The New IC: Empowering Women & Engaging Men Symposium is a week-long event with keynotes, engaging TED-talk style ignite rounds, and lively panel discussions featuring a stacked line-up of all-star speakers within the national security arena. The symposium emphasizes that attendance from women AND men is critical. The symposium notes the best outcomes require both brains working together. The most profound thinking differences are found in gender, so gender balance helps ensure a diversity of perspectives.

ClearanceJobs was joined by Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) President Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg to talk about the symposium.


Female Trailblazers in Intelligence & National Security

A panel of “firsts” will share their experiences breaking down barriers in national security careers and offer advice to those following in their footsteps. Matice Wright-Springer, Senior Vice President and Partner at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Global Defense Group, will recount her experience as the first Black female Navy Flight Officer (tune in to our exclusive conversation with her here). Other confirmed panelists include:

  • Jennifer Smith, First female PhD hired by FBI
  • Tracy Walder, Former CIA Officer & FBI Special Agent
  • Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, Founder, The Leadership Council for Women in National Security; Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Ellen McCarthy, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research
  • Tish Long, First female director of a major intelligence agency; INSA/INSF Chairman (Moderator)

A Discussion on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the IC

A continued theme into the 4th rendition of The New IC will be a panel focused on what can happen when diversity, equity, and inclusion are prioritized in national security. Leaders will share their ideas, explore some issues or obstacles within some DEI programs, and talk about how the intelligence and national security communities can better empower underrepresented groups.

Megan Flannery Hayes, Department Head for Complex Systems Monitoring at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, is a part of the panel. Flannery previously spoke with ClearanceJobs about what makes a great team: the diversity (whether in thought, background, race, gender) of the team members, relationships, and mentoring. Listen in to our conversation here. This discussion will be moderated by Chris Armstrong, co-owner of Veritas Culture, and former culture executive at DIA and NGA.

Empowering the Next Generation of Female Leaders

Many successful people within the intelligence community or DoD indicate that having a mentor (or two or three) is absolutely necessary when it comes to building a career. Panelists for this discussion will share their thoughts on the power of mentorship and how to build up the next generation of national security workers. Lauren Bean Buitta, founder and CEO of Girl Security, Cadie Naquin, co-founder and chief strategy officer of The Command Presence Foundation, and Lindsay Rodman, executive director of The Leadership Council for Women in National Security are panelists for the session, which is moderated by ClearanceJobs’ Lindy Kyzer.


Join more than 1,000 of your national security colleagues for a week of engaging panel conversations, keynote, and a special fireside chat. Speakers will share their career journeys, talk about the barriers they’ve broken through, and discuss the importance of empowering women in the IC. Split into five different sessions, this virtual program will run one-hour each day for the week of July 12-16. 

You will also be able to connect with your colleagues in-person. On Thursday, July 15 INSA will host an in-person outdoor networking reception for New IC attendees to make connections and build relationships.

View the rest of the schedule and register today.

Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg has held various leadership positions at INSA since 2010, most recently serving as the organization’s first Chief Operating Officer. She was the driving force behind INSA’s expansion into markets outside the Washington, DC region, as well as its popular, The New IC symposium, which focuses on diversity with inclusion in the intelligence community.

Don’t forget: Subscribe to the Security Clearance Careers Podcast this month to benefit The American Legion’s 100 Miles for Hope campaign!

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ 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! 🇺🇸