Nicole Willis: Downsizing systems at DHS

Name: Nicole Willis

Age: 35

Organization: Homeland Security Department

Title: Senior Enterprise Architect, Office of the CIO

Nominated for: Leading development of an IT architecture that spans human resource systems across DHS’ component agencies, which resulted in a plan to eliminate more than 100 redundant systems.

First IT mentor: Paul Giannini at the Government Printing Office, who gave me my first big break in IT. He took my professional development seriously and pushed me to take advantage of several career-building opportunities even after I had left his unit.

Latest accomplishment on the job: I am helping transition DHS' human capital practices to be better aligned with the agency's strategic goals. The project has become a model for other architectural efforts across DHS.

Career highlight: At the beginning of my IT career, I served in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and helped teachers, school administrators, parents and students in New York City public schools make better use of IT.

Your advice for a government IT wannabe: Secure a career ladder position because they allow for relatively quick advancement. Participation in a rotational program can also be very beneficial at all stages of an IT career.

What you enjoy most about working in government IT: I enjoy being part of a team that is making the government more agile and collaborative so technology resources are used in a more efficient manner.

Three favorite job-related bookmarks: Corporate Executive Board site, CIO Council site, GovLoop

Dream non-IT-related job: A high school teacher in a progressive public school system

Read the next Rising Star profile or view the full list of winners.

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