Page 10 - Talladegan SP 4 Flipbook
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                       How Talladega College prepared her to excel far beyond her dreams

        In a field noted for its shortage of both female and   the classroom.  Of course, the curriculum set me on
        African-American practitioners, Ms. Essye B. Miller    a professional course I never
        ‘85 has blazed a vibrant trail. She is a member of     imagined.  But, we were
        the government’s elite Senior Executive Service and    taught so much…
        currently serves as the Principal Deputy, Department   the importance
        of Defense Chief Information Officer (DoD CIO).        of performance,
        She assists the DoD CIO as the primary advisor to the   credibility and
        Secretary of Defense for Information Management/       relationships;
        Information Technology (IT) and Information            how to prepare
        Assurance, as well as non-intelligence space systems;   for interviews,
        critical satellite communications, navigation, and     how to dress
        timing programs; spectrum; and telecommunications.     professionally;
            Early in her illustrious career, while employed as an   public speaking, goal
        Information Technology Specialist at Gunter Air Force   setting. The list goes
        Base in Montgomery, Alabama, Ms. Miller was told,      on,” states Ms. Miller, who
        “People need to see you.”  At that moment, she began   was initiated into the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Delta
        to realize how much her life could inspire, motivate   Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated at Talladega in
        and uplift others. As she advanced to higher-ranking   1982.
        positions, including Deputy Chief Information Officer       “I was fairly quiet as a student, but was never
        (DCIO) for Cybersecurity and the Department’s          devalued or felt like I wasn’t heard.  I found a level of
        Senior Information Security Officer (SISO) and         confidence in being thoughtful and deliberate and that
        Acting Defense Chief Information Officer, she never    has helped me throughout my career.   I left Talladega
        forgot the importance of sharing her life story.       with insight I didn’t know I had.  I often reflect with
            Today, Ms. Miller is ranked among the world’s      friends about the wisdom and life lessons some of the
        top women in technology.  She is the embodiment of     professors imparted during our time there.”
        the American dream.  And she is a proud Talladegan.         Ms. Miller believes that seizing the right
        Recently, she spoke with The New Talladegan about      opportunities at the right time, and being prepared
        her  family, her student days, the factors that propelled   for these opportunities when they came, helped
        her to success, and the impact she hopes to have.      her to excel. Being prepared included securing
           “My mother was a school teacher and my father       the education she needed to help her advance at
        worked in the steel mill. They wanted their kids to do   each stage of her career.  In addition to earning her
        well.  Whatever that looked like was up to us. They    bachelor’s at Talladega, she secured a Master of
        wanted us to do our best and make sure we treated      Business Administration from Troy State University
        people well while doing it,” she notes.                and a Master of Strategic Studies from Air University
             As a student, Ms. Miller was dedicated to her     in Montgomery, Alabama. She is also a graduate
        studies and desired to excel. However, neither she     of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in
        nor her parents ever imagined that she would reach     National and International Security Studies, and
        the heights she has reached.  She remembers the        she is Acquisition Level III certified in Information
        shock and pride on her father’s face the first time he   Technology.
        accompanied her on a speaking engagement.                   As she approaches her 35th year with the
             “I’ve done so much more than I imagined for       government, her gaze is on the next generation.
        myself,” she admits, crediting her success to a        Success has given her unique privileges and
        culmination of factors, including her beloved alma     experiences but, she says, “The professional travel,
        mater.                                                 awards and recognitions pale in comparison to the
             “I received a foundation  (at Talladega) that I took   opportunities to share my story and shape the next
        for granted for years. Learning was not confined to    generation of leaders.”
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