By Kris Sivertson
Recruiting the next generation of security engineering officers (SEO) is a critical need for the Foreign Service and a top priority for the Bureau of Global Talent Management’s (GTM) Recruitment Division and the Diplomatic Security Service’s (DSS) Recruitment Unit. Kris Sivertson, the diplomat in residence (DIR) for Texas, came up with an innovative approach to encourage women to apply for this dynamic career. She partnered with the DSS Recruitment Unit to host a Women’s History Month panel on March 9 featuring Joy Baca-Herrera, an SEO who is serving on an excursion tour to the Bureau of Legislative Affairs as a senior congressional advisor, and Monique Theriot, who is serving as an SEO in the Technology Development Branch. The panel highlighted the critical role of SEOs in protecting people, information, and facilities using their engineering skills, and explored the increasing nexus with cybersecurity.
Technology and security countermeasures are evolving, and an increasing intersection between the physical, technical, and cyber realms means the Department of State must attract diverse talent with in-demand engineering skills and the ability to expand their skill set in the cyber domain. To reach qualified individuals, GTM’s Recruitment Division utilized direct candidate sourcing, outreach to professional organizations for women in engineering, and extensive social media promotions. More than 270 interested prospects registered for the virtual panel in March to learn about the SEO position and hear from Theriot and Baca-Herrera about how they use their engineering and cybersecurity skills to protect the Department and the nation, at home and abroad. Sivertson encouraged Theriot and Baca-Herrara to share their paths to, and life in, the Foreign Service, and their advice to candidates interested in becoming an SEO. Participants enthusiastically engaged the panel with questions about their work, the Foreign Service, and how to apply.
Employee referrals remain a top source of information for interested applicants to learn about Department opportunities. Referrals can be made by contacting Diplomatic Security Recruitment or contact a local DIR.
Kris Sivertson is a supervisory special agent serving as the diplomat in residence for Texas in Global Talent Management’s Recruitment Division.