Blog | June 1, 2021

Humans of CCPO: Sharon Woods

Get to know our team! In this series you’ll hear stories from the wonderful humans that make up the Cloud Computing Program Office (CCPO). Learn about who we are and read about why we joined CCPO, what we are trying to accomplish, and how our work is making a direct impact on the Department. 

Sharon Woods (she/her), Executive Director, Cloud Computing Program Office
 

 

What are some of the most important roles and responsibilities you have as Executive Director?

I have a lot of roles and responsibilities, but I believe that there are three critical ones to establishing an office like CCPO. In no particular order, the first is, it is my responsibility to establish a clear vision for the office; and not just establish, but make sure every single person in the office understands that what they do contributes and furthers the vision of transforming cloud to enable the Warfighter. 

Second, as Executive Director, it is my responsibility to establish an environment, or culture, of trust. While trust is important for all offices, it is especially important for an innovation office. People have to feel comfortable sharing raw ideas and not worry about being criticized or judged. If people are always worried about being reprimanded for making mistakes, they will never share their ideas. Without embracing and validating failing forward as the norm, innovation is impossible.

Lastly, I model and foster an environment where transparency and collaboration is the status quo. CCPO’s default is openness. This means documents, emails, and communication channels are open to everyone in the office; communications are only closed by exception. This is so important because you can’t schedule a meeting with an agenda of “spontaneous creativity.” Spontaneous creativity happens when people come together in unplanned ways and come up with the most powerful ideas in the moment. You can’t nurture spontaneous creativity in the absence of collaboration and transparency.

Why do you serve?

I serve because I want to help people; I can do that in this job. The Department of Defense (DoD) not only protects every single person in this country, but also supports humanitarian and global missions around the world. We are safe, in large part, because of the DoD. While the job is really stressful sometimes, it’s mission really is that important. 

I chose to be an executive director and lead the CPPO because I think the job aligns well with my blend of skills - technology, legal, acquisitions, and innovation. At this moment, in this position, I feel like I can best serve the mission of national defense. 

What do you love most about this team?

This is such a hard question to answer because there are so many positive aspects about the CCPO team; I have a lot of thoughts. I love it here because CCPO is all about people coming together, with no personal agenda, willing to operate WAY outside their comfort zone and do things in a way that the Department has never done before, so we can support the mission. I get to work with a group of people who I consider friends and we are all willing to get uncomfortable, be in nerve racking situations, and embrace stress, which is okay, because we all do it together, as friends. And we may fail, but that's okay, because we fail while making a difference in the Department and doing work that supports the Warfighter.

What’s a factoid (or two) that not a lot of people know about you?

Perhaps people might not know that I love heavy metal. That said, I would not go in a mosh pit!! Nowadays, people also tend to be surprised that I used to be a lawyer.

Who is one of your favorite Star Wars characters and why? 

Jyn Erso - she did what CCPO does; what CCPO lives for. She came into something unexpectedly and was willing to die for the cause. She picked the hard path, knowing it would be hard and she could have said no, but she didn’t. At CCPO we often pick the hard path because it is the right path and the one that will actually make a difference.

For more on Sharon Woods, visit her About Us page on the CCPO website.
 
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CCPO is a team of empowered, hard-charging, and innovative technologists, focused on transforming cloud to enable the Warfighter. We are structured as integrated product teams, collaborating across competencies to create enduring solutions that address the Warfighter’s most critical challenges. 

CCPO is a center within the Defense Information System Agency (DISA), the DoD’s Combat Support Agency for enterprise information technology, which is focused on transforming the way the DoD uses cloud to support its missions. CCPO is a galvanizing force in achieving DISA’s drive toward Velocity of Action...to win.