Pictures from My Life
Growing up, I was blessed to call California's Central Coast my home. My education and career took me around the world, and life brought me back home again. Here are some photos from my story.
My grandparents, Rev. Glenn and Ruth Weslander lived in Santa Barbara and bought the property that I eventually purchased and now reside in the early 1960s. I never knew my dad and my grandfather was my father figure. He was a man of compassion and integrity, with a great sense of humor, and had a deep faith in Jesus Christ. As a pastor, a carpenter, and a friend, he was the example of "Loving People to God," a statement that now hangs in the sanctuary of the church he once pastored, which is now called SouthCoast Church.
College & Career
My mom was attending SBCC when she met my dad who was an Israeli exchange student. When she found out she was expecting me, she dropped out of college. My dad went back home before I was born snd my mom raised me on her own. It was difficult to make ends meet with only a high school education, but she worked to ensure I had access to a good education and opportunities for extracurricular activities. Eventually, we left Santa Barbara when I was in high school because we could no longer afford to live in the area due to the increasing cost of living. Moving to a new state I realized I needed to overcome my shyness to make new friends. I got involved in sports, cheerleading, choir, drama, and student council and served as the student body vice president. After graduating as the valedictorian of my high school class, I went on to earn a Bachelor of Science at Seattle Pacific University in Washington and later earned a Master of Science degree at the University of Rochester in New York. While I was still in graduate school, I was recruited into the national security community. My first job was as an image scientist and systems engineer and eventually went on to become a Chief Engineer at my company.
In the summer of 2002, I was recruited into government service to lead change, innovation, and organizational transformation, in the wake of the intelligence failures surrounding the terrorist attacks of 9-11-2001. I took the oath of office at the age of 33, becoming one of the youngest people ever sworn in as a senior executive in the US government, serving as a peer to generals and flag officers in the military. I was given the task to lead the cultural and technical integration of the national security community, starting with America's "eyes and ears" -- the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which is now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. I established and served in senior leadership positions in defense and intelligence including the Deputy Technical Executive for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA); Intelligence Community Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI); Chief Technology Officer for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO); and, the DNI’s senior representative to the Secretary of Defense’s Intelligence - Surveillance - Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force leading information sharing and collaboration initiatives in support of global coalition stability operations. I served alongside our men and women in uniform, and I willingly traveled to the combat zones of Iraq (2003) and Afghanistan (2005) to spend time "boots on the ground" with them to gain insight regarding how we could provide them with better support for their mission, and then went back home and made it happen. I was honored to be given the call sign “Warrior Goddess.”