BEYA 2019 honoree spotlight: Vonda Williams
The 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 7-9. The conference is an annual opportunity for professional training and networking with some of the top engineering employers, as well as a career fair for students seeking professions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). At this year's conference, 10 distinguished Leidos employees will be recognized for their career achievements. Each week leading up to BEYA, we'll profile two of our honorees here on Insights.
Senior Cybersecurity Engineer Vonda Williams has a reputation as someone who doesn’t back down from a challenge. From working tirelessly to ensure a key intelligence community customer’s mission is accomplished to committing her personal time to encouraging young people to pursue STEM degrees, Vonda dives head-first into the work and gets the job done right. Her dedication comes from an enthusiasm to making a lasting impact on those around her.
“I’m incredibly motivated that what I do every day supports the mission of our country, and the many sacrifices made by our military and their families,” says Vonda.
Vonda consistently receives accolades from her customer for regularly exceeding their expectations. In her current role, she has to maintain a neutral position while working across 17 different government agencies, establish relationships that did not previously exist, and help improve challenged relationships. She does this with the practiced expertise of a true leader with exceptional knowledge in highly technical concepts.
In the past year, Vonda worked across multiple government organizations to provide necessary mitigations to protect national security systems. She developed guidance in conducting effective, consistent, and repeatable processes. She was also instrumental in establishing partnerships across these agencies and with private industry to develop a strategy for a new service within an already existing system.
To be recognized at the national level is tremendous. Words cannot express my appreciation to be a BEYA recipient. This is the highlight of my 30-year career.
Vonda also channels her endless energy and willingness to help others into her activities to educate students on the world of possibilities within STEM education and careers. She works with the AFCEA Central Maryland (CMD) STEM Kickstarter program, specifically with Patuxent Valley Middle school, to ensure the school receives the scholarships needed to support their STEM program.
The AFCEA CMD’s STEM Kickstarter program awards grants in the range of $500 to $5,000 to schools and school-sponsored clubs in the central Maryland region for initiatives focused on STEM-related disciplines. Vonda also works with Cool Careers with Girls in Cyber Security, an event hosted at the University of Maryland each summer to encourage young ladies to pursue information technology careers.
When asked what advice she would offer people interested in STEM she said, “As technology rapidly evolves, so should your creativity and innovation. Pursue your passion – technology is the driver behind it all. Think big, dream big.”
In recognition of her exceptional accomplishments, Vonda will be honored with a Modern-Day Technology Leaders award at the 33rd annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference.