The Importance of Mentorship from GREAT Women in National Security

LTG (Ret) Karen Gibson, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper at the U.S. Senate (at left), and Deputy Assistant Secretary Annette Redmond for Intelligence Policy and Coordination at the U.S. Department of State (at right), join the Lipstick Mafia founded by, Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems for an evening of community building and mentorship connections.
LTG (Ret) Karen Gibson, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper at the U.S. Senate (at left), and Deputy Assistant Secretary Annette Redmond for Intelligence Policy and Coordination at the U.S. Department of State (at right), join the Lipstick Mafia founded by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems for an evening of community building and mentorship connections, in honor of Women's History Month.

In its inaugural year, the 2022 Women in National Security (WINS) Media Festival brought together many organizations serving the National Security, Defense, and Intelligence communities, and AST Editorial Director was delighted to be on hand to participate.

March 14th through 19th, 2022, in honor of Women’s History Month, these esteemed organizations jointly celebrated and illuminated the Role of Women in National Security through public and media events designed to honor their service by amplifying and sharing their stories.

Kristin Wood, Former Senior Intelligence Officer with the CIA, and CEO of the Grist Mill Exchange
Kristin Wood, Former Senior Intelligence Officer with the CIA, and CEO of the Grist Mill Exchange

“Our team created the Women in National Security Media Festival to celebrate the role women play in protecting our country,” explained Kristin Wood, Former Senior Intelligence Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and

“The week-long series of events featured events we sponsored and those hosted by organizations that have long served this community.”

“It was a very special week that culminated in the Living Legends Gala dinner where the first annual Virginia Hall Goillot award was presented to Brad and Linda Catling, Virginia Hall’s grand-niece and nephew.”

“It was a joyful, magical evening of celebration, paying tribute to those who come before us, and welcoming the next generations to service.  I already can’t wait for next year.”

The festival saw a number of events hosted by many of these organizations, which included a book event, a film series, a campaign to secure a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor for Office of Strategic Services (OSS) legend Virginia Hall, a panel discussion on the importance of mentorship, and closed with a Living Legends gala dinner celebration recognizing modern-day heroes.

Megan Jaffer, Co-Founder, Amazing Women of the Intelligence Community (AWIC)
Megan Jaffer, Co-Founder, Amazing Women of the Intelligence Community (AWIC)

“I look forward to Women’s History Month every year, it is a time of education, inspiration, and reflection on history,” commented Megan Jaffer, Co-Founder of ‘Amazing Women of the Intelligence Community (AWIC)’.”

“This year with the launch of the Women in National Security Media Festival and celebrating the life and work of Virginia Hall, shows the strength in working together and the importance of supporting, empowering, and creating things together as women!”

 

Lipstick Mafia Networking & Mentoring Event, hosted by NEC National Security Systems (NSS)

LTG (Ret) Karen Gibson, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper at the U.S. Senate (at left), and Deputy Assistant Secretary Annette Redmond for Intelligence Policy and Coordination at the U.S. Department of State (at right), join the Lipstick Mafia founded by, Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems for an evening of community building and mentorship connections.
LTG (Ret) Karen Gibson, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper at the U.S. Senate (at left), and Deputy Assistant Secretary Annette Redmond for Intelligence Policy and Coordination at the U.S. Department of State (at right), join the Lipstick Mafia founded by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems for an evening of community building and mentorship connections, in honor of Women’s History Month.

Over a decade ago, a group of women from across the intelligence, law enforcement, and defense communities decided to formalize long-standing friendships which transcended typically closed communities to share experience and mentor the next generation of leaders.

They adopted the name ‘Lipstick Mafia’, first for fun, and then as an identity.

“Slowed for formal gatherings by COVID, we reconvened on March 17th, 2022 wearing a bit of green of course for St Patrick’s Day, and celebrating Women’s History Month,” explained Lipstick Mafia founder and current President of NEC NSS, Dr. Kathleen Kiernan.

Dr. Kiernan opened the discussion with a story (being Irish Catholic) that resonated with it being St Patricks Day, and the purpose of the evening.

Lipstick Mafia – the Mission

There were three religious figures in a boat that wanted to get to shore. They studied the situation and the first said, the trick is to be fast, whereon he sprung from the boat moving very fast, took three steps before plunging below the water.

The two remaining studies the outcome and the second said, the trick is to take bigger steps, whereupon he sprung from the boat, took three large steps before plunging below the water.

The third person stepped from the boat, and with slow calm steps proceeded to walk with care to the shore. ‘It’s a miracle’ shouting people on the shore whereby the third person said ‘it wasn’t really a miracle, I just knew where the stones are.’

“And that’s what Lipstick Mafia is trying to do,” said Dr. Kiernan. “To share from experienced leaders, where the stones are, for navigating life, careers, and opportunities to help cultivate and guide the next generation of leaders.

“And that’s what Lipstick Mafia is trying to do,” said Dr. Kiernan. “To share from experienced leaders, where the stones are, for navigating life, careers, and opportunities to help cultivate and guide the next generation of leaders.”

In keeping with our tradition, we hosted two senior experienced leaders, Deputy Assistant Secretary Annette Redmond for Intelligence Policy and Coordination at the U.S. Department of State and LTG (Ret) Karen Gibson, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper at the U.S. Senate.

Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) Annette Redmond joined the Department of State in September 2017 as the Director of the Department’s newly created Technology and Innovation Office (TIO).

As TIO Director, she provided executive leadership and management of the Department’s Intelligence Information Technology enterprise and served as the Department’s Intelligence Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Annette led the Department’s modernization efforts in the Intelligence Information Enterprise in partnership with the Intelligence Community (IC). Her efforts delivered, secured, and protected an expanding intelligence network and IT systems providing Intelligence access to both foreign policy and intelligence professionals throughout the Department.

Annette has previously served in the IC and Department of Defense (DOD) for more than 30 years both as a retired Army officer and senior civilian. She served in senior executive positions at Army most recently as the Army’s Intelligence CIO.

In this capacity, she was responsible for the direction and oversight of global Intelligence Information Management/ Information Technology (IM/IT) capabilities for over 57,000 Intelligence military, civilian, and contractor professionals.

She earlier served as the Enterprise Advisor to the Commanding General (CG) of US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). There she provided senior intelligence operations expertise and advice on national, joint, coalition, and Army Intelligence requirements.

In over 21 years as an Army Military Intelligence officer, Annette served in numerous assignments in increasing responsibility.

Annette L. Redmond, Deputy Assistant Secretary to the U.S. State Department (Courtesy of Norwich University and Facebook)
Annette L. Redmond, Deputy Assistant Secretary to the U.S. State Department (Courtesy of Norwich University and Facebook)

Annette led intelligence operations as a JTF J2, commander, operational intelligence expert, and soldier at tactical and strategic echelons, command, and staff elements, always driving to mission success.

Her duties and accomplishments have cut across many facets of intelligence operations and information technology, data management, and system interoperability. She is known for her enthusiasm, collaborative leadership, and Can-Do attitude.

Annette talked about her unconventional journey beginning at a time when there was a lot that women couldn’t do when she first joined the army, and spoke about the importance of ‘knowing from whence you came – because if you don’t know where you came from, it’s harder to fight for where you want to go. 

She encouraged education, reading and the book ‘Start.: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters‘- by John Akuff, which really spoke to her.

“Get to know your peers, your male allies – they are good partners too – and just get started,” she shared.

Annette also shared her experience and the importance of ‘Holding people to appropriate standards,’ you can do it professionally and please do, but do it – and I don’t care if it’s your boss’s boss, because it’s important. I’ve tried to do it my whole career. Be who you are and trust your inner voice.

Annette talked about the challenges of balancing a career with having a family, especially when both are career officers in the military balancing multiple back-to-back deployments, and stressed ‘It really matters who you choose to spend your life with because if they’re not a good teammate, you’re only making your own life harder.

Her advice to her children and repeatedly to herself along her entire career: “Don’t stand still. Start moving. And show up every day, and keep doing it – and you’ll figure out the path.”

“Even if you don’t know what the end goal looks like, it will become more clear as you go.”

(Listen in on this “Women Kicking Glass” discussion, between 2018 alumna Tina Stevens, Secondary Solutions’ CEO and chief problem solver, and Annette L. Redmond, Deputy Assistant Secretary to the U.S. State Department, as they reflect on their student days at Norwich University, their subsequent careers, and offer workplace wisdom and advice for success.  Part of Norwich University’s “Legacy of Learning” series, courtesy of Norwich University and YouTube.)

Karen Gibson became the Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate on March 22, 2021, having recently completed a 33-year military career in which she attained the rank of Lieutenant General in the United States Army.

Ms. Gibson has performed in numerous intelligence and cyberspace operations roles, culminating her military service as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for National Security Partnerships.

In previous assignments, she served as Director of Intelligence for United States Central Command; Director of Intelligence for Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the multinational coalition to defeat ISIS; and Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Army Cyber Command.

A seasoned combat veteran, Ms. Gibson has led intelligence-operations fusion centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, East Africa, and the United States.

“Good mentors provide value throughout the entirety of one’s career, to include at the highest levels of leadership. Thank you to organizations like the Lipstick Mafia, who make so many mentorship connections possible.”

Karen H. Gibson, Sergeant at Arms,United States Senate

Ms. Gibson is a native of Bozeman, Montana. She earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, a M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College, and a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University. She is married and has two adult children.

Gibson opened her talk by sharing with attendees that her generation was steeped deep in the wisdom of ‘Seinfeld’, and spoke to episode 6, season 8 where the Mentor/Protégé Relationship was the topic of discussion (see below.)

(Ms. Gibson shared that her generation was steeped deep in the wisdom of Seinfeld, and described the challenges George had trying to get his head around the Mentor/Protégé Relationship. Courtesy of Michael Flack and YouTube.)

Gibson next shared that she believes everybody needs a Mentor, and applauded the military for doing a great job of investing in soldiers, with evaluations and guidance always towards building towards leadership development.

She said as a young officer she was always watching and observing to determine what paths and legacies she wanted to follow. Who’s way of commanding did she respect and wish to model herself after in her career, and equally important who’s examples she did not want to follow.

Karen Gibson, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (Courtesy of YouTube)
Karen Gibson, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (Courtesy of YouTube)

She noted that interestingly enough as rose higher in the military she found fewer and fewer opportunities to find the leadership counseling, coaching, and advising of a mentor, she so enjoyed, just at a time when she needed it most.

As a Lieutenant General Higher-level mentors became less available, as for one thing there were fewer higher-ranking officers, and that those officers were tasked with tremendous responsibilities and therefore had less available time. However, that she really missed those mentorship relationships of her past.

Furthermore, she explained that with her increased rank she found herself working on brand new initiatives using the latest technologies, and tasked with responsibilities that had never been before done, so there was often no one on hand to discuss challenges and outcomes.

(Hear from Karen Gibson, the Senate sergeant-at-arms. Courtesy of CNN and YouTube. Posted on Jun 6, 2021.)

For advisement, Gibson shared:

  1. Everyone needs mentors.

  2. Mentorship becomes even more important as you advance and face unique situations and challenges.

  3. She encouraged attendees to seek out multiple mentors. Don’t look to one mentor to have all of the experiences you might be looking for to address different aspects of your life and career. You might find one mentor who offers great guidance in your chosen career path, but another that can best guide you in the area of balancing career and family for example.

  4. Don’t limit yourself to seeking out only mentors ‘who look like you.’ There is great value in having a mentor that comes from a shared background, such as the great opportunities presented by Lipstick Mafia, but there is also great value in seeking mentorship from a diverse group of individuals on a similar path.

  5. Gibson shared that she regrets not having sought out more mentors along the way, and earlier in her career and that the best advice she would give her younger self would be to seek out mentors earlier and more frequently.

  6. She encouraged attendees to make the effort, build up their confidence, observe potential mentors with care for a good match, and reach out to build successful Mentor/Protégé Relationships.

  7. Gibson left off exclaiming how rewarding and how much she gets back in the relationships with those that she now mentors today. And how wonderful it is to be a part of a team working on a common purpose, rather than self-interest.

Ultimately, this is how we can all help bring around the next generation of leaders.

DAS Redmond also encouraged attendees to look to the private industry for mentoring opportunities as well. That there are many private industry and private partnership executives that are doing just as much to protect national security as we are.

In addition, Liza Mundy, author of “Code Girls, the Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II”; and Katherine Schweit, Former Special Agent and Executive of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and author of ‘Stop the Killing, How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis’ attended and signed their recently published works.

Liza Mundy, author of "Code Girls, the Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II"; and Katherine Schweit, Former Special Agent and Executive of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and author of 'Stop the Killing, How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis'
Liza Mundy, author of “Code Girls, the Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II”; and Katherine Schweit, Former Special Agent and Executive of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and author of ‘Stop the Killing, How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis’

Ms. Mundy and Schweit spent time speaking with Lipstick Mafia attendees, and graciously offering information and future mentoring opportunities to the young and upcoming leaders in the group.

We were joined by over 125 women who are at the start, middle, and top of their careers, and for the first time welcomed a class from Coastal Carolina University (CCU) which hosts one of the largest undergraduate programs in Intelligence and Security Studies, and the WOMEN IN INTELLIGENCE & NATIONAL SECURITY Program, along with our charter members from Marymount University, graduate program in Forensic and Legal Psychology

The attendees, from a spectrum of career paths in the intelligence, law enforcement, and defense communities, shared with AST Editorial Director Tammy Waitt, how excited they were to take part in the intimate, informative, educational, and transformational evening, and grateful for the opportunity to make connections with the many female trailblazers who were guests and joined us for the event.

We ran out of time and out of books, which are the earmarks of a great event. The theme of mentoring and shared experience is truly a lifelong commitment and our obligation as leaders,said Kiernan.

Stay tuned for the next event in a larger venue this summer.

 

Living Legends Gala

The Inaugural Virginia Hall Goillot Awards Gala Dinner was held on March 18th on the Terrace of the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.

Virginia Hall Goillot was an American who worked with the United Kingdom’s clandestine Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in France during World War II, with the objective of conducting espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers, especially Nazi Germany.

Hall was a pioneering agent for the SOE, arriving in Vichy France on 23 August 1941, the first female agent to take up residence in France, where she created the Heckler network in Lyon.

Over the next 15 months, she “became an expert at support operations – organizing resistance movements; supplying agents with money, weapons, and supplies; helping downed airmen to escape; offering safe houses and medical assistance to wounded agents and pilots.”

She fled France in November 1942 to avoid capture by the Germans.

(See the trailer for A Call to Spy, a WWII Espionage Thriller Movie based on Virginia Hall. Courtesy of FilmIsNow Movie Trailers and YouTube.)

The Germans gave her the nickname Artemis, and the Gestapo reportedly considered her “the most dangerous of all Allied spies.”

Having lost part of her leg in a hunting accident, Hall used a prosthesis she named “Cuthbert.” She was also known as “The Limping Lady” by the Germans and as “Marie of Lyon” by many of the SOE agents, she assisted.

She returned to France as a wireless operator for the OSS in March 1944 as a member of the Saint network.

Working in territory still occupied by the German army and mostly without the assistance of other OSS agents, she supplied arms, training, and direction to French resistance groups, called Maquisards, especially in Haute-Loire where the Maquis cleared the department of German soldiers prior to the arrival of the American army in September 1944.

After World War II Hall worked for the Special Activities Division of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

(CIA’s history is filled with extraordinary tales of derring-do, some of which seem more likely to come from a Hollywood studio than from a government agency. In this video, we talk about one such officer who led a life that was anything but ordinary. Courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency and YouTube.)

Virginia Hall was the ONLY American woman awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in World War II or since then.

In November 2013, a bill was introduced to Congress “to award the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the members of the OSS in recognition of their superior service and major contributions during World War II.” Hall was specifically mentioned in the bill.

Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal
Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal

The members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) received the Congressional Gold Medal on March 21, 2018 during a ceremony in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol. The medal, conferred collectively, recognizes the members of the OSS for their superior service and major contributions during World War II.

Its obverse (heads) features the inscription “OSS” revealing three figures – a woman, a paratrooper, and a man in a suit – that represent the broad range of work undertaken by the OSS.

Each figure is rendered as a shape without details, hinting at the way OSS agents sought to operate anonymously. The diversity in the OSS is also reflected by the figures, conveying that OSS members were men and women, civilian and military.

The design also features the dates “1942-1945,” the years during which the OSS operated.

However, there is a contingency of Women in National Security who continue to work tirelessly to petition to be recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal for her service, and an update was provided by The Honorable Ellen McCarthy.

A touching keynote address was provided by The Honorable Sue Gordon, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence who spoke to the ‘hidden women’ in our lives and the significant and lasting impact they contribute.

The Honorable Sue Gordon, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence
The Honorable Sue Gordon, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence

She made a series of analogies featuring spectacular basketball players (understandable in light that Gordon led the Duke women’s basketball team from 1976 to 1980 as the only three-time captain in its history, before graduating magna cum laude in 1980).

Gordon encouraged gala attendees to recognize that Excellence and Leadership Doesn’t Only have One Look.

Leaders must have vision, integrity, drive, the ability to inspire, and a number of characteristics, but how they do those things can be very different. They don’t have to look like our preconceived notions from centuries past.

“Look at the outcome being produced, give room for difference, and recognize excellence in different forms,” as more women move into leadership positions.

She also advised attendees not to let anyone ask them to be less than they are. Focus on being great. Own your space.

She also advised attendees, particularly early on in their career to focus on being great. Keep your nose down. Your performance is not dictated by anything someone else does.

Remember to hold your space. Don’t let anyone make you small. Don’t let anyone ask you to be less than you are. Hold your space and focus ruthlessly on the job you’re doing.

Then she asked us how many times we’ve been made small in order for someone else to appear bigger… to shine. And let us all know it’s okay for us all to shine.

(Hear directly from The Honorable Sue Gordon, former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Duke University Rubenstein Fellow, as part of the Fuqua School of Business Distinguished Speakers Series. Courtesy of Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business and YouTube.)

(Short Take: U.S. Intelligence Expert Sue Gordon: Excellence Doesn’t Have One Look. Courtesy of Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business and YouTube.)

(Short Take: U.S. Intelligence Expert Sue Gordon: Hold Your Space. Don’t let anyone ask you to be less than you are. Courtesy of Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business and YouTube.)

Next addressing Living Legends Gala attendees was Erika Robuck, author of ‘The Invisible Woman, an extraordinary profile of the immense courage and daring of Virginia Hall and an intimate look at the cost of war.’

Ms. Robuck shared a few of her most significant experiences on the path to researching and learning the behind-the-scenes stories of Virginia Hall Goillot.

(Learn More by this conversation with Ms. Erika Robuck, Author of The Invisible Woman -ThinkJSOU [Joint Special Operations University (JSOU)] 15 September 2021. Courtesy of Think JSOU  and YouTube. Posted on Nov 3, 2021.)

“The planning for the media festival was such an incredible journey,” said The Honorable Ellen McCarthy, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence.

The Honorable Ellen McCarthy, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence
The Honorable Ellen McCarthy, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence

“I am continuously amazed at what women can do when we work together…twice the work in half the time.”

“I think we all channeled our inner Virginia Hall and never for a moment did we doubt that this event would make her proud.”

“This was a labor of love, and I know that I got way more out of it than I put in!”

Inaugural Virginia Hall Goillot Awards Gala Dinner was hosted by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), the International Spy Museum, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society, Whitespace Solutions, the Lipstick Mafia, Clearance Jobs, the Ascendancy Group,  the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), Spycraft Entertainment, Beacon Global Strategies, Politics and Prose, the Intelligence and National Security Foundation (INSF), George Mason University, the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, the Spookstock Foundation, girlsecurity, Leticia A. Long, Gordon Ventures, Core4ce, the National Cryptologic Foundation (NCF), the Cipher Brief, Amazing Women of the Intelligence Community (AWIC), NEC National Security Systems (NEC NSS) a NEC Company, the Leadership Council for Women in National Security (LCWINS), the National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Tremendous respect and sincerest gratitude for the tremendous job done by the 2022 Women in National Security (WINS) Media Festival Organizing Committee, The Honorable Sue Gordon, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence; The Honorable Ellen McCarthy, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence; Kristin Wood, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency; Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg, President, Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA); Suzanne Kelly, CEO and Publisher, The Cipher Brief; Megan Jaffer, Co-Founder, Amazing Women of the Intelligence Community (AWIC), Cadie Naquin, Executive Director, Amazing Women of the Intelligence Community (AWIC); Janaki Kates, Director of Government Relations for Intelligence Programs and former Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency; Cynthia Saddy, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency; Kelli Holden, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency; and Meredith Woodruff, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency.

Introducing the WOMEN OF NEC: Georgette Hunter-Franklin

Georgette Hunter-Franklin, Director of Organizational Development, Culture and DEI at NEC of America
Georgette Hunter-Franklin, Director of Organizational Development, Culture and DEI at NEC of America

Georgette Hunter-Franklin is the Director of Organizational Development, Culture, and DEI at NEC of America.

Georgette is a globally experienced, results-driven HR leader with proven success leading Learning and Talent Management solutions within Fortune 100 companies.

She explains “I’ve enjoyed being a global people leader and having the opportunity to help others build their careers. I’ve served employees across the globe and excelled in building strong relationships with all levels of the organization from front-line managers to executives.”

Georgette is responsible for preparing NEC for transformation by ensuring strategic and cultural consistency in both Organizational Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) through identifying high-impact solutions that maximize business impact and work alongside the broader HR team to execute a focused strategy across the organization.

As a seasoned HR leader in technology, Georgette has more than 15 years of global experience in leadership training, talent, and organizational development.

When asked for further details on her goals with NEC, Georgette shared the following:

  • The work that I’m doing at NEC is in service of a cultural transformation that in part will enable our business transformation plan.

  • The Diversity work involves partnering with internal and external stakeholders to bring to life the company’s DEI goals.

  • The goals involve initiatives that I usually describe using the iceberg analogy.

    • There is a bit of work (iceberg) above the water that is visible to employees, executives, and external stakeholders and then there is a huge body of work (iceberg) that exists underneath the surface.

    • The below-the-surface work is where the real transformation happens. I have to balance the two to ensure we are demonstrating progress and building trust with all appropriate stakeholders.

  • A recent training I provided in Arlington, VA, was an opportunity to bring the NEC National Security Systems (NSS) team together for the first time in a session where we focused on building connections, exploring NEC’s Diversity goals and progress thus far, and built some awareness around Unconscious Bias, specifically Affinity bias and how we can mitigate our own biases.

  • Connectedness – Part of my area of responsibility is culture and part of building culture is creating authentic human connection. The session with the NSS team created space for the team to spend time together IRL “in real life” and learn more about who their colleagues were aside from their job titles. It was also an opportunity for me to meet NEC/NSS employees because I, too am new to the company, so I take every opportunity available to build trust with our teams.

  • Aside from my very long job title, I’m responsible for our Executive and Leadership Development Training, Performance Management, being a great partner and offering a point of view to our Global Business Unit (GBU) counterparts in aligning on NEC global people practices, and of course DEI.

  • A big part of DEI is effective Talent Management and analyzing our people data and translating it in a way that helps our leaders make decisions about hiring, developing, and planning for their organizations. We are the beginning of the journey in that space and that is what really excites me!

  • I’ve done deep Talent Management work at other technology companies and I know the goodness that can be realized when we leverage data to help us make good decisions in all areas of Talent, including how to build more diverse teams that are innovative, collaborative, and help businesses win!

Georgette holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Jackson State University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Louisiana Tech University.

Fun fact: Outside of work, Georgette loves to run and for 2022 she has committed to running a 5k each month!

Congratulations Georgette and thank you for sharing your time and insights with us.

We look forward to watching you grow in the organization and seeing your efforts continue to bear fruit. We wish you all the best in your endeavors!

Be On the Lookout (BOLO) to learn more about the Women of NEC in an ongoing series introducing some of the Women in Leadership at NEC Corporation.

NEC Recognized with Multi-Awards in 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program 

2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon (starting front row, left to right) SIMS Software President & CEO Michael Struttmann; TENEO Risk Advisory Executive Chairman Commissioner Bill Bratton; NEC National Security Systems President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan; TSA Administrator David Pekoske; Fortior Solutions General Counsel Katherine Cowan; NEC Corporation of America Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer Raffie Beroukhim; TENEO Risk Advisory Chief of Staff David Cagno; Infragard National Board Member Doug Farber, Lumina Analytics Co-Founder & Chairman Allan Martin, and AMAROK Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Mike Dorrington.
2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon (starting front row, left to right) SIMS Software President & CEO Michael Struttmann; TENEO Risk Advisory Executive Chairman Commissioner Bill Bratton; NEC National Security Systems President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan; TSA Administrator David Pekoske; Fortior Solutions General Counsel Katherine Cowan; NEC Corporation of America Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer Raffie Beroukhim; TENEO Risk Advisory Chief of Staff David Cagno; Infragard National Board Member Doug Farber, Lumina Analytics Co-Founder & Chairman Allan Martin, and AMAROK Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Mike Dorrington.

American Security Today’s Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program, and now in its Seventh Year, continues to recognize industry leaders of Physical and Border Security, Cybersecurity, Emergency Preparedness – Management and Response, Law Enforcement, First Responders, as well as federal, state and municipal government agencies in the acknowledgment of their outstanding efforts to Keep our Nation Secure.

NEC National Security Systems

NEC National Security Systems (NSS) provides full-service solutions for large agencies using the intellectual property and resources of the global NEC brand. (Courtesy of YouTube)
NEC National Security Systems (NSS) provides full-service solutions for large agencies using the intellectual property and resources of the global NEC brand. (Courtesy of YouTube)
  • Redstone Arsenal, one of the most important military bases in the US (serving the DoDDOJ, the NASA, and the likely future home of USSPACECOM, requires best-in-class security solutions, and with 44,000 employees and guests using the facility, it also requires solutions geared towards improving daily efficiency around the base.

  • In March 2021 Redstone began using a new NEC Face Recognition Algorithm (NeoFace) deployed by Leidos to verify all entries onto the base, while seated comfortably in their vehicles.

  • The NeoFace System minimizes time-consuming manual checks, and gives security personnel an added tool to verify identity with greater assurances.

(Redstone Arsenal is the only base in the country with this facial recognition technology.  “We are the only post right now with facial recognition. So, we are leading the army in this part of the technology,” said Redstone Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Mellor. “…all Arsenal employees, members of the military, and retirees and their dependents who utilize a Defense Common Access Card for entry to the installation are automatically registered in the pilot programs database via hand-held scanners at the Gates. Once the initial scan is complete, the registered individual is clear to use the Facial Recognition lanes,” added Arsenal representatives. Courtesy of WZDX News and YouTube. Posted on Mar 12, 2021.)

NEC Corporation of America

NEC I-Delight
NEC I:Delight revolutionizes the customer experience by streamlining your physical and digital identities into a trusted ecosystem, creating a unified experience. With contactless solutions that make touchpoints touchless, NEC I:Delight shapes personalized experiences that are safe, secure and hygenic while being seamlessly enjoyable.
  • A service that benefits everyone from passengers to TSA agents, NEC’s I:Delight offers a contactless mechanism that ultimately makes the airport experience more hygienic, something we’re all grateful for as the fight against COVID-19 rages on.

  • Technology truly made for its time; the NEC face matching algorithm has proven its accuracy even with a face mask, as identity verification can occur in as little as 1.5 seconds .

  • Biometrics-powered security is the future of travel, one where passengers seamlessly navigate across a global network with a single secure digital ID.

(The world’s largest global airline alliance, Star Alliance, launched its new #biometrics service, Star Alliance Biometrics in November 2020. The identity management platform provides travelers with a seamless curb-to-gate, #touchless experience using NEC I:Delight. This technology enables travelers simply create a single #DigitalID to pass through the airport from check-in, bag drop, security checkpoints to boarding, and beyond. Courtesy of NEC Corporation of America.)

NEC Corporation of America

  • NEC NeoFace Thermal Express

  • Best COVID-19 Detection Solution

  • Excellence in Innovation for Airport/Aviation Safety

  • As the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched on through the year, airports have gone above and beyond to avoid becoming hotspots of virus contraction as people cross paths from across the globe.

Hawaii has deployed NEC’s innovative NeoFace Thermal Express technology, at all five Hawaiian airports which automatically screens the body temperature of every arriving passenger entering the airport terminal.
  • Every state has taken a different approach to combat the deadly virus’s presence in travel hubs, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) turned to the experts in AI-powered technology for safety and security, NEC Corporation.

  • The State of Hawaii has deployed NEC’s innovative NeoFace Thermal Express technology, at all five Hawaiian airports which automatically screens the body temperature of every arriving passenger entering the airport terminal, to ensure they do not become hotspots of virus contraction as people cross paths from across the globe.

(The Hawaii Department of Transportation (DoT) partners with NEC to install a hygienic, contactless thermal body temperature screening solution at Hawaii’s 5 major airports. The purpose of this project is to protect the health and safety of the traveling community, the visitors and the residents and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Courtesy of NEC Corporation of America and YouTube.)

2021 ‘ASTORS’ Extraordinary Industry Leadership & Innovation Person of the Year

Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems and a dear friend to AST, receives her 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Extraordinary Industry Leadership & Innovation Person of the Year
Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems and a dear friend to AST, receives her 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Extraordinary Industry Leadership & Innovation Person of the Year
  • Dr. Kathleen Kiernan is the Founder and CEO of national security, education, risk management, and training firm Kiernan Group Holdings (KGH), Chair Emeritus of InfraGard National Members Alliance, and adjunct faculty member at the Naval Postgraduate School.

  • KGH serves customers across the US Government trade space, law enforcement, security, the risk management community.

  • With a special focus on the ultimate soft-target, our Nation’s schools, Kiernan believes preparedness is a mindset that can be learned and when practiced, prevents ordinary days from turning into extraordinary ones due to an active threat in any form, including those posed by insiders.

(Hear directly about the ‘Preparedness Without Paranoia’ Education and Training Series from Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, CEO & Founder of Kiernan Group Holdings. Courtsy of KGH and YouTube.)

PWPORG is proactively taking action to introduce the children and families in our communities, to skills and educational resources on safety and emergency preparedness, that when learned and practiced, will last for a lifetime.
  • Dr. Kiernan believes experience brings an obligation to foster professional development in others through mentoring and education which she does both inside and outside of formal classrooms.

  • She developed an approach to citizen engagement and education to increase confidence and decrease victimization in active threat environments.

  • Her dedication to public service includes her support to Veteran organizations and her 18-year participation in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research.

The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards highlight the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.

Thomas Richardson, FDNY Chief of Department; Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems; and Richard Blatus, FDNY Assistant Chief of Operations at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.

AST Honors Thomas Richardson, FDNY Chief of Department; Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems; and Richard Blatus, FDNY Assistant Chief of Operations, at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.

The United States was forever changed 20 years ago on September 11th, and we were fortunate to have many of those who responded to those horrific tragedies join us at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon.

In the days that followed 9/11, the critical needs of protecting our country catapulted us into new and innovative ways to secure our homeland – which is how many of the agencies and enterprise organizations that are today ‘ASTORS’ Awards Champions, came into being.

Our keynote speaker TSA Administrator David Pekoske delivered a moving and timely address on the strategic priorities of the 64,000 member TSA workforce in securing the transportation system, enabling safe, and in many cases, contactless travel, and more (Be sure to see Interview.)
TSA Administrator David Pekoske addressing attendees at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon in New York City on November 17, 2021. (Be sure to see AST Exclusive Interview, facilitated by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan HERE.)

Our 2021 keynote speaker featured a moving and informative address from TSA Administrator and Vice-Admiral of the United States Coast Guard (Ret), David Pekoske; to our attendees who traveled from across the United States and abroad, on the strategic priorities of the 64,000 member TSA workforce in securing the transportation system, enabling safe, and in many cases, contactless travel.

Commissioner Bill Bratton signing copies of his latest work, ‘The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America,’ at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon. (Be sure to see AST Exclusive Interview with Comm Bratton, facilitated by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan HERE.)

Legendary Police Commissioner William Bratton of the New York Police Department, the Boston Police Department, and former Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department was also live at the event, meeting with attendees and signing copies of his latest work ‘The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America,’ courtesy of the generosity of our 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Premier Sponsors.

The 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program was Proudly Sponsored by AMAROK, Fortior Solutions and SIMS Software, along with Returning Premier Sponsors ATI SystemsAttivo Networks, Automatic Systems, and Reed Exhibitions.

The continually evolving ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program will emphasize the trail of Accomplished Women in Leadership in 2022, as well as the Significance and Positive Impact of Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in our Next Generation of Government and Industry Leaders. #MentorshipMatters

So be on the lookout for exciting upcoming announcements of Speakers, Presenters, Book Signing Opportunities, and Attendees at the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon in November of 2022 in New York City!

2022 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program Welcomes New PLATINUM SPONSOR: NEC National Security Systems (NSS)!

nec nssNominations are currently being accepted for the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards at https://americansecuritytoday.com/ast-awards/.

Comprehensive List of Categories Include:

Access Control/ Identification Personal/Protective Equipment Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism
Perimeter Barrier/ Deterrent System Interagency Interdiction Operation Cloud Computing/Storage Solution
Facial/IRIS Recognition Body Worn Video Product Cyber Security
Video Surveillance/VMS Mobile Technology Anti-Malware
Audio Analytics Disaster Preparedness ID Management
Thermal/Infrared Camera Mass Notification System Fire & Safety
Metal/Weapon Detection Rescue Operations Critical Infrastructure
License Plate Recognition Detection Products COVID Innovations
Workforce Management Government Security Programs And Many Others to Choose From!

Don’t see a Direct Hit for your Product, Agency or Organization?

Submit your category recommendation for consideration to Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at: mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com.

Team TSA
Honoring the 20th anniversary of the Transportation Security Administration (Team TSA at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon.)

In 2021 over 200 distinguished guests representing Federal, State and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Firms gathered from across North America, Europe, and the Middle East to be honored among their peers in their respective fields which included:

NCDMPH (Dr. Goolsby second from left), and American Red Cross Members accept 'Excellence in Public Safety' Awards at 2021 'ASTORS' Luncheon
NCDMPH (Dr. Goolsby second from left), and American Red Cross Members accept an ‘Excellence in Public Safety’ Awards at 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Luncheon
Representing NEC at the 2021 'ASTORS' Awards Luncheon -Stacey Brown, SVP Raffie Beroukhim, Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, 2021 'ASTORS' Industry Leader of the Year; Christopher Gillyard, Rachel Sisk, and Frank Sangiorg
Representing NEC Corporation at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC in New York City – NEC Director of Marketing Stacey Brown, NEC Senior Vice President Raffie Beroukhim, NEC NSS President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Extraordinary Industry Leadership & Innovation Person of the Year; NEC NSS Regional Sales Director Chris Gillyard, NEC NSS Executive Assistant Rachel Sisk, and NEC Regional Sales Director Frank Sangiorgi

Corporate firms, the majority of which return year to year to build upon their record of accomplishment include:

AlertMedia, Allied Universal, AMAROK, ATI Systems, Attivo Networks, Axis Communications, Automatic Systems of America, BriefCam, Canon U.S.A., Fortior Solutions, guardDog.ai, Hanwha Techwin of America, HID Global, Mark43, IPVideo Corporation, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, Lumina Analytics, NEC National Security Systems, NICE Public Safety, OnSolve, PureTech Systems, Quantum Corporation, Rave Mobile Safety, Regroup Mass Notification, Robotic Assistance Devices, Rajant Corporation, SafeLogicSenstar Corporation, ShotSpotter, Singlewire Software, SolarWinds Worldwide, Teledyne FLIR, Valor Systems, and Wiresecure, just to name a few!

Team ATI Systems (featuring Dr. Ray Bassiouni, second from right) Accepts the 2021 Platinum 'ASTORS' Award for the ATI Systems Mobile Solutions for Giant Voice, in addition to a 2020 'ASTORS' Extraordinary Leadership & Innovation Award at the 2021 'ASTORS' Awards Luncheon at ISC East.
Team ATI Systems (featuring Dr. Ray Bassiouni, second from right) Accepts the 2021 Platinum ‘ASTORS’ Award for the ATI Systems Mobile Solutions for Giant Voice, in addition to a 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Extraordinary Leadership & Innovation Award at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.

Why American Security Today?

The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old school basics to what is Today – a fast-changing security landscape.

American Security Today is uniquely focused on the broader Homeland Security & Public Safety marketplace with over 75,000 readers at the Federal, State, and local levels of government as well as firms allied to the government.

American Security Today brings forward a fresh compelling look and read with our customized digital publications that hold readers’ eyes throughout the story with cutting-edge editorial that provides solutions to their challenges.

Harness the Power of the Web – with our 100% Mobile Friendly Publications

AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.
AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.

AST Digital Publications are distributed to over 75,000 qualified government and homeland security professionals, in federal, state, local, and private security sectors.

‘PROTECTING OUR NATION, ONE CITY AT A TIME’

AST Reaches both Private & Public Experts, essential to meeting these new challenges.

Today’s new generation of public safety and security experts need real-time knowledge to deal with domestic and international terrorism, lone wolf attacks, unprecedented urban violence, shifts in society, culture, and media bias – making it increasingly difficult for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security Professionals to implement coordinated security measures to ensure national security and improve public safety.

American Security Today

These experts are from Government at the federal, state, and local level as well as from private firms allied to the government.

AST provides a full plate of topics in our AST Monthly Magazine Editions, AST Website, and AST Daily News Alerts, covering 23 Vital Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities, and Emergency Response among others.

AST has Expanded readership into integral Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other potential targets of terrorism.

Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – all enticing targets due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.

(See just a few highlights of American Security Today’s 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon at ISC East. Courtesy of My Pristine Images and Vimeo.)

To learn more about ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners solutions, please see the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS Edition Fully Interactive Magazine – the Best Products of 2021 ‘A Year in Review’.

The Annual CHAMPIONS edition includes a review of Annual ‘ASTORS’ Award Winning products and programs, highlighting key details on many of the winning firm’s products and services, including video interviews and more.

It serves as your Go-To Source throughout the year for The Best of 2021 Products and Services endorsed by American Security Today, and can satisfy your agency’s and/or organization’s most pressing Homeland Security and Public Safety needs.

From Physical Security (Access Control, Critical Infrastructure, Perimeter Protection, and Video Surveillance Cameras and Video Management Systems), to IT Security (Cybersecurity, Encryption, Data Storage, Anti-Malware and Networking Security – Just to name a few), the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS EDITION has what you need to Detect, Delay, Respond to, and Mitigate today’s real-time threats in our constantly evolving security landscape.

It also includes featured guest editorial pieces from some of the security industry’s most respected leaders, and recognized firms in the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.

  • For a complete list of 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winners, begin HERE.

For more information on All Things American Security Today, as well as the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program, please contact Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com.

AST strives to meet a 3 STAR trustworthiness rating, based on the following criteria:

  • Provides named sources
  • Reported by more than one notable outlet
  • Includes supporting video, direct statements, or photos

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