Meet FedScoop’s list of D.C.’s Top 50 Women in Technology for 2016 — an elite cadre of women transforming how the government uses technology.
In the White House, former Google exec Megan Smith has used her role as U.S. chief technology officer to find ways of promoting diversity. Department of Veterans Affairs CIO LaVerne Council is dragging her agency’s infamously archaic IT systems into the 21st century. Teresa Carlson, VP of global public sector for Amazon Web Services has brought government to the cloud. And Anne Rung, the government’s chief acquisition officer, is encouraging feds to rethink how they buy the technology they use, to squeeze the most value of out every dollar.
[Read our list: D.C.’s top 50 Women in Tech for 2016]
To recognize the contributions of these and many other women, FedScoop assembled the names of D.C.’s Top 50 Women in Tech. Our annual report, released during women’s history month, highlights some of the best and brightest minds in federal IT — those leading the charge to improve how defense and civilian agencies achieve their missions.
Our editorial staff spoke to federal IT kingpins and influencers, and drew from our own reporting to gather nominations for our report. We then winnowed the list down to 50 people based on each candidate’s professional achievements.
But even as these women help change government for the better, honoring them is also a way of highlighting the gaps that still remain in the technology workforce.
According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, only a quarter of professional computing jobs in the U.S. are held by women. Statistics about the next generation appear equally troublesome: The same report found only 22 percent of AP Computer Science test-takers in 2015 were female. And according to a National Cyber Security Alliance report from last year, the gap between the number of men and women who are interested in cybersecurity careers is more than five times greater than it was a year prior.
To bring more women to STEM, Smith said during a panel last week that girls need role models to help them picture themselves working in science and tech jobs.
“One of the key things that helps bring people into a field is knowing people like you have been part of it,” Smith said while moderating a discussion at the National Archives.
Click through our pages to see short profiles on our winners. They shared with us what got them interested in the field, some of the biggest challenges they’ve faced — and their advice to the STEM leaders of tomorrow.
FedScoop encourages you to use the social media tools on winners’ pages to share their stories, including the hashtag #WomenInTech. We hope these profiles will inspire the next generation of women leaders to take up the mantel and guide the future of federal IT.
To see the list, click here: D.C.’s Top 50 Women in Technology for 2016
The following FedScoop staff contributed to this report: Wyatt Kash, Alex Koma, Corinne Lestch, Billy Mitchell, Greg Otto, Shaun Waterman, Jake Williams and Whitney Blair Wyckoff.
Editor’s note: Interviews were edited for clarity and length.