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On the Job: Mara Bishop Winn Th'01

Dec 01, 2022   |   Dartmouth Engineer

Associate Director with Homeland Security

In her latest role with the US Department of Homeland Security—associate director for planning and coordination at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency—Winn leads efforts to address the country’s highest priority critical infrastructure risks from cyber-attacks and other hazards. It’s a role that requires her to juggle project management, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement across industry and government to help reduce risk.

What does your role entail?

On a typical day, the topics I engage on range from the risk of an EMP device's detonation on our national electric grid to encouraging international partners to have the best polices on procurement of 5G communications technology to advocating for the critical infrastructure community to understand and enact more robust supply-chain risk management.

What lessons have you learned?

The most amazing thing about this job is the need for diversity from every perspective. This means I rely on my technical education in physics and engineering to ask the right questions of the subject matter experts, but even more focus on how I can bring together the right people in the right framework to make them successful in achieving the mission.

"The team of people I work with anticipate what might go wrong."

Mara Bishop Winn Th'01

What continues to engage you in the effort?

There is no shortage of challenges, but I’m surrounded by the most incredible experts, both within the government and in the private sector to tackle these issues. These are issues that, if we do our work right, will anticipate where our resources should be targeted in advance so we minimize the opportunity for catastrophic cascading impacts from serious events. These events could be natural—such as a hurricane taking down the electrical grid in New Orleans—or a threat actor targeting our country. The team of people I work with anticipate what might go wrong and collaborate to keep that from happening.

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