What led you to your career, or what inspired you to build a career in national security?
I grew up in a family with lots of military service in the Air Force, Army, and Navy. I also grew up on the Space Coast so from an early age I was interested in our country’s big technologies. The first shuttle launch I saw was the explosion of the Challenger from my front yard, so the gravity of the missions our country undertakes made a lasting impression on me. I was hired into the U.S. subsidiary of an aerospace and defense multi-national because I spoke a foreign language fluently. While there, I began to understand the many layers of National Security policy and how at times, where we may occasionally disagree with our allies, ongoing industrial cooperation can provide a continual reason for dialogue with our closest partners. The complexity of the many layers that contribute to our national and even global stability stuck with me. Twelve years ago, I joined Raytheon’s intelligence business. Today, I lead strategy and communications for our intelligence services and cybersecurity business.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most unique and rewarding aspect of my job is to lead strategy and communications simultaneously. I interact with a lot of really bright people internally and externally on the communications side of my job, and am continually engaged with thought leadership efforts that provide me with broad and diverse points of view. Those perspectives are invaluable to the strategy side of my job, where I work across our business to turn insights into strategies to help us deliver innovations our customers need into the future.
What is the best career advice you have received? or what’s one piece of advice you would offer somebody new to the field?
Well, it’s a tie for best advice. One person told me when I was new to my profession to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I think that plays not only into sometimes remembering to pace yourself, but to know that you never know who you’ll see along the way. I’ve had the pleasure of working with people who I admire and respect over and over because it really is a small community. The other best “advice” I received was my first boss telling me I had to put enough into my 401k to get the company match or he would fire me.
What is your favorite movie, book, TV Show, or podcast? Why?
I read every chance I get, so picking one book is hard, but if I had to, I’d say Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” It completely changed my view on life’s challenges.
What’s one thing you want to change within the Intelligence Community?
I think the whole model of how we approach talent for the IC both in-house and through contractors deserves to be leveled up. For example, extending public service loan forgiveness to cleared employees who work for a continuous number of years on IC contracts, including for contractor employees, could be a way to compete with the private sector.
I think the whole model of how we approach talent for the IC deserves to be leveled up. Extending public service loan forgiveness to cleared employees who work for a continuous number of years on IC contracts could be a way to compete with the private sector.Michelle Lammers