WHS Leadership

 Please meet the WHS Board of Directors:

We are excited to be led by such a dynamic and diverse group of women in the field of homeland security.  Some tasked with protecting critical infrastructure, others in charge of cyber operations, agents in the field, practitioners protecting their company assets, all of our WHS Board members represent critical pieces of the homeland mission.

Board Members Mary Hanson, Sue Crow, Kara Sidener, Kristina Tanasichuk, Kathy Mills, Sharla Rausch, Patty Todaro Bolin, Elena Mitchell, Pamela Sharpe, and Courtney Hammond.

Board Members Mary Hanson, Sue Crow, Kara Sidener, Kristina Tanasichuk, Kathy Mills, Sharla Rausch, Patty Todaro Bolin, Elena Mitchell, Pamela Sharpe, and Courtney Hammond.


Founder & President Kristina Tanasichuk CEO, Government Technology & Services Coalition
Treasurer Sue Crow Secretary Eileen Parise, Vice President, Erickson Aviation
Vice President, Programs, Leslie Hope, Assistant Director, USCIS Vice President, Law Enforcement Kara Sidener Special Agent and InfraGard Coordinator, FBI
Vice President, Traci Lembke, Senior Manager, EY
Director Patty Todaro-Bolin, Vice President, Homeland Security & Justice, XLA Director Kristin Cooke, Director, Acuity
Director, Ronnyka Fitzpatrick, Budget Director, S&T, DHS Director, Courtney Hammond, Senior Manager, Deloitte
Director, Sara Kindsfater-Yerkes, Chief Strategy Officer, Blackstone Technology Group Director, Kathy Mills, CSO, CENTRA Technology
Director-At-Large, Suzanne Novak, CEO, Erudyte Director, Emily Ohland, Senior Manager, HWC
Director, Sharla Rausch, former Assistant Director, S&T, DHS Director, Pamela Sharpe, Distributed Learning, CBP
WHS STEM Youth Ambassador
Kalyna White, student, The Madeira School


Michelle Constant, CEO, Constant & Associates
Chair, WHS West

Michelle leads WHS West — a chapter focused around the Los Angeles area in California.

Join WHS West here.

Founder & President KT photo Kristina Tanasichuk CEO, Government Technology & Services Coalition Kristina Tanasichuk founded Women in Homeland Security in March 2009 and has grown the organization to nearly 4500 members.  Her “day job” is CEO of the Government Technology & Services Coalition, a non-profit, non-partisan association of innovative, agile small and mid-sized company CEOs that create, develop, and implement solutions for the Federal homeland and national security market.  She is also President of the InfraGard National Capital Region — a non-profit, public private partnership with the FBI to share information to protect critical infrastructure.

Previously, she worked for another non-profit organization representing large companies in the homeland security market, where she was responsible for thought leadership and programs, strategic partnerships, internal and external communications, marketing and public affairs.  Tanasichuk also co-founded and served as executive director of the American Security Challenge, an event that awards monetary and contractual awards millions to emerging security technology firms.  Tanasichuk began her career in homeland security shortly after September 11, 2001 while at the American Public Works Association where she managed homeland security and emergency management issues before Congress and the administration on first responder issues, water, transportation, utility and public building security. Prior to that she worked on electric utility restructuring and domestic energy issues for a boutique lobbying firm and as professional staff for the Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce Tom Bliley.  Tanasichuk also worked at the American Enterprise Institute, several Washington, D.C. associations representing both the public and private sectors, and interned at the White House under President George H.W. Bush. Tanasichuk serves as  a Contributing Editor for Homeland and National Security to Government Contracting Weekly.  She served on the Coast Guard Mutual Aid Board of Control, as a trustee for the Coast Guard Memorial Enlisted Foundation and the Fairfax County Law Enforcement Foundation Board.  She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned her Masters in Public Administration from George Mason University.  She also graduated from the DEA and FBI Citizens’ Academies and from the Marine Corps Executive Forum.  Ms. Tanasichuk was awarded the AFCEA Small Business Person of the Year award in 2016, Excellence in Partnership award by the U.S. Department of Treasury for her work at GTSC, “Woman of Distinction” by HERLife magazine, and nominated as a Friend of the Entrepreneur by the NVTC Hot Ticket awards.

Patty Todaro Bolin served in Treasury Department’s legacy U.S. Customs Service and its predecessor Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for 20+ years in various leadership and functional capacities on major Agency-wide initiatives. She served on the Executive Team that determined mission sets, budget and staffing for major components (CIS, ICE and CBP) when DHS was stood up. Patty has been a senior leader at major consulting firms since leaving the Government. She leads internal programs and projects, account planning, business development, acquisition, contract management activities and, provided internal coordination for those firms. She leads/has led Programs, projects and provides subject matter-level expertise in support of various DOJ (DEA) and DHS (CBP, S&T, ICE, TSA, FEMA, USCG and USSS) projects.

Kristin Cooke is Director of Business Development at Acuity, Inc., a successful prime contractor and management and technology consulting provider for federal clients. Ms. Cooke is focused on strengthening business relationships and identifying opportunities to fuel the firm’s growth, with a concentration on Acuity’s two new DHS EAGLE II contracts. Ms. Cooke brings strategy and organizational expertise from more than 25 years in the industry. Throughout her career she has worked with a variety of federal agencies through consulting organizations including Arthur Andersen, Booz Allen Hamilton, Unisys and, most recently, SCI Consulting where she served as Vice President. Ms. Cooke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Siena College and is a certified ITIL 3.0 Advanced Practitioner and a Change Management Advanced Practitioner. She is also a long-time member of several industry organizations including the Government Technology Services Coalition, Women in Homeland Security, Women in Technology and AFCEA.

Sue Crow graduated from the University of Delaware where her father was a professor in Animal Science. As a result, her childhood and younger years were spent growing up on a Guernsey Farm which eventually led to her to marring a dairy farmer. Sue helped raise 3 sons on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on a very successful Holstein Farm earning many National awards. After 25 years, it was time for a change and she moved to Tysons Corner. Here she continued her love of retail landing a position at Bloomingdales as a Selling Specialist for Eileen Fisher. Her career then took a turn as she moved into the administrative world working where she now works for a commercial real estate firm. Along the way she has volunteered her time for different organizations such as WHS, GTSC, AFCEA, AFFIRM, ACT-IAC and most recently the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

Courtney Hammond is a leader in Deloitte’s National Security Sector. She has more than 12 years of professional experience supporting four components within the Department of Homeland Security.   She currently leads several project teams for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration and Services. She has extensive experience leading complex program management efforts for large-scale system modernizations and balancing diverse public/private stakeholder needs. Her solution offerings include program management, human capital, strategic communications, technology adoption and workforce planning

Leslie Hope is Associate Center Director of the Potomac Service Center at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security.  Ms. Hope is part of the startup team for this new Service Center in Crystal City. Once fully staffed, Ms. Hope will manage a large group of Immigration Services Officers who adjudicate immigration benefit applications.   Ms. Hope has over 20 years’ experience supporting DHS and legacy INS in a variety of roles; to include USCIS Biometrics Division Chief, Deputy CIO, and Acting CIO.  Prior to joining the government Ms. Hope spent 15 years managing technology in the banking and airline industries.

Sara Kindsfater-Yerkes is Chief Strategist for Blackstone Technology Group.  Sara is an Organizational Change Strategist with expertise in guiding the implementation of large-scale transformations as well as small-scale change initiatives to affect a mix of people, systems, process and culture. Sara’s “why” is to guide individuals in a process of finding their passion and purpose so they contribute to healthy, productive, and successful organizations. Her life’s work is to understand what makes people and teams high performing and bring these practices to organizations in order to create an environment in which all can thrive.

Traci Lembke is a Senior Manager in EY’s Advisory Services, Government and Public Sector practice, and has 28 years of government law enforcement, project management and process improvement experience. For the past seven years Traci has worked with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to develop strategic and operational initiatives. She advised the investigative processes and procedures for several Divisions within Homeland Security Investigations, including the Cyber Crimes and the Financial, Narcotics and Special Operations Division. Traci was responsible for overseeing the Cyber Crimes Center, which combats transitional cybercrime and the criminal exploitation of the Internet both domestically and internationally. She also served as an administrator for the Transnational Crime and Public Safety Division which oversees the enforcement of US immigration and customs laws. In 2010 Traci received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. This award is given to less than 5% of all Federal Senior Service Executives in recognition for sustained superior accomplishments in management of programs of the US Government and noteworthy achievement of quality and efficiency in the public sector.

Kathy Mills joined CENTRA Technology in November 2008 as the Corporate Security Officer/Security Director. She is responsible for all aspects of CENTRA’s Security operations, including insider threat, personnel security, program security, physical security, and Information security, at both CENTRA’s Arlington and Burlington locations. Kathy has over twenty years’ experience in security including management of day-to-day operational security, personnel management, administration, and maintaining all aspects of a security program under the National Industrial Security Program. Kathy has a master’s degree in Education from Marymount University and a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from the College of St. Catherine.

Suzanne Novak, CEO, Erudite.  Ms. Novak has extensive real-world emergency management and disaster response/recovery experience, working with all levels of the government (Federal, State and Local) as well as Private Sector. She applies this knowledge and experience when developing training courses and emergency management exercises for her clients. Ms. Novak was a key contributor at a national level to the development of the National Response Framework, National Infrastructure Protection Plan, and multiple Target Capabilities as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. She played a key role in planning, designing, executing, and evaluating the TOPOFF 3 Exercise conducted in Connecticut in 2005. Ms. Novak provides consulting services to public and private sector clients in support of their business continuity/emergency management and response and recovery efforts (planning, exercises, and operational reviews). Additionally, she provides strategic consulting to small businesses with technology-based products/services developed to improve homeland security and emergency management practices (mitigation, prevention/protection, response and recovery). In this role, Ms. Novak also serves as the Subject Matter Expert on all National Security and Emergency Management projects.   Ms. Novak is developing a Private Sector driven Exercise Framework as well as a Recovery Focused model to assess long term recovery impacts on business and the community.

Emily Ohland is a Senior Portfolio Manager at HWC. She is a lead executive responsible for developing new lines of business, overseeing service performance, and jointly defining and executing corporate strategy. Ms. Ohland has more than 17 years of experience working with federal, state and local governments, and non-profits including the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She has served the homeland security, emergency management and public health missions focusing primarily on organizational strategy, policy analysis, strategic program design, and process improvement.

Dr. Sharla P. Rausch is currently Chair of the Women in Homeland Security’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Committee. She recently retired from the Federal Government after 27 years of service, last serving as the Deputy Director for the Office of National Laboratories, where she was responsible for an extensive network of Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology laboratories focused on countering chemical, biological, radioactive nuclear, and explosives terrorism. She also served as the first Director of the Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, which applied social, behavioral, and physical sciences to improving identification and analysis of threats, enhancing societal resilience, and integrating human capabilities into the development of technology. She was appointed to the Senior Executive Service for career Federal employees in October 2006 and in 2010 received the prestigious Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award for sustained accomplishments.


Vice President, Law Enforcement Kara cropped Kara Sidener Special Agent & InfraGard Coordinator, FBI Kara D. Sidener is a Special Agent with the FBI and is currently serving as the InfraGard Coordinator for the Washington Field Office (WFO). Her 13+ years with the FBI have all been in the Washington, DC area, having had assignments at the WFO, FBI Headquarters, and the FBI Academy. Kara has experience in a number of areas to include counterintelligence, cyber, evidence response, instruction and training, and private sector outreach. She has co-authored two articles, “Proactive Human Source Development” and “Office Paper DeCopier,” which appeared in the Law Enforcement Bulletin and Journal of Forensic Sciences, respectively. Kara has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Master of Forensic Science degree, both from The George Washington University.
Board Member eileen parise cropped Eileen Parise Vice President, Erickson Aviation.  Eileen was formerly Vice President, Federal Civilian and Commercial Programs at Rapiscan Systems where she oversaw program management and business development for federal civilian programs in the US Government, and for commercial programs for North America.  Prior to joining Rapiscan, Eileen was at FLIR Systems, Inc.as Director of Federal Business Development. She was also a strategist with numerous firms including TRG, The Rendon Group, Global Resource Solutions, a veteran disabled and minority owned company, working with senior executives in business and government to achieve significant results quickly. We provide tailored capabilities and solutions to deliver high impact outcomes including enhanced performance, rapid organizational change, new opportunity identification and downside mitigation. In short, we help clients succeed through highly effective counsel and implementation. Prior to her work in the private sector Elaine served as Senior Strategist to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the U.S. Department of Defense, a Defense Fellow and Deputy White House Liaison to DOD and as White House Advance to President Bill Clinton.


Michelle Constant, leader of Women in Homeland Security West

Michelle Constant has 19 years of experience in emergency management and security consulting. Ms. Constant’s work has been published in multiple journals and she is a popular speaker at national conferences. Since founding Constant & Associates over 12 years ago, Ms. Constant has managed some of the most innovative and groundbreaking projects in our industry. Her consulting work spans a wide range of topics including: community resilience, public health and healthcare readiness, mass fatality planning, and more.

Ms. Constant is completing a Master’s degree in Business Administration (expected 2017) from the University of Southern California (Fight On!). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California State University, San Marcos.