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This podcast explores various aspects of careers in intelligence and national security, including insights from professionals in the field, advice on career paths, educational requirements, and discussions on current trends and challenges including talent acquisition and retention, diversity issues, and the range of opportunities across the public, private and academic sectors.

Tune in on Spotify or ApplePodcast!



Episode 20

On this episode of the ICC podcast, Jim Donnelly welcomes Jennifer Finley, Communications & Networking Systems Assistant Group Supervisor, Johns Hopkins APL. Listen in as Ms. Finley shares her path into the IC including her educational background in engineering and internship opportunity. She also offers advice to young professionals and describes a variety of technical and soft skills that have been useful throughout her career.

Jennifer Finley HeadshotJennifer Finley
Communications & Networking Systems Assistant Group Supervisor
Johns Hopkins APL

Jen Finley is the Communications & Networking Systems Assistant Group Supervisor at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory where she spearheads teams of researchers finding solutions to operational communications challenges for special-tailored missions and the intelligence community. She also manages a portfolio of communications technologies applied to DoD initiatives and oversees the execution of multiple projects under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. She has held a multitude of roles that enabled her to apply her experience in testing and evaluation, network and protocol analytics, link-layer analytics, as well as 4G and 5G systems. She has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University and a master’s in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University.







Past Episodes

Episode 19

On this episode of the ICC podcast, Jim Donnelly is joined by Brian Cooney, Associate Director, Defense and Security Segment, Guidehouse.  Tune in as he discusses his passion for working in the IC, educational background and commitment to continuous learning, importance of relationship building, and more

Brian Cooney, Guidehouse

Brian Cooney
Associate Director, Defense and Security Segment

Brian Cooney is an Associate Director in Guidehouse’s Defense & Security Segment supporting Defense & Intelligence and State Department clients. Brian has 14 years of experience in leading transformation, strategy, and change management efforts across more than a dozen federal organizations and a Fortune 100 company. 




Episode 18

On this episode of the ICC podcast, Jim Donnelly is joined by Kaitlin Kiser, Deputy Director, ISR Education, LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education. Tune in as she describes key career pivot points, her passion for her work, important skills she’s developed to be successful, future workforce challenges, and more!

Mrs. Kaitlin Kiser's Headshot

Kaitlin Kiser
Deputy Director, ISR Education
LeMay Center for Doctrine Development

Mrs. Kaitlin Kiser is currently serving as Deputy Director, ISR Education, LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. She provides instruction to a myriad of students from Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, as well as Air War College. She works in tandem to provide Professional Military Education to over 16,800 US Air Force officers, international officers, and Department of Defense civilians annually.

Mrs. Kiser joined the civilian force in October of 2020. Utilizing eighteen years of analytic intelligence experience across operational, strategic and tactical environments, she has served as an intelligence analyst enabling operations for ACC, AETC, DIA and US Embassy Moscow.

Ms. Kiser provides significant insight in Europe/Eurasia studies from her time at the Defense Intelligence Agency as well as the National Ground Intelligence Center. She is proficient in joint doctrine and operational planning and execution. During her time at the USAFWC she worked on the Air Force’s most premier exercises to include Red Flag, Resolute Hunter, and Red Flag Rescue.

Episode 17

On this episode of the ICC podcast, we welcomed Dr. John Ballard, President, National Intelligence University. Dr. Ballard shares his journey through academia in the IC and highlights unique distinctions NIU offers its students. He also emphasizes the importance of mentorship, finding mentors, and building strong relationships.

Dr. John Ballard
National Intelligence University

Dr. Ballard serves as the fourth President of the National Intelligence University. In this role, his responsibilities include leading faculty and staff, academic accreditation, budget and facilities, and the education and research programs. He is the primary representative of the university to the Intelligence Community and Federal Government leadership, academia, and to private sector leaders and organizations.

Dr. Ballard joined ODNI on July 31, 2023, from the Department of Transportation where he served as a member of the Senior Executive Service as Provost at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Dr. Ballard was previously the Dean of the National War College within the Department of Defense and the Founding Dean of the National Defense College of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

He earned his doctorate in history from the Catholic University of America, and is the author or co-author of seven books and numerous journal articles focused on national security, including: From Storm to Freedom, America’s Long War with Iraq; Triumph of SelfDetermination, United Nations Peacemaking in East Timor; From Kabul to Baghdad and Back, the US at War in Afghanistan and Iraq; and National Security Education: Developing Strategic Leaders for 21st Century Challenges.

Dr. Ballard is the recipient of the Department of Transportation’s Bronze Medal, the Department of the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Medal and several military awards including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received the General Horace Porter Award in History.


Episode 16


On this episode of the Intelligence Career Conversations podcast, we are excited to welcome Nazaret Berhane, Program Manager, Human Capital Office, IC Centers for Academic Excellence, ODNI! Tune in to this special episode to hear Ms. Berhane share her career journey as a neurodiverse individual in the IC from FBI to ODNI, her passion for creating a diverse workforce and mentoring the next generation, and more!

Nazaret Berhane
Program Manager, Human Capital Office
IC Centers for Academic Excellence

Mrs. Nazaret Berhane hails from Eritrea, East Africa but was born and raised in Khartoum, Sudan where she completed an undergraduate degree in Organizational Management at Ahfad University for Women. Mrs. Berhane holds a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Maryland. In January 2004, Mrs. Berhane started her career in the translation world as an Arabic and Tigrinya linguist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Recognized for her strong language skills and leadership abilities, Mrs. Berhane was selected to manage a national languages program and served in that capacity for 5 years before being selected to serve two Joint Duty Assignments, first with the US Air Force and later with the Office of Director of National Intelligence’s Foreign Language Program Office where she worked directly with the Intelligence Community’s Senior Language Authority and liaised with USIC and 5 Eyes partners. Mrs. Berhane currently serves as a Program Manager on the IC Centers for Academic Excellence team within the IC Human Capital Office. Mrs. Berhane also currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Women’s Intelligence Network (WIN), and previously served as FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence’s (DI) Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, an important role providing liaison functions with Human Resources Division’s Diversity and Inclusion Section, assisting in increasing workforce diversity, and promoting a more inclusive environment in the DI.

In her free time, Nazaret likes to spend time with her small and extended family and works to advocate for mental health in East African communities to help normalize discussions about mental health and to move the negative stigma.



Episode 15

On this episode of the Intelligence Career Conversations podcast, Jim Donnelly is joined by Cortney Weinbaum, Senior National Security Researcher, RAND Corporation. Tune in to hear Ms. Weinbaum discuss her career journey from DIA to RAND Corp., the significance of a STEM degree, passion for her work, challenges facing the IC workforce...and more!

Cortney Weinbaum
Senior National Security Researcher
RAND Corporation

Cortney Weinbaum (she/her) is a senior management scientist at RAND. She specializes in intelligence and space topics, and she has worked with the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense to improve policies, practices, and technologies. She has improved analytic and collection tradecraft; identified emerging technologies and their impact on space architectures, special operations, countering weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence; and examined new workforce models for intelligence agencies. She leads RAND's international engagements and Track 2 dialogues with select countries. She facilitated cross-discipline teams to apply structured analytic techniques to intractable intelligence topics, and she has applied wargaming and scenario-based planning against both operational and enterprise topics. 

Weinbaum led two teams to receive the Director of National Intelligence's Meritorious Unit Citation for advancing the IC's knowledge of two intractable intelligence topics. Since joining RAND, she has studied emerging technologies and their implications for intelligence; unclassified intelligence; the ethics of scientific research; and other topics. She began her career as an intelligence officer developing radio frequency and electromagnetic MASINT collection systems. Weinbaum earned her B.S. in physics from the University of Michigan. She serves on the Advisory Committee of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.


Episode 14

On this episode of Intelligence Career Conversations, Jim Donnelly is joined by Stacie Bohanan, Principal Research Scientist III, University of Alabama in Huntsville. In this episode, Stacie shares how she kickstarted her career at the FBI. She also discusses mentorship, importance of cultivating your network, advanced degrees vs. certifications, transitioning from the public to private sector…and more.

Stacie Bohanan
Principal Research Scientist III
University of Alabama in Huntsville

Since the fall of 2020, Stacie J. Bohanan has served as a Principal Research Scientist III with the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) assigned to the Research Institute. The majority of her time is spent supporting the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group’s, Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) program. The RDT&E program results translate directly to improving the safety of public safety bomb technicians by advancing the reliability and success of IED disruption tools and techniques. In addition to her role with the RDT&E program, she is also responsible for developing strategic and collaborative partnerships for UAH aligned with the goals of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. 

Ms. Bohanan retired from the FBI in 2020 after an exciting, 21-year career serving in various roles such as Management & Program Analyst, LEGAT Operations Assistant, Public Affairs Specialist, and Intelligence Analyst. Her favorite assignments were those who took her overseas to serve in Canberra, Australia and Seoul, South Korea. Ms. Bohanan is also a United States Conceal Carry Association (USCCA) certified firearms instructor focused on basic firearms safety and helping responsible Americans keep their families and communities safe. In this role, she supports Shoot Like A Girl and SafeLiving as an author, firearms instructor, and member of the Safety Council.


Episode 13

On this week's episode, John Atwell, author and editor for the Association of Former Intelligence Officers e-magazine, discusses his 20+ year career at the CIA, from navigating new roles and responsibilities to developing technical and soft skills, to lessons learned and key takeaways.

John Atwell
Author and Editor
Association of Former Intelligence Officers

John Atwell served in the Intelligence Community as a CIA operations officer and, toward the end of his 23-year career, as senior manager overseeing officers from FBI, NSA, NGA, and the DoD.

John entered the IC when he was just 20-years old, through a student program, which initially placed him in the Agency in an analytic role. He is now the author of a monthly newspaper column on intelligence issues, the editor of a weekly online news magazine for the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, and a public speaker on espionage matters.


Episode 12

Tune in to hear Stephanie Leung, Senior Director for Growth and Business Development, GDIT, discuss how she got started in the IC, the role her education played in her career, transitioning from public to private sector, mentors she's had and mentee relationships, and more!

Stephanie Leung 
Senior Director for Growth and Business Development

Stephanie Leung is the Growth Lead for the Mission Services and Solutions (MSS) Sector and Senior Director for Business Development for General Dynamics Information Technology’s (GDIT) Intelligence and Homeland Security’s and Growth Lead for the Mission Solution Sector. She leads the sector’s growth team focused on serving the Intelligence Community customers and directly oversees the Geospatial Services and Solutions (GSS) business market in support of the warfighter mission. In this role she is responsible for enhancing business goals and priorities while building and ensuring productive customer and partner relations.

Prior to joining GDIT, Stephanie served as a Program Manager and Team Lead at the National Geospatial Agency, providing leadership and counsel to both the company and the NGA. In this position, she supported both NGA’s Source Directorate and GEOINT Services offices. Stephanie served in the United States Navy for 26 years as a Naval Intelligence Officer where she held numerous leadership roles and conducted several deployments abroad and at sea. She has been awarded personal and unit awards for her superior performance and leadership including recognition during her tour in Israel as the Assistant Naval Attaché during the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2002 and three Humanitarian Operations off the West Coast of Africa and Albania in 1998.


Episode 11

On this special episode of the Podcast, we welcome Stephanie La Rue, Chief, IC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Officer, ODNI. Moderated by Bishop Garrison, INSA's VP for Policy, Ms. La Rue shares her responsibilities and projects in her current position, the role mentors have played in her career journey, how the IC is working to meet diversity and inclusion goals, current workforce trends and challenges, and more!​​

Stephanie La Rue
Chief, IC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Officer

Stephanie A. La Rue, Esq. leads efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) across the IC enterprise, serving as a principal advisor to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and IC senior leadership. Stephanie represents the IC on all DEIA-related matters, including Congressional oversight. Stephanie negotiates and justifies National Intelligence Program funding for the DEIA mission with the Office of Management and Budget. She also serves as the IC representative to five White House initiatives focused on advancing educational equity and economic opportunity for underrepresented communities.

Stephanie brings more than a decade of leadership and national security experience to the role, including her most recent position as the chief diversity strategist for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Stephanie led the development and execution of CIA's multi-year diversity and inclusion strategy.


Episode 10

Tune in to hear Dominique Cooper, Principal Consultant, CCG, share her career trajectory, from NGA to Silicon Valley to a DIB contractor. She also delves into her mentorships and how she obtained and cultivated these relationships.

Dominique Cooper
Principal Consultant





Episode 9

Tune in to hear Trent Teyema, Founder & President, CSG Strategies, Inc., share his inspiration for joining the IC and the steps he took to realize his dream of joining the FBI. He also shares advice for young professionals seeking to serve in government and senior professionals looking to transition to industry! 

Trent Teyema
Founder & President
CSG Strategies, Inc.

Trent Teyema (FBI Special Agent - SES retired) is the founder and president of CSG Strategies, Inc., a national security consultancy which specializes in the security of cyber, space, and technology through policy and practice of risk mitigation.  Mr. Teyema has more than three decades in the field of law enforcement, cybersecurity, and critical infrastructure protection.  

Mr. Teyema was twice appointed to cybersecurity policy roles at The White House during the Bush '43 and Obama '44 Administrations. He retired from the FBI as the Cyber Division's Chief of Cyber Readiness and Chief Operating Officer (COO). Mr. Teyema founded and led the FBI's National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF). 

Episode 8

On this episode of the ICC, Jim Donnelly is joined by Nicole Pilkus, Principal Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Strategy, NRO. Ms. Pilkus discusses her 25+ year career journey including her educational path, goal-setting tips, evolving expectations of the workforce...and more!

Nicole Pilkus
Principal Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Strategy

Currently serving as Principal Deputy Director in the NRO's Office of Policy and Strategy, Nicole Pilkus is dynamic national security professional with more than 25 years of experience. She specializes in integrated operations and collaborative efforts spanning multiple agencies, functions, and/or nations and has held a wide range of staff, analytic, and managerial positions in both the public and private sectors.



Episode 7

On this episode of the ICC podcast, we are pleased to welcome Sarah McPeak, Lead Technical Specialist, Maxar, to discuss her academic journey, decision to pursue a career in geospatial intelligence, time in the Army and transition to the private sector, commitment to continuous learning, and more! 

Sarah McPeak
Lead Technical Specialist

Sarah is a lead technical specialist at Maxar. She recently received the Edwin H. Land Industry Award at INSA's 2023 Achievement Awards Ceremony. Sarah was selected for her exceptional technical proficiency, demonstrated leadership, and inspiring work ethic supporting national security. Prior to her current role at Maxar, Sarah served in the US Army as a Geospatial Engineer.


Episode 6

On this episode of the ICC podcast, Bishop Garrison, VP for Policy, INSA, discusses his career path, navigating the shift from military service to the private and public sector. He shares insights on effective mentorship, offers guidance for aspiring mentors and shares advice for young professionals!

Bishop Garrison
Vice President for Policy

Bishop Garrison is a senior national security executive, veteran, and writer who has served in the military, presidential administrations and campaigns, the nonprofit community, and the private sector throughout his 20-year career. In addition to founding Orange Court Strategies, he previously served as the Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy at Paravision.AI. Most recently, he served in the Biden Administration in the Senior Executive Service and served as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Human Capital and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Bishop attended the United States Military Academy at West Point graduating in 2002. He served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Army. Following his service, Bishop graduated from the William and Mary School of Law in Williamsburg, VA. He is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Service Medal, and a Combat Action Badge. His civilian accolades and awards include multiple medals from the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as several citations from the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama administration’s White House. He is also a recipient of the Taylor Reveley “Citizen Lawyer” Award from the College of William and Mary Law School.

Episode 5

On the latest episode of the ICC's podcast, Austin Wang, VP of Intelligence, MITRE discusses his Marine Corps and CIA service, varying paths into the IC workforce, best practices for growing your IC career...and more!

Austin Wang
Vice President for Intelligence

Austin Y. Wang is vice president, intelligence at MITRE. In this role, he leads MITRE’s efforts to drive whole-of-nation, joint, and multi-agency solutions through integration across the intelligence community and our larger national security enterprise, while shaping MITRE’s and our nation’s response to national security challenges. A senior intelligence community executive with nearly 30 years in leadership roles, Wang joined MITRE after 21 years with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), most recently as a senior executive and clandestine technical operations lead. 


Episode 4

On this episode of the ICC podcast, Cadie Hopkins Federal, Altana AI & Co-Founder, Iron Butterfly Media, discusses her nontraditional career journey, how she sees the community evolving, value of mentors and giving back, and the importance of staying true to who you are.  

Cadie Hopkins
Federal, Atlanta AI and Co-Founder, Iron Butterfly Media

Cadie Hopkins has founded, built, and led multiple organizations committed to creativity, innovation, and the growth, mentorship, and empowerment of individuals across the national security community. She currently works at Altana AI, a start-up technology company building the map of global supply chain, where she leads a federal business subvertical supporting the US national security mission. She also co-founded the Iron Butterfly Podcast and Iron Butterfly Media, which is currently producing and directing the first documentary feature film about women in the intelligence community. Lastly, she co-founded the Command Purpose Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving US military veteran women and leaders throughout life transitions. She previously served as an intelligence analyst at Defense Intelligence Agency.


Episode 3

On this week’s episode of the ICC podcast, we are thrilled to welcome Peter Kant, Chairman and CEO of Enabled Intelligence. Mr. Kant discusses his career journey in the IC. Mr. Kant discusses his career journey including advice for setting career goals, developing and honing technical skill sets, leveraging neurodiverse capabilities, the workforce...and more!

Peter Kant
Enabled Intelligence, Inc

Peter Kant is the Founder and CEO of Enabled Intelligence, Inc, an artificial intelligence technology company providing accurate data labeling and AI technology development for U.S. defense and intelligence agencies while providing meaningful high-tech employment to veterans and neurodiverse professionals. Peter has two decades of experience at the nexus of business, government, technology and policy including leadership positions in state and federal government, large companies, start-ups, and non-profits. He also currently serves on multiple corporate boards and advisory boards of venture funds including Culpepper Garden, Distributed Spectrum, Ditto, Picogrid, and Spectrohm.


Episode 2


On this week’s episode, Likia Hawkins, President and CEO of Steel Point Solutions, joins host Jim Donnelly to discuss the importance of building trust, being fearless, and the career-enhancing power of allies, champions, and mentors.

Likia Hawkins
President and CEO
Steel Point Solutions

Likia Hawkins is the President and CEO of Steel Point Solutions, LLC, a business solutions provider specializing in digital transformation, possesses a wealth of business ownership, technology, analytics, policy, governance, and economic insight centralnto positioning her firm as a small business disrupter in the public sector space. She leads an award-winning small business recognized for its customer satisfaction and delivery excellence. She has used her experience as a government civilian, federal contractor, and entrepreneur to influence Steel Point’s business strategy with a keen focus on operational efficiency, economic stewardship, relationship management, and strategic partnering. Her leadership has led to her firm receiving several awards and recognitions from clients, sales totaling approximately $40m, several industry certifications, and performance/customer satisfaction ratings of Excellent or Very Good. Known as an astute and prepared entrepreneur, Likia has positioned Steel Point for its next level of growth.


Episode 1


On this first episode of the ICC podcast, Kevin Meiners, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Enterprise Capacity, ODNI, joins host Jim Donnelly for a discussion about IC careers including his thoughts on whether there is a difference between "green and blue badgers", importance of mentors, value of finding your tribe (and sometimes blazing your own path!), and tips for building meaningful mentor/mentee relationships.   

Kevin P. Meiners
36 Years in the DoD and IC
Consultant and Managing Member
Huddle Up Associates LLC

In his most recent position in his federal government career until he retired in 2020, Kevin Meiners served in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) since July 2013 where, in his capacity as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Enterprise Capacity, he was responsible for all matters pertaining to the National Intelligence Program (NIP), including resources, workforce, systems acquisition, advanced technology and facilities within the Intelligence Community, on behalf of the Director of National Intelligence.



 Jim Donnelly
Managing Director
Artech LLC

Jim Donnelly is a veteran search executive, who has over 25 years of talent acquisition experience in the cyber, intelligence, and federal healthcare sectors. His senior-level executive searches have represented a diverse portfolio of clients in the defense, intelligence, and federal civilian markets, covering functional areas such as operations, business development, engineering, and corporate leadership.