In an ever-changing society, it can often be difficult hard for young female professionals to find strong role models. At COLSA, we want every young and upcoming female professional to have a strong person to look up to. One of our many female leaders is Paula Walters, the Program Manager for one of our largest contracts – S3E. Read on to learn the obstacles Paula has faced as a female in STEM and leadership, her advice to young professionals, and her hopes for the future.
Q: What is your background, and what led you to come to COLSA?
A: My background is in system and network administration. Before work at COLSA, I was working for a subcontractor for what is now the S3E contract. I worked with them for a couple of years and then I moved into the contract lead position. Being a lead meant I had to work for the prime contractor- which was COLSA.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve faces as being a woman in STEM and leadership?
A: I come from the generation where STEM and being a leader was a man’s world. But thankfully I was raised in a family where there were a lot of boys. I was told that I could do anything a man could do. Because of my upbringing, I wasn’t as intimidated going into this world. Despite my upbringing, though, I have felt like I always must know a little more and put myself out there. I must always be at the top of my game.
Q: What is your favorite part about being the S3E Program Manager?
A: The people, the mission- which is to provide cyber security initiatives to the Army and other entities. Having been a part of the contract since the beginning, this contract is very near and dear to me. It feels like I’ve helped raise it from its infancy to where it’s at now.
Q: What is your advice for young female professionals?
A: Don’t be intimidated by the world around you. You can achieve and do whatever you want, just put yourself out there and go for it. You are just as smart as anyone in the room.
Q: What has COLSA done to help you grow as a leader?
A: COLSA’s leadership has supported me in numerous ways. They have given me the tools I need for success.
Q: What do you hope to see for the future of the cyber world?
A: I hope to always see growth and change. I never want COLSA’s cyber department or the general world of cyber to stop evolving over time.