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In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Joyce Hunter

Posted by Jessica McCarron, USDA Deputy Press Secretary in Initiatives
May 05, 2016
Joyce Hunter, USDA Deputy Chief Information Officer for Policy and Planning
Joyce Hunter, USDA Deputy Chief Information Officer for Policy and Planning, speaking at FCW.

In an effort to lift up the opportunities available for women in the agricultural field, USDA shares stories of women who are leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. In this post, USDA Deputy Chief Information Officer for Policy and Planning Joyce Hunter shares her perspective as a woman in the technology field and how she puts her unique experience and skills to work at USDA.

Ms. Hunter oversees the Department’s strategic technology planning initiatives, establishes policy framework, and lays the track for the future. With over 30 years’ experience in the information technology industry, Ms. Hunter has a strong ability to build and sustain relationships with public/private stakeholders and lead innovative projects and inter-agency initiatives.  Earlier this year, she was selected by the editors of FedScoop as one of "D.C.’s Top 50 Women in Technology.”

How did you get to USDA?

I was nominated, interviewed and selected as a political appointee in April 2013 to the position of Deputy CIO for Policy and Planning.

How do you start your day?

I am an early riser, so I start my day with meditation and prayer and then get to the gym by 4am (yes 4am!)

What do you think is missing from the conversation when we don’t have women at the table in fields like agriculture and tech?

A gender-diverse team is more likely to produce results that meet the needs of men AND women. When women are underrepresented, many decisions are based on the experiences, opinions, and judgments of only men, which can result in thoughts, ideas and solutions that meet the needs of only men. In addition, gender-diverse teams are more productive, more creative, and more able to stay on schedule and within budget, compared to homogenous teams.

What has been your most memorable experience at USDA?

I can only choose one? There are so many – developing the first USDA Open Data STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Agriculture and Math) Summer Camp for DC Public School middle and high school students, delivering the FITARA (Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act) as the first and only agency to have our Common Baseline Plan approved by the Office of Management and Budget in August 2015, standing up the IT Workforce Planning team  that includes AgLearn and developing competencies to prepare a 21st Century IT Workforce for USDA.

What do you wish you knew when you were first getting started in your career?

The power of negotiation. By not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary. Women will pay as much as $1,353 to avoid negotiating the price of a car, which may help explain why 63 percent of Saturn car buyers are women. Women are typically taught to “play nice” and negotiating is seen as being contrary. Learning how to negotiate is an important life lesson that all women should know.

In seven words or less, what is some advice you would offer your fellow women in agriculture and tech?

(Taking) risk is part of a successful career.

Category/Topic: Initiatives