workforce and the Soldier with cloud technologies, cybersecurity innovation and modernization, enterprise data management strategy and analytics, and network operations. She also served as the Lead CIO for ASA ALT’s CIO Council.  

Ms. Pavlik also held acquisition positions at PEO Enterprise Information Systems to include Deputy Technical Director for Army Leader Dashboard (now known as Army Vantage), Project Manager for the Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud Migration (GFEBS and AESIP), Deputy Knowledge Management Team Lead and Knowledge Management Specialist. Ms. Pavlik successfully led diverse teams to deliver enterprise process automations, data visualization capabilities, multiple cloud migrations to unclassified and classified environments and unified knowledge management in multiple areas. 

In 2012, Ms. Pavlik earned her Master's degree in Information Systems Management from Strayer University. She also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University. Ms. Pavlik is a graduate of the Department of the Army’s Emerging Enterprise Leader program at University of Alabama Huntsville. She is also a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Core.   

Ms. Pavlik began her career in private industry producing national print, radio, and television campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and non-profits with an average audience of 60 to 180 million. 

Chief, Data & Software Services, Enterprise Cloud Management Agency, Army
Laura Prietula
Laura Prietula
Deputy CIO, Electronic Health Record Modernization Integration Office, VA

Ms. Rathbun currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Information Warfare and Enterprise Services (DASN IWAR) on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. She is also dual-hatted as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) on the staff of the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer.

As DASN IWAR, she supports an $8+B portfolio of programs and projects that deliver the systems for information-centric capabilities, services, processes, and security, including Command and Control; Communications; Networks; Cloud; Cyber; Intelligence; Meteorology and Oceanography; Spectrum; Position, Navigation and Timing; Productivity; Logistics; Personal; Acquisition; Financial; and many other enterprise services. In addition to program support Ms. Rathbun drives key software acquisition reforms and is the Navy’s IT Acquisition Workforce lead.

As CTO she is focused on leveraging modern principles and technologies to drive the modernization of key elements of the DON’s IT Infrastructure to include the establishment of a unified network architecture, movement to a culture of enterprise cloud services and execution of zero trust principles through identity services to enable a mobile, agile, secure and interoperable operational force in meeting their mission.

Prior to selection as DASN, Ms. Rathbun served as the Deputy Director for Defense Business Systems in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3, Cyber, and Business Systems (DASD C3CB) within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. She was responsible for shaping the acquisitions of the Department’s major Defense Business Systems and Enterprise IT Infrastructure Services investments, a portfolio valued at over $15B, impacting the readiness of every soldier, sailor, airman and marine, their dependents and military retirees. In addition, she led multiple process improvement efforts focused on modernizing and optimizing the acquisition of business and IT services, software acquisition methods and tools, cloud services, and the management and governance of Defensewide capabilities.

Ms. Rathbun has had a diverse career in the government. Her assignments include: the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces; the Office of the Secretary of Defense Program Analysis and Evaluation as an operations research analyst for readiness and PPBS reform; HQ NASA where she served as a change lead on the SAP enterprise resource planning solution implementation and the Acting Director of Resources, NASA Comptroller; Chief of Staff for the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed initiative, Institutional Reform and Governance Roadmap, where she guided a cross-department team through development of management reforms including implementation of a Capability Portfolio Management process; AT&L as Special Assistant to the Director of Portfolio Systems Acquisition for Program Management Empowerment and Accountability implementing Weapon System Acquisition Reform Act initiatives; Acting Division Chief for the Strategic Capabilities Office in the J1/8 Resources Directorate, United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, leading analysis of assessment of command operations, and alignment and advocacy of resources to the Command Strategy; and Chief of Staff to the DASD C3CB, facilitating the coordination and synchronization of cross-DASD efforts, requirements, and resources, identifying opportunities for process and management improvements focused on optimizing the delivery of program support and advocacy.

Ms. Rathbun received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from John Carroll University and a Master in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She has earned top civilian service awards for her various efforts and contributions. Ms. Rathbun is Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certified – Program Management, Level III.

CTO, Department of the Navy
Akanksha Sharma
Akanksha Sharma
Director, Digital Transformation & SES, DOL

Karla Smith Jackson is the Senior Procurement Executive, Deputy Chief Acquisition Officer, and Assistant Administrator for the Office of Procurement at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In this role, she provides senior executive leadership and oversight of NASA's procurement functions, policy, and initiatives to an acquisition workforce of over 4,000 personnel.

Ms. Smith Jackson serves on the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) Board of Directors, the Federal Acquisition Institute Board of Directors, and on the

Federal Acquisition Regulation Council. She is one of only three signatory authorities that can execute procurement policies and procedures on behalf of the United States Federal Government. Ms. Smith Jackson has over 30 years of extensive federal service experience and is Level III–certified in the Contracting (Acquisition) Career Field.

Ms. Smith Jackson is known as a global speaker, panelist, and is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Presidential Rank Award, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, and the OSD Medal for Humanitarian Civilian Service. She was also recognized as one of WashingtonExec’s Top Contract Execs to Watch in 2023.


Senior Procurement Executive & Assistant Administrator for Procurement, NASA

Deborah Stephens is the Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She is the principal advisor to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), manages day-to-day OCIO operations, ensures value delivery across four product lines, and leads over 600 federal employees in their IT modernization efforts, guiding continual improvements to transform IT for maximum stakeholder value.

Ms. Stephens has served the USPTO for over 25 years in multiple key leadership roles. Prior to the OCIO, she was the Associate Commissioner for the Office of Patent Information Management, providing strategic direction and leading the improvement of information systems for patent applications. She has acted as Associate Commissioner for Patents and worked in the Office of the Under Secretary and Director of the USPTO.

A visionary leader, she is passionate about technology and driving change as the OCIO builds and delivers IT products and services for the mission with improved speed, efficiency and reliability. As DCIO, she has led an IT transformation and a strategic pivot to a new way of working and product-driven approach to scale enterprise value delivery and foster innovation for the mission. She is a transformative servant leader that understands that to deliver any change it has to happen one employee at a time. With this in mind, Ms. Stephens leads with empathy, and values her opportunity to work with each faithful public servant in OCIO to deliver innovative solutions for continuous mission support.

She earned a BA degree from George Mason University and a Master’s in Human Resource Management from George Washington University. She has served as a national voice for women in technology and is a featured speaker at conferences nationwide. In 2023, she received the highly regarded Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership from the School of Public Affairs at American University. Ms. Stephens has volunteered her time for 18 years for the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Deputy Chief Information Officer, USPTO

Melissa S. Vice is the director of the Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP) at the Department of Defense (DOD) Cyber Crime Center (DC3), Linthicum, MD.

The DOD VDP was established by the Secretary of Defense and its mission is to function as the single focal point for receiving vulnerability reports and interacting with crowd-sourced cybersecurity researchers supporting the DOD Information Network (DODIN). 

Prior to her position as the DOD VDP Director, Ms. Vice was the Chief Technology Officer of the Business Mission Area (BMA) for The Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, Management (SAF/MG) / Deputy Chief Management Office (DCMO) in charge of road-mapping 400+ information systems to the cloud with a portfolio value of $938M. Prior to 11 years with the DOD, Ms. Vice worked in the private sector at General Electric (GE) Aviation Division, as a global database developer and administrator (Oracle DBDA) for all commercial and military aircraft engine repairs worldwide. While at GE among the world’s most talented aeronautical engineers, Ms. Vice had the thrill of a lifetime piloting her first 360 in a coworker’s restored 1957 Stearman (open cockpit bi-plane).

Director, Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP), Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3)

Lucinda Wade is a highly experienced professional with an extensive history of driving digital innovation and transformation within government agencies.

In her past role as a Product Manager at the Digital Service within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Lucinda leads essential digital modernization initiatives. Her primary objective is to enhance interoperability and ensure open access to critical public health data within CMS, impacting more than 150 million beneficiaries and a budget of $1.7 trillion.

Before joining the Digital Service team, Lucinda served as a White House Leadership Development Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget's Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer. In this capacity, she provided pivotal programmatic leadership, focusing on areas such as cybersecurity, technology modernization, and IT sustainability. Lucinda played a central role in shaping critical initiatives, including the development of the President's Budget and the National Cybersecurity Strategy. Additionally, she provided invaluable guidance to agency CIOs, assisting them in crafting robust strategies for the Technology Modernization Fund.

Throughout her career, Lucinda has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting federal, private, and non-profit sectors. Her efforts have consistently centered on streamlining business processes and enhancing senior leaders' capabilities to monitor and evaluate the performance of multi-billion dollar IT portfolios. Lucinda has adeptly bridged the gap between IT and finance, ensuring the seamless delivery of IT services to a global customer base of 75,000. She has also played a pivotal role in establishing and enhancing strategic plans and operational strategies for non-profit organizations operating with budgets of up to $1.5 million.

Lucinda’s academic credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in English from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from George Mason University, and a CIO certification from the National Defense University. Her enduring dedication to advancing IT excellence continues to exert a profound impact on critical government initiatives.

Associate CIO for Resource Management and CFO, DOT

Teresa Weipert has more than 30 years of strategic government contracting experience in driving dynamic change for teams, customers, and the organizations she leads. Her transformational leadership style is built on bringing key stakeholders from across a business together for open dialogue to identify operational improvements. She excels at building teams that design and deliver innovative, technology-enabled solutions that meet mission-critical business requirements and drive growth.

Today, she serves as the General Manager of the Federal Services Segment, where she is responsible for all operations, financial, and business development activities for the company’s U.S. Federal business. Ms. Weipert joined Maximus in 2021 with a focus on modernizing the company’s digital, enterprise IT, and BPO portfolios and putting the Federal division on a growth trajectory consistent with both the market opportunity and the relevance of the business to Maximus’ growth as a company.

Previously, Ms. Weipert led the management of the healthcare, life sciences, and State, Local, and Education (SLED) service lines at IBM. This robust portfolio included application maintenance and support, custom application, and hybrid cloud services. Preceding her role at IBM, Ms. Weipert served as a Senior Vice President in the government group at Sutherland Global Services. There, she not only created the business unit but, at the same time, drove triple-digit growth in the company’s service center management, contact center management, business process outsourcing, and analytics service areas.  

Prior to her role at Sutherland, Ms. Weipert led the strategic business initiatives in outsourcing for the Health and Public Sector industry at Accenture. She also served as vice president at Unisys, where she led the strategic programs and initiatives for the Global Outsourcing Division.

Ms. Weipert has served on various Cloud Computing Groups and currently serves on the Dean’s Council for the George Mason University School of Management. She is a frequent speaker to educational and community groups on various technical topics, including cloud computing, and is a member of WIT (Women in Technology), AFFIRM, and ACT-IAC.

Ms. Weipert holds an MS in Information Systems from The George Washington University.

General Manager, Federal Services Segment, Maximus

Ms. Lily Zeleke is the acting Deputy CIO (DCIO) for the Information Enterprise (IE). In this role, she provides oversight, policy guidance, and digital expertise for DoD enterprise infrastructure initiatives driving toward the objectives of digital modernization. She leads Department-wide execution of strategic guidance aimed at achieving an operationally effective and secure Information Enterprise in a cost-efficient manner. Areas of priority include network optimization, cloud adoption, software modernization, and IT reform. She recently served as the Principal Director (PD) for the DCIO IE. Prior to these roles, Ms. Zeleke served as the Acting PD for the DCIO for Resources & Analysis (DCIO RA) as well as the Director of Resources, Program, and Budget. She was responsible for the management of DoD CIO’s processes for Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution to include management of DoD CIO’s operating budget; the collection and submission of the DoD IT/Cyberspace Activities Budget to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress; execution of the DoD Budget Certification process; and DoD CIO’s participation in the Department’s Program Budget Review.

From 2009 to 2018, Ms. Zeleke served as the Department’s radiofrequency spectrum policy lead for all matters related to spectrum use, reallocation, and auction. In this capacity, she led the strategic development of the Department’s mobile broadband and domestic regulatory, policy, and legislative initiatives for the DCIO for Command, Control, and Communications (DCIO C3). She functioned as the liaison between DoD and spectrum stakeholders across the Department, national spectrum regulators, White House/Executive Branch agencies, and Congress, and spearheaded a wide range of complex initiatives to evolve traditional spectrum policies and practices to be more responsive to increased demand. She partnered with these stakeholders to forge an innovative solution that resulted in an amicable commercial auction decision of the highly sought 1755-1780 MHz band, expanding commercial Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-3) while preserving military capabilities. The auction brought in $44 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $3.1 billion for DoD. She led a coalition that developed a first-of-its-kind DoD spectrum efficiency principles policy memo, which became the cornerstone of the DoD 2020 Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy.

Prior to joining DoD CIO, Ms. Zeleke served as the Deputy Technical Director and International Division Chief at the Air Force Frequency Management Agency where she advised on all matters concerning international telecommunications policy for spectrum use, and led Air Force participation in the International Telecommunications Union World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), a global summit that reviews the international treaty governing the use of radiofrequency spectrum. Previously, she served as advisor to the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Defense Spectrum Organization on international spectrum regulatory policy, as well as a RF product support engineer at Allied Signal Inc.

Ms. Zeleke holds a M.S. in Systems Engineering from George Mason University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas. She is a Senior Executive Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and has been recognized on numerous occasions for her work including a National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation for her significant contribution to the success of the AWS-3 auction.

Ms. Zeleke is married and has one daughter. She believes a healthy work-life balance is critical to achieving effective productivity.

Acting Deputy CIO, Information Enterprise, DOD


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January 18, 2024 | 9:00 - 11:30 AM
Thompson Hotel DC

Breakfast and structured working meeting with discussion topics.

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July 18, 2024 | 5:00 - 7:00 PM

Networking opportunity to meet members within our WTL community in a relaxed atmosphere.

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September 26, 2024 | 9:00 - 11:30 AM

Breakfast and structured working meeting with discussion topics.


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