By Nayab Khan
Women play an integral role in the Department’s workforce, and it is important to recognize their varied contributions. On March 19, Executive Women at State (EW@S) celebrated Women’s History Month by welcoming Suzette Kent, federal chief information officer for the Office of Management and Budget. EW@S President Michelle Bernier-Toth provided introductory remarks at the event.
“Kent is the first female federal chief information officer and fourth person to ever hold the position since it was created in 2002,” said Bernier-Toth. Recognizing Kent’s extraordinary background, Bernier-Toth went on to mention that Kent “has served as an enterprise leader in organizational learning, diversity and inclusiveness, and career development at every organization at which she has worked.”
Being someone who has excelled in fields traditionally dominated by male colleagues has encouraged Kent to share her experiences with other women. “I thought about my nieces and women I mentor and the role of driving women forward,” said Kent. “In Congress, there is about 20 percent, and the technology sector about 30 percent women.” Kent noted that this was a welcome change from the 9 percent of women from her previous position in the financial sector. “I was often the only woman,” said Kent, “but you learn to take what makes you different and make that a strength about you, and into a powerful contribution. Women have a lot to contribute and it’s important that they are at the table.”
Throughout Kent’s speech, she stressed the importance of having good, strong mentors and representing all people.
EW@S recognizes that bringing strong and amazing women leaders such as Suzette Kent to the Department can only further the work of women in leadership and honor the contributions that women bring across the government. For more information about EW@S please contact EWS@state.gov.
Nayab Khan is a foreign affairs officer in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.