By PCI Newsletter Editors
This month honors Veterans Day – Corina was one of the first females on combat ships in the U.S. Navy, after being one of the first to complete an integrated bootcamps. Her dedication to duty and mission crafted her years of service as a #ChangeAgent in military, federal, local, private, non-profit, and community environments over the past two decades, and she continues to serve today. One of her roles is as the volunteer People Centered Internet Strategic Communications Director, and we highlight her this month as we honor all Veterans. Corina told PCI:
“The FFE (firefighting gear) on my first deployment didn’t fit during General Quarters drills because it was built for men – and they weren’t necessarily ready for women onboard. This put our crew more at risk with me tripping over boots that were too big and gear that would literally drown me and us all. I chose to advocate to change my work to reflect my ability to stay calm and effectively communicate to top leadership information they needed to make immediate critical decisions. I became the lead communications for GQ, and trust me, when you hear that real bell ring in the middle of the sea, that’s when you move the fastest you ever have.
Now, two decades later, we see the first female NASA crew delayed because their space gear didn’t fit. It is indicative that there has been progress in how we identify risks and listen when something doesn’t fit, literally and figuratively, even if it seems late – it’s not too late – and it shows progress in moving away from the old habits to forward adaptation. We can do this with how we interact via the Internet as well, as this is a new and evolving vital resource. Because we are moving the fastest we ever have in an age of digital technology and social engagement.
Corina LJ DuBois
Looking back, you don’t realize you had a part in that culture change, until you realize you didn’t bring the ship down.”
Corina left home at age 16 with a GED (high school equivalent) and an emancipation determined to see the world, get an education, and find others that sought mission-oriented goals. She joined the military as the lowest rank, with not even a field of designation. Within two years, she earned “Sailor of the Year” and was both able to test out of ranking competencies and was meritoriously promoted – both of which emboldened her ideas about how one person can find ways to excel, despite obstacles. She saw them as opportunities and learned to align with those that championed the same values.
After volunteering to be one of the first females on ships for long and arduous deployments, some lasting being out to sea for more than half a year, Corina began earning her undergraduate in Communications and Political Science in the hulls of a ship. She went on to later earn a Masters Degree in Political Management from the George Washington University in Political Management. After deployments, Corina worked for the NCIS European Headquarters in Naples, Italy for several years and then moved back to America and became a Presidential Management Fellow. From there, Corina worked up to become Chief of New Media for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. She led the @TravelGov team into a division of foreign and civil service experts, and led the State Department through Arab Spring, while CNN read their tweets, web and app content live on-air. She also served on special assignments as Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) for the Hill, XO of the Camp David G8, White House Digital Playbook creation, Combatant Commands Unclassified Information Sharing in Germany, Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) in Nigeria, UN Digital in Nairobi, and a Consular role in Cuba.
Corina has also served as a strategic communications advisor to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and traveled as part of the official delegation. After departing the OSD, Corina has consulted for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and the Woodrow Wilson Center, while also serving as a Singularity University Core Leadership partner and to Veteran community organizations. More importantly, she dedicates her experience to furthering others and working as a “purple” #ChangeAgent – meaning, Corina serves in non-partisan roles to further the front lines of both physical and digital defense to keep our world safe.
“I think my background knowledge in defense, diplomacy, strategic communications, and technology brings together a rare skillset that PCI values. It also makes my brain swarm sometimes, but today I have the opportunity to risk my privilege and say what I think as well as champion others to develop their roles and help me continuously keep an open dialog to solve some of our most pressing challenges.”
As part of the PCI team, Corina dedicates her expertise to the mission of a diversity of perspectives and how we cultivate informed interaction through digital engagements. Corina has over two decades of service that began with the military and has crossed many sectors. When asked why her service never ends, she simply says,
“Ships are safe in harbor – that’s not why ships were built.”
PCI honors Veterans and invites those that have an interest in the way people access and engage on the Internet to connect with us. Thank you, Corina, and all others, for your service.