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Noem tells CybHER campers to embrace opportunities - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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Noem tells CybHER campers to embrace opportunities

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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2019 3:38 pm

Gov. Kristi Noem told 115 middle school girls on Wednesday afternoon that her political career has been guided by advice her grandmother gave her at a baby shower.

"My grandmother said, `Say "yes" as much as you can, because you'll have to say "no" a lot of the time'," Noem recounted.

Her grandmother was talking about parenting, and the shower was the one given when her first daughter was born. Noem was speaking with girls who are attending the Girls CybHER Camp at Dakota State University this week.

"I also applied that to everything else in my life," she told the girls.

Noem acknowledged that approach is counter to current wisdom which advises women not to get too busy or to get over-extended. However, she believes it is the path to success.

"I'm going to tell you to say `yes' to things in your life," she said.

She said trying new things will give the girls the opportunity to determine whether they like those activities or not. She told the girls that by saying `yes,' they may meet people who will be able to open doors for them.

"What will make a big difference in your life is relationship," Noem said.

She also told the girls they could learn more about themselves by embracing opportunities.

"You may find you have a gift or talent or skill you didn't know you have," she said.

Noem was introduced by DSU President Jos‚-Marie Griffiths, who described the governor as smart and brave. Noem returned the compliment when she began her remarks by telling the girls about the president's standing internationally.

"I went to a cybersecurity national conference. Everyone there was talking about her and how super smart she is," Noem said.

She mentioned that 40% of incoming freshmen interested in the cyber sciences at DSU were women this past year. This was noteworthy because only about 10% of people working in cybersecurity today are women.

"I'm hoping this is something you will stay interested in," Noem said.

She talked about the number of cyber attacks seen in the state during her first six months as governor, including an increasing number of attacks to mobile devices. She also talked about the importance of having "ethics and morals when you're working in technology."

However, she focused on the limitations women place upon themselves.

"When it comes to young women, a lot of times they're not sure they can do the job," Noem said.

She illustrated with a story from her time in the U.S. House of Representatives when there was a mad scrabble among Republicans to find a new speaker after Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia resigned. She said numerous men contacted her and asked for her support, but no women.

"We can all do the job, but we don't believe in ourselves enough to do the job," Noem said.

She fielded questions from the girls, during which she shared stories of crazy things she has done -- such as participating in a Polar Plunge fund-raiser even though she doesn't swim. She admitted that her staff prevents her from doing similar things now.

"They try to rescue me because it would be bad if the governor did something stupid," Noem said.

She said that she considers the Farm Bill to be among the most important pieces of legislation she has passed. She said that without farmers, food would have to be imported.

"If another country feeds us, they control us," she said.

At the afternoon session of the camp, which is funded by a grant from the National Security Council and the National Science Foundation, SBS CyberSecurity President and CEO Aaron Gamewell addressed the girls. He spoke about the ways in which his company has intentionally cultivated diversity in the workplace.

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