The Security Industry Association (SIA) has named five biometrics leaders as recipients of the 2022 SIA Women in Biometrics Awards. The awardees, who will be honored at the 2022 SIA GovSummit, SIA’s annual government security conference, are:

Gena Alexa, CEO and founder, Dignari. Alexa has held key technical and management roles in the delivery of strategic government biometrics programs for more than 20 years. In 2013, she founded Dignari LLC to provide program strategy, human-centered design, emerging technology and data analytics services to the federal government. Alexa oversees the delivery of biometrics and identity programs within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Defense. Her teams support transformative initiatives including CBP’s Biometric Entry Exit program and TSA’s Touchless PreCheck. In 2021, Alexa’s team won a 5-year single-award Blanket Purchase Agreement to provide identity, credentialing and access management services across DHS and its component agencies.

Amanda Conley, chief, Human Capital Branch, Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), DHS. Conley is an experienced human capital leader and professional focused on providing and enabling biometric and identity leadership, innovation and talent sourcing. She is the principal advisor on complex human capital issues impacting the biometrics workforce. Conley is responsible for researching and utilizing innovative recruitment strategies to augment and diversify DHS OBIM’s talent pool to drive innovation of the biometric identity services delivered across the U.S. government and to DHS mission partners around the world. She is responsible for designing, planning and implementing programs to build biometrics expertise within the OBIM workforce to enable seamless decision support to customers, stakeholders and international partners.

Delia McGarry, senior director, U.S. Department of State, IDEMIA National Security Solutions (NSS). McGarry is a senior director and biometrics engineer with 26 years of experience in digital image processing and 20 years in biometrics, including experience in federal, industry and academic spaces. She has extensive knowledge of the U.S. Department of State’s identity management and secure credentialing processes and systems, having provided biometrics and image processing subject matter expertise continuously since the inception of the department’s integration of biometrics into the travel document issuance process. As the senior director of IDEMIA NSS’ Face Recognition, Passport Book and Passport Card portfolio, McGarry focuses on the application of emerging identity management and credentialing solutions to satisfy customer business needs, legislated mandates and agency policies. Prior to joining IDEMIA in 2020, McGarry served as a project manager and biometrics engineer at Noblis.

Diane Stephens, biometric standards coordinator, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Stephens has spent close to 20 years working in the field of biometrics. In her earlier biometric years, she worked on DHS’ US-VISIT Program as a biometric subject matter expert and business owner of the DHS Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). Stephens also served as the business owner for DHS’ Arrival Departure Information System, the biographic sister system to IDENT that stored the arrivals and departures for foreign nationals entering and leaving the U.S. Prior to leaving DHS, she performed as the chair of the National Information Exchange Model Biometrics Domain. After 14 years, Stephens joined NIST under the U.S. Department of Commerce, working in the Information Technology Laboratory, Information Access Division, in the Image Group. She is a biometrics standards coordinator and editor of the ANSI/NIST-ITL standard, also known as “Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprints, Facial and Other Biometric Information.” 

Bobby Varma, co-founder and CEO, Princeton Identity. Varma is the founder and CEO of Princeton Identity, a biometric technology company. She has a proven track record as an executive in the biometrics arena for 15 years of driving sales and developing products. Her current focus is on structuring business alliances with commercial entities across the world and educating the market on biometric domain applications. In her previous role of vice president of operation and products at Princeton Identity, Varma built product organization from the ground up and brought biometric products to market successfully. Her responsibilities also included overseeing operations to build efficiency and processes across the organization and managing a team of technical and product staff. Varma was selected as one of the honorees in SIA Women in Security Forum’s inaugural Power 100, which recognizes 100 women in the security industry who are role models for actively advancing diversity, inclusion, innovation and leadership in the community.

The SIA Women in Biometrics Awards is a globally recognized program presented by SIA with support from sponsors IDEMIA and Paravision and organizational and media supporters AVISIAN, Biometric Update, FindBiometrics and SIA’s Identity & Biometric Technology Advisory Board and Women in Security Forum. 

“Each year, the Women in Biometrics Awards celebrate the accomplished leaders who are paving the way for biometric identity and security, and this year’s honorees have made outstanding contributions to biometrics technology innovation, education, program management, engineering and engagement across government and industry,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson. “SIA commends Gena Alexa, Amanda Conley, Delia McGarry, Diane Stephens and Bobby Varma for their impressive dedication, vision and leadership in this critical field and looks forward to recognizing them at SIA GovSummit.”

The awards will be presented May 24 at a special award ceremony during SIA GovSummit. Each year, SIA GovSummit brings together government security leaders with private industry technologists for top-quality information sharing, networking and education on security topics affecting federal, state and local agencies. SIA GovSummit 2022 will be held May 24-25 as an in-person conference at the National Association of Home Builders headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. Industry registration starts at $395; register to attend here.