March is National Women’s History Month and in honor of all the women in the government IT industry making great strides in innovation and technological adoption, we’ve decided to profile a few on Federal Technology Insider. In this profile Margie Graves, Deputy CIO, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) discusses her start in IT and points to the agency’s data center consolidation and cloud integration path as one of her biggest successes. Read the full interview below.
I got started in IT as a career because I was in mergers and acquisitions, and I quickly realized that IT was a transformative capability that could be used to pull together disparate entities and to make it work, from the standpoint of putting together new companies and making them one.
Q: What makes you so passionate about your job?
I believe that there isn’t anything today that doesn’t get done without the enablement of technology. And, to whatever extent we can do that better and more effectively for either consumers or in our professional world, that’s something that I really want to be a part of.
Q: What has been you biggest success to date?
The biggest success to date, I think, is the consolidation and integration path that we are on at DHS. It’s still ongoing, but I believe there’s been significant progress made. We’ve gone from consolidating data centers to actually having our own cloud services, and now moving into mobile device management. As technology has changed we’ve adjusted that strategy and I’m very proud that along that pathway we’ve made significant progress in that consolidation.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is always making sure the right people are at the table and getting the collaborative spirit going, and once you’ve got that there is nothing you can’t do.
Q: What advice do you have for other women who are looking to follow a similar career path?
Do not be discouraged by what you hear out in the universe – this is a viable career path for women. It is an area where a lot of women are coming to the fore to support other women in getting into the field. I actually started in nuclear chemistry, which is another field not heavily populated by women. I guarantee you it’s been a joy to actually be in these fields, and I’ve realized there isn’t anything I can’t overcome through the relationships I’ve built, the constant study, and interaction I’ve had with very smart people along the way, and then of course being focused on a goal and being passionate about it.