FT. MEADE, Md,
The three women executives who lead business operations at NSA may appear like everyday citizens, but at work they are pushing the envelope and paving the way for the next generation of female leaders in the U.S. Intelligence Community. In this article, we introduce you to Diane Dunshee, Deputy Director of Business Management & Acquisition.
Gathering around the table, Diane Dunshee and her family sit down to enjoy a meal of Maryland crab soup. Beef broth, vegetables, and lump crab meat – her perfect recipe for a satisfying meal. On weekends and evenings, Diane enjoys cooking new recipes. By day, she is one of the top business executives at NSA creating recipes for others to succeed.
“I never thought I would be in the position I’m in now. I didn’t have this path charted out. I just continued to set my eyes on the next opportunity.” Diane has taken a similar approach with her culinary adventures. “I like to find new recipes and try them out. There were dishes that my kids refused to eat and some even I would never make again. But, you only learn by trying.” Diane encourages others to grow by observing what goes on around them. “You can learn how to - and how not to - do things by analyzing the results of your actions. Let people know you trust their judgement, you are open to new ways of doing things, and that it’s ok to question how things were done in the past.”
When Diane cooks a dish that is especially delicious, she shares it with her friends. Similarly, she shares lessons learned while conducting NSA business operations with her Intelligence Community colleagues. “When we find something that works, we love to share it with our partners.”
Earlier in her career, Diane wasn’t as confident. “There were times when I wasn’t comfortable taking a seat at the table because I didn’t feel like I fit. I had to consciously tell myself that I had valuable contributions to make.” Now, as a leader, she helps others flourish by encouraging them to look for innovative ways to contribute to NSA’s mission. “At meetings, I check in with each person at the table, giving them the opportunity to share their ideas. We want to create an environment where everyone is comfortable speaking up.”
Read other articles in the Balancing Business series.
• Kathy Zuback Vaults over Hurdles on and off the Track