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Strictly Business — Women of Influence

Juliette Kayyem — CNN National Security Analyst; Harvard Kennedy School Faculty; WGBH host; National Security & Crisis Management Expert; Author; Former Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs, United States Department of Homeland Security

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Considering your academic background, we are curious to know how you ended up in the security field.

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I was then asked to teach, study, be on TV, and then go into government.

In some ways, I was a product of tragedy. My career was somewhat a product of a national tragedy. As they say, you can’t write the script too far in advance in life.

But you also have to realize that your career unfolds based off a lot of those other issues that you just can’t control.

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What was your initial impression as a woman in such a male dominated industry?

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I always tell young women, “Get your hands dirty for part of your career”.

You create a legacy with your ideas, depending on whatever your field is, especially if it’s creative.

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We’ve listened to your podcast and are curious to know how you came up with the title: “Security Mom.”

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My whole thing is — I want to talk to people about security like we’re around the kitchen table, just like a mom would be talking about soccer.

This is the first time in my career where I get to absorb the personal part of me, to make it part of my professional life.

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You mention speaking to the public about security issues as if you were seated around the kitchen table, how do you think that candid transparency would benefit the general public with security issues?

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Getting people to recognize that there’s always going to be a risk and there’s always going to be vulnerabilities is very important.

Whether it’s preparing your house for potential natural disasters, having water, food and provisions, or having a plan if the electricity goes out or cell service goes out.

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As a young Arab American woman, I wondered how has your Lebanese American identity influenced your work as a lawyer, a political advisor, and a high-ranking security official?

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There’s no way I would have been appointed to the commission on terrorism given my background unless I were Arab-American. I know that.

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Do you have any advice for me and others like me when dealing with stereotyping?

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However many times you can focus on what’s not right, the momentum is in your favor.

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It’s clear you are very involved in your family. Could you elaborate a little bit more on how you’ve kept that balance and stay so composed?

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So each generation is figuring out the new issue of their time.

Don’t sweat the small stuff; the kids are fine. The kids are going to be alright.

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If you could give one piece of advice to these girls on just how to confront life as they enter their careers; anything as they enter this massive journey, what would it be?

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So everything is “yes and…” I just think that’s a great philosophy.

STRICTLY BUSINESS — WOMEN OF INFLUENCE TEAM

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