You’ve had a very distinguished career, what would you point to as you’re most defining moments?
I’m particularly proud of three things in my career. First, serving as a Russian translator for Secretary of Defense William Perry in the first-ever joint Russian and American military exercise, which occurred in Hawaii while I was stationed there. Second, working as the lead IT communications coordinator for more than 50 federal, state and local agencies during the recovery effort in 2003 for Space Shuttle Columbia. And third, overseeing the various cybersecurity programs at DHS. I was able to help grow the organization and accomplish the agency’s mission including the deployment of the EINSTEIN technology which was used to discover a significant data breach.
Has there been one person who has influenced you in your career journey?
When I was at NASA, one of my bosses, now retired, encouraged me to expand my security knowledge. He urged me to look across the board at all areas of security and do everything I could to expand my education and training. I became a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, a certified forensic examiner, got a degree in IT and a Masters in Cybersecurity. If I hadn’t listened to him, I might not be where I am today.
Your job clearly takes a lot of time and energy, but when you are not hands on at work, what do you do to relax?
I love to bake. Name your dessert, and I can do it. Coconut cake and eggnog cheesecake are two of my specialties. I have a pretty busy job so I really get baking in earnest around the holidays. Every Christmas, I have five to seven different desserts. If I could do it year round, everybody in my household would be thrilled.