In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, there are pioneers who stand out for their contributions and profound impact on the field. One such individual is Alicia Brown, a remarkable woman who has made significant strides in the cybersecurity and artificial intelligence field. Armed with a diverse skill set, innovative mindset, and commitment to improving the world through technology, Brown has become a renowned computer scientist and policy expert.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Brown’s journey began in a city that would play a pivotal role in shaping her future. Recognizing her exceptional aptitude for math and science, she was granted a full scholarship to the prestigious Phillips Academy Boarding School in Andover, Massachusetts. “Math and science came naturally to me,” Brown said. “My interest thrived off of the thought of solving problems. Through logical reasoning and analytical thinking, I can approach complex challenges with confidence and creativity. Additionally, math and science foster a deep understanding of the world around us.”
It was during her time at this institution that Brown’s passion for technology and its potential to transform the world began to form. “The diversity of culture there was amazing to me,” she said. “There were students from outside of the country who now immersed themselves into this prestigious campus with little ole me.”
“We studied every day including weekends and our peers were our networking community because everyone there had an agenda to succeed, “ Brown said. “When I came back to Baltimore, the limitations of growing up there no longer existed because I saw opportunities vs the disparities. Mentally, we had been raised with the understanding of the stigma of where we lived vs the path of where we could go. I knew where I was going.”
After graduation, Brown enrolled at the University of Maryland/College Park. She obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, a field that laid the foundation for her future endeavors in cybersecurity. She also served in the Army National Guard for four years, where she honed her skills and developed fluency in Russian, a language she initially studied at Phillips Academy.
“I knew I wanted to be the next Condoleeza Rice,” Brown laughs. “I was in the Army National Guard because I spoke Russian and wanted to be a Russian Linguist. I worked in the Mayor’s office for Baltimore City before leaving for College, and there I was introduced to the world of technology. I learned how to merge my love for policy and laws with solving issues through technology. So then I thought, ‘Why not be the next Condoleezza Rice of Technology?’”
Brown’s career took off when she joined Oracle, a major technology company. That’s where she expanded her knowledge and expertise in cybersecurity while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at American University. That marriage of technology and policy made her a valuable asset in her field.
One of her notable achievements was the development of the first accredited cloud in the United States Army Corp of Engineers in 2018. Brown co-wrote the cloud handbook for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, highlighting her expertise and her dedication to ensuring secure and efficient data management in the healthcare sector.
Furthermore, Brown’s involvement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology allowed her to become an authority in establishing technology standards. Her time at the Veterans Health Administration and General Service Administration exposed her to the need for technological advances in the federal government, further fueling her drive to make a difference in this arena. As an expert witness in cybersecurity and technology matters, she has the unique ability to articulate, through the lens of the law, how technology is shaping the industry and influencing policy.
In 2018, Brown founded TMG Consulting Service, a firm specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing and operations. Through this endeavor, Brown continues to spearhead cutting-edge initiatives, pushing the boundaries of technology and security. Brown has also used her platform to push for diversity and inclusion in the technology field. She serves as president of the Maryland-based chapter of Blacks in Technology, which promotes the success and representations of Black professionals in the field. Brown is currently working on a book entitled “Cybersecurity of Life,” which promises to provide insights into the intersection of technology and everyday existence.
“Different backgrounds and viewpoints can uncover new approaches to problem-solving and mitigate biases that may exist in algorithms and systems,” Brown said. “How can technology work for people of color without people of color behind the innovation? Increasing our representation in cybersecurity and AI promotes fairness and equity.”
“By having diverse voices at the table, it ensures that the technology developed is inclusive, respects privacy, and avoids reinforcing systemic biases. Moreover, empowering underrepresented groups in these fields creates opportunities for economic advancement and social mobility, addressing the disparities that exist in the industry. We are assuring a more nurturing approach when it comes to innovation assuring that humanity comes first as we are the mothers of the new technology driven generations.”