Retired Highest Ranking African American Female in the US Navy
Since she was five years old, Gail Harris knew she wanted to serve in the U.S. Navy. Unaware of the existing federal law prohibiting women from going into combat, Gail forged ahead, becoming the first woman in naval history to serve as an Intelligence Officer in a Navy aviation squadron. Having paved the way for generations of women, Harris was the highest ranking African American woman in the Navy at her retirement. Her hands-on leadership was instrumental during every major conflict from the Cold War and El Salvador to Desert Storm and Kosovo. Her hard work, ingenuity and outstanding performance made Gail a frequent traveler to the most challenging assignments around the globe. Read More >
Gail Harris Makes History
Interview with the BBC
In this presentation, Harris shares with audiences how- through hard work fired by courage and persistence- she became the highest ranking African-American female in the U.S. Navy. Harris earned her stripes in the pressure cooker of the intelligence community, and her wealth of leadership skills, tested in the rough waters of the real world, will equip any professional audience for their best effort. Harris can show anyone how to get the most from themselves and from those around them, against all odds.
Since 2013 in its annual report to Congress, the intelligence community has ranked Cyber as the number one national security threat. The reality is that the US has been dealing with millions of cyber incidents and attacks a day. A well orchestrated cyber attack could bring America to its knees. Our power grids, telecommunications, and banking and transportation infrastructures are at risk and constantly under attack. About 85% of companies have had ongoing infections with malware. Studies have shown the attackers get in fast and remain undetected for months. Gail Harris was chosen to be the Department of Defense’s initial lead in developing what role the intelligence community needed to play in the nations’ cyber defense, a task at the time considered impossible because of turf wars. She successfully collaborated with 30+ government agencies and military commands in defining needs and offering solutions for data management and reporting. She shares what we need to know to prevent a cyber nightmare.
Senior intelligence officials have repeatedly stated the US is facing the most diverse array of security threats since World War II. According to our own senior military leaders sequestration has damaged military readiness. What happens is we have to deal with a major crisis now? Do we have forces that are trained, manned and able to deal with a full blown war while also dealing with wars and crises in other parts of the world? In this era of fiscal challenges, do we design a military based on budget limitations or do we design a military based on strategy and fun it with that process in mind? An expert on military operations, Gail Harris guides her audiences through national security in the 21st century.
Relations with China have come a long way since President Nixon’s historic visit in 1972. Overall there’s been much improvement since the Cold War days; but there are still potentially divisive issues such as cyber and territorial disputes in the Easy and South China Seas as well as their “lack of transparency” on their intentions and military buildup. In this presentation, Harris discusses whether China’s actions pose a national security threat, and how the US needs to respond.
"Captain Harris shared military culture and leadership experiences to deliver a story about working hard to solve complex problems under arduous conditions. This is another story about the qualities of veterans that should be shared with employers."
"Captain Harris was great. As I knew she would from watching videos of her speak, she was direct, honest and informative...Thank you again for your help securing her for the 2017 NASWA Vets Conference."
"It was a pleasure meeting you at last night’s seminar. Gail has an amazing success story. She is Black History."
"Gail Harris really did a great job. Everybody really connected with her. I've never seen a speaker stay as long as she did. She partied with the managers, she talked with the managers...just really connected. She seemed to have a good time as well. When you've got to work, you might as well enjoy what you do."
"Gail Harris did an event last week for me for the Association of Government Accountants. She had a full room and blew them away. They were more "than pleasantly surprised" about her presentation. She spoke on 'Women and Leadership' for this largely white male dominated profession/audience."
"Our survey results have come back and confirmed what we already knew… the conference was a big success and attendees rated the educational programming and professional development opportunities of the conference very highly!"