Two years ago, the Government Technology & Services Coalition created a Citizen of Mission Award to recognize those who give so much of their time and energy to contribute to the homeland security mission. Whether serving on the board of Women in Homeland Security (WHS) or directing the WHS STEM program, Lori Gordon has unselfishly devoted her efforts and expertise to support the homeland security mission.
WHS created the WHS STEM program in 2012, and for the past several years Lori has helped shape its significant growth, bringing it from a D.C. center of gravity to a national-level program. Her outreach and opportunities through NIST, DHS, NCCIC, FBI, and other agencies and components have established mission-to-mission relationships even beyond her STEM goals.
The STEM program has built partnerships with school districts to bring students from middle school to 12th grad to field trips in homeland security. Students have visited U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, the National Cyber Security Integration Center, the Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crime Center, the Transporation Security Administration, Virginia Task Force 1 Search & Rescue, the FBI, and many more. The group launched a STEM expo in 2016 with technology assets from Customs & Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, CBP Forensic labs, the Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division, and Virginia Task Force 1. Women in Homeland Security arranges the trips, coordinates chaperones and throw in pizza lunch.
“I think the program hits all the things that can engage kids: hands-on, real life missions of how the DHS and FBI are securing our country….and pizza,” said Gordon. “They get a real look at the fascinating world behind the safety we take for granted.”
Lori works at HWC, a strategy management consultancy that operates at the intersection of homeland security, cybersecurity, and infrastructure protection. As she’s progressed in her career, her focus has moved beyond governance and policy to encompass technical understanding as well. As an expert working in these areas, Gordon says: “In addition to digging into work in emerging technologies with clients, I also serve on several NIST National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) and ISO working groups, and on curriculum advisory boards for IT, cybersecurity and law, government & public safety.” It’s no wonder she has been successful, given her positive attitude and eagerness to learn, all in the name of supporting the mission.
For WHS STEM, Lori concentrates on expanding the homeland security workforce pipeline, as she recognizes its significance to our national security and prosperity. She also values the growing interest among students interested in cybersecurity, digital, artificial intelligence, and the broader expanse of government, industry innovation, and technology. “We in WHS STEM have been successful in identifying exceptional examples of how the government develops and deploys technology across DHS components that are accessible to students and learners,” she said.
In addition to identifying these opportunities, Lori and the WHS STEM team facilitate and promote events and visits to innovation labs and operations centers, coordinate women in leadership speaking forums, and launch Challenges to invite students to brainstorm solutions to pressing challenges in national security.
GTSC selected Lori for the Citizen of Mission award because of the time and effort she has volunteered to help the leaders of today focus their attention on the next generation of trailblazers contributing to the Homeland Security Mission. As Lori puts it, “we all need to feel some sense of worth outside of work and family, and for me that has meant giving back and getting involved in philanthropy.”