On-demand webinar

Women Leading Through Change in Government: Deborah Lee James

We are living in an unprecedented time of change as we navigate the global crises in health, the economy, equality, and leadership.

Our Women Leading Through Change series highlights powerful voices leading the way across industries and communities. We share tools and strategies for professional and personal growth, and the power of data to elevate individuals, groups, and organizations. Watch this insightful conversation with Deborah Lee James - 23rd Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, business leader, and author of Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success.

As only the second woman to ever lead a military service, she became the civilian CEO of a 660,000 person, $139 billion enterprise during a time of unprecedented political divisiveness here at home and major threats to the US overseas. Secretary James has a three-decade track record of leading, transforming, and driving lasting results in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government, and private industry. She has deep expertise in strategic planning, risk management, public policy, cyber security, logistics, and innovation.

Watch this insightful conversation with Secretary James and Sissi Shi, Lead Solution Engineer at Tableau. The pair discusses:

  • Charting your professional journey
  • Using data to drive change and empower people
  • Problem-solving principles to overcome pressures, threats, and challenges
  • Thriving during times of unsettledness and anxiety

About the speakers

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Deborah Lee James

23rd Secretary of the Air Force

Deborah Lee James has a three-decade track record of leading, transforming, and driving lasting results in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government and private industry. She has deep expertise in strategic planning, risk management, public policy, cyber security, logistics, and innovation.

Deborah Lee James is a business leader and the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force. As only the second woman to ever lead a military service, she became the civilian CEO of a 660,000 person, $139 billion enterprise during a time of unprecedented political divisiveness here at home and major threats to the US overseas. For three years, Deborah led the effort to recruit, train and equip the premier air, space and cyber force on the planet. She was responsible for sending forces forward to combat ISIS in the Middle East, reassure European allies against a resurgent Russia and preparing forces for possible responses on the Korean peninsula. She also handled diverse issues ranging from battling sexual assault in the military, to rebuilding and speeding up the Air Force acquisition process, to addressing the health of the nuclear enterprise, to the future of space.

Deborah brought 15 years of executive experience in private industry to her position as Secretary of the Air Force. Over the course of an 11-year career at SAIC, a major defense firm, she served as Business Unit General Manager of the $500 million, 2,500 person C4IT business unit, and then served as Executive Vice President for Communications and Government Affairs, which included SAIC’s corporate responsibility programs. Most recently, as president of the $2 billion Technical and Engineering sector, she worked closely with SAIC's CEO and Board of Directors to co-lead the design effort that resulted in the successful split of SAIC into two distinct public companies (SAIC and Leidos).

Through personal stories from her days as a Congressional staffer, a business leader at SAIC, and from the halls of the Pentagon, Deborah reveals her approach to leadership at the top, crisis communications, talent management and problem solving at the intersection of politics, policy and business. Based on her 35-year track record, she also offers commentary on topical business, national security and defense issues.

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Sissi Shi

Lead Solution Engineer at Tableau

Sissi Shi is a Solutions Engineer at Tableau. Sissi has over 6 years of industry experience leading both public and private sector clients through technology transformations. She is passionate about helping organizations become more data-driven, and has spent the past two years supporting Tableau’s Department of Defense customers as a technical resource and trusted advisor. Working closely with agencies including the United States Air Force and Defense Health Agency, Sissi assists her customers with developing data and analytics strategies that solve complex data challenges and impact the mission.

Sissi holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgetown University, where she majored in Operations & Information Management and Finance. She currently resides in the Washington, DC area. When she is not helping customers see and understand their data, she also leads the DC/Maryland/Virginia Geo-Region Community at Tableau, connecting and involving colleagues in the region in social events, philanthropy activities, Tableau user groups, and other ways of giving back to the community. Outside of work, Sissi enjoys perusing art galleries, staying active with yoga and hiking, and reading up on psychology.

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