Christine Calvosa, Deputy CIO for Technology and Resiliency, FCC
Christine Calvosa, deputy CIO for technology and resiliency at the Federal Communications Commission, has been working with the team on a variety of projects, including wrapping up the agency’s Incentive Auction and preparing an office migration from Microsoft Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Her team has also been working on improving security toolsets by deploying cloud-based security solutions, and has been working to modernize and update a few legacy applications, including the Network Outage Reporting System, or NORS.
Can you talk about the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you conquer that challenge?
My biggest challenge has really being able to thrive and succeed in a very much male-dominated field, which is information technology. … I basically started from the ground up, and worked my way up to management. I started in IT, literally at the service-desk level supporting end users with IT issues and computer issues. Worked on my troubleshooting skills, worked on my customer management skills and really, every step of the way improved, from service desk to actually doing desktop management, integration management, desktop rollouts, building environments and servers and network gear. … Part of that [challenge] is enhancing my level of expertise and skill-set in the IT field … to demonstrate that I belong in this field.
What would you say to young women who are thinking about a career in technology or related fields, or just starting out in their careers? What’s the best advice you could offer for success?
Pick a mentor. Pick somebody that you want to work with, to walk you through the steps of becoming a successful IT manager, CIO, CTO or whatever their dream is. The second piece of advice is really to start from the ground up. Really hone it and really focus on just the most simple skill sets needed, such as understanding the IT pieces, troubleshooting issues, customer service and working with end users and customers. And then charting a path based on the passion that you have in the specific IT field that you want to pursue. … You have to lead by example. So if you are asking someone to do the work you have to be able to do the work yourself.
Why is it important to you to empower women and other minorities to join more technical and technology-related fields?
It’s important because they really bring a true sense of organization, detail and teamwork attitude to all efforts and initiatives within the team. I think that many women in this field, every day, live through a mantra of turning the impossible into the possible. And I think that their ability to actually be organized, be detailed, bring in necessary team members to get work done, is why they should continue to be integral to the math, science, technical areas.