If there is an organization that has resiliently adapted to these uncertain times in putting on national security symposiums, the Intelligence and National security alliance takes the cake. Additionally, they are notorious for promoting diversity in National Security, including uplifting women. 

About The New IC: Empowering Women & Engaging Men Symposium

The New IC: Empowering Women & Engaging Men Symposium is an inspiring event filled with keynotes, engaging TED-talk style ignite rounds, and lively panel discussions with a stacked line-up of all-star speakers within the national security arena. Attendees will hear the personal stories of women and men who have built successful careers and are working to create diverse, inclusive work environments grounded in mutual respect. This is the third year of this annual event, but as you can imagine, this is the first time that INSA is putting on this event virtually. The silver lining is that at home format has enabled them to expand their reach, allowing over 1000 virtual attendees.

Kickoff of INSA

Yesterday kicked off the start of The New IC, and Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg, President of INSA, opened the event with the introduction. Diversity and inclusion, and 2020 being the culmination of this important topic in the IC, was a large part of the introduction. Diversity naturally enriches any industry of professionals, but especially the IC.

“It’s critically important that the IC…draws on all America’s viewpoints and perspectives…it makes our society richer, stronger, and more robust,” said Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg’s in the opening speech.

Letitia “Tish” Long, the fifth chairman of the INSA Board of Directors in January 2016, spoke next during the introduction of the keynote.  She served as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) from October 2010 to October 2014, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. intelligence agency. Her opening theme surrounded the fact that women and men need to be both engaged in the national security, and it’s imperative to get it right.

Beth Sanner: Empowering Those Around Us In Our Organizations

The first keynote speaker was Beth Sanner, who was appointed the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Mission Integration May 2019.Prior to this, Sanner assumed leadership for the President’s Daily Brief in April 2017. Previously she served as the Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council. For over 30 years, Sanner has served in a wide range of leadership, staff, policy, and analytic positions in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, and the U.S. Department of State.

During her speech, Sanner said “The beauty of each of us is the uniqueness that we all bring…This can be seen as different or it can be the ‘extra’ perspective that brings something special to the mission.” She also asked the viewers to think about the people in their organizations that they can ‘push’–how can they empower those around them to recognize their own strengths and apply for new opportunities.

Deborah Roche Lee James: Mentoring and Work-Life Balance

Next, we heard from Deborah Roche Lee James, who served as the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force. She is the second woman, after Sheila Widnall, to ever hold this position. James was confirmed as 23rd Secretary of the Air Force on December 13, 2013 and started her tenure on December 20, 2013. “Go on the offense when it comes to mentorship,” Former Secretary, Deborah Lee James advised. “If there is someone you admire, she says, ask them to get a cup of coffee, see if you can learn more about them, and develop a relationship.”

When discussing work-life balance, she brought up three important points.

  • Designate priorities, then try to minimize the other stuff.
  • There is no such thing as perfection – try your best and let go of the guilt.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

What to Expect the Rest of the Week

This week has an amazing line up of thought leaders, subject matter experts and innovators.

“Being real, including being vulnerable, is the secret sauce…. be yourself, remember it’s ok to not be perfect, you are where you are because you have something to offer.’ – inspiring words from Beth Sanner.

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸