University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Shirley and Ting-Wei Tang Endowment Lecture Series

Karen Gillett Britton ’87, MIE

Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer,


“Are Emerging Cyber Threats Stifling Business Innovation?”


Thursday, November 30, 2017, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Amherst Room, Campus Center, 10th floor

Reception to follow. Free and open to the public.



Is there a price to pay for cyber security? With increasing economic pressures and exponential growth in technological innovations, US businesses are increasingly relying on digital technologies to fulfill their innovation and preservation of economic growth.

At the same time, a persistent wave of headlines about data breaches and cyberattacks reinforces that the trustworthiness of many established and new technologies are not well addressed. Does an effective defense against cyber attacks hinder an organization’s effectiveness and stifle innovation and efficiency? Let's discuss ways in which experts bringing new technology innovations can continue to bring tremendous benefits to business productivity, and our increasing digital dependence while managing risks for enterprises and consumers alike across the broadening cyberthreat landscape.

Speaker Bio

Ms. Karen Britton is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from Florida Institute of Technology.  She is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College and certified Project Management Professional.

Ms. Britton began her professional career with the Submarine Maintenance Engineering Procurement and Planning (SUBMEPP) at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as a General Engineer.  In 1990 Ms. Britton joined the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Headquarters, Submarine Directorate where she served as project engineer for SSN688 Class submarines. In May of 1998, Ms. Britton was selected as the Assistant Acquisition Program Manager in the USS VIRGINIA Class Program Office.  Early the following year Ms. Britton served as the Team Submarine Congressional Manager responsible for all public affairs and media inquiries.

In 2000, Ms. Britton was promoted to the position of Deputy CIO for IT Capital Planning. Ms. Britton then served as the Deputy Command Information Officer for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) where she was responsible for managing Command-wide Information Technology planning, policy, and budget. Ms. Britton departed the Department of Navy in 2007 for an opportunity in the private sector and was selected for a Program Management position where she provided support to the Department of Energy for implementing capital planning and developing an enterprise architecture plan.

In July 2009, Ms. Britton joined the Office of Administration, Executive Office of the President as the Deputy Chief Information Officer. Subsequently, Ms. Britton received her Commission as Special Assistant to the President, Chief Information Officer. During her tenure at White House, Ms. Britton spearheaded cloud computing strategy, agile software development methodologies, and open-source approaches to deliver the President’s message to the American people in a variety of innovative ways. Ms. Britton directly supported the President’s vision of cybersecurity protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of unclassified information systems.

In her current role at e-Management, Ms. Britton assumes a broad range of responsibilities including the company’s expansion into the Department of Defense (DoD), federal civilian and intelligence agencies. In addition, Ms. Britton is responsible for developing strategic commercial corporate relationships.

Ms. Britton is a graduate of Excellence in Government Fellows Program. She is also a recipient of the Partnership for Public Service Leadership in Action; the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award; and the National Women of Color in Technology Award.


Past Lectures »


The Shirley and Ting-Wei Tang Endowment Lecture Series, founded in 1999, brings leaders of both engineering education and engineering-based companies to campus to present a major talk to the University. Lectures cover subjects such as engineering education, entrepreneurship, global engineering issues, and engineering and business leadership.

Lecturers are invited to interact with students and faculty before and after the lecture. “This is a chance for students to develop a relationship on a human level with an accomplished business leader or educator,” said Joseph I. Goldstein, dean of engineering in 1999. “I see the field of business having more to say to engineering, and our students need to be aware of what’s going on beyond their field. Many of our students will eventually be leaders in these technology-based businesses.”

Shirley Tang was an academic adviser for the United Asia Learning Resource Center before retiring from UMass Amherst in 1998.  Ting-wei Tang taught in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for more than 30 years and is a professor emeritus. “We decided to establish an endowment in the College of Engineering because we want to make UMass better,” the Tangs said.