2015 GEOINT: The Golden Ticket Experience
The SNI team is back in the office after an exciting week in Washington D.C. at the 2015 GEOINT Symposium. I’ve been to GEOINT twice before with the responsibility of working in the booth. This year was very different, as I was selected for the USGIF Young Professional Group Golden Ticket program. The USGIF YPG serves to unite junior GEOINT professionals within the Defense and Intelligence communities. Each year, the organization selects up to 25 young professionals as Golden Ticket winners at the GEOINT Symposium. Winning a Golden Ticket means you receive complimentary full symposium and GEOINT Foreword registration, and also get unique opportunities to meet and learn from leaders in the community.
To kick things off on Monday, we met up to break the ice by drawing and sharing a map about ourselves. After that, we dispersed to attend GEOINT Foreword. Tuesday afternoon featured a candid luncheon with the Director of NGA. Later that night, we were all invited to the USGIF Chairman’s Reception which was an excellent opportunity to chat with USGIF leaders. On Wednesday, we heard from the author of Rebels at Work, which we all received a copy of on Monday. We also had mentoring sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday from some of the community’s innovators. On Wednesday night, we had a YPG networking event that many of the industry VIPs also came out to. It was refreshing to see an effort made by senior leaders to interact with our generation of professionals, and it is certainly appreciated. On Thursday, our focus for the day was on a community outreach project; the ScavenGeo Dash. This event was open to families and featured an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt through the exhibit hall.
The most valuable component of the week for me was getting to know the other Golden Ticket winners. As someone living outside of DC, I don’t always have an opportunity to meet with my peers and hear about their backgrounds and daily job responsibilities, especially since there is not a similar group in place here in Tampa Bay. It was also the perfect opportunity for me to get out there and start networking at GEOINT. If you are a young professional (under 35 or less than 5 years experience), I highly recommend applying for this program next year.