Melissa Smislova: Bumblebee
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.
8. Season Finale: The Iron Butterfly Podcast Team (Beating Falcon, Wise Wisteria, Fierce Fire, & Bulldog)01:17:55We 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!
7. Nazaret Berhane: Khaleesi38:40On this episode of the Iron Butterfly podcast, we are proud to welcome Nazaret Berhane to the show. Nazaret is a program manager on the IC Centers for Academic Excellence team within the IC Human Capital Office at ODNI. She brings years of experience from her time with FBI’s Foreign Language Program in addition to her service as the Directorate of Intelligence Diversity and Inclusion coordinator. She currently serves as the Women’s Intelligence Network Vice Chair. Nazaret is passionate about creating an IC inclusive to people who are eager to serve in a variety of ways, bringing their whole selves to the community. In every role, she strives to extend kindness, mentorship, and vulnerability as an immigrant with an invisible disability, showing that no label precludes someone from being an integral member of the IC. We are so proud to share her story.
6. Stephanie LaRue: Mija44:54On this week’s episode of the Iron Butterfly, we are thrilled to welcome Stephanie La Rue, Esq. to the podcast. Stephanie is the chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) where she brings her passion for DEI strategy to the IC. Stephanie also represents the IC in several White House initiatives that pursue educational equity, excellence, and economic opportunity in underrepresented communities. She also founded the Latino Intelligence Network, a collective of Latinx research groups across the IC. Stephanie serves as the CIA’s Hispanic Advisory Council Chair, and is the recipient of IC EEO and Diversity Award for Exceptional Service and CIA’s Donald Cryer Award for exemplary contributions to the agency mission. We are proud to have her on the podcast and share her truly amazing story.
5. Kristin Wood: The Conductor01:06:39On this week’s episode of the Iron Butterfly podcast, we are thrilled to share the incredible story of Kristin Wood. Kristin brings with her 20 years of career experience from CIA, with service in the analysis, operations, and digital innovation directorates as she pursued transforming and building new capabilities within the agency. She was a President’s Daily Brief briefer for Vice President Cheney and his National Security Advisor, in addition to building and leading CIA’s Advanced Analyst Program, served as the Deputy Chief of a Middle East-focused operations division. She concluded her government service as the Deputy Director of the Innovation and Technology Group at the Open Source Center. Kristin is now the CEO and President of The Grist Mill Exchange, which is a platform that allows commercial data providers and government customers to connect seamlessly to acquire data and information for the use within Federal government. We are so excited to share her story.
3. Janaki Kates: Spy Mom45:33On this week’s episode of the Iron Butterfly podcast, we are thrilled to welcome our friend, Janaki Kates. Janaki is a national security consultant with nearly two decades of government experience and is passionate about expanding missions and growing diverse workforces. She began her career at the CIA as an analyst focusing on foreign space programs. She then went on to focus on foreign weapon systems, counterproliferation, and counterintelligence. Janaki has served at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of State, and the National Security Council. Most recently, she served as the Director of Government Affairs for the Intelligence Program at Northrop Grumman. Janaki shares her story with the common theme of taking life by the reins as a professional, wife, mom, friend, and mentor. She is tough yet unafraid to share a laugh.
2. Lauren Bean Buitta: Eagle Ears32:27This week on the Iron Butterfly Podcast, we are proud to welcome Lauren Bean Buitta, founder and CEO of Girl Security, a nonpartisan, non-profit building equitable pathways in national security for girls, women, and gender minorities. Lauren has worked for a think tank and founded a consulting firm prior to Girl Security, and is associated with a number of prestigious councils and committees. Lauren is a mom to two amazing humans and was named one of the “50 Women Making the World a Better Place.” In this episode, she bravely and courageously shares her story. Please note that this episode includes some content that may be graphic and shocking to listeners. Listener discretion is advised.
1. Special Episode: Virginia Hall (The Intrepidus Eagle)39:05On this special episode, we open Season 4 featuring Lorna and Brad Catling, family members of the legendary Virginia Hall. Virginia worked with the United Kingdom’s Clandestine Special Operations Executive (SOE) and American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), aiding the French Resistance during WWII. She went on to work with the CIA where she ultimately retired from the clandestine services. Virginia was the most highly decorated female civilian in WWII and paved the way for women in the Intelligence Community. Her family shares her breathtaking story of bravery, resilience, and grit on this week’s season opener of Iron Butterfly.
7. Suzanne Heckenberg: Y Flyer26:39This week on the Iron Butterfly Podcast, we are proud to welcome Suzanne Heckenberg for our Season 3 finale! Suzanne is the President of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), as well as the Intelligence and National Security Foundation. She oversees a host of INSA's strategies ranging from finance, to events, to corporate partnerships. She previously served as the organizations first Chief Operating officer, working to expand INSA from the inside and promote diversity and inclusion within the IC. This week, she shares her remarkable story with us. Join us for a fantastic Season 3 finale of the Iron Butterfly Podcast!