Editorial: Demonstrating results

Journalists are idealists by nature. We look at the world as it could be but with a clear picture of how it is today. This is an attitude that we probably share with most feds. So when we ventured to look at how women make it to the top in federal information technology, we assumed that the glass ceiling was still firmly in place.

We were pleased to find that many women did not feel they had hit a ceiling. And perhaps that should not surprise us, given that the leaders include Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and IT, and Kimberly Nelson, the Environmental Protection Agency’s CIO, who is widely seen as a rising star.

A woman often faces unique challenges, not the least of which is trying to be a good employee, a good wife and a good mother. We found that many women seem to be doing well at handling that delicate balancing act.

"Most of the jobs, whether you're in government or in the private sector, are very demanding. Most of them are not 40-hour-a-week jobs," said Kathleen Adams, senior vice president and director of the civil sector at SRA International and a former federal executive.

But many tacitly acknowledge that the playing field is not yet even. One essential step toward leveling that field has been focusing on results. "I don't think it has anything to do with women and men," Evans said. "It has to do with competency."

If the focus is truly on results and competency, it is clear that women will succeed. And perhaps that is where agencies fall short.

It was also interesting that IT operations themselves are seen as a niche. Adair Martinez, deputy CIO for benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said, "IT is its own glass ceiling."

Perhaps these issues are not unrelated. If the IT shop is truly an effective part of an organization that focuses on results, it is not a niche operation but is essential to the organization’s success.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by wk1003mike): cloud system fracture.

    Does the IRS have a cloud strategy?

    Congress and watchdog agencies have dinged the IRS for lacking an enterprise cloud strategy seven years after it became the official policy of the U.S. government.

  • Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

    Who won what in EIS

    The General Services Administration posted detailed data on how the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract might be divvied up.

  • Wikimedia Image: U.S. Cyber Command logo.

    Trump elevates CyberCom to combatant command status

    The White House announced a long-planned move to elevate Cyber Command to the status of a full combatant command.

  • Photo credit: John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

    Verizon plans FirstNet rival

    Verizon says it will carve a dedicated network out of its extensive national 4G LTE network for first responders, in competition with FirstNet.

  • AI concept art

    Can AI tools replace feds?

    The Heritage Foundation is recommending that hundreds of thousands of federal jobs be replaced by automation as part of a larger government reorganization strategy.

  • DOD Common Access Cards

    DOD pushes toward CAC replacement

    Defense officials hope the Common Access Card's days are numbered as they continue to test new identity management solutions.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group