By: Karen Evans
Karen Evans ('12) KE&T Partners, Managing Director of the National Cyber Readiness Institute
Can you reflect upon your journey through the federal government, from the US Department of Agriculture, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Energy, and Department of Homeland Security? How did one position eventually result in another? Can you highlight some similarities and differences between agencies?
Starting as a GS-2, I have had the opportunity to work in several departments and agencies. The way I approached moving from position to position is the Executive Branch is one federal government enterprise. The rules are the same such as personnel and procurement but it is the mission and the mission outcomes which changes. The support of the mission is what is exciting. Knowing the processes makes the transition easier.
Who has been a key mentor or source of inspiration for you?
I have been blessed with several people along the way who have helped me. But, there are two people who stand out in mind, Alan Paller, who recently passed and it is a great loss to the cybersecurity workforce community and Frank Reeder, who has guided me through several transitions in my lifetime.
What is your favorite class you have ever taken and why?
High school Chemistry as I had a wonderful teacher who affected my choices and why I have a BA in Chemistry.
What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing a career in public administration?
Go for it! There is no other experience with the mission, levels of responsibility and ability to make a difference for future generations.
What would you currently consider the most critical challenge for public administration and why?
Public Trust in the government services. People want to make a difference and we need to restore overall trust within and throughout the public sector.
Did your experience as National Director of the US Cyber Challenge prepare you for your positions at the US Department of Energy and US Department of Homeland Security, if so, can you elaborate?
Establishing the nonprofit and getting the buy in and understanding to the mission certainly prepared me. Also, building the business case and ensuring sustainability were good skills to bring back to the government.
What is your favorite cuisine?
What is your favorite hobby or activity that you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have been scrapbooking! All the pictures on my phone into different books for the future
What is the best movie you have seen?
Top Gun, Maverick!!
What was your dream job as a child?
I wanted to be a rock star (way too funny, right)
Karen Evans is the Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute. She was the former Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Information Officer and United States Senate confirmed, Presidential Appointed executive, who served as the first Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Prior to being named Assistant Secretary at DOE, Ms. Evans was the national director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a public-private partnership focused on building the cyber workforce. Ms. Evans served as the Administrator for the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during the George W. Bush administration. At OMB, she oversaw nearly $71 billion in annual IT funds, including implementation of IT throughout the federal government. Previously, she served as the CIO for DOE and at the director level with both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Farmers Home Administration.