The Amazing Women of the Intelligence Community, also known as AWIC, is a grassroots organization that tackles professional issues women encounter in the Intelligence Community (IC) and in pursuing national security careers.
The group meets once a month in Clarendon for an for an informal happy hour, provides mentoring opportunities, and connects new women who join the group to resources. They also just enjoy each other’s company and networking with women joining the IC.
ClearanceJobs had the pleasure of speaking with Megan Jaffer, one of the founding members of AWIC, to discuss the history of the group, the progress over the last five years, the committee that plans topics/events, and Jaffer’s goals with the group moving forward. She was a recipient of one of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) 10th Achievement Awards for her impact on AWIC.
Jaffer used her extraordinary communication skills, can-do attitude, and unparalleled leadership ability to help grow AWIC from a small group of 40 women into a flourishing organization of 900+ members.
INSA’s take on women in national security is that they do not need to be protected from difficult career paths and should be encouraged, not deterred, from pursuing challenging but rewarding assignments. Women in national security, technology, and defense often succumb to “impostor syndrome” – the sense that one hasn’t earned a place at the table. Women should not undervalue their experience.
So, if you’re a woman trying to navigate the IC, keep showing up. Even if you are the only woman in the room, think of all the meetings that do not have a woman presence.
AWIC continues to develop and nurture mentoring relationships, and expand as a gathering place for women in the intelligence community.