2017 Rising Star Awards

Amanda L. Day

Enterprise Cybersecurity Awareness and Training Lead, Department of Homeland Security

 

Being in charge of cybersecurity training for nearly half a million Department of Homeland Security employees is a daunting responsibility. But Amanda Day, who leads DHS’ Enterprise Cybersecurity Awareness and Training program, does it by making sure her team members are empowered and acknowledged.

Chelsea Rainier, DHS’ communications lead in the chief information security officer’s office, has known Day since she started her new role. “She makes sure she invests in us, that we’re where we need or want to be,” Rainier said of Day, who is not her direct supervisor. “She never takes praise without giving credit to her team.”

Day, who previously worked in IT at Customs and Border Protection, also runs DHS’ Information Security Training Working Group, which provides a discussion forum for cybersecurity awareness and training throughout the agency.

Her experience and ongoing coordination with frontline workers help give her team members a clear sense of why their work matters.

“In IT, it can seem like we are separated from the boots on the ground,” Rainier said. “But [Day’s] experience has strengthened her passion for the mission, and she reminds us that everyone plays an important role.”

Rather than leading with a rubber stamp of approval, Day empowers her team to make decisions, Rainier added, and she gives even interns as much knowledge, training and exposure as possible.

“She refuses to let our current intern be called anything but her title: junior cybersecurity analyst,” Rainier said. The intern is with Day “every step of the way, under her wing, even in a meeting with the CIO.”

For someone who has only been in her job for a year, that’s the kind of leadership that makes one a Rising Star.

Click here for more on all the 2017 Rising Stars

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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