MEET YOUR BOARD: Traci Lembke, Senior Director, EY & Former Assistant Director, HSI, DHS

WHS Board member Traci Lembke discusses homeland security, her new role at EY, and her advice for securing the nation.
WHS sat down with Board Member Traci Lembke to learn more about her career and reasons for engaging with WHS.  Traci had a very successful 28 year career in Federal Law Enforcement in Homeland Security Investigations at Immigration & Customs Enforcement.   Traci’s quotable:
“Everyone can play a role in defending the homeland. You are only limited by your own imagination.”  
  1. In a short paragraph, what do you want WHS readers to know about you? 

I am a retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer who spent over 28 years protecting the homeland against individuals and organizations seeking to inflict harm against our great country.  Specifically, I was involved in protecting the United States against illicit trade, travel and finance of both people and goods coming into or exiting the United States.  The events of 9/11 demonstrated that the United States must remain constantly vigilant and work together in order to fully defend this great country.  The Women of Homeland Security recognizes and importance and power of public/private partnerships.  WHS is about awareness.  WHS is about education.  WHS is about establishing a pathway for America’s children to follow, so they too can play a role in protecting and defending the homeland.  It’s going to take all of us, working together, to keep America safe.

 

  1. What do you “do” in  your day job?

Since retiring from federal service in 2015, I began my second career working for Ernst and Young, LLP as part of their Government & Public Sector Directorate.  I focus on assisting Federal Agencies working in the Defense and National Security space with obtaining services and programs needed to be more efficient and effective in carrying out their important mission.

  1. What did you study in school, and why?

I studied Criminal Justice in college.  I have always had a passion for law enforcement and the important role law enforcement officers play in protecting and serving the community in which they live.

  1. Looking back on your life and career, what makes you most proud?

Looking back over my career and life I have so many accomplishments that I could list, each role being more important that the last.  I have fulfilled every dream a federal law enforcement officer could possibly have.  However my most important accomplishment, and the title I am most proud to hold is that of “Mom” to my two wonderful children, Brett 18 yrs old and Brynn 16 yrs old.  They represent my best work and I thank God every day for allowing me the honor of being their mother.

  1. What advice do you offer to young women considering a career in homeland security?

My advice to any young woman considering a career in homeland security is – DO IT!!  There are so many ways that a young woman can contribute to this important mission.  There are jobs that involve enforcing the laws of the United States, there are jobs that involve helping victims of crimes, there are jobs involving building a robust cyber infrastructure.  Everyone can play a role in defending the homeland.  You are only limited by your own imagination. 

  1. Homeland security is a complex and evolving goal. DHS describes as a “distributed enterprise.” In the simplest possible terms, how do you define it?

I define homeland security as a group of dedicated professionals, both within the government sector as well as within the private sector, working together to develop and deploy programs and services needed to keep the American people safe.

  1. If you were in charge and had all the resources you needed, what would you do first to improve homeland security?

If I were in charge the first thing I would do is ensure that our Military had all of the resources needed to defend America, both here at home, as well as abroad.  I would also ensure that our law enforcement agencies had the tools and authorities needed to properly investigate and bring to justice those individuals seeking to inflict harm against the United States of America.