Finding Security's Golden Ticket - Ep. 128

This week we sit down with Charlene Mowery, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Red Hat. She shares insights and lessons learned on leadership and moving forward and finding security’s golden ticket. Seemingly impossible and incredibly complex multi-stakeholder initiatives to success, such as the Ford Island Master Development Agreement.

She also dives into the impact of DevSecOps in recent years. The software supply chain, the importance of a cloud-first mentality, hybrid cloud, and shared responsibility models. How the Cyberspace Solarium Commission is helping bring forward the criticality of speed and agility in cybersecurity today. She shares her perspective on encouraging the next generation of STEM talent and why they should “Be Bold.”

Episode Table of Contents

  • [00:59] A Great Unique Perspective on the Security’s Golden Ticket
  • [06:30] We’ve Moved Way Past the Security’s Golden Ticket
  • [15:25] This Modern Software Development Is Security’s Golden Ticket
  • [22:45] The Key to Security’s Golden Ticket Is to Begin With Optimism
  • [30:34] How to Be a Good Leader
  • About Our Guest

A Great Unique Perspective on the Security’s Golden Ticket

Rachael: Today's guest, Charlene Mowery, is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Public Sector at Red Hat.

Rachael: Charlene been in the US Navy, you were a naval officer, you worked on the Ford Island Master Development Effort. You have this great, unique perspective on how you drive change in government, transformation, innovation. I want to dive into that today but first, what does being a Director of Strategic Initiatives mean?

Charlene: There are key things that Red Hat and Public Sector have identified to be important to the business. It means important to our customers. Those really span across multiple areas. That's what I focus on.

Charlene: The bigger impact things that scan between defense and Civ and some other components. Try to stitch that together and use best practices across. Primarily for us, that's about modern software design in particular. It is a big focus for Red Hat.

Rachael: You talked a lot about customer focus, transparency. It sounds like that was a key piece as well to the Ford Island Master Development Effort. Did you want to talk a little bit just a high-level more about that? How you were able to move something forward like that's so incredibly complex. So many players, and just seems impossible to move that rock up the hill?

Charlene: It was long ago and very impactful for me because I was a young officer who was asked to lead that program. I was super excited to do so. It required special legislation and a large number of different interests from environmentalists, from attorneys.

It Was an Exciting Journey

Charlene: Certainly from the government and the Navy in particular who was driving the requirement, legislators, and Navy leadership. I loved it because it was the first, although not technical, innovation challenge. One that you couldn't see how you were quite going to get to the end.

Charlene: To a signed document that’s really beneficial for the Navy and for all parties, including our private sector partners. But it was an exciting journey and I learned a lot from that. I talk a lot about that when I reference early points in my life. Where I learned a lot about leadership and how to bring teams together.

Eric: In the prep, you mentioned that with Ford Island, you learned you had to understand everybody's interests. You had conflicting interests from all of the parties associated. Environmentalists, the United States Navy, probably the Hawaiian people, et cetera.

Charlene: They weren't necessarily in conflict with each other, they were just different. Each group had things that were important to them to be preserved. That’s true no matter if it was someone running fiscal budgets, or someone who was concerned about land use from an environmental or historic view plane.

Charlene: It's a very historic area there at Ford Island. One of the neat things I learned was the importance of really understanding key stakeholders and where their interests were. To not only take that as a snap point but also to follow up and have a constant understanding.

Charlene: You would say, continuous understanding of where their interests were. Then, that kind of help stitches together the best value for everybody. I would spend time and devote time for interviews, particularly rotations on that point.

The Security’s Golden Ticket Is a Huge Security Challenge

Eric: Getting the parties to compromise to get the best win for everybody, right

Charlene: It was all about that. Most deals are. In the end, even though you give a little, you get a little. Then you see at the end of the day you provide something that's really great for all parties around.

Rachael: In a success like that, you really see the true art of the possible. I would imagine after something like that you could do anything in your career. You've done a lot, when talking about innovation in cyber and digital transformation, particularly with mass remote work.

Rachael: With what we're seeing right now, and it's a huge security challenge. If you look at it the right way, it could also be a significant opportunity. I'd be interested in your perspective on what it looks like today for government modernization and remote work. How do they get through this big challenge and how can they harness it as the opportunity it can be?

Charlene: This year has been really interesting on that point. Just sticking to the technology and the things with remote work. The cloud-first mentality was important and allowed groups that had gone there first to rotate more quickly. To provide more of a flip, to provide tools and resources for people to go work at home and to be safe.

Charlene: I appreciate the viewpoint of folks that might have been concerned about security with the cloud. There's always a risk of wherever your data is, whether it's on-prem, or in the cloud. Setting the station, there is no place where your data is always safe, 100 percent.

Eric: Perfectly protected here. What a great marketing line.

We’ve Moved Way Past the Security’s Golden Ticket

Charlene: You'd like to think so, but there isn't a security’s golden ticket for that. In fact, the days of building firewalls and proxy demilitarized zones, we've moved way past that. Also past a one-and-done mentality where you set up a perimeter security and then you leave it and it's okay. The modern threat landscape is very complicated with a lot of advanced threats.

Charlene: Even the traditional boundary of what's a network is a bit blurry there. To me, it's a continuous situation. Components like zero trust are important. Those have now become even more in the center front with the work from home and relying so much on remote tools.

Charlene: In terms of the vulnerability surface, that has changed a lot as well. Having a strong cyber posture is important. Government needs can be on-prem, or you can be in the cloud. The cloud does offer a shared responsibility for those security things. Security used to be a reason not to get out of the cloud.

Charlene: I remember a long time ago, that was huge. Like, "Oh, we don't want to put data in the cloud. What would that be? How can we pass that trust?" Now, I think that's an argument for going into the cloud. When you have cloud-based services where you can enable work from home right away, there's obviously a range in services.

Charlene: But you know, there are cloud providers. That is what they do, secure is a part of their delivery. There's a huge benefit of that specialized experience and bench strength with that securing and employing and maintaining. It's kind of in the real house, automation.

Seeing Those Lessons Learned

Charlene: All of that is part of it. It's been very interesting to see those lessons learned to really be a part of that work from home. To view that and certainly at Red Hat we've seen that. We were really interested in engaging in that.

Eric: We've heard from a lot of our guests that the cloud is inherently, equally, or more secure these days. It's well run from a security perspective. We're talking about the major CSPs in most cases. But you also touched on the shared responsibility model.

Eric: Where is that delineation point where the customer is responsible for their data? Making sure their applications are secure and everything else. That's an area where we had Dave a couple of months back. That's where Red Hat does work around Develops and helping the customers interact with the CSPs.

Charlene: That's really the hybrid cloud. Where you have folks that need to keep data on-prem for a variety of reasons that works and needs to be there. That could be because an investment has been made, or for whatever reason. But then you definitely want to have the majority of the workload.

Charlene: Let's say this customer has a majority of the workload in the cloud. You have a hybrid cloud environment. That's actually where Red Hat sets us in the orchestration of the hybrid cloud. It's incredibly exciting, it is a shared responsibility in the cloud from a security standpoint.

Charlene: The people that own the data still have a lot of decisions to make in terms of their risk profile. They're deciding on their deconfiguration management, and password control, and credentialing, and things of that nature. It's not like it's completely hands-off.

The Benefit of Sophisticated Tools

Charlene: There is a lot of control that you still have, even though your data is in the cloud. But you have the benefit of sophisticated tools that require big computing like AINL. It really looks for things that are beyond what we know now, from a rule or pattern. It's about applying new technology to really see things like that persistent, low-volume threat, and other things like that.

Charlene: Yes, the hybrid cloud is complex and you want it to be seamless. You want the experience for where the data is on-prem and in the cloud to be a bit transparent to users. That's what we seek to do primarily in a couple of orchestration platforms that we have.

Rachael: Can I just back up real quick? For those folks that maybe don't know. DevSecOps, what is that? I'm sure there's a lot of people here who hear that but they aren't necessarily sure what that means.

Charlene: DevOps is actually a process where you have teams together. You run a process in a certain way. DevSecOps is a bit of a twist on that where you're bringing security forward in the process. That's all about modern software design. It's DevOps with security pulled forward. So what does that mean?

Charlene: It's really about pulling together the developers who usually, in the old days, would get a set of requirements written. Here you go, develop a capability. But it's bringing the developers together with the operators. They're the people that have to make value out of whatever is produced. They're really important. Then, of course, having the security pulled forward. The adoption of this process, couples really well with something called a software supply chain.

A Secured Software Supply Chain

Charlene: A trusted software supply chain. That's where you have those representatives from those three stakeholders together as part of the software bid. The operators aren't an afterthought, but the security folks aren't either.

Charlene: So, it's really developing the process and then you have something like a secured software supply chain. Or a trusted software supply factory that's there, that is the environment. When you do that, you have a situation where you've got a continuous iteration in a delivery model available.

Charlene: In the software factory, it's a place where the developers can begin to develop a code. It is an opinionated approach with set tooling that is there in the software factory. It's an environment where those security controls are set by the owner, depending on their risk tolerance, meets a risk profile.

Charlene: Things that are developed inside that software factory. You can have a high degree of confidence if they're going to meet that desired risk profile. With those two things together, with DevSecOps and enabling something like a software factory, net out, it allows you to deliver capability much faster.

Charlene: Typically, you would develop, then you test, and then you accredit. The time to accredit in a security situation could be as long as it took to develop the software in the first place.

Eric: Or, longer in many cases. Creditors out there, I've been through that. My team has been through that, or longer.

Charlene: I'm rounding up. It's kind of smashing that together and enabling a toolset in a process is really valuable.

Eric: Has the accreditation process changed over the years? I'm not a developer, so this is really interesting. We're building security in and hopefully shrinking time to mark it down.

This Modern Software Development Is Security’s Golden Ticket

Charlene: Back in the day, there was this process in the DOD DIACAP, where it was checklist-driven. If you meet these things, then you're okay, or you're not okay. That huge improvement over that was the RMF process which is risk management, which introduced a high level of subjectivity.

Charlene: It’s really empowering because it gave owners the ability to have a judgment call on the level of risk. It wasn't just a checklist. But that was a level of complexity, too. What might be okay over here would not be okay for over here, and actually that makes a lot of sense. It sort of depends on the mission.

Charlene: It did allow for things to be a little harder because there was judgment and people there. Still a very good process and a huge improvement. Now, with things like the software factory and this modern software development, there are new processes that are popping up around that.

Charlene: Red Hat's ongoing work with the Navy, in particular with a platform called Compellent Combat In 24 hours is a great example of that. It's now called OverMatch Software Armory. But that's a public reference for us and some work in the output of that would be to enable a very quick scan.

Charlene: A confirmation that the software factory remained intact. Then you move forward into production. So the Navy is now working on the final pieces of that new process to enable that. It's not 24 hours, but it is very rapid.

Eric: We're talking days or weeks maybe, instead of months or years, which is what we had in the past.

The Advantage of Having a Quick Development

Charlene: Absolutely. In fact, you could almost erase the advantage of having a quick development. Because it just took so long to get through accreditation. This is really game-changing. It is fundamental to my excitement here at Red Hat and what we do.

Charlene: There's a lot of companies that do DevSecOps. There's a lot of different opinionated approaches. The focus on allowing the DOD to have a way to deliver capability faster to the warfighter is really important to me. We definitely see a lot of growth there.

Rachael: We start looking at building security early into the process. We've talked about the aggressive nature of what we're seeing in attacks today. I don't know if you saw over the weekend, Acer in that ransomware for 50 million dollars. It's starting to take this kind of security-first approach. Is that going to help us get ahead of the challenge? Or, how do you see that playing out?

Charlene: In terms of exploitation and hacks, there's really no win to that rate. There always will be that next thing around the corner, always will be something. Maybe you can see it coming, maybe you can't see it coming. That's where you really have to have a rotation around resiliency and the ability to recover over build a wall and defend.

Charlene: It's almost as if you assume that those things happen and they will happen, breaches, and things of that nature. So that you can properly posture not only your technology but also your people and your culture around that. For me, DevSecOps is about really delivering and iterating quickly.

Making Key Changes Around Security’s Golden Ticket

Charlene: When things are found and you do need to make those really key changes, having the software sitting inside of a factory or trusted software supply chain, depending on the terminology, it means that it is most likely in a containerized form, which is a new way of coding.

Charlene: It kind of pairs with all of these concepts. That you can make a quick iteration on that little piece of code. Run it through and then immediately have it available. Just that, making changes quicker is the value add for all of that. That really speaks to speed and agility.

Charlene: The Solarium Commission, if there were two words that kind of popped out on all of that. You just couldn't ignore speed and agility. In fact, it was in bold, and a lot of part to the execs. That's where the DevSecOps and the trusted supply- it is the mechanism to allow that speed and agility.

Charlene: But again, being able to assume that you will have difficulty is a very good thing to do, just in general. And think about how you will be more resilient. You process and mechanisms around that to recover are important. That's not a negative thing. It’s just where we are today, the technology continuously change too quickly.

Eric: It's really understanding and evaluating that risk. When you talk about the software factory, what you're talking about is in an agency or a military organization?

Eric: The teams of developers in there that are creating content or creating applications to serve the mission. We're also seeing the same thing with the supply chain vendors, such as Force Point or Microsoft. They're using the same capabilities, processes.

The Adaptation of the Process

Eric: DevSecOps to make better products that are then supplied to the US governments or customers globally. Why limit it to governments?

Charlene: There is the adaptation of the process. They may have their own factory or their own approaches to developing modern software. Whether or not you're in a trusted factory or not, now is all about the best use of containers. Container practices and having a good container orchestrator. That pairs with going to the cloud or hybrid cloud.

Charlene: You used to have those components in there, otherwise old monolithic code. There's a lot of legacy code. That's actually a huge challenge now for the government and defense. It's a lot of that laying around you can't flip the switch and make all that modern tomorrow.

Charlene: It takes a plan and a process and prioritization of what's most important. But a lot of that sitting that's very heavy, it's very difficult. It's much more difficult to address that than it is to take a new idea off the shelf and go design.

Eric: We've got all that baggage.

Rachael: The more we talk about these things in cybersecurity and the path ahead, I get excited about the innovation opportunities. This crazy, complex challenge, but all of this new technology. All of this new way of thinking that's starting to come to the forefront of how we tackle this challenge.

Rachael: It gets me really excited for the folks that are coming up behind us. This next wave of folks. You've been really active in STEM and reaching out to communities, getting that next group of folks up. What do you see out there?

The Key to Security’s Golden Ticket Is to Begin With Optimism

Rachael: What do you say to them when they're thinking about careers in cybersecurity. But they're like, "I just don't see people like me in there. Where would I fit? How do I get in? Where do I start?" What do you tell them?

Charlene: First, begin with optimism. I’m super optimistic about the value of having diversity and inclusion, which goes beyond women in STEM. But it is super important to me and the people who are different, think differently. That could not be more important. It really is a value corporately.

Charlene: For me, it's more than fun, and it's the right thing to do, and I love to mentor. It's also about making teams stronger. So, I share the why. I love that because I think they ought to hear that. This is about creating opportunity and not allowing yourself to be held back by biases. The three things came out with an article in January about key things.

Charlene: I really liked that, I've shared it a few times. Their top three things, which I totally agree with. One was about being a relatable role model. That's really important, that people want to be relatable. This means it's not all a pep rally. It needs to be transparent.

Charlene: It may be harder for certain groups to grow networks in certain fields. Their exposure and honesty is really important. I try to be relatable. If my story isn't relatable, then let's try to find someone who you can relate more with, who's been successful. My key component is to employ the tenets of servant-leadership and help these folks to grow.

Real World Hands-On

Charlene: The second thing they talked about which we adopt in my STEM activities is real-world hands-on. Now, COVID's made this a little challenging, obviously. There's a lot less opportunity for the hands-on. But getting your hands on things whether that's hands-on Legos or hands-on kits, that's important.

Charlene: Especially like fourth to sixth graders, that's something that I'm working on now with a group. Getting kids out and maybe we do this together virtually. Something in their hands tangibly that really helps to reinforce the ideals on why STEM is important.

Charlene: Then, just being honest with strengths and weaknesses. If this is a strength and you really like STEM, then great. Maybe this is a fit. If it's not, then it's not. But a typical STEM worker, they do have a lot more earning power than in other areas. There are women growing generally in their perspective of STEM. In terms of the census, bureau, and others so lots of good studies on that if you research.

Charlene: The percentage of women growing in computer science, in particular, is not growing. That's something that I've been focused on to say, "Hey, those are some real areas. Where you can earn well and have good earning power. You can make a great impact on your society if this is an interesting area for you."

Charlene: I just focused around that. I've been super privileged to be around other leaders who are as excited about this as I am. See this as a way of empowering young minds. Empowering companies to be stronger, and ultimately, really makes a difference.

Eric: I want to go back to when you were a young woman trying to figure out what you wanted to do.

Make Sure It’s Relatable

Eric: You said part one was to make sure it's relatable. You're in high school, you're trying to figure out where to go. How do you pick the Naval Academy with an engineering degree and then Stamford? All of the accomplishments you've had, I'm having trouble relating to it, and I'm 47. That's a lot of work.

Charlene: I was encouraged, I went up to Minneapolis when I was a junior in tenth grade. And I was like, this is where I belong.

Eric: Why did you feel that way?

Charlene: Your mind is different. You're an impressionable high-schooler, I was always super intense and I identified with what I saw. I saw young people who I felt an attachment to even though I didn't know any of them. They were going to serve in the Navy and really wanted to make a difference.

Charlene: They wanted independence and they were out to just do something amazing. I got caught up in that. I'm attracted to this and forget about the fact that I didn't know much about the military. I didn't really know much at all, frankly.

Eric: This wasn't a lifelong dream or anything. You showed up at the Naval Academy for visits.

Charlene: These are my people, yes.

Eric: How do you even decide to go there?

Charlene: It turns out, it's a big process. Even more now then, and I'm glad I applied then and not now. The competition is crazy.

Eric: It was pretty tough back then.

Charlene: I felt someone heard I belonged.

Eric: How do you say, "I want to go look at the Naval Academy." One of the more difficult college journeys, as you just mentioned.

A Little Big on Parent Leadership

Eric: I don't want to put words in your mouth - you're sixteen, seventeen - "I'd like to check out the Naval Academy." How do you even get there?

Charlene: This is a little big about parent leadership. My parents saw in me certain traits that they thought would pair well. I did grow up in Hampton Roads. So, I was in some respect, surrounded by the military. It felt friendly to me. I had been around ships, I had been around people in uniform.

Charlene: It wasn't unusual, it wasn't that big of a jump in the deep end. I’d been around the community. We were up on a visit, my dad and I were going around looking at colleges. He says, "I want to take you someplace." And he didn't even tell me where we were going.

Charlene: "I'm going to take you someplace." I was along for the ride and we showed up. We went right into one of the places, and they showed the video. It was all about how you can make a difference. And it looked really hard, it did not look like a party, it looked hard.

Eric: They don't show their code.

Charlene: No, and they had engineering, which is what I really wanted to do. I was always taking stuff apart and wanted to be an engineer. It was like, oh, you can have this and you can serve and I can be an engineer? What's not to like? So how do I get in? What's the process?

Charlene: We were fortunate to have Norman Sisisky as our delegate here at that time. I remember interviewing with his staff for the nomination.

How to Be a Good Leader

Charlene: I had to explain why I deserved it because I wasn't sure that I did. I’ve said here's why it speaks to me in a way that I really can't articulate. I don't have a great backup plan because I do think I belong here and I really want to serve.

Charlene: If not this, then I'll serve in another way. It was wonderful, it was everything I wanted it to be. I learned so much, and the camaraderie is something I could never replace. You know, it's always a part of me. It's where I really learned about servant leadership. How to be a good leader.

Charlene: The main tenet is to make sure everything else can fulfill their optimum objective. Make everybody else around you successful. Work to make them successful. How can you help them environment-wise? The more senior you get, the more livers you have to help people.

Charlene: That's what makes you a strong leader. Set aside the feeling of competition or it's a zero-sum game because it's not. It's about empowering people. That I learned and have taken with me my whole life.

Charlene: I went to Stamford out of luck, I applied and they took me. I was excited, I was about halfway through my Naval career, and it was something I wanted to do. We had a program and I wanted to go because I could go into engineering and they allowed me flexibility.

Charlene: So, I said, "Hey, what if I wanted to learn about the law? Can I take a negotiation class?" There was this pause, like, why would you want to do that? I'm like, "Well, I think it's important. It's about people. Let me do that." I'll compute, but let me work with people too.

The Best Year for Learning and Developing the Security’s Golden Ticket

Charlene: They were awesome. I love that program at Stamford and would like to promote it. The best year really for learning different parts of leadership and has really shaped me now.

Charlene: It's a center of innovation then, it is now. There are lots of schools that have that, but I had the unique ability and privilege to go as a student. So, I didn't have to have a job as a student. My job in the Navy was to go be a student. How great is that?

Charlene: That's the Navy supporting its leaders by saying, "Go, invest in school. Come back to us, and share it out." I have to say, could not talk about the Navy and my experience, I had the best mentors ever. The most important thing is to have a network.

Charlene: To have people who are genuinely interested in helping you develop as a leader at different stages of that leadership piece. I am very focused now on making sure that people are interested, I share that back out.

Eric: How do you go about getting the mentors that helped guide you in your career? About mentoring and advocacy, Charlene, how do you do that? Would you be my mentor? Will you spend a little time with me, help me out here?

Charlene: There are people that say, don't do that, it freaks people out. For me, it's just been always transparent. It's like you're a little kid. Hi, my name is Charlene and I could use some help in this area. Here's my background, and here's what I'm wrestling with. You have a unique perspective that could help me.

The Aspects of a Leader That Can Help You

Charlene: Would you be willing to help share your story to make me a better leader? It's just kind of like that. It is very direct, but that's kind of my approach, people who know and work with me know to be fairly direct. I just look at it as that's honest. I'm not trying to be something I'm not, I just really want to add another name.

Charlene: It's not about that. I'm interested genuinely because I've done my research. That's another thing to help people. If you want a mentor, spend time figuring out what aspects of a leader do you think would most help you. Don't look for somebody like you. You should look for somebody not like you. They're going to think about things differently.

Charlene: You need to do your research. Know what the person has done, research where they've taught publicly. Decide if that's the viewpoint you would be open to receiving. So, it's a little bit of that. But then, yes, I ask. I call and ask. Just to say, here's my challenge, or sometimes it's not that.

Charlene: When I was leaving the Navy, I was retiring, I had no idea what the private sector was really like. I must have interviewed 50, 60 people or more. It was all people I didn't know and I tried to choose people that were as different as possible.

Charlene: I called up strangers. Turns out, that's actually a really good skill to have, but it's very self-serving. Can you help me, can you share? Are you happy? What are your goals, what do you look for? It's remarkable how many people are willing to share out their stories. Not all are always helpful, some are more than others.

Go Into Stem and Build the Security’s Golden Ticket

Charlene: But then, you get a few that you really connect with, you value. We have a common value, common ethics, common this, common that. Maybe long term you could help me. Then there's a way for me to give back somehow to pay it forward.

Eric: What one piece of advice would you give young women looking to go into STEM? Or thinking about it? What would you recommend?

Charlene: To be bold. Have confidence and ask. If someone says no, or treats you like you feel you didn't' deserve that, or sets you back. You get ten seconds to feel bad about that, twenty seconds to journal about that. Then, you move on. Don't dwell. In fact, for most people, that's resilience.

Charlene: I've talked a lot about it, if you go into tech and you want to do that, it's not a static place. It's dynamic, it's disruptive. So you need to be a dynamic, disruptive, growth-oriented leader if you want to be successful in this field. That's just my opinion. If you're not, then you get comfortable.

Charlene: You kind of need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Not having all of the answers and if that suits you, it's not a bad thing. It's just probably not your thing. Maybe in other places in IT.

Charlene: Maybe not in clouds or places that are really growing, changing quickly. Be bold, be confident, and don't worry about getting knocked down because you probably will be. Not everybody's got the perfect score.

Rachael: I gotta get out of my comfort zone and start making some more friends. I love this common theme about being honest with yourself. Just getting a sense of, what is it that I really want to do?

If Your Heart’s Not in It

Rachael: What are my strengths or weaknesses? You can always develop weaknesses. But if your heart's not in it, it's very difficult to succeed and it's a good reminder to folks. It is not necessarily about money or title, but do you enjoy what you do? Are you excited to get up? I was excited to get up today because I knew I was talking to you guys, for example.

Charlene: I was excited because I didn't know either one of you for today. It's like, I'm going to meet two new leaders and I’m excited. I really value that, I encourage the conversation, and I appreciate the questions. It's been very meaningful to me. I've learned a lot in this hour we've spent together.

Eric: I hear that Charlene has a coffee mug collection. It helps determine how she's doing depending on which coffee mug she chooses.

Rachael: Charlene, how are you feeling today? What's your perspective?

Charlene: Today is a magical Monday. I have a uniform on my coffee cup today. If you believe in it, so much of it is a mental game, right? Got to believe it, got to believe in yourself. Really want to make a difference in whatever you're doing. You've got to love what you're doing. It feels just so fun every day.

Rachael: Thanks everybody for joining us this week for To the Point. This has been an awesome conversation with Charlene Mowery. Thank you so much for joining us today. Folks, be sure to subscribe, you can get us directly to your inbox every single week. We're on every major podcast streaming platform, you can find us everywhere. Until next week, stay safe, be well, we look forward to catching up with you again soon.

About Our Guest

Charlene Mowery is a senior executive and visionary leader who offers significant experience in governance. Strategic growth, business operations, and transformational technology adoption. Charlene serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at Red Hat. The world's leading provider of enterprise open source solutions for digital transformation.

In this role, she leads innovative approaches using DevSecOps, hybrid cloud, and automation to improve customer efficiency in enterprise networks. Charlene also serves as the Co-Chair of the Virginia Innovation and Technology Council. She’s an executive member of the AFCEA International Cybersecurity Committee.

Charlene is a regular contributor to a variety of industry groups and volunteers in mentoring veterans through eMentor. Prior to joining Red Hat, Charlene led the cybersecurity business as a Vice President at Ultra Group (LSE: ULE). Before transitioning to industry, Charlene served as a senior officer in the U.S. Navy.

Charlene holds a B.S. in engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.S. in engineering from Stanford University. She is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. She’s internationally accredited as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).