Deborah Diaz
CEO & Owner, Catalyst ADV
[email protected]

Over 30 years of C level public and private sector experience providing strategic advisory services, managing complex technology infrastructure and cyber programs, and building strong governance structures.  Managed over $5 B IT modernization; supervised large, international workforce; and has extensive multi-sector networks.

Describe your industry experience:
As the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO). I was the NASA senior level technology and innovation advisor providing visionary leadership to transform information technology capabilities and shared infrastructure services to enable NASA’s mission. I worked extensively with industry, research institutes and academia to identify and infuse technology and new governance into NASA.  I was responsible for revitalizing the planning, development and operations of NASA’s IT infrastructure program created to consolidate the $4.3 billion of Agency's IT and big data services.  I led the development and implementation of NASA’s cloud, high performance computer pilots, technology infusion prototypes and provided expert guidance on new technology investments, applications, and innovative solutions in areas such as microservices & API development, Internet of Things Innovation Lab and data/visual analytics.  As an experienced executive, I was recognized as a top agent of change who has provided innovative business solutions and developed strong partnerships between industry and government. My strong collaborative leadership in NASA’s Open Government Initiative, garnered a number 1 “Best in Government” vote for the last three years. She created high profile open venues such as International Space Apps Challenge, Women in Data, and Worldwide Coding Bootcamps engaging 22,000 people in 180 Global locations. She instituted NASA’s Data Science Initiative, authored the first comprehensive NASA data management strategy and used agile development to streamline the EVA Spacesuit Program, Astronaut Doc–In-A-Box, and built a strong NASA technology community.  Throughout my career I chaired many interagency working groups to advance homeland security and IP public policy, technology adoption and cyber security initiatives.  I have experience as a senior executive in multiple federal agencies, including NASA, Department of Homeland Security, US Patent and Trademark Office, Department of State, General Services Administration, and USAID.

Describe your functional experience:
Chief Technology Officer for $4.3 B portfolio of NASA’s IT infrastructure and data services.  Chief Information Officer for $1 B portfolio of Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology infrastructure.  Extensive experience with digital transformation; machine learning and AI; data-driven decision making; smart infrastructure and connected devices; cybersecurity and privacy; technology and marketing innovation to stakeholders.  Previous industry experience includes Fortune 500 oil and gas conglomerate and international development worldwide agencies such as United Nations and World Bank.  Board Director for several technology trade associations, Alliance for Transportation Innovation DC, Millennium Alliance Advisory NY, 1 publically traded technology firm, and 1 private cyber technology firm.
Describe your key business transactional experience:
I have a diverse, innovative international business and federal government experience.  I quickly grasp visionary technologies, governance improvement opportunities and can crystallize strategic paths for market advantage. By asking  the right questions of the key leadership team and identifying potential partnerships based on strategic goals, I am adept at identifying critical governance and business efficiencies to advance company goals.  Often, it is not a matter of research or discovery but understanding the industry and critical timing of emerging technologies or customer process improvement to really impact the future. By providing targeted strategic advice on leveraging new trends for products or services, re-engineering processes, or strategizing on workforce or consolidation efforts, I can help them better identify issues critical to the business of the company and provide strategic advice on either leveraging them for the company’s benefit or navigating around them. In addition to my strategic advisory experience, I have developed, managed and built major new services such as the first Government Cloud offering, first Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Innovation Labs and many others.  Once opportunities are identified, I have honed communication skills to translate technical services or product offerings into understandable language for all stakeholders.

What is the most important skill you bring to a corporate board?
My executive leadership and international business background has enabled me to help transform government and industry. I excel at introducing new innovative technologies into the marketplace and developing strong partnerships to create lasting solutions from concept to delivery. My focus has been leading teams and incubating new technologies and experiences to re-imagine the platform for intelligent work. I am passionate about building technology and services that focus on what matters most. My energy is derived from developing smart infrastructure to enhance citizen or government services. My drivers include constantly looking for trends, new technology impact, or reengineered processes to help deliver better products or solutions. Building on ground-breaking scientific programs that had real needs in the areas of Homeland Security or at NASA, I provided guidance on technology investments on space, cybersecurity, data management, microservices, AI, modernizing infrastructure and mobility solutions. As the workplace and citizen engagement changes, industry has new opportunities to take advantage of this new paradigm.  With my multi-sector international network, I have broad advisory reach and stay current on all aspects of impactful products and services for future corporate growth.