Building a Cyber Security Workforce Through Diversity

[slideshow]Last week, we were honored at WIIS to host an all-star cast of cyber security experts from both the federal and private sector to discuss future cyber security challenges and how a diverse workforce is an important step to solving these problems.


  • The need for cyber security professionals will increase for the foreseeable future, and there will not be enough qualified people to fill the workforce deficit.
  • The cyber security field is diverse. STEM professionals are needed, but area specialists, foreign policy experts, law enforcement officials and others are also needed.
  • Our “pipeline” issue means that there are not enough women becoming interested, staying interested, and committing to careers in STEM areas.
  • Steps need to be taken to create a cohesive cyber security approach across all stakeholders, public and private.
  • Cyber security is an important national security area, on par with air, water, sky and space.


  • WIIS Director Jolynn Shoemaker and CSIS Trustee Linda Hart gave the welcoming remarks.
  • Deloitte representatives presented the business case.
  • NGA COO Ellen McCarthy moderated the expert panel. Panelists included:

Rich Baich, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, Wells Fargo

Cynthia Dion-Schwarz, Deputy Assistant Director, Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) at National Science Foundation  

Karen Evans, National Director, US Cyber Challenge

Davina Pruitt-Mentle, Director of Educational Technology, Policy and Outreach, University of Maryland

Rosemary Wenchel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security Coordination, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, gave the keynote address. Secretary Napolitano told the audience that cyber security attacks have increasingly become more prevalent, and that the greatest concern is the threat to infrastructure. She outlined the steps that DHS is taking to support the advancement of cyber security in the academic and private sectors, and stressed the need for cyber security legislation to create a cohesive and comprehensive defense against cyber attacks in the public and private sectors.

Event audio & video:

Video of DHS Secretary Napolitano’s keynote address

Audio of DHS Secretary Napolitano’s keynote address

Audio of expert panel

Media coverage:

The Hill: “Naplitano: Administration will act on cyber security if Congress fails to pass a bill”

Foreign Policy: “Napolitano: Cybersecurity legislation preferred over executive order”

Related articles:

Forbes: “More Women In Tech, More Women Mentors”