About Girl Security

Our Mission

Driving change in national security through education, mentoring, and workforce training.

From childhood to adulthood, girls are taught to fear everything, but often secured from nothing. As a result, girls, women, and gender minority populations who have never had the privilege of taking their personal security for granted have unparalleled insights. However, their advancement across the security sector has been impeded by several factors, including lack of visible role models, lack of access to inclusive education and training, and systemic bias. At Girl Security, we believe the time is now to usher in a more diverse workforce of historically underrepresented populations, starting with girls and gender minorities. In doing so, we will elevate long-overlooked perspectives on which ideals and norms must define the future of national security and grow skillsets for an increasingly complex global security environment.

Read our value statement

What is National Security?

Historically, national security has been defined by defense of the nation from physical threat, primarily to its borders, critical infrastructure, and populace, as well as projecting democratic ideals abroad. However, the spectrum of security challenges the United States currently faces and will continue to face in an increasingly digitally-dependent world will continue to challenge the outmoded ideals, norms, and power structures that have defined the first century of modern national security history.

At Girl Security, we believe the time is now to usher in a more diverse workforce of historically underrepresented populations, starting with girls and gender minorities. In doing so, we will elevate long-overlooked perspectives on which ideals and norms must define the future of national security and grow skillsets for an increasingly complex global security environment.

Why “Girl“? Because gendered norms continue to impede progress in national security workforce development, strategy, and innovation. We believe that naming gender-based norms that have pigeon-holed women into certain capacities within the security sector and continue to impede their opportunities to drive progress is a crucial underpinning to our mission. In addition, we believe that naming the gendered norms that continue to diminish and deprioritize the role of girls in society and security is also imperative to our mission. These norms impede progress for all.

The Problem

Transforming the foundation of national security requires diversifying the workforce and shifting outmoded norms, assumptions, and power structures.

Decisions made in the name of national security have shaped America, defined who wields power, and determined the world order. From policy directives that shape industry standards around cybersecurity, to executive orders that drive diversity, equity, and inclusion as a national security imperative, to wars and spending that shift the global economy, national security affects everyone.

For over a century, women have remained underrepresented across the national security employment sector, hindering their economic and impact potential in this consequential realm. Of the many national security pathways, women presently represent only 24 percent of the cybersecurity workforce; 17.8 percent of CIA agents; 14.4 percent of active duty military; 28 percent of the STEM/Security workforce; and 14 percent of International Relations professors.

Impediments to the aspirations girls and gender minorities and women’s advancement include: lack of visible role models, lack of access to national security learning and training, outmoded social norms around the role of women in security, and systemic bias and discrimination.

Our Team

Lauren Bean Buitta

Founder & CEO

Shannon Harrison

Director of Learning & Training

Jorhena Thomas

Director of Professional Advancement

Nancy Harris

Executive Administrator

Board of Directors

Advisory Board

Jenny Arabanel

Strategic Customer Success Manager at Confluent

Heidi Budro

Executive Officer to Chief Human Capital Officer, agency with Department of Homeland Security

Erin Connolly

Program Analyst with MELE Associates at the National Nuclear Security Administration

Kate Hewitt

Advisor for Multilateral Arms Control and Nonproliferation, Office of Secretary of Defense for Policy – Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, Transnational Threats

Tina Huang

Policy Program Manager, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence

Carmen Medina

Retired Senior Federal Executive

Shambulia Gadsden Sams

Policy Resident at Pink Cornrows & Chief Program Officer of Political Strategy at HBCU Collective

Meaghan Burnes

George Washington University Class of 2021, B.A. Military History and American Studies

Kyla Guru

Founder/CEO of Bits N' Bytes Cybersecurity Education & Co-Founder of GirlCon Chicago

Samina Mondal

Public Affairs Intern, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Honorary Advisors

General Thomas Waldhauser

United States Marine Corps General

Honorable Susan Gordon

Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, former Deputy Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency