Erie MeyerFounding Member U.S. Digital Service"Young women love solving big problems ... They want to make the world work better — and tech is an exciting place to do that."
One of the founders behind the U.S. Digital Service, Erie Meyer is helping bring the nation's best and brightest technologists from the private sector into government to solve America's most critical digital problems. "In every corner of government, we join forces with the many passionate and talented tech professionals within agencies who are dedicated to public service," Meyer said. In the past year, she helped stand up digital teams at the departments of Veterans Affairs and Education, working on the College Scorecard initiative, built on the power of open data and designed to let Americans rate colleges based on what matters most to them.What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
My biggest challenges have all come from somehow becoming a serial founder of startups inside of government. I had the honor of helping stand up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where we built an engineering and design team in-house. We had an open source policy, we built the agency from scratch in 2011 — making us even younger than the tech startup Pinterest.
Then, when the opportunity came to start the U.S. Digital Service, it turned out that my experience at the bureau setting up a modern tech team in government came in handy. You see the same challenges — hiring, procurement, well-intended policies, around tech and design that were written decades ago. The trick is to have a really tight grasp on why you’re there, and what you’re trying to accomplish. You can make magic happen if you’re able to orient the work around making the world better for a veteran, a first-generation college student or a family trying to buy their first home.What advice do you have for young women pursuing a STEM career?
Young women love solving big problems. When you talk to them about their aspirations, they don’t say, “I’d like to do something my grandkids will never hear about.” They want to make the world work better — and tech is an exciting place to do that.
My best advice is to become a devoted follower of Shine Theory — an idea started by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman — which can be shortened to “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” How can you team up with your peers to support their work, to lift them up? It’s an incredibly fun — and successful — way to workWho or what inspired you to get into your field?
The person who makes me feel most hopeful for the future of our country is Shirley Chisholm. She was the first black woman elected to Congress, and actually ran for president in 1972. She’s got this incredible quote — “I don't measure America by its achievement but by its potential.” I love working for my country, and I love it because of what’s possible.
Haley Van DyckFounding Member and Deputy Administrator U.S. Digital Service"When the status quo is the riskiest option, that means there is simply no other choice than radical disruption."
Before co-founding the U.S. Digital Service, Haley Van Dyck first worked in government serving as director of digital strategy at the U.S. Agency for International Development and helping develop the rulemaking around net neutrality at the Federal Communications Commission. She started working for then-Sen. Barack Obama as a mobile strategist on his 2008 presidential campaign — the first presidential campaign to use mobile and text messaging to connect with voters.
More recently, Van Dyck has been one of the more high-profile members of USDS, hosting a TED Talk in February on disrupting the White House.
“From my phone, I can order a gluten-free meal and have it delivered in 10 minutes,” she said during the presentation. Meanwhile, a working mother who has to use food stamps to feed her family has to complete an arduous application that she may not be able to find online.”
Vivian GraubardFounding MemberU.S. Digital Service"I believe that America deserves an immigration system that’s worthy of the people who come to our shores."
Vivian Graubard's most recognizable work as a member of the U.S. Digital Service is her focus on modernizing the immigration process with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, making it cheaper and easier for legal immigrants to gain their visas.
"I believe that America deserves an immigration system that’s worthy of the people who come to our shores, seeking a better life for their families, contributing to our economy and our society," she said. "By keeping users at the heart of our work, fixing inefficient technology processes, and engaging in iterative and rapid design work, we can create change at the scale we want to see."
Graubard was also one of Time Magazine's "30 Under People 30 Changing the World" in 2013.
Casey ColemanGroup Vice President of Unisys Federal Systems Civilian AgenciesUnisys"Our teachers never get enough credit, but I bet all of us had a teacher who made a big difference in our life."
Casey Coleman knows both the private and public IT sectors. She served as chief information officer at the General Services Administration for seven years before moving to senior IT leadership roles at AT&T and now at Unisys, where she leads and manages the overall business for key civilian agencies, "bringing them innovation" and "helping them solve their complex technology challenges to meet their mission and business objectives," she told FedScoop. She also continues to try to give back to the community by co-chairing the Innovation Subcommittee of the Professional Services Council, the national trade association of the government technology and professional services industry.What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
As you move into more senior roles, you have less and less control of the outcomes you are responsible for. The challenge there is to put together effective teams and serve as a champion for their work to clear away barriers and to get understanding and support from all the stakeholders — move the initiative forward that way.What advice do you have for young women pursuing a STEM career?
Teddy Roosevelt is so quotable. And one that has stuck with me ... is "The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything." Of course, today we say "the only person who never…"
One of my first bosses early in my career encouraged me to get outside my comfort zone and take a chance. He said, "You know what will happen if you don’t try. But you don’t know what will happen if you do." His point was for me to take a chance.Who or what inspired you to get into your field?
My high school math teacher. And she was a tough, tough teacher. We dreaded her class. But she held us to really high standards. And she sparked in me and my classmates a love of learning and a passion for math, science, technology and lifelong curiosity. Our teachers never get enough credit, but I bet all of us had a teacher who made a big difference in our life.
Lynn MartinVice President of U.S. Public SectorVMware"People say, 'You're in technology, is that boring?' I say it's exciting."
Lynn Martin oversees everything, from sales to services to specialists, in her role as vice president, public sector at VMware. She has been with the company for the last three years after a lengthy career in government, and she loves the rewarding nature of her work.
“If you look at the military health system at DOD, we support critical missions around client computing achieved in hospitals, and the benefits of that actually save lives,” she said. The software VMware helps government implement “allows doctors in military health to see more clients.”
Martin also works with prestigious universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to improve and implement digital learning platforms.What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
All told, we have 400 people in the U.S. that support that mission of helping our government customers and education systems. We support the needs of the citizens of the United States.What advice do you have for young women pursuing a STEM or business career?
I think it’s people, always. And that’s both [people in] internal organizations and customers. When you align your technology and benefits to enable a customer’s mission, it's very rewarding and successful, and great things happen. In our marketplace here, you get to work on really neat things that are once-in-a-lifetime. I think it’s very important to remember: You work for the people, the people don’t work for you.Who or what inspired you to get into your field?
I did an internship in high school with the Department of Justice, and I did that through college. I interned within the Antitrust Division, so I literally spent a few years in and out of the government on [school] breaks. And then I became a full-time employee down there for about a year, so I kind of fell into the industry. Somehow I got into the technology group, and I was working with a digital equipment corporation, and they offered me a job. So I left government and then spent 29 years in the public sector arena. I fell into it!