cover art for Melissa Smislova: Bumblebee

Iron Butterfly

Melissa Smislova: Bumblebee

Season 4, Ep. 4

On this week's episode of the Iron Butterfly podcast, we are proud to welcome Melissa Smislova, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). Melissa brings decades of intelligence expertise with her, known for her work on the Soviet Union and North Korea. 

Prior to her service at DHS, she worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), earning several awards along the way such as the National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation, the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, and the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) 1998 Killian Award. Melissa embodies what it means to be a selfless and unapologetic woman in intelligence, balancing both fierce yet nurturing attributes within the Intelligence Community.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 6. Tasha Jones: Ghost Phoenix

    This episode we are joined by the amazing Tasha Jones, a U.S. Navy Veteran and Founder of Twenty39, a purpose built solutions and services partner leveraging over twenty five years’ experience in the U.S. government market space.  Tasha discusses how she transitioned from government into the business world and is an ardent supporter and champion of women in entrepreneurship and innovation.  A force to be reckoned with, we are so inspired by her tenacity and passion for enacting change and empowering others.  Show Notes:12:30 The Diplomat, Keri Russell28:30 Citrine Angels30:30 Hive 3933:30 Unveiled GovCon Stories 
  • 5. Jen Sovada: Interstellar

    On this episode we are joined by Colonel (Ret.) Jen Sovada.  Jen is the President of SandboxAQ’s Global Public Sector and previously served in the Air Force dedicating 25 years to various positions in operational test, systems interoperability, and requirements definition.  Listen in to hear her speak to the importance of building community and lifting up those around you.  And how her Grandmother, whose love of space, later influenced her drive and passion for public service and being a trailblazer.  Show Notes:4:00 US Air Force, Intelligence8:00 Jack Molesworth, Royal Airforce Molesworth16:40 Georgetown University 
  • 4. Anjuma Goswami Karkera | Fierce Something-or-Another

    On this episode we are joined by the fierce Anjuma Goswami Karkera.  Anjuma is the CEO of a non-profit professional services organization and previously excelled in roles at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).  Tune in to hear her discuss how being bold and authentic paved the way for her journey into the Intelligence Community.  She shares insight into the power of public service and how institutions can be instruments of positive change.  Truly an episode you don’t want to miss!  Show Notes:05:20 Cheryl Mills, Deputy White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton 06:25 Violence against women act (VAWA)08:00 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)08:10 George Pierce18:20 Joan Dempsey 28:40 National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA)35:40 Letitia “Tish” Long44:00 General Stanley McChrystal
  • 3. Special Live Episode | Firefly, Mija, and Simple Patriot

    In this special episode, hosted by Texas A&M University's The Bush School of Government & Public Service, Megan Jaffer and Cadie Hopkins conduct a live panel discussion with butterflies; Laura Thomas, Stephanie La Rue, and the Honorable Sue Gordon. The panel takes an independent look at women in the intelligence community and where they were on historic occasions, what it's like serving across administrations and political parties, and what they feel is the greatest threat to our national security today.Instagram: & Audio Production: Sponsor: Amazing Women of the ICPodcast Producer: Amanda Young
  • 2. Sarah Mineiro: Plasma Unicorn

    On this episode, we are joined by Sarah Mineiro, a total bad-ass self-proclaimed space nerdand one of the funniest ladies we know. Sarah is the founder and CEO of Tanagra Enterprises,a defense, intelligence, space, science and technology consulting firm based in the DC area.Sarah has worked within the national security and defense sector for over 20 years. Over hercareer, Sarah has worked in private industry, and across both the Executive and Legislativebranches of government.Join us for a fun discussion ranging from Space Intelligence to Art, and Stand-Up Comedy.Show notes:●● (3:50) National Air and Space Intelligence Center○ (4:38) Chinese Weather Satellite FY-1C● (6:00) Strategic Forces Subcommittee for the House Armed Service Committee (HASC)● (25:35) All the “C” Words, Sarah Mineiro, Capital Fringe Fest 2023 Review● (31:30) The Butterfly Effect● (35:00) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • 1. Teresa Shea: Jinx Johnson

    On our season 5 premiere, we are joined by the incredible Teresa Shea. Teresa has servedmore than 35 years in intelligence and defense within the public and private sector. She servedas Executive Vice President of Technology and director of Cyber-Reboot at In-Q-Tel. She joinedIn-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 thedirector of Signals Intelligence. Teresa is currently the President of Oplnet, LLC. She serves onnumerous boards and is an advisor with a passion for a safer and more secure Nation.Join us as Teresa discusses the importance of trust as a leader, leading through difficultsituations, and the power of smiling through adversity.Show Notes:● (2:15) Barbie, The Movie● (2:20) Georgia Institute of Technology● (06:04) Edward Snowden, NSA Data leak● (06:10) Dr Geoffery Stone, University of Chicago ○ Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligenceand Communications Technologies (Dec 2013), “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”● (7:34) NSA, Privacy and Civil Liberties Office● (25:10) The Character of a Leader: A Handbook for the Young Leader by Donald Alexander● (36:06) What Will Matter by Michael Josephson
  • Season 5 Teaser

    The Iron Butterfly Podcast team is back to share exciting updates and what to expect in the upcoming season premiering September 12th!
  • Iron Butterfly | Special Episode – Documentary Announcement

    On this special episode, the Iron Butterfly team returns to announce our new project, the first feature film documentary about women in the intelligence community. The team discusses how we got here, why this project matters, and when the podcast will return from hiatus. Tune in for some exciting updates!
  • 8. Season Finale: The Iron Butterfly Podcast Team (Beating Falcon, Wise Wisteria, Fierce Fire, & Bulldog)

    We close Season 4 with the Iron Butterfly team: Megan Jaffer, Cadie Naquin Hopkins, Amanda Young, and Liz Herndon.  We reflect on the themes of the past 4 seasons, unique moments, funniest memories, and other behind-the-scenes insights.  We also share a special message to our listeners about the future of the Iron Butterfly Podcast.  We hope you enjoy this special season finale!