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Vice Adm. Nancy Norton

Director, Defense Information Systems Agency

As the head of the Defense Information Systems Agency and the commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, Vice Adm. Nancy Norton leads the more than 8,000 military and civilian personnel responsible for delivering IT support to the DOD and defending the department’s networks in more than 42 countries. To effectively lead such an organization, Norton said you must also be a good follower first. “You have to, to learn to be a good servant-leader and you have to learn to build trust. Building trust means having a foundation of character and competence and providing direction for your team, providing an end state for your team and then empowering your people and letting them do what needs to be done,” she said. Norton has a phrase she learned while stationed in Hawaii that she loves to share about leading: kūlia i ka nu‘u, which means “strive for the summit.” To Norton, that means “you’re always striving…the summit is something you strive for, but it’s about the journey — and that journey is really powerful to me.”

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