Women with Cool Jobs

National Security Expert Creates Nonprofit to Get More Girls & Women Into Field, with Lauren Buitta, CEO of Girl Security

October 18, 2023
Women with Cool Jobs
National Security Expert Creates Nonprofit to Get More Girls & Women Into Field, with Lauren Buitta, CEO of Girl Security
Show Notes Transcript

The representation of women has remained stagnant in the National Security field at about 20% across the board.

Lauren Buitta, a national security expert, is on a mission to get more women into this field. She is the founder and CEO of Girl Security – the only organization dedicated to advancing girls, women, and gender minorities in national security through supportive pathways.

There's a lot more to protecting America's interests at home than just considering intelligence and the military. There's the federal government, think tanks, and even the private sector that all play a part and make up over 160 million people in the national security industry.

Her goal is to bring more diversity into the national security workforce. This will also help shift ideological constructs to include a broader and more inclusive understanding of the factors that affect our safety and well-being in this country.

 Lauren began her career in national security in Chicago, IL, in 2003 as a policy analyst with the National Strategy Forum, a nonpartisan national security think tank. In 2009 while attending law school, Lauren launched her consulting firm, Stele Consulting, which provided support to clients on local policy issues, including exclusionary land use policies and racial segregation in Chicago.

When she considered what was needed in 2016 (and what was the beginning of Girl Security), Lauren recognized both the continued underrepresentation of women in national security and the need for a more intersectional approach to security.

 Resources


Contact Info:

Lauren Bean Buitta - Guest
Lauren Bean Buitta's LinkedIn Profile
contact@girlsecurity.org (Email)

Julie Berman - Host
www.womenwithcooljobs.com
@womencooljobs (Instagram)
Julie Berman's LinkedIn Profile



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Lauren Buitta:

It's a vast workforce. It's both the private and public sectors. And there are many different pathways across government, across intelligence, across diplomacy, you know, what we think of as the State Department and diplomats, but also cybersecurity, STEM, academia, healthcare, technology, there's so many different pathways across the national security field. And I think that's quite meaningful because as we say, at girl security, we certainly want to see more girls and women go into careers, of course. But we also want girls and women to a be able to sit at the table at dinner time and just talk about what's happening in the world vis-a-vis national security, but also be able to understand how national security challenges like technology, like climate change, like public health, will shape their lives regardless of whether or not they go into those pathways. And that's important because that's important for girls and women civic engagement and civic empowerment as well.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, I'm Julie and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique trailblazing and innovative careers. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, an actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big, and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who filled robots and roadways, firefighters, C suite professionals surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs, and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody, this is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of women with cool jobs. So I am so excited for so many reasons to be here with you today. The really epic third pod Versary has just happened on October 7 For this women with cool jobs of amazing journey that I am on. And I could not be happier. With just like the last few weeks and what has gone on in relation to me. And podcasting. It just really makes my heart so happy because I not only got the opportunity to have an amazing co host on for the third pod Versary episode her name's Gillian Spiess. And she is an award winning filmmaker and wonderful musician who has a film out now that is on Amazon and Apple TV that you can watch. And is so incredible, called state of the unity. And so she was on with me celebrating and we just had literally the best, most fun conversation. And if you did not check that out yet, I highly recommend going back after you listen to this episode, of course, I'm going to take a listen to that episode because we have such a good time. And I I've now known her for seven years, which is so incredible. And then also, I had my first ever in person live women with cool jobs event. Here in the Phoenix area. It was in Scottsdale, Arizona, it was on October 7, which was my exact date of my third point Versary. And it was one of the most special amazing moments of my whole life. Like I don't know if you've ever had an experience like this where you just literally feel like you are meant to be in that moment in time at that place doing that thing that you're doing. I hope you've have had this moment at least once or twice in your life. That is exactly how I felt doing that live experience of women with coal jobs. Like I am not someone who really likes the spotlight. I really don't always love being in front of people. But having 12 women join me half of which I knew and half of which I did it was just like the most epic experience because we got to do a mini episode in person where I chatted with Dr. Nika greci, who is the Executive Director at Arizona State University Center for mindfulness, compassion and resilience. And then she did this really awesome interactive workshop with us all about mindfulness. We got to do question and answer. And then we got to do a little bit of mix and mingle time. And for me because I am a facilitator and a teacher of adult. Like I love building and creating these experiences that are really interactive and engaging and you're like getting up and you're doing things and you're connecting with other people in the room. Like it's so important to me. And I really feel like all of the things that I had dreamed up I've been wanting to do an in person experience for like over two years and so all of the things Things that I had dreamed up, and that I had hoped it would be it was I yeah, I was floating after that I like my heart was just so happy. And if you hear me talk about it now, like it just, it was such an epic experience. And it also, I was so grateful to have so much support. And for the people who came, thank you so much. So if you're listening to this, you're like, oh, man, I wish I could have gone, I am going to be doing these events quarterly, I'm going to be having my next event on Saturday, January 27.

It's going to be from 10:

30am to noon. And it's going to be here in the Phoenix area, I'm not sure exactly where still have to keep in contact. But please, please, if you're here, please come to the next one market on your calendars. If you're not here, but you know someone in Phoenix, if you think they're gonna be interested, please make sure you share it with them. I would love that and appreciate it so much. But I have just had like such an incredible last few weeks. And I it's just, it's amazing to me, where this journey has led me I love doing this podcast so much because it has truly expanded not only what I know, to be possible, right, like literally meeting so many women whose jobs I didn't know existed, or, like, I didn't understand what it really took to do their jobs, like, what skills they had, what their experience was, but also, through speaking to them. I've had these amazing and profound moments of coming away with like a completely different awareness of how I understand the world. And what I love the most is that honestly, it's showing me how many possibilities exist in the world, and how expansive things can be. And right like what what a magical gift for something to bring. And so I'm so grateful to this podcast for that. And I am also super thankful to be able to be sharing this next amazing guest with you, because she is someone who is who is really making waves in the national security industry. But she is on this huge mission to get more women into national security. Lauren Buda is the CEO and founder of girl security, she has over 20 years experience in national security. And she founded girl security, which is the only organization dedicated to advancing girls, women and gender minorities in national security through several supportive pathways. And so they help girls and women ages 14 to 26, they really have an incredible amount of educational resources and things that they put into place. They work with experts, they work with thought leaders, and all sorts of really wonderful people who can be by your side, to help you understand what it means to be in national security, like what does that actually entail? What are the skills that you need? What do you need to do to be successful, and where you can feel free to ask as many questions as you want. And to not be judged for it, which of course, is someone who am a Maven archetype. And Maven just love to learn. So of course, I ask a lot of questions. And I love that they have this culture that they're setting up, where they're creating this beautiful space for girls and women to go to get into a field that has been stagnant. She said in the 20 years that she's been in this field, the number of women has remained at 20%. That is so crazy that it's been 20 years, and it has not increased. And that's why she's on this mission with her nonprofit, to bring that number up. And this was such a great conversation too, because I really learned so much more about what options and opportunities are available in the field of national security. So many more, it is so much wider and more diverse than I expected. Which was such a cool surprise to me such a wonderful thing to learn. And it really seems like if this is a field that interests you, there's a place for you in it. And the other theme that I love that came up that has happened before and has come up before is that more women's voices and experiences are needed in order to create the solutions that are needed for the future. And I think that is such a key point that I hear over and over and over again in these conversations. And it's so key to listen to, like we need more women. We need more women everywhere. We need more representation and it matters and it's going to create better outcomes for it because you're allowing in those diverse thoughts, those diverse experiences and most diverse people. So I am so excited for you to listen, please make sure if you have not shared this before with a friend please make this episode that you share with us. A friend or family member, or neighbor, who you think is going to love this. And that's how we help this like movement grow, right to see that there are so many possibilities in the world of what women are doing now. So thank you for being here. Thank you for listening and taking your precious time. Because I know that is one resource we can't get back. All right, hello. So today, we are here with Lauren B uutta. And I am so excited to have you here. Lauren, thanks for being on.

Lauren Buitta:

Thank you for having me, this is a real privilege.

Julie Berman - Host:

Thank you. So you have an incredible job, where you are the CEO and founder of Girls security, and you have 20 years of experience in national security. And you have created this incredible organization to that's like completely dedicated to advancing girls, women in gender minorities in national security, through these really cool and supportive pathways, like workforce training program and a mentoring program, pathway advancement. And I am really excited to first of all hear like more about national security, because I think women in general, don't always consider this field, I think like, it's something I would have never considered. And the only person I even know who's in this field is a man, right. And so I think that the approach that you and your organization take for getting more people who've really maybe never considered this, and getting them into this world is phenomenal. And you have like so many different avenues, where you are helping people of different ages between 14 and 26, which is incredible. So I, I am really excited to get into the details. But before we do that, I would love to hear how you define your cool job.

Lauren Buitta:

Yes, so I appreciate all of the introduction. And I would say I would describe my job as or at least the organization as a platform to amplify girls and women's voices on really important issues that affect not just the United States, but the entire world. And so we really do sort of assiduously adhere to this idea that our sole purpose is to create more platforms and opportunities for people to hear the insights of girls and women, especially on security issues, because we have such a deep, visceral, innate understanding of what security means.

Julie Berman - Host:

Okay, thank you. And I want to ask, like, for your role as the founder and CEO, can you tell us like a little bit about just your journey into this field in general? Like, did, were you aware of what it was as a child? Or how did you learn about it? How did you get into it? And what was your experience that led you now to creating this incredible organization?

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, when I was young, I had, I would say, dual interests. The first was, I was always sort of seeking to pierce those spaces where I didn't see girls, whether it was like playing football, or we petitioned to have altar girls at my church where they were prohibited. So I think there was always sort of an innate sense that I had that I wanted to get into spaces and understand why girls were excluded from certain spaces. And then I think the second side of that is I really wanted to understand the human experience. And I think, through that it sort of led me to what are some of the experiences that are common to humanity, but also the most disruptive, and war is sort of one of those experiences. And, of course, national security. You know, I think most people often associate with war. And so that followed me through high school into college where I studied political science. And what I would say is that college or at least political science really doesn't teach you a lot about national security. In fact, I can't really remember hearing the phrase national security in college, so money was spent. But I was a junior in college when the September 11 terrorist attacks happen, which we just remembered yesterday. And I think like most young people at the time, it was such a catastrophic event. I think most people felt felt vulnerable and sort of sought out this idea of what can I do as an individual to be part of some healing or part of some solution in response to those terrorist attacks. So that was in 2001 and 2002, I returned to Chicago where I'm from, and really began looking for jobs and what I thought was considered foreign policy. And I was hired by a national security Think Tank. So a little bit of jargon, a think tank is sort of an institute or an organization that researches and analyzes national security issues. And so at 22 ish, I really started to have a really deep dive into what national security was. And at the same time, my brother was deployed to the war in Iraq. And so I was having sort of this abstract theoretical analytical experience through my work, but then also had this very personal investment in what was happening in an effort to, quote unquote, protect our national security. And so that was really sort of what led me to this path. And I felt so passionately about this work. But I also recognized how few women I saw within the national security field. And you can imagine, even now, that's 20 years ago, the representation of women has remained pretty stagnant and national security at about 20% across the board. And about six or seven years into my position, I was sexually assaulted by my employer. And so I left the national security field for about a decade, I wouldn't say I left it entirely. I did work that seemed misaligned at the time working on systemic racial discrimination in the city of Chicago, I worked on two lawsuits against the city of Chicago, I also finished law school. But of course, when I look back at that work, it shaped so much of what we do at girls security. And in 2016, I sort of brought the the some of those 20 years into girls securities model, which is what exists today.

Julie Berman - Host:

Wow, thank you for that overview. And I'm so sorry, you're, you have like that experience. And I appreciate that you're willing to share it here and kind of have that as part of your story. And I think that's interesting, too, that you mentioned the first those first few years, like having that personal experience, but also going through the think tank, then having what I can only imagine was an incredibly awful, difficult experience trying to deal with that, personally, and then going into a different field, where it seemed like maybe things were Yeah, like you said, like, out of alignment with what you had done in the past, but yet, also now informs how you go about running this organization, and serving people with with this, like very large mission of getting more women and girls into this field of national security. And I think one of the things that I would love to hear from you is, what is your definition of national security? Like how if people have just heard this term thrown around, but they don't really know the details of it? Like, what does that mean? What does that entail?

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah, and I think I'll start with how I think the five, the field itself defines it. And it's such a simple definition. But I almost think that's what trips people up, it's, you know, protecting America's interests at home. And so I think, in a way girls securities and organization can subscribe to that definition. But I think where we differ from how historically it's been defined at whatever defines those interests, means something very different. Now, I wouldn't say something totally different. But it's much more nuanced, and more all encompassing than historically it has been defined. And I think for us part of national security has to include national well being it has to include the ability of every individual to realize their full potential, their full self, both individually, but also as part of a society and part of a democracy. And so of course, now with all of the challenges that we confront within the United States and even globally, you know, the big question that we keep asking ourselves is, is it time to redefine national security so that more everyday Americans like us understand what national security is? Because it is such a powerful and highly invested sector in the United States?

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I remember, because we talked a little bit before this, just so I could get more of an understanding. And I was, I mean, astounded is the best word I can think of by like, how many people you said, were actually in this field. So I was wondering if you could share that statistic with people because I think that and then the details of like, who you consider being part of the national security industry or like niche, because that was really interesting to me, just not only the number of people involved, but in addition to that, the different groups that actually can be considered to be part of this industry.

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah, I mean, if you just consider the federal government as one of the largest employers alone, and really national security would encompass the entire federal government workforce, you're at about one and a half million. And then just within let's take cybersecurity, which is one vector of national security there, you're at over 4 million profession. holes. And again, that's just one of many, many different pathways within the security field. And I think that's also an important distinction for people is I think a lot of times people have national security is just the federal government. Right. But increasingly, the federal government relies on the private sector for its national security. And I think one example that's quite relevant right now, is the amount of control that someone like Elon Musk, who owns Starlink has in what's happening in Ukraine, and that's a private sector entity. So I think the entire world is questioning what happens when the private sector owns or operates more of our national security, what does that do to a balance of power, and then within the entire national security workforce, you know, you have a workforce that's protecting over 160 million workers within, you know, with over across the world. And so it's a vast workforce. It's both the private and public sectors. And there are many different pathways across government across intelligence across diplomacy, you know, what we think of as the State Department and diplomats, but also cybersecurity, stem academia, healthcare, technology, there's so many different pathways across the national security field. And I think that's quite meaningful, because, as we say, at girls security, we certainly want to see more girls and women go into careers, of course, but we also want girls and women to a be able to sit at the table at dinner time and just talk about what's happening in the world visa vie national security, but also be able to understand how national security challenges, like technology, like climate change, like public health, will shape their lives regardless of whether or not they go into those pathways. And that's important, because that's important for girls and women civic engagement and civic empowerment as well.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I love that. I mean, the specific part of being engaged and being aware and having like, I think, a deeper understanding, given that you have this foundation of knowledge, I think is so powerful. And I certainly think that like I even as an adult wish that I had more, you know, like I have sort of this basic understanding of some of these things, because, right, like, even in the political science classes, you don't necessarily get these elements that actually are critical. You get like the history or, you know, whatever your teacher wants to focus on this semester. And so I yeah, I mean, that's such an interesting point. And I'm curious, like for you, I want to focus like shift a little bit now to you and your specific role as founder and CEO, what specifically made you want to create girl security? And what I guess like, what are you doing now within that role, like kind of what is your day to day life, like your week to week, if you would mind sharing those elements?

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah, I mean, I, when I started girl security, I really began it as a volunteer project I, I really was just sort of going off of a hunch in 2016, when the concept of disinformation slash quote unquote, fake news, and cybersecurity became more prominent, it felt like an open door to engage youth and specifically girls around the topic. Whereas before, if people only think about national security as wars, it can be challenging to have a scaffolded age appropriate conversation. Whereas when you're talking about something like cybersecurity, when those threats are hitting your front doorstep, your phone, your computer, your car, it felt like almost a call to action, like we can't not engage girls and women in this conversation. Because the more pervasive these types of challenges become, the more gender the types of threats evolve. And that is very much the case now. So I don't think I knew it was going to become an organization right out of the gate. But as the momentum built, and especially throughout, just prior to the pandemic, actually, there was such demand because I was going into schools and communities and really just sort of asking girls a lot of questions about what they understood national security to be. And then as girls would approach me and say, I'd love to go into this field, I realized, well, I have a really good network of amazing women, I can probably pair them with someone who directionally at least is shares a similar career path. So that really started what is now really a flagship of our work, which is our nationwide mentoring program. And you have women from all over the world, all different sectors, volunteering their time, to really create that space for girls to poke their heads in and see hey, is this the right field for me and if not, what might be some other pathways in the sector? So it was almost as if the the work itself sort of propelled the organization at which point I decided, okay, I guess I have to really, I have to turn this into something because I can't do this by myself. And then as that notion built, to be honest, I was very sited about the prospect of building an organization and creating a type of leadership that I never saw in my life. And as a mom, that felt very meaningful to me that I could create a space where women and moms and parents could work and feel productive and purposeful without some of the sacrifices that I experienced. So that was that piece of it. I would say, the more we grow, the less useful I become to be quite honest with you, I think, you know, I have to accredit the people on my team, Drina Shannon, Gina, Jane, Amalia, Nancy, so many of them, they create programming with such intention and depth and care, that it's so easy for me to do my day to day, week to week, which is very much trying to promote the mission of the work and to do what we're doing, which is talk about what national security is invite people into those conversations, create more support for more girls and women on our program, expanding our impact and scaling. So I would say a lot of my day is really just trying to grow the capacity of the organization to keep supporting the demand, which continues to grow as well, which is all very, very exciting.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, that's wonderful. And I think, when you talk about how you almost like, because you have this great team, right, like your, your role has changed, probably I'm imagining it's changed a lot since the beginning. But also, like, I think, to your credit, it takes a great leader to hire a great team, right, and to understand also, like, who's going to be a great fit for certain roles, and like how all those pieces and people and everything fit together. So I mean, that sounds amazing. And I think, you know, your organization has all these really incredible components that I love, like, I used to actually be in adult ed and training. And so I loved seeing that you've got all these different options for people, you know, depending on where they're at, and their ages, and, and the fact that you can get like this E mentoring and be anywhere in the country. I mean, that's like, so incredible, because I think that, that exposure, right? That having an actual connection with a woman who's doing the thing, and being able to ask the questions, and doing so where you're feeling like, you know, you're in a safe space, you can ask them the things that maybe seem stupid, or like, maybe I should know this, or like, what is it really like? Like, what are the actual wonderful pieces? And like, what are the things you just had better learn to deal with? It's like, those are all the real life tangible things that you don't necessarily learn from just going through school, right and getting the degree or getting the job that looks great on paper.

Lauren Buitta:

So through, and that was really the design is, is to create that safe space to ask questions and to not feel embarrassed and to not have people judge you. And I think the other side of that is it's external to employers. So you're never worried about asking a question within the job space you work in. And it's an open door, because there is a, you know, national security, I'm not sure it's unique to other sectors. But there is this transactional sense. And I found that in my early years, I felt guilty going back to the same person multiple times for advice, and I really wanted to create a network where it's an open door forever, so long as we exist, you can always come back and ask for help. There's never going to the well, too much. You know, if we can't answer the question, we'll find someone who can. Because I do think that is a really important tool in keeping women especially in Job spaces where they might otherwise not feel supported. And especially again, given the statistics that we have in our hands. And you know, the mentoring relationships go well beyond just conversation. I'm always amazed because I hear stories literally every day from mentees in our program. Our mentors are helping draft letters of recommendation, helping them prepare their resumes, opening up their network and creating opportunities for them. And they go on for years, you know, some are three months, and then you know, you go on in that, but many of them become friendships and become those sort of long term peer colleague relationships. That's so rewarding to watch happen. Because again, it's it really I think, drives this idea that women in this sector, again, are also purposeful, and they see more than anyone how important it is to keep building that pipeline, or we won't see a shift in those numbers.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I mean, that is really interesting that you've been doing this for like 20 years and things have pretty much remained the same as far as how many women in the field. So I love that idea of crew Getting the connections and the support? And also with the idea that yeah, like, There's never too many times that you can ask a question. Because I've had that too. And I think the beautiful thing about people who are willing to ask questions is like you're willing to learn, like, why is that not celebrated? I just I've never understood that. I don't owe any. Yeah. So I think that's fantastic. I would love to ask you about what are some examples of careers in national security, especially because you have such a diverse definition, I think, much broader than many of us just when we automatically hear national security. So like, if you can share either some examples of like, places and spaces where you've seen women already go, or where you're hoping that they're gonna go soon? I would love to hear them. Yeah, I

Lauren Buitta:

mean, I think some of the more obvious ones would be intelligence analysts, either with the CIA, which is the Central Intelligence Agency, or the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And again, you know, women in our community that have served in those roles. When you watch the movies, you see, like the gunrunners, which tend to be men. And what the analysts actually do is they piece together all of the data that helps solve or identify people in really tremendous catastrophic events like the Boston Marathon bombing, or one of our strategic advisors, Gina Bennett, issued the first warning memo about Osama bin Laden. So you have women in these rooms that are basically playing with huge data puzzles, and trying to as quickly and efficiently and in an informed manner as possible, help identify people who have committed tremendous atrocities within the United States. So there's that piece of it. There's also lawyers, you know, in the Department of Justice, and even on the private sector side, on the technology platforms side. So those are people who are dealing with things like child exploitation or human trafficking, and they're trying to help govern, how do we solve these problems? How do we identify these people without breaching other people's personal privacy or civil liberties. And those are, you know, these are weighty issues, but they're, they're so important to what we do, I think we're probably people don't sometimes think about national securities in the retail sector. You know, with the kind of explosion of domestic violent extremism within the United States, there's an increasing number of attacks on physical retail stores. So you have people in corporate secure security, who are responsible for ensuring that those people and and, and store stay physically safe. And those threats, again, are arising from a national security threat. You have people who are working on supply chain issues, we all know about the chip shortage and even food supply chain. So there are people who spend their lives making sure that our food supply is secure. I think food can go through something like 30 or 80 checkpoints. So you have people who make sure that our food isn't poisoned. You know, you have people, we have a great fellow who is in medical school, and she wants to go in biosecurity, you know, so how do we prepare and respond to another pandemic, and other things, people who secure our electricity grid from attacks or from other types of environmental concerns, so that one day we're not all driving in our car stop working, because they're reliant on digital technologies in the grid. So it's, it's so wide ranging, then you have people on the academic and research side who just study these issues. You know, they study the history of policies and laws around things like, again, climate change, or human trafficking, or war crimes against women, and they produce solutions and outcomes for government and policymakers to consider. So it is it's so wide ranging. And I think that makes it such an exciting field, because you really can almost find a national security job and whatever your sector is,

Julie Berman - Host:

yeah, yeah. I mean, I actually had no idea all those things were national security. I mean, they seem kind of obvious when you list them out like that, but I just had never either thought about them or heard them in this context. So that's, I mean, that's really interesting. And there is so much diversity, so I could see how Yeah, like whether you want to do the research, whether you want to be someone putting together like these pieces of a massive puzzle, trying to solve to figure out who's who's behind all this and but all I mean, even the things Yeah, when it comes to food, or it comes to hopefully, not another pandemic during my lifetime, I hope. I know, right? I need to pray to I'm praying. But yeah, you know, like, I think it's just really that's fascinating to do. To hear you list those off and and I'm curious for your organization like, how do you find your experts? And how have you structured your organization, if you could speak to kind of like your more of the details of what you offer. And I would love to also hear after that, like maybe how you find the experts who are helping guide people, because that sounds fascinating as well.

Lauren Buitta:

It's pretty cool, we get to meet some pretty cool women. So I think the first point of impact for our organization is through the mentoring program, because it's so wide ranging, and it really is designed to capture as many interested young people as possible. And so someone who learns about our program through any number of channels can enroll in our mentoring program for a season and they spend three months speaking with a woman in national security, and it really is quite informal. We help them prepare questions and sort of serve as a guide in the conversation. All of the mentors have to go through various trainings. But again, it's it's the idea that it creates a three month space for them to just poke their head in, ask questions for some. That would be for maybe the mentees who are at the high school and early college level, then you have mentees were more career focused. And again, within the mentoring program, mentors helped them conduct informational interviews, get their resumes ready, something listeners might know or not know is that a resume for a federal government job is extremely different from a resume for anything else. So you have to have two resumes, helping them LinkedIn profile setup. So the mentoring program sort of brings people in the door. And then for those girls and women, and especially those specifically those from underrepresented populations, they can apply to our workforce training program. And so that is a very intensive 12 week virtual program that stipend did so they earn a stipend as part of that program. And they spend every Tuesday either synchronous or asynchronous learning one component, one module of national security, and it's quite a robust and interdisciplinary set of learning modules. And they're led by leading women like Michelle Condoleezza Rice and Michele Flournoy and suporte. Yeah, some really cool people and, and they also will do workshops with again, the names won't be probably known to people, but we know them as some of the most seasoned and accomplished instructors practitioners in the field, Carmen Medina, ROPO, Corrado, quite a few others. So they're getting a balance of sort of skill building around specific things like intelligence analytics, or critical thinking or communications or writing. But they're also getting what I like to consider sort of like a, you know, one of those magic eye posters where you kind of let your eyes relax, and all the dots create a picture. That's really what this was designed to do. It was designed to provide enough dots so that when girls are done, they can see national security for exactly what it is, which is this very interdisciplinary field. And then beyond that, for both mentees and fellows out of the workforce program, we have an amazing professional development program, which is led by a wonderful woman named Drina Thomas, who was former FBI. And that is, again, building on ramps for participants to secure first jobs first internship scholarships into the workforce. And then in addition to the programmatic side, we also have quite a few initiatives at the industry and government level. Because we sort of see this in two parts, you know, we want to increase the representation of girls and women. But we also know that we can't promote them into systems that still are not designed for them. So a lot of the work that we're doing is trying to forge change and understanding in the workforce. Okay, your you workforce are suggesting you want to see more diverse populations, but what are you actually doing to recruit, retain, engage advanced them? How are you actually including them and not assimilating them into existing workplaces and existing environments. So that's a much more long term effort, but it's crucial, it's the other half of what we do. And so all of that really is designed to create more spaces for girls and women, and to really give them top notch training that would not otherwise be accessible. And I think what makes it all so unique is it's all designed by women, you'll never go into the national security field and have that opportunity, because all of the curriculum at the college level is primarily male theorists. So you're also getting that first touch point with the work through the lens of women who've lived the experiences and I think that adds something very special to it.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, that's so interesting that you mentioned that, I guess, I don't know. I never would have thought about that. But that is, I mean, I mean, it's an actually really interesting picker question about the way that we learn from like an adult education and like pedagogy, like education system for children. Is that like, so my It's not only the history and everything, a lot of it was written by males traditionally, or passed down in the sense of like males were the dominant ones doing the things. So that's fascinating. And I love that. I mean, those all those components are amazing. Just the fact that you've got that much support from sounds like just the most incredible people who are participating in your organization. And I am now very curious about who these women are. So I may have to get a list of names, so I can just look them up for my own. My own?

Lauren Buitta:

No true, because, as I said, one of our Gina who I mentioned, she's working on this theory of hunter gatherer security. And, you know, it's a very simple thing where she'll point out, you know, some of the most prominent theories of security include Thomas Aquinas, for example, who said that women are a deformed are a species that need to be dominated. And so we beg this question of how or shouldn't we be questioning these theories, alongside how they perceived the role of women at the time that they were developed? I mean, these theories have endured, they're still the prominent theories and Security Studies schools. And they're disassociated from from how they positioned women within their analysis. And so, to us a very obvious question is, is, what's missing from this dialogue? What's missing from the Security Studies program? And how can we disassociate how men viewed women from what their perspective on war is or, you know, whatever the relevant subject is? So there's just as the women archaeologists are making new discoveries around evolution, we're applying some of those same lenses into our work of let's question the status quo. Let's not just accept that what we've learned and what we've read, and what's been established is what has to be. And I think, if we didn't do that, we couldn't be doing the work that we're doing, because we'd be making our heads against a wall.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. I mean, that is, you're kind of blowing my mind right now. Like, I almost feel like I have nothing to say except for it's my job to have something to say. So. I mean, it is it is incredible, because like, it reminds me of this story where I mean, I've lived abroad a few times. And because of that, I happened to meet some like really great friends who who were not from the United States. And I remember in particular, I went one time, and I visited a friend who is from Hungary. And we were going around Budapest, and he was showing me these buildings. And there were there are bullet holes in the buildings. And then he's walking by this huge statue of this man. And he shows me, oh, like, This guy used to be in my history books as a bad guy. But now he's here as like a good guy, because he grew up, he's about 10 years older than me. So he grew up at the end of communism. And I mean, that was so profound at that moment, because growing up in the US, we just like, I don't know, we don't have context like that. And so the fact that like, the narrative around this statue, person, like shifted that much, it's just within his lifetime, which is only 10 more years than mine, was so interesting. So going back to the fact that you guys are really questioning and considering all these different aspects, like not only doing the educational components and the mentorship components, and providing these connections, and this foundational information, but then kind of going back to the like, to the core of things and really asking these deep, really profound questions about like, even as how we're thinking about these things, or how we're considering these things, accurate, or should we be changing the narrative? Should we be reconsidering? Like, where's this coming from? That's, I mean, that's so powerful. That's amazing. I'm a huge fan of your organization. Yeah, I can't say more than that. But I love what you're doing. It's so cool. In so many ways, like just from the the pathways that you're providing for, you know, more women and girls to get in, but in gender diverse folks, but also, from this, like broader perspective of like, do we need to shift how we're thinking about these things? And question things that maybe we never questioned before.

Lauren Buitta:

I agree. And I think it's the time to be doing this, you know, I think we're seeing this stagnation, if not this backslide for girls, women, and gender minorities, not just within the United States globally. And it just begs the question, what's the missing piece? And I think the hard answer for people is that these there's no easy road to gender equity. And it's going to take a very long time and a lot of investment And, and a lot of heartache and a lot of failed starts and stops. But at the end of the day, we're just not doing enough to shift the status quo. And so it's not to suggest that we think as an organization that we're going to do it all. But I think within our small segment of this universe, the least we can start to do is raise those questions and invite girls and women in our program to do the same, because what kind of disservice would we be doing them to, to talk about this field to have them go into these programs? And it's not just hard Security Studies. It's also cybersecurity computer science related studies, where they walk into the classroom, and they're one of few girls or women, and they're subjected to all sorts of different types of challenges and threats. We have to make it okay to question the status quo. I think that's it's almost like an obligation that we have.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. And I'm curious because it sounds like you've been working really hard as you use the word Pierce to like Pierce, these sort of areas of your life that you've come across where there haven't there haven't been women like that women have been excluded in some way. And I'm curious, like, do you feel like that's almost like a calling within you? Or like, because it sounds like you found quite a few opportunities to question like, why aren't there more women here? Yes, I

Lauren Buitta:

think I think it is a calling. I think it was part of me when I was very young. And, you know, it's, I have a daughter and a son. And so I look at the both of them. And I think I see some of what I lived in my own and my daughter, especially because she's a girl growing up in this world. And I see that fire a little bit in her too. And she might be hearing me, but she's constantly questioning the why why just this why just girls, why just boys, why this, why that? Why this. So I do think it was quite fundamental to me. And you know, I had a very supportive mom to who sort of always nudging me in the back to go into those spaces. I mean, she put me she made my dad put me on as a construction worker in college in the city of Chicago. So I was about an 1819 years old, the only woman on every job site in my college summers. And so I do think there was a sense of fearlessness in what I sought to do. But of course, having had the negative experiences that I did, it knocked me down a bit, but also in doing so or and having to sort of recover from that it gave me even more clarity about this work, and why it's so important. Because I think it's it would be very, it would have been very understandable for me to not reengage in this field and just say, I'm done with this field. But there was just this part of me that felt like if I'm not doing it for myself, I'm doing it for, for these these other girls and women who should not have to endure the same types of challenges.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I think that I mean, it's really amazing that you've been doing all of what you're doing. And, and going kind of like, almost by your intuition, or like, and also where you saw this opportunity. I don't know if you feel like that's accurate, but just kind of hearing your story. That's what came to me. And I'm, I'm curious, like, for you? Where do you hope that this goes like as I mean, as founder and CEO, I saw like, you have quite a few people who are on your staff, you have quite a few amazing people who seem like, you know, they're on the board, or they're helping in some other capacity. So like, where is your dream for this to go? What is I think, you know, like, in your, I don't know, like 10 years or 20 years, kind of vision for what you hope becomes of girl security and the women who end up going through?

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah, it's such a hard question. I mean, on a very practical level, I hope that I can grow an organization the next 10 years that I can hand off to some other CEO. I mean, that's really I think the gold standard, right is I'm not, I don't want to be 80 years old running this organization, because I think it needs the perspective of a younger person. But if I can create a really stable foundation for it to flourish under a different type of leadership, I think that that would be really exciting. I would feel very accomplished. I think on a you know, kind of big vision perspective. I think in this is not a 10 year, this is more like a 20 3040 year which I will carry out beyond the scope of just the organization. You know, I think it will become part of the fabric of what I do is to to continue to drive this conversation about the need to rethink how we define national security and to center girls and women's experiences at The core of this conversation, and I have some ideas of what I think that can look like. But I don't want to commit those verbally, because I don't haven't quite figured them out. But I think there are there are certain points of impact we can have as an organization, that that are timely and can shift people's thinking about how we talk about security, how we educate young people about security. And to your point, not even just young people, but how we engage our entire population around the conversation of national security, I think is so dire right now, because there is no democracy without security, and there is no security without democracy. And right now, both are in parallel. And so I think making this a more accessible feel beyond the scope of the work that we do would feel also like something very meaningful as part of this work.

Julie Berman - Host:

Thank you. And I, I know we talked about this, like, before we were recording, and I would love for you to share a little bit kind of about your thoughts on women and girls coming into this field and why that is needed. Like why are girls and women's thoughts needed? And how does that help shift? What is happening within national security?

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah, we have, you know, it's a little bit of a loose theory. But it's really this idea that from World War One and World War Two and to present, we've developed security solutions, primarily in the primarily in terms of war, that have responded to this idea that as a country, we can be 100%, secure from attacks, that nothing can penetrate our soil that we can secure our population, our buildings, our economy, our borders, talk about national security strengths, the fact that we're surrounded by water. And in making those decisions, we've overlooked a lot of vulnerability, which is why I think as an organization, we conclude we are where we are as a country, which is we've missed a lot. And how that relates to girls and women is, you know, we talk about girls and women, we all experienced this, we grew up literally from childhood, being told to be afraid of many, many things, and actually been victimized by certain things, not always, but some of the time more, you know, more for others than some. And we call that an unsought aptitude. And in other words, we understand security innately from a very young age, we never take it for granted. So we never go into a space, thinking we can be fully secure, we've never had that privilege. And so I think the conversation that we have is, What do our security solutions look like, when they're shaped by people who understand that there's no such thing as 100% security. And I think what we understand is that what that would create not just more sustainable security solutions, and policies and laws and programs, they're also actually more innovative, because they would be derived from many different perspectives, many different insights data, in other words, data. And that is innovative. It's gathering as much data as possible from as many people as possible. And testing assumptions and thinking about solutions and testing those solutions, and questioning failure and all those other things that we've really not done well in national security. And we've seen the ways that girls and women do that throughout the course of their entire lives. And so we want to sort of harness the power of that and just think about it like a Care Bear Stare. Like, we want to harness the power of that into national security. And what does that look like? I can't even imagine. I don't know what that looks like. But I think whatever that looks like is so exciting.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I mean, I've lost the care, very stare Exam Guide. But for everyone who understands that there wasn't care, Bear Stare, it will be powerful. But I also think, yeah, my children now probably have no idea what

Lauren Buitta:

I've showed my kids clips, but yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

so funny. I love that though. And I mean, I think that is really interesting. A point in, in and of itself, like as women we are taught from a young age, like you said, to be incredibly aware of certain things that could be threats, and like even leaving a grocery store late last night, like I get into my car, and I'm very aware of what is going what is going on around me. I lock my doors right away all these things that are sort of taught and recommended over time, even though I live in a very safe neighborhood in area. So I think that to your point, and it's really interesting to incorporate a group of people whose voices have not always been heard. In this area who have not been able to maybe contribute, or who have not been able to traditionally contribute in a way, in the places that have more power, and to be able to bring some of those experiences, bring some of those thoughts in. Yeah. And like experiment and see like, how could this positively affect what is happening? And what will continue to happen? And the evolution of just like things in technology that we can't even, we can't even possibly think of right now. And that's Oh, no,

Lauren Buitta:

that's exactly the point, right is, I think there's a deep psychology like, what happens to the like, what happens to our brains, that we grow up assessing those situations, what's seen what's not what's real, what's imagined. And I think what 911 showed us was that we had tremendous blind spots, we were applying cold war or even pre Cold War thinking to a challenge that was wholly unique to what we'd ever experienced. Well, that's forever going to be now the nature of national security. Yes, there are some of those sort of hard security and long standing challenges that are regional, you know, countries like the Republic of China or Russia, sure. But the types of pervasive security challenges to your point, our technology, our climate impacts are, again, another pandemic, we need to be thinking about, what are we seeing, what are we not seeing? Where are our assumptions being tested. And again, that's where girls and women have been doing that their whole lives. And I think on top of that, we're the majority of the population. And so to me, there's just something very matter of fact, and that ideal, and we know what the demographic trends are. And so it seems to me that it's really just prudent and practical to have the national security workforce look like the country across all diversities.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I'm wondering, like, as we're talking, and I don't, I guess I don't know if there's an actual answer to this or not. But I'm gonna ask it anyways, and see what you say. I am curious there, because there are so many things going on in the world today. Like just things that we, I mean, even in the past, like five years, the pandemic, and then now chat GPT. And like, I mean, all these interesting things. And one of the things that comes to mind, is that because we cannot even we yeah, we can't even imagine them, like maybe in a sci fi book. But we just can't imagine what's to come. How do you balance this idea of being sort of trained and having this foundation of awareness and understanding and like the research needed to come to this field, and I guess, responsibly and morally, try to put things into place, based on the fact that we don't always know what's going to happen. But then, on the flip side, to do it in a way that still, like enables people these like liberties and freedoms that we want in that like, as part of sort of the fabric of the idea of being in America being in the United States. Because, you know, sometimes it seems like there's are these conflicting things going on? So I'm curious, like, what your perspective is, and especially incorporating more women into this, like, if you have a thought about that?

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah. I mean, I think your question hits on a lot of things, you know, this started to come up again, after 911. And with the advent of cybersecurity is it's it's always positioned as either or, like, we can have privacy, but we can have security, we can have security, but we have to give over privacy and that that tension around civil liberties, I think is such a fundamental part of our national security conversation. And we really don't have any answers to those questions because the technology is outpacing our ability as a, as a as a species and as a democracy with a constitution, to develop responsive strategies in time to deal with the types of challenges we confront. Part of the way that we do that at girl securities, we actually do what we call like a future facing training, where we ask girls to consider challenges 50 years from now, and they have to sort of back out, okay, if that's the challenge that you're considering, what is sort of your ideal end state in response to that challenge? And if that's your ideal end state, what might be some of the levers that you'll have to pull to achieve that outcome? What might be some intervening trends that you're not thinking of right now, but if you're in your wildest sci fi imagination, you can come up But, and we actually do that exercise. I mean part of it, it was inspired by a really amazing sci fi writer called Malka older who writes science fiction on these issues. But she's also just an amazing practitioner. Part of it is it's an accessible exercise for youth, because they don't feel like you're asking them to put a right answer on the line for a near term problem. But I think some of it is it allows you to identify trends that actually can help inform what may very well likely happen in the future. And I think that's sort of where we position ourselves like we have enough information, because humanity is actually quite cyclical to understand some possible outcomes, there might be some intervening issues. But if we just go off of what we know, what are some of the strategies that we can employ? What are some of the questions that we're asking what are some of the things that we can't predict? So we really try to build that into everything that we do as an organization. But again, I mean, when I look back on even 20 years ago, the issues that are arising now, people knew what was going to happen, people projected all of the things that are happening right now, it was just a matter of because we live in this beautiful democracy with the Constitution, change is slow. And we have a bureaucracy. And so again, it's just a reminder of how hard it is to build consensus around an issue, even when everyone knows what the vast implications of an issue will be. And now you have things like disinformation and all of the political divisiveness that comes from social media, which I think makes it harder and harder for people to find common is to develop common solutions to those problems as well.

Julie Berman - Host:

How do you see ways that people have found the ability to develop these solutions together? Like how do you encourage people to come together on issues to actually affect change?

Lauren Buitta:

You know, it's funny, I think about an instance that we had, and this is maybe not in the like transformational sense. But through our program, although I've seen a lot of I can mention another field where I've seen a lot of traction. But in this future scenario, exercise, we do this every time but during last summer's program, we had a group of girls from very different parts of the country. And it was evident because they made it evident that they came from very, very different political ideals. And, you know, they were sort of just sharing very openly that I consider myself a Democrat. And I'm, you know, working on LGBTQ plus issues, or someone was like, I'm a Republican, and I believe this about social media. And once they sat together, and they had to focus their attention on this, this problem, 50 years from now, they started to share and realize that these issues that were dividing them really didn't impact, this sort of greater calling this greater purpose that they were focused on. And by the end of the exercise, they all shared their insights and the pressures that they confronted as teenage girls in different parts of the world who are also politically active. And they found in communist in that they might have not shared the same ideals, but they shared the stressor of what they feel to be a young, confused person in a very divisive political environment. And so when I see something like that, I think, how do we preserve? How do we put that in a protective bubble, and float them through the rest of their lives? Because the adults can't do that. So there's that I have hoped for that seeing that. But there's a space called trust and safety, which is focused on how do you build a more trustworthy internet, and that is also national security impacted. And there I've seen a lot of consensus, because, again, even globally, where there's very different laws and policies, these are on privacy online, you mostly have people consolidated around this basic idea that people should be able to exist safely on the internet, given how much we rely on it to remain globally interconnected, for commerce, for all of the things that happen online. So I've seen consensus there, there's still tensions between the private sector, you know, who owned the platforms, and the people working to protect people online. But I see more of a coalescence of communities, even different stakeholders than I probably have in other fields. I think the same is happening in cybersecurity. Because again, we've now had 20 years plus, to look back on lessons learned or missed opportunities, and again, sort of galvanize or bring the community together around some of those issues.

Julie Berman - Host:

Just saying thank you. Yeah. And I love that, that situation that you explained between the girls, and how they could come to consensus about some of the actual things that they were feeling and the things that they were going through, and that they actually had those huge commonalities with other people, despite whatever particular beliefs they may have on specific issues. So that's really a powerful thing. And yeah, I mean, I think it's like even maybe if you can't have a bubble to have that going forward, I think just having that experience and kind of feeling like, Oh, someone who I would see who I wouldn't have talked to, I recognize that they now have a lot of the same feelings and wants, and needs and desires as I do. Despite the fact that like, on the outside, it may seem like we're completely opposite. And we believe completely opposite things.

Lauren Buitta:

It's very true. And what we try to reinforce in our program is, at the end of the day, a national security, there's oftentimes really hard scenarios with no good outcomes. And in many of these fields, whether it's a ransomware attack or a terrorist attack, or you're on a battlefield, it won't matter what someone's political ideals are, because you're literally going to be working to protect the lives and interest of millions and millions of people. And I think that's a really important sort of guiding star for young people who are interested in this field. You know, there's certainly populations in our program who this is the question our Constitution, rightfully our democracy, they question the underpinnings of all of this as they should, because their communities have not shared the same experience. But at the end of the day, many of them also see why it's so important that their voices are represented at those tables, to help shape solutions, but also to understand that when push comes to shove, having their perspective in solutions that you know, again, protect the lives of millions, hundreds of millions of people is really important. And it won't come down to a lot of the nonsense that we're seeing, I think play out in and all over all over the internet.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. And on that note, like, I'm just curious, what is your perspective on how do we teach people young and old, or I should say older, younger and older, how to find information that is reliable, that comes from a source that you can trust? Because I feel like that is harder and harder. Now given for, I mean, better or worse, right? The accessibility of the things in our palms that we carry around, you know, like a, like a comfy blankie that we just don't want to let go of our favorite teddy bear our favorite blank. How do we do that? And do you guys teach that as part of your program? Because I think that's something that's been coming up for me, like just in conversations with people in in just life, right, like in circumstances and even for my children, like, you know, now that chat GP to Jack GPT exists, like, you can't just rely on that to write your paper for for your new project, like you have to you have to actually take the steps to figure out like, is that accurate? Like, where's it coming from? Who's asking the questions? So I'm curious what your thoughts are.

Lauren Buitta:

So we do teach this. I mean, it's a little of digital literacy, but we talk more about it as combating what's called MDM. So MISTIs and Mal information. Those are three types of information. I mean, there's some basic things, you know, there's websites like Snopes, it's called Snopes. And it fact checks your news article. So you can actually go to Snopes. And it will show any questionable information. And there's actually an Advent or a number of technologies that are doing the same thing. You know, some of the platforms themselves have started to put sort of those nudge devices into stories to compel people to fact check what they're reading. I think there's a benefit actually, in reading different sources from different different news from different sources, like well tell girls in our program, read the sources that you typically would and then go to the sources that you make, you want to vomit all over yourself and read a bunch of articles on there, too, not only to mess with the algorithm, right? Because the more you read, and click, the algorithm in the internet is driving what you see. That's what makes it sort of so insidious, especially on Facebook. So you kind of want to mess with the algorithms so that you're almost not reinforcing your own bias. But I also think it's very important to, to read what is being published on sites that you might disagree with, just so you have an understanding of how someone in your family or community might be shaping their own views. I almost see it as like an exercise in empathy. But I also think a one of the women in our space who serves as an honorary advisor, woman by the name of Sue Gordon, she said something brilliant, that I think is just so true. The truth has its own sound. And I think we all come to our truth. It's very innate in all of us. Whether or not one chooses to see the truth or acknowledge the truth. That's another story. But I think we all kind of are built with our own fact checker, and our ability to question certain certain things that we read online, again, the extent to which someone applies, that that obviously differs. So those are just some basic things that we teach, we have actually a very practical guide, a Girl's Guide to it's actually election security. But we also have a cybersecurity and disinformation learning module on our Thinkific platform, which is an education platform that we use. And it's very practical. It's some of those tips of like, where to go, how to fact check, how to spot deep fakes, fake news, things like that. And it's, again, it's very accessible learning. And once you know it, you know it. And you can always apply that learning no matter what the situation is, whether it's on Tik Tok, or Instagram or whatever it might be.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I mean, that seems. So I feel like almost everyone should be aware of those things. Now, it's like, whether you're an adult, because it's, it's sometimes it's like, this didn't exist when we were younger, you know, are for like, people, my parents generation, and then even for my children who are little, it's like, I can't even imagine now that there are these deep fakes and these other things like what's going to happen. So just that ability to understand and be aware, like, oh, what you're seeing may not actually be real, generated. So I think that's incredible that you guys have that already in place. And I want to, kind of, as we conclude, I want to ask you, what are some of the best ways for girls or young women who are considering going into national security? Or they're just curious about it? Maybe? Like, what would be the things that you advise them? Like, how do they start out and see if this is a field that they want to go into?

Lauren Buitta:

Yeah, I mean, I don't want to self promote, but I do think should find security, go to security.org. And sign up to be mentored or find someone in your network who has a job that sounds like the job or career path, you might be interested, and ask a lot of questions to your point about asking questions, because I think part of it is just doing the best as the best that one can do try to get an actual sense of like, what is your day to day, you know, maybe sitting in a room surrounded by screens, analyzing data points isn't super exciting to someone, but maybe being on the ground in retail stores and helping develop security plans is, and so I think, you know, if you don't come to organization, like real security, which you should, you know, it's definitely sourcing people within your own community and network and as and asking some questions about that. And then I think as one sort of progresses in their interest, it can really come down to I think informational interviews are so important, you know, 15 minutes of someone's time can yield a lot of insight and opportunity for a young person. And then also just doing your due diligence about the types of pathways or careers that you're specifically interested in and understanding what's required. A lot of times I think what's on paper is not actually what employers are looking for. And so young people end up doing a lot, that's not necessary. And so, you know, having your pulse on what employers are looking for, in terms of skill sets, I think is very important. I think if someone's thinking specifically about like what we think of in the traditional sense of national security, again, a federal government job, you have to have a security clearance, go through that process. And it can be a multi year process. It's, it's a system that's broken, and people lots of good people are trying to fix. But understanding if the job you seek requires a security clearance, you know, at the high school level, you want to be thinking about what you post on social media, what you post on LinkedIn, because those things will be vetted in an effort to determine whether or not someone qualifies for security clearance. So I think there's a lot of different sorts of pieces of information, but certainly finding an organization like girls security, if not grow security is a first recommendation.

Julie Berman - Host:

Thank you, and definitely self promote. It's an awesome organization. I have to say that. Yeah. Speaking of self promote, to like, I actually am a huge fan of informational interviews, like My poor husband has heard me talk about them. For I've probably since he's met me, because I did them as like an undergrad student. They were just so helpful in helping me determine what direction to not go in. And yeah, so I'm a huge fan and actually have a podcast episode on suggestions for how to do it. If anyone's listening.

Lauren Buitta:

I will look that up because I'd love to share that out. Oh, yeah.

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that. Thank you. Yeah, and I can share it with you too. But yeah, and I think you know, you guys have so many incredible resources and like the things that you guys already have in place are incredible. And I for people who are listening to this and they they are thinking like okay, I'm a little bit older, are there organizations or like associations that are for women who are like, you know, more my age? Like heading towards 40? Or you know, and a little bit different demographic. Yes, I mean,

Lauren Buitta:

there are a ton of membership based groups and professional mid level senior level groups, especially in cybersecurity, especially in the military, you know, if any of the people listening are veterans or you know, people who are coming into a second or third job life. Again, there's some that are industry specific, many of again, many in cybersecurity, because there's such an emphasis on women. There's also groups and organizations that focus specifically on different identities, whether you're part of the out community, there's a great organization called out national security, for example. Or if you are a woman of color insecurity, there's an awesome organization called Women of Color, advancing peace and security. So there are dedicated organizations that can help someone who's further along in their group or in their age, find other types of opportunities. And then there's really organizations that are solely committed to helping you upskill or rescale, depending upon what your particular interest is, they're out there, it's just it's a matter of finding them. And again, if that's something that anyone is listening and interested to, that's where they can also reach out to us as well. And we'll direct them to some of those organizations, depending upon the interest they have.

Julie Berman - Host:

Awesome, thank you. Well, that's wonderful to know. And it's just been such a cool thing to learn about, you know, like what you guys are doing, just the idea of national security and getting a better understanding of what that actually means. I feel like just even talking to you for such a short time, like I have a different perspective of it, and a much more broad view of like how comprehensive it is, and how many people are actually really involved in this industry. So I really appreciate that. I want to ask, before we end, I asked this question to everybody. And I want to make sure I ask you to end our conversation, how we are to enter conversation? Well, you share a sentence that uses verbiage or jargon from your field, and then please translate it for us. So we understand you.

Lauren Buitta:

So I'm giving you a non answer, which is there is so much jargon and the national security field that when we speak with girls, people will use things like oh, and DOD and then NSA and then nga and the IC and the and the NG WA and the this and that. And so I think for us, one of the things that we really try to promote within the national security field is to stop using jargon, because it is such a gatekeeping function of the field. And it really keeps young people out of the field out of engaging, and it can be quite elitist. So the field itself is full of jargon full of acronyms. But I would say I think the message I would want to impart is we need to move away from from jargon because it really becomes quite exclusionary for especially for the work that we're doing where we're trying to get more people in the door.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, that is a great answer. It's, that's such an interesting flip on, like, the fact that it can hinder right, the people who who enter into that field, and I can see that too. It's it's just fascinating, I think, you know, with with every field, it's it's just part of being you know, in a niche or an industry where there is so many acronyms and so many other terms that people just throw around here, there and everywhere. And you don't necessarily think about it when you've been doing it for 20 years. But for those who are entering, right, it's like, what is this alphabet soup? You're talking about? That? So I that is really a fascinating flip, I love your non answer.

Lauren Buitta:

Good because I was like, I don't want to not deliver on this. But I also think too, when you're talking about a field like this, it really is so important to not use he use jargon. So and I think that also comes from my own experience of me and my my four brothers and sisters are all first generation college grads, and one of the things my mom would always say to us is I really want you to have an education so that people will listen to you and your speaking. But what I find is that it is in my education that helps me speak with people. It's it's something much more fundamental. And I think that's why girl security is an organization has had the impact it has is because all of the people working with the organization are meeting people where they are speaking the language of all people not trying to speak some fancy educated language or whatever you want to call it. And I think that finding that common experiences is so so important to the work that we do. So I appreciate my mom's investment in our education. I don't take it for granted, but I'm not sure that that's the way to make people listen.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. I love that. Well, thank you so much for sharing. And for being here as a guest it was such a pleasure and we Where can people find you and find your organization if they want to reach out and connect? And if they want to learn more about girl security and get involved or know someone who they think might be interested?

Lauren Buitta:

That sounds great. Well, you can find us at girl security.org Or at girls security underscore because girl security was taken as a handle on Instagram and LinkedIn, so and if you want to send an email direct, it's contact at girl security.org.

Julie Berman - Host:

Awesome. Thank you so much, Lauren.

Lauren Buitta:

I really appreciate it.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you love the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women who will jobs again that women will jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day