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Leadership Connect held a webinar on emerging technology with three expert panelists from the federal government.  The panel discussed how their organizations leverage opportunities and  adopt best practices to implement emerging technology. Key takeaways on how emerging technologies have assisted agencies in the following areas include: 

  • Data collection: Faster and more accurate data collection can move processes along and better serve clients and agency mission 
  • Privacy: New methods of privacy in regard to cybersecurity and secure networks requires a change in thinking and the use of trusted external sources 
  • People management: Proper recruiting, placement, and management rely on new forms of data collection and analysis to ensure that personnel are being used to their full potential within an agency 
  • Remote working: Hybrid work is essential and virtual communication methods must be welcomed and implemented to keep everyone connected and ensure successful mission outcomes 

Read more details about their key takeaways for the present and future of emerging technologies below! 

Meet Our Panelists: 

  • Angela Gant-Curtis heads the new VA Office of Information and Technology (OIT) Innovation Unit in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and leads efforts to implement innovative solutions and emerging technologies.   
  • Mark Podoff serves as the CIO for the Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission (FMSHRC), where he is the focal point for FMSHRC’s IT services and priorities. 
  • Colonel Kristin Saling is the Director of Innovation at the U.S. Army’s Human Resources Command (G-1) and a recognized leader in the Army human capital enterprise. 

Our three panelists, moderated by Alan Thomas from Leadership Connect, broke down emerging technologies are relevant to their respective roles and agencies

Emerging Technology in Data, Privacy, and People Management 

Angela explained that data is crucial to improving patient services at the VA, and machine learning has helped them gather data more efficiently. Mark emphasized the cultural shift required to implement emerging technologies in privacy, which included replacing older privacy structures with VPNs, multi-factor authentication, and pin numbers. Kristin highlighted the importance of data collection to make accurate personnel decisions regarding talent management, and she recommended a new human-centered design for data to see individuals as real people with talents to capitalize upon. 

Emerging Technology From COVID-19 

As the world shifted during and since the pandemic, so has the mindset surrounding emerging technologies.  

For the Army, collaboration technology and evolution has greatly improved as they essentially had nothing in place prior to the shutdown. On the other hand, both the VA and FMSHRC already had adequate digital collaboration tools in place, so they were in a good position for remote work and have since expanded upon their existing remote infrastructures.  

All the panelists agreed that a hybrid environment is here to stay so long as emerging technologies support mission critical efforts in a secure environment. Kristin remarked that remote work is essential as it is the antidote to groupthink by adding in more voices and more opinions that are highly valued to create more idea generation. Therefore, they are committed to seeking out and leveraging emerging technologies that will continue to support a hybrid workforce. 

Sourcing Emerging Technologies

When speaking to our audience about how to find emerging technologies and how to understand their uses, our panelists gave some helpful tips and tricks. They recommended scouting from other agencies and federal sector partnerships to get some best practice advice. They also encouraged attending conferences and trade shows to see anything new that is being demoed or discussed.  

Final Advice to College Graduates 

Our panelists left our audience with these final thoughts as to how a person, particularly a young graduate, should approach the world of emerging technologies and IT in the federal government: 

  • Choose a mission that matters to you 
  • Focus on cybersecurity, as it is hard to get qualified people with fresh new perspectives 
  • Expand your understanding of specialized topics like zero-trust and fields like AI and data analytics  
  • Enter a specific IT field 
  • Seek a supportive and growth-oriented environment. 



Missed the discussion? View the panel here.

Annie Farrell

Digital Content Writer