Tara Ayesha Roberts, Manager, Global Crisis Management, The Walt Disney Company

My key takeaways from the program: The program encouraged the development application of critical thinking, and this was extremely helpful when assessing emerging trends and situations in Homeland Security. The program also gave detailed guidance on developing leadership traits and a personal brand that would help us pitch and implement our change initiatives.

On the topic of leadership, one particular takeaway that the cohort shared across the board was from one of our guest speakers, Dionne Neely of the USSS who urged us to “Own your own space”, which translates similar to the old adage of “blooming where you are planted”; embracing your core responsibilities while finding opportunities to grow. One of my personal takeaways came from Cynthia Renaud, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) who advised us to “Find something that is in your wheelhouse or skillset and champion that to create change in your organization”. I found this to be particularly refreshing to hear as I have always believed in that instinctively.

One of my favorite reads was a book by Christian Picciolini called “White American Youth”, where he tells the story of how he got involved in the White Supremacist Movement and how he separated. I thought, especially in this current climate, this is a perspective that is often overlooked but Christian offered an empathic and relatable approach to why people get involved in these groups and how there is hope regarding getting them out of such toxic environments.

The program gave me further and in-depth exposure to concepts in Homeland Security. Additionally, the program provided a supportive space for all of us to collaborate and share commonalities across the private and public sectors. The instructors and staff were amazing at making themselves available to talk through our change ideas, reading assignments, and general discussion. I feel more well-rounded in the area and inspired to pursue other disciplines in security further.

Tara Ayesha Roberts

Manager | Global Crisis Management
The Walt Disney Company