Jennifer Rhodes
Interim Chief Information Security Officer, Cyber Security

With a master's degree in public administration, coupled with her hands-on experience in emergency management, Rhodes found herself equipped with a unique skillset that allowed her to seek broader career opportunities. "I realized after getting my master’s degree that I wanted to ensure I had more career options going forward,” she said. The clarity led her to IT and eventually into the world of cybersecurity. “Having worked in emergency management, the transition into cybersecurity just felt natural for me.”

Championing Cybersecurity
Today, Rhodes oversees critical operations in Georgia Tech’s Cyber Security office including governance, compliance, and cybersecurity awareness as interim chief information security officer, or CISO. Her leadership in cybersecurity is based on the understanding that protecting digital infrastructures is crucial for safeguarding the community at large. “I don’t look at cybersecurity as a challenge, but rather a critical component of public safety.”

Cultivating A Supportive Culture
Rhodes notes the supportive culture OIT offers as being instrumental in her career development. The environment, she believes, is important not just for her own career growth, but for fostering innovation and diversity across OIT and the IT community at Georgia Tech.  

A significant aspect of Rhodes' work involves advocating for more accessible entry points into technology and cybersecurity careers. She champions the idea of diversifying the talent pipeline through non-traditional educational avenues and hands-on experience. "We need to continue to create and promote pathways for young people to get into technology careers outside the traditional four-year college degree route," Rhodes said. “It is also important to offer entry-level opportunities that allow a worker to gain practical experience while pursuing certifications or degrees.”

Looking Forward
Rhodes' vision for the future is one where the IT industry benefits from the diversity of society and where women are not only present but constantly leading and shaping its work. Her journey nontraditional career journey underscores the transformative power that diverse career experiences can have in driving innovation across technology. “I hope my career journey offers inspiration and guidance for women aspiring to make their mark across IT.”