Michele R. Weslander Quaid is the Founder and President of Sunesis Nexus. The majority of her career has been at the nexus of national security, domestic and foreign policy, and technology innovation. Michele is a gifted communicator, certified professional coach, and independent consultant who works globally with both the public and private sectors, utilizing her experience and expertise in executive leadership, strategic planning, coalition building, mission operations, technology, innovation, leading change, and organizational transformation. She has extensive experience creating new entities, enabling and leading cross-functional teams and cross-community groups of individuals with diverse perspectives and experience, ranging from small teams to offices of over 500 people, managing budgets up to $150M and contracts up to $0.5B, with oversight of budgets over $10B.
Before founding her own company, Michele served as Google Inc.’s Chief Technology Officer for the Public Sector and Chief Innovation Evangelist working with partners and clients around the world. Before joining Google Inc. in 2011, she served in both industry and government, collaborating with talented people of diverse backgrounds and cultures, from corporate boardrooms to combat zones. Michele started her career as an image scientist and systems engineer, where her innovative technology applications proved to be prescient solutions for operational needs, and she soon became the youngest chief engineer in the history of her company. Post-9/11/2001, she was recruited into public service to lead change, innovation, and organizational transformation, and became one of the youngest people ever sworn in as a senior executive in the US Government. As a government official, Michele led the cultural and technical integration of the national security community, establishing and serving in senior leadership positions in defense and intelligence to include: Deputy Technical Executive for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA); Intelligence Community Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI); Chief Technology Officer for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO); and, the DNI’s senior representative to the Secretary of Defense’s Intelligence - Surveillance - Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force leading information sharing and collaboration initiatives in support of global coalition stability operations. Her perspicacious leadership -- both in industry and government -- has had a lasting positive impact on the US and its Allies, and her support of the troops both at home and abroad earned her the call sign “Warrior Goddess.”
Honors and awards Michele has received include:
National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation (2001)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Meritorious Civilian Service Medal (2005)
Seattle Pacific University Medallion Award (2014)
"DC's Top 50 Women in Tech" (FedScoop, 2014)
"Power 100" list of influencers (Washington Life, 2014)
"The 7 Most Powerful Women to Watch" (Entrepreneur Magazine, 2014)
Michele earned a B.S. in Physics and Engineering Science with honors from Seattle Pacific University, and an M.S. in Optics from the University of Rochester. She is a graduate of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government program for Senior Managers in Government and a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff CAPSTONE Fellow.
In addition to advising high-level leaders in both the public and private sectors, Michele has served on the Board of Directors of various commercial businesses and nonprofits, and on Strategic Advisory Groups and Federal Advisory Committees. An educator seeking to inspire the next generation, she is a Classical Conversations Challenge Program director (homeschool) and she has engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and leadership outreach for students in K-12 and at universities. Michele is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, and a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP).
Michele has an American dream story. She is a constitutionalist who values liberty and loves her country -- the United States of America -- home of the free, because of the brave.