Women in IT: LaShaunne David
To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Information and Technology (OIT) is highlighting several women across the organization who are dedicated to advancing our mission to create the best experience for all Veterans.
As the Director of VA Privacy Service, LaShaunne David leads department-wide efforts to embed privacy considerations in VA policy by advising on matters relating to privacy, including program planning, operations, and stakeholder communications. Ms. David oversees, directs, and establishes short- and long-term goals for VA’s Privacy Program to effectively safeguard the personal information of Veterans, VA employees, and other stakeholders. Read on to learn more about Ms. David’s experience as a female leader in IT.
What has helped you to become a strong woman in leadership at VA?
I have a strong personal desire and drive for success as well as the support and encouragement of family and friends. I’m lucky to have countless mentors, sponsors, advocates, and others who have recognized my potential and invested in my personal growth and professional development. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate to have been afforded opportunities where I could contribute in a meaningful way and where the results of my efforts were valued.
How do the women in your field make an impact on Veteran lives?
The women in my field are incredibly talented and committed to the mission and protection of Veteran information and privacy. They educate themselves on the needs and challenges Veterans face, our mission in support of Veterans, and how their organization or work unit aligns with that overall mission. They’re always learning and engaging in a range of efforts to attain a diverse set of skills and abilities and apply that knowledge gained to support the Veteran, both directly and indirectly.
Why do you think it’s important to create a space for women in information technology?
It’s a global marketplace. Successful organizations understand the quality of their outputs directly correlates with the quality of their inputs. A diverse workforce that includes women is a key component. It’s important to focus on and achieve diversity — of background, perspective, experience, culture, ideas, and innovation. OIT is full of cyber and privacy professionals dedicated to the mission of protecting Veteran information and enabling execution of the VA mission. In a rapidly evolving technology, security, and privacy landscape, we must proactively recruit, train, and retain the best and brightest.
What advice would you give to the young women who will be part of the next generation’s OIT culture?
Be a sponge for continuous development, learning, and improvement. White attaining the requisite education and certifications is foundationally important, the experience gained in the workplace from day-to-day engagement is immeasurable and where most of the learning and growth takes place.
How do you use your voice to encourage other women in the workplace?
I engage them in conversation, learn about their work efforts and challenges, and seek mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities. I also find ways to leverage our expertise, ideas and resources. I formally and informally mentor other women at all levels of the organization and “stretch” my direct reports to take on new challenges, encouraging and supporting them along the way.