Leadership Spotlight Q&A with Dr. Diane M. Janosek

by | June 28, 2024

DR. DIANE M. JANOSEK, CEO Janos LLC. Fmr Commandant, National Cryptologic University NSA, Fmr Deputy CISO and Compliance, NSA, Founder WiCyS Mid-Atlantic

Q: Who or what has been or was the greatest influence on your career as you’ve traversed the legal scene in Washington, D.C., and then moving into NSA?

A: My dedication to national security and the preservation of privacy and civil liberties is rooted in my family’s DNA. My great-grandfather was an attorney and public defender, my grandparents and parents were in the medical field and/or supported STEM, and uniquely, all had advanced degrees. By their example and by the example of my six siblings, I dedicated myself to practicing my faith, serving the country, having integrity, and to continue learning. Being grounded in one’s calling is most important in Washington D.C. in view of the volatility in the political environment. I have lived through many national security crises, but I never forgot how my grandmother, a widower, worked 12 hour shifts through the great depression as a nurse anesthetist in the maternity ward, with very little pay, with two small children at home. She kept her faith and put the mission first. I had remarkable role models with strong work ethics. Unusual though was for my first 20 years of working, I never really had a mentor, and, I rarely had a female boss. I believe my passion for mentoring, (I have donated over 10,000 hours to mentoring), is because I want to give back, knowing what it was like for me with an absence of strong female leaders.

Q: What were the biggest challenges you faced while serving as senior executive (SES) in Washington and at the National Security Agency, and how did these shape your responses from a leadership perspective?

A: My values included a strong sense of loyalty. That meant it was not time to go home unless the job was done, and as one can expect, national security, defense, and intelligence matters do not wrap up quickly. It was hard for me to strike a proper home/work balance and depart for the day. My young son got the short end of the stick, unfortunately, while I was at The White House and the Pentagon, although I could bring him into work with me on the weekends. I was excited about that! My sense of loyalty and dedication was what propelled me in my various positions, but it made it hard to have a good perspective. There was of course a sense of urgency and importance in work matters, but I was able to learn later in life to delegate more. These experiences shaped my leadership style in my last decade as I had more empathy for subordinates’ desire to balance home and work. Expressing that you care about their work product, mental health, and home life meant a lot to people. In turn, many people followed me to my new positions. I loved all my work families and am grateful for the dedication they demonstrated as we worked through world events. Resource: August-2022-Top-Cyber-News- MAGAZINE.-Dr.-Diane-M-Janosekv2.pdf (dianejanosek.com)

Q: Looking at the current landscape, and ahead, what are the challenges you’re working on and the solutions you’d like industry and government to adopt in your current work with your new company and on boards you sit on?

A: I have been focused on helping entities enter new markets, especially with emerging technology that can be applied in various markets and sectors. My background with both a law degree and PhD in Cyber Leadership gives me a unique perspective based on my experiences. I understand complex risk assessments. For example, I can help entities navigate the new landscape with the SEC regulations on cyber compliance as well as FedRAMP and CMMC. I enjoy embracing cutting-edge technologies and helping non-technologists bring them to fruition and adoption, as well as ensuring the environment is compliant. Leveraging AI in data governance and data protection is another key passion of mine. Resources: University of Illinois JLTP | CubeSats: The Next Big “Little” Thing in Internet of Things and APPENDIX-C-JANOSEK-On-the-Horizon-Third-article-Jan-2022.pdf (dianejanosek.com) and Hack-the-
Moon.pdf (dianejanosek.com)

Q: You are very devoted to raising women up in cybersecurity as a career path, having founded Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS Mid-Atlantic) and currently serving as Executive Director of the Center for Women in Cyber at Capitol Technology University. What is one fundamental piece of advice you’d offer to new cyber professionals just getting started?

A: Be a deliberate learner. Never stop learning. Don’t wait. Dedicate time each month to expand your knowledge (much can be gained by reading free resources). Just as important, share this knowledge with someone else. In doing so, you will gain great personal satisfaction, and in turn, you will naturally grow in your experience and hone your expertise. This growth is fundamental, as one can never become stagnant. Your commitment will be recognized and appreciated, and you will be trusted with more responsibility. A secondary benefit of continual self-development and sharing is that it will aid in your self-confidence and your presence in the room. Embrace your talents! Invest in yourself! Resources: Seizing Opportunities – Developing Inner Resiliency! – United States Cybersecurity Magazine (uscybersecurity.net) and Our New Sputnik Moment: Space Security and Cyber Security Intersect. The Time to Act is Now. (thecyberwire.com)

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