Elizabeth Hunger: Finding inspiration in the Beltway

For the fifth consecutive year, SSN is profiling women who are making their mark in the traditionally male-dominated world of security. Elizabeth Hunger, manager of government relations for SIA, is one of seven women featured.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 

WASHINGTON—Coming from outside the industry isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. That’s something Elizabeth Hunger knows firsthand, having transitioned to the industry after serving three years as a program advisor for a global health project funded by the United States Agency for International Development or USAID. 

Only a year into her tenure as manager of government relations for the Security Industry Association, Hunger is an authority on a host of state-level legislative affairs that concern the security industry—an area of focus that is fast-paced, demanding and dictated by legislative bodies at various levels. 

Adjusting to such a career has its hurdles. Hunger’s gender, she said, hasn’t been one of them.

“I really think the collaborative nature of the industry is attracting a lot more women,” Hunger told Security Systems News. “It’s allowing more women to take on positions of authority.”

One of the younger members of SIA, Hunger says that women in her generation have an advantage compared to their predecessors because of the ever-expanding roster of influential women that they can cite as role models. 

“It’s definitely not the world of 30 or 40 years ago,” Hunger said. “The workforce in general has changed so much. There are a lot of women executives out there, and so many inspiring women leaders in both the corporate and public sectors.”

In addition to professional growth, Hunger has pursued an academic course of studies that dovetails nicely with her capacities at SIA. A dual major in political science and Spanish as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, Hunger will graduate this December with a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University. 

She said that working in a high-octane, policy-driven environment like Washington, D.C., has exposed her to a higher concentration of women leaders and decision makers—or, in Hunger’s terms, “many powerhouse ladies in the Beltway.” 

“Being on the younger end of folks in the industry, I can look at numerous examples of really smart, incredibly successful women leaders out there who paved the way for people like myself,” Hunger said.