By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – International Women’s Day is Monday, March 8th, and World Denver is planning a virtual celebration of the women who are breaking barriers and advancing national security.

World Denver is a non-profit, community organization that promotes a deep understanding of global affairs and cultures. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women throughout the world.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, March 8th, the free, live-streamed event will feature nearly a dozen women who work in various capacities of national security, including Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, co-founder of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, Lauren Buitta, Founder & CEO, Girl Security, and Dr. Janine Davidson, former Under Secretary of the Navy.

(credit Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray)

Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray (retired) is a co-chair of the event. She spent several decades working with the U.S. State Department, serving in diplomatic positions from Germany to Papua New Guinea.

“The three main goals that I have for March 8th here in Denver are to raise awareness about the opportunities in national security, to demonstrate that there are women mentors and women role models in national security, and hopefully, to get more girls interested in issues of national security,” Ebert-Gray told CBS4.

Ebert-Gray points out that there a wide variety of jobs in national security, which could appeal to a wide variety of interests. Some of those jobs include working with computers, accounting, supply chain management, and diplomacy.

(credit Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray)

“What I have seen is that women have done well. They bring strengths to that whole field, analytical strengths, perception, communication strengths, team building, and women are actually making great strides,” Ebert-Gray explained.

Defense and space exploration are also a big part of national security.

“I was very interested in outer space when I was a little kid. My parents used to catch me at my window at night, when I was supposed to be in bed, looking at the stars,” said Jamie Landers, event co-chair and Director of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin.

(credit Jamie Landers)

Landers went to Space Camp, Space Academy, and Aviation Challenge during junior high and high school. She was one of only ten women in a class of 120 in the aerospace engineering at Penn State University.

“There were lots of time that I had to justify my position, justify my expertise,” Landers told CBS4.

Now she works on rapid technology development for Lockheed Martin.

“My passion for science and space exploration has never gone away. I wake up every day excited to work for Lockheed, knowing that we’re going to send the first female to the surface of the moon,” Landers said.

(credit Jamie Landers)

She’s proud to celebrate and uplift women who’ve challenged some of the barriers to take on national security careers.

“I’m so encouraged by the women and girls who are interested in science and math and technology. And how they use their voices. They take to social media and talk about the challenges that women face and support each other. I think we have a bright future of women in science and math and technology ahead of us,” Landers said.

LINK: For Information & Registration for World Denver’s Women in National Security Event

Libby Smith