Celebrating and Supporting Women in Technology

Posted by Ashley Jones

With a mission to support education, career development and job search, Chief Marketing Officer of and ClearedJobs.Net, Kathleen Smith, strives to make a difference for women in technology. In recognition of her contributions to the community, Kathleen received the Ally Recruiter of the Year Award. AYA recognizes those who work to advance equality and create an environment where men and women are equally valued, honored, and heard in tech.

In an effort to move the needle, Kathleen supports the community in a variety of ways such as coaching women who want to speak at conferences but don’t quite know how to present themselves to the larger community. From the Diana Initiative to DerbyCon, Women in Engineering, BSidesLV and more, Kathleen has recruited and mentored women to share their stories at conferences and support their personal career development. She facilitates submitting the proposals, coaches the participants, and moderates panel presentations so other women can hear the diverse career paths, fears, and challenges they’ve overcome.

In addition to one-on-one coaching, Kathleen has led several presentation proposal workshops to show prospective conference speakers how to have their voice heard. She also invites women to present with her at conferences, to inspire others to overcome professional challenges.

Kathleen further supports women in the community as the Director of HireGround, BSidesLV’s two-day career track. She reaches out to female recruiters and practitioners to submit presentation proposals, and coaches them on their presentations. The event also offers career mentoring, in which Kathleen ensures more than half of the mentors are women from a variety of industries.

Kathleen also provides support to conference organizers and mentors women in leadership roles. As many of the grassroots security conferences are produced by women, she reaches out to several conferences each year as a mentor and sounding board to support sponsor outreach, advise conference logistics, review proposal submissions and more. Additionally, conferences around the country including Texas Cyber Summit, Cyber Texas and CyberMaryland frequently reach out to Kathleen for recommendations on women to present at their conferences.

Realizing the importance of gathering women in security, Kathleen has served on the national planning committee for the Women in Cyber Security conference (WiCyS), developing social media and press outreach as well as logistics for the career fair. For two years, donated use of our resume platform to facilitate recruiter outreach to the female students attending the conference.

When the Women in Cyber Security Celebration was launched six years ago, Kathleen led efforts to reach out to different communities nationwide, to ensure there was a cross section of women from different backgrounds, to come together and celebrate all that they accomplished. Each year she invites 50 new attendees to the celebration. Kathleen’s invitations bring together women who often feel isolated but walk away from the event feeling connected and energized.

Some of her other pursuits include having served on the scholarship review committees for Grace Hopper and WiCyS, utilizing her experience as a military spouse working at a veteran owned company to ensure that female military candidates have the opportunity for scholarships to national security conferences. And as co-founder and past president of recruitDC, the largest recruiting conference on the East Coast, Kathleen spearheaded efforts to have veterans and women present the best way to recruit diverse communities.

Kathleen believes we all have different challenges that hinder us from being successful and that we must be willing to listen and support others. She continually shows up in the community to provide support to groups that otherwise would not be noticed. As an individual, you can make a difference. Ingenuity, passion and compassion can move the needle where tech systems may not have done so before.


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020 12:33 pm

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