The Cipher Brief Academy Transition 101 Course

Course: TRANSITION 101
Monday, June 14 – Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Brought to you by The Cipher Brief with the generous support of Booz Allen Hamilton

Based in part on the book, ‘Mission: Career Transition’ by instructor and former CIA Officer, Alison Bouwmeester

The Cipher Brief Academy is pleased to announce our next Cipher Brief Training Course, Transition 101. This 2-session course is offered to national security professionals looking to transition their skills from government to the private sector.

During this course, you will hear from a variety of instructors and guest speakers from Intelligence, military, congressional and diplomatic backgrounds. The sessions will offer ‘lessons learned’ from those who have transitioned and will cover including:

• Identify private sector opportunities that best fit your interests and skills
• Create a public profile focused on building a strong professional network
• How to work with media to build your brand and not get burned


Students will hear from a variety of instructors and guest speakers with experience in both worlds and will have the opportunity to engage in question and answer sessions.

The virtual summer session runs June 14-15th from 5:00p – 6:30p ET. Students must be U.S. citizens. Registration applications must be received by June 11, 2021. Those who complete the course will be invited to enroll in a private Transition 101 LinkedIn Group for future networking opportunities.

Register Now


Monday, June 14 / 5:00 – 6:30p

5:00 – 5:10p WELCOME: Course overview by Suzanne Kelly, CEO & Publisher, The Cipher Brief

5:10p – 5:30p SPEAKER: Chris Domencic, Principal Program Manager, Azure Geographic Expansion Team, Microsoft and retired U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer

5:30p – 6:00p SPEAKER: Mara Motherway, Vice President, Head of Government Relations, Booz Allen Hamilton

6:00p – 6:25p INSTRUCTOR: Alison Bouwmeester, Author, Mission: Career Transition: A Career Change Guide for Intelligence, Military, Foreign Affairs, National Security and other government professionals


Tuesday, June 15 / 5:00 – 6:30p


5:05p – 5:15p SPEAKER: Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg, President, Intelligence & National Security Alliance (INSA)

5:15p – 5:35p SPEAKER: Rodney Faraon, Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Crumpton+Martin Group

5:35p – 6:00p SPEAKER: Jeanette Manfra, Director, Risk & Compliance at Google Cloud and former Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security

6:00p – 6:25p SPEAKER: Bill Harlow, former CIA, DOD and White House Spokesman (& Cipher Brief Senior Book Editor)

6:25p – 6:30p INTRODUCTION TO TRANSITION 101 LINKEDIN GROUP SPEAKER: Deborah McGrath, Former Management Officer, CIA


Alison Bouwmeester
Author, Career Coach, Former CIA Officer

Author and Career Coach Alison P. Bouwmeester served for 28 years as a senior leader in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations. After retiring from the CIA, she spent nearly a decade as a senior business executive in the defense contracting industry, rising to Vice President for Business Development. In 2018, Bouwmeester became a Certified Professional Career Coach and founded Futurity to coach others through successful career transitions as a someone who has “walked the walk”. She is the author of Mission: Career Transition: A Career change Guide for Intelligence, Military, Foreign Affairs, National Security, and Other government Professionals.

Bill Harlow
Former CIA, DOD and White House Spokesman (& Cipher Brief Senior Book Editor)

Bill Harlow offers tips on building your brand in the media and social media age. Many people (by regulation and choice) steer clear of dealing with the media while they are government employees. But once they enter the private sector – creating a public profile can be helpful in advancing their careers. Bill will talk about getting your name and opinions out there – through social media, OPEDs, and becoming a resource for the media outlets. Harlow is the author of Circle William, about a White House Press Secretary described as a master of spin. He is also the co-author of several non-fiction national security books, including George Tenet’s New York Times #1 Bestseller “At the Center of the Storm.”

Mara Motherway
Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton

Mara Motherway is Booz Allen’s head of government relations, a recognized public policy expert, and a retired U.S. Naval officer with more than 21 years of service. Starting in 2016, Motherway built our government relations capability from the ground up in less than 18 months, formalizing the function for the first time in the firm’s 105-year history. She and her team strengthen the firm’s relationships across the Federal Government, with trade associations, and think tanks—driving policy and legislative outcomes for corporate growth.

Jeanette Manfra
Director, Risk & Compliance at Google Cloud
Former Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, DHS

Jeanette Manfra is Director of Risk & Compliance at Google Cloud and is the former Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security. She previously served as Counselor to the Secretary and served as Director for Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity as part of the National Security Council staff from 2014-2015. Prior to that she served as Deputy Director of both Enterprise Performance Management and the Office of Emergency Communications at the Department of Homeland Security.

Chris Domencic
Principal Program Manager, Azure Geographic Expansion Team, Microsoft
U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer (Ret.)

Chris Domencic is a retired U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer, most recently serving as the Deputy Commander for the USSOCOM Legislative Affairs office, where he was responsible for the Naval Special Warfare and Maritime portfolios and maintaining USSOCOM’s $13 billion operating budget. During his 22 years of Naval service, his career included command of a SEAL Team at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Africa, 10 overseas deployments, circumnavigating South America and Aide de Camp for two Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He was also selected as a White House Fellow and served at the National Economic Council and the Department of Commerce.

For his service, Chris was awarded the Legion of Merit, 5 Bronze Stars (2 for Valor), 2 Navy Commendations and multiple other military awards. As a Junior Officer, He was also recognized as the Ship Handler of the Year by Naval Amphibious Squadron TWO.

In November of 2020 Chris joined Microsoft as a Principal Program Manager on the Azure Geographic Expansion team. Here he was responsible for the growth of the hyperscale cloud and incorporating mission applications for sovereign partners. In the spring of 2021, he was asked to join the Mixed Reality team at Microsoft focusing on IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) and other government applications. (Mixed reality is a blend of physical and digital worlds unlocking links between human, computer, and environmental interaction).

Rodney Faraon
Partner & Chief Creative Officer, Martin+Crumpton Group

Rodney Faraon is a Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Martin+Crumpton Group and the founder of the group’s Research and Analysis practice. Prior to joining Martin+Crumpton Group, Mr. Faraon was the founding Director of The Walt Disney Company’s Global Intelligence practice. Mr. Faraon served as a leader and senior analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. From 1999 to 2001, he was on the President’s Daily Briefing team as the briefer to and speechwriter for Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) George J. Tenet, for which he was awarded the Director’s Medal, the DCI’s highest personal decoration.

Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg
President, Intelligence & National Security Alliance (INSA)

Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg became president of INSA and INSF (501c3) on December 1, 2019. As president, Wilson Heckenberg oversees INSA’s finances, strategic planning, marketing, events, and corporate partnerships. She leads strategic initiatives across the organization focused on building the association’s brand, strengthening member value, and growing and diversifying member ranks.

Deborah McGrath
Former Management Officer, CIA

Deborah McGrath is an independent research fellow for global publications. She retired from the Central Intelligence Agency with over 25 years of cumulative Federal Government service, including service as a U.S. Army officer. Ms. McGrath was a career Management officer, specializing in multidisciplinary service support in several countries. In remote postings, she managed large offices ensuring emergency preparedness and facilitating counter-terrorism liaison programs. Ms. McGrath earned awards for addressing supply chain management, piloting diversity and inclusion programs, and for leading teams in crisis situations. She provided strategic direction on staff development and transitions programs in the Support Division of the Agency.

Suzanne Kelly
CEO & Publisher, The Cipher Brief

Suzanne Kelly is the founder of The Cipher Brief, a national security focused publication that provides expert insights on security issues. She also runs The Cyber Initiatives Group focused on cyber security with principals that include General Michael Hayden, General Keith Alexander, FireEye CEO Keven Mandia, Rick Ledgett and Matt Olsen. In addition to TCB and CIG, Kelly also produces The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference in Sea Island, GA. which has become the nation’s premier national security conference focused on the public and private sectors. Kelly is a former Intelligence Correspondent for CNN, where she co-founded and co-developed the Security Clearance Blog.


The Hon. Susan M. Gordon
Former PDDNI

Susan M. Gordon was sworn in as the fifth Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (PDDNI) on August 7, 2017. As PDDNI, Ms. Gordon assisted the DNI in leading the Intelligence Community (IC) and managing the ODNI. In particular, she focused on advancing intelligence integration across the IC, expanding outreach and partnerships, and driving innovation across the Community.

With nearly three decades of experience in the IC, Ms. Gordon has served in a variety of leadership roles spanning numerous intelligence organizations and disciplines. Most recently, Ms. Gordon served as the Deputy Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) from 2015 to 2017. In this role, she helped the director lead the agency and manage the National System of Geospatial Intelligence. She drove NGA’s transformation to meet the challenges of a 21st century intelligence agency. She also championed agile governance, recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, and expansion of geospatial intelligence services to the open marketplace. She is known for her commitment to diversity and inclusion and, to the women and men of the IC.

Rick Ledgett
Former Deputy Director, NSA

Rick Ledgett served as the Deputy Director of the National Security Agency from January 2014 until his retirement in April 2017, culminating a nearly 40 year career in cryptology at NSA and in the U.S. Army. He previously led the Media Leaks Task Force, the Agency’s response to the Snowden leaks. He was the first National Intelligence Manager for Cyber at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and he directed NSA’s 24/7 cyber threat operations center. Ledgett currently serves on the board of M&T Bank, is a senior visiting fellow at MITRE, a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, and a Board Trustee at IDA.

Teresa Shea
Vice President of Cyber Offense and Defence Experts(CODEX), Raytheon Intelligence and Space

Teresa Shea is Vice President of Cyber Offense and Defense Experts (CODEX) for Raytheon Intelligence and Space (RIS). Building on Raytheon’s legacy of classified work with United States government intelligence agencies and programs, CODEX is focused on providing cyber capabilities for offense, defense and security initiatives. Ms. Shea joined Raytheon from In-Q-Tel where she was Executive Vice President of Technology and director of Cyber-Reboot.

She joined In-Q-Tel after a distinguished thirty-two year career with the National Security Agency (NSA) where she held several key leadership assignments during her career culminating as the director of Signals Intelligence. Ms. Shea is an experienced executive, working within corporate and government environments. She served as a Board Member for Recorded Future, a leading Cyber Threat Intelligence company from 2015-2019. In addition, she was a Board advisor to the Virginia Tech Hume Center, the MITRE Corporation, and continues to serve on the Georgia Institute of Technology Board of Advisors. Ms. Shea received numerous awards during her career, including the President’s Distinguished Rank Award from President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Donovan Award and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service.

Paul Graver
Vice President, CACI International, Inc.

Paul Graver is Vice President and Client Executive for the Intelligence Community at CACI International. In this position, he plays a leadership role in understanding customer priorities, supporting existing programs, and developing new business pursuits.

Paul joined CACI in 2017 after a distinguished career with the CIA, where served as Chief Operating Officer of the agency’s Office of Global Infrastructure, managing facilities, data centers, communications, and enterprise IT services for the CIA’s worldwide mission elements. During his CIA career, Paul held a variety of key senior executive leadership roles, including Chief of an overseas technology center and communications platform, Director of CIA’s operational training and conferencing facility, Senior Director for Administration and Deputy Executive Secretary for the National Security Council White House Staff, and Deputy Director of Finance.

The Hon. Leslie Ireland
Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Intelligence and Analysis

Leslie Ireland joined Treasury in 2010 after 25 years at CIA where she specialized in Iran, the Middle East and WMD. Ms. Ireland retired from government service in November 2016 after spending more than 31 years in the Intelligence Community. Prior to joining the Treasury Department, from 2008-2010 Ms. Ireland served as daily intelligence briefer to President. As the first DNI Iran Mission Manager from 2005-2008, she served as the principal advisor to the DNI on Iran and was responsible for overseeing the intelligence process on Iran for the entire US government.

Mark Kelton
Former Deputy Director of Counterintelligence, CIA

Mark Kelton is a retired senior Central Intelligence Agency executive who retired in 2015 with 34 years of experience in intelligence operations. Before retiring, he served as CIA’s Deputy Director for Counterintelligence. He is the Senior Vice President for National Security Solution at DynCorp International; and is Board Chair of Spookstock, a charity that benefits the CIA Memorial Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Mike LeFever
CEO, Concentric,
a risk consultancy specializing in strategic security and intelligence services

Mike recently retired from the United States Navy after serving for over 38 years, finishing his military career as the Director of Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counterterrorism Center, within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Previously, he served as both the Commander of the Office of Defense Representative in Pakistan and the Commander of the Joint Task Force in Pakistan, leading all US Armed Forces in Pakistan between 2008-2011.

Ken Stiles
Professor, Virginia Tech and CIA Veteran

Kenneth L. Stiles, a retired CIA officer with 29 years of experience currently lectures at Virginia Tech for the Hume Center for National Security & Technology and the Department of Geography. Stiles has worked with major entities throughout the Intelligence Community and National Security arena: US Military Commands, SOCOM, JSOC, USCG, ONI, NGIC, MCIA, DIA, NSA, FBI, DoS, DoE, as well as other domestic and foreign units.

JD Kathuria
Founder and CEO of WashingtonExec

Since launching the company in 2011, JD Kathuria has grown its membership to include over 200 executives, entrepreneurs and thought leaders within the private, public, nonprofit and academic sectors.

A firm believer in the importance of trusted, long-term professional relationships, JD is well regarded in the D.C. business community as a connector and adviser. He and his team host upward of 80 events each year to facilitate long-lasting relationships and encourage meaningful thought exchange among their participants.

Thank you to Transition 101 sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton.