‘Just watch me.’

NGA’s Top 2 women give their Top 5 for Women’s Equality Day

By Carling Uhler, NGA Office of Corporate Communications
Photo Credit: Erica Knight, NGA Office of Corporate Communications

August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, a commemoration of the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote.

NGA Deputy Director Sue Gordon and Director of Operations Maj. Gen. “UV” Linda Urrutia-Varhall talk women’s equality.

U.S. presidents have published proclamations every year since 1972 commemorating the passage of the amendment, bringing attention to women’s efforts toward equality.

“At every level of society, women are leaders at the forefront of progress.” said President Obama in his 2016 proclamation. “Serving as judges and members of Congress, setting world records in sports, founding groundbreaking companies, and fighting on the front lines of combat, women continue to tear down barriers and shatter glass ceilings — just as they have done since the founding of our Nation. Yet such progress is not inevitable, and we must keep moving forward on our journey toward equality.”

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Sue Gordon and NGA’s Director of Operations, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. “UV” Linda Urrutia-Varhall, sat down with the agency’s Geointeresting podcast to talk about women’s equality, leadership and some of their personal experiences.

For the full podcast, visit iTunes or Soundcloud.

1. When asked what inspired them to pursue a career in national security, Gordon cited a familial call to public service and why she feels right in choosing an IC profession.

I love the sense of purpose, I love the feeling of carrying the weight of responsibility and, quite frankly, I love being a decision maker.

2. UV recalled visiting the Air Force Academy at age 13, vowing to one day be a part of the marching students, and declaring to her uncle after he told her they didn’t allow women to attend –

Just watch me.

3. Speaking about those who have paved the way for others, Gordon credits many women — and men.

While there are lots of women who I feel a great affinity for because of the trail they blazed, I would say that there are just as many men who wanted me to be everything I could be.

4. Diversity among leaders cultivates diversity throughout the agency, particularly with our younger workforce members, noted Gordon.

To me, bringing diversity into leadership not only shows it’s possible for them, it shows everybody that excellence doesn’t have a particular look to it. There is not one face of excellence and the more diversity you have in your leadership, it really does lift all boats … everyone will see.

5. And finally, UV gives all her reasons to consider and continue a career in the intelligence community.

Let’s be forward, let’s try new things, let’s be innovative. Let’s work with Millennials to say, ‘How would you do things versus how I did things 30 years ago?’ That’s where it’s just going to get exciting.
NGA Deputy Director Sue Gordon and Director of Operations Maj. Gen. “UV” Linda Urrutia-Varhall talk women’s equality.

For more from Gordon and UV listen to the full podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud.


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About NGA: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency delivers world-class geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT, that provides a decisive advantage to warfighters, policymakers, intelligence professionals and first responders. Both an intelligence agency and combat support agency, NGA fulfills the president’s national security priorities in partnership with the intelligence community and the Department of Defense.

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