2022 SIA Women in Biometrics Awards Profile: Amanda Conley

Amanda Conley accepting her award at SIA GovSummit, alongside SIA Women in Biometrics Awards presenters Cathy Tilton and Benji Hutchinson

2022 SIA Women in Biometrics Awards winner Amanda Conley is the Human Capital Branch chief within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) – formerly known as the U.S. Visitor and Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program. In her role with OBIM, Conley focuses on providing and enabling biometric and identity leadership, innovation and talent sourcing.

As an experienced human capital leader and advisor on complex human capital issues impacting the biometrics workforce, Conley considers herself to be “on the fringes” of, rather than central to, the biometrics industry.  

“I started in the biometric and identity industry in 2009 as a learning and development consultant. I am not a biometrics expert, but I am a human capital professional and have used my profession to advance biometric capabilities through the Office of Biometric Identity Management,” said Conley. “I help to ensure we have the right skills at the right time to achieve our critical identity services mission.”

Conley began her career in the aerospace industry as a learning and development specialist for engineering.

“My time in that role provided me a deep understanding of how hiring and developing the right talent is truly a competitive advantage,” said Conley.

Since joining OBIM, she held roles in learning and development, hiring and staffing and performance management prior to assuming the role of human capital branch chief. In her current role, Conley is responsible for researching and utilizing innovative recruitment strategies to augment and diversify the 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 designs, plans and implements programs to build biometrics expertise within the OBIM workforce to enable seamless decision support to customers, stakeholders and international partners.

“The breadth of experience I’ve had at OBIM positioned me to focus on enhancing the employee life cycle and push to achieve a competitive edge with our workforce,” said Conley.

During her career, Conley has been responsible for extensively researching talent sources across the full spectrum of biometric skills, including scientific, mathematics and research skills, to create a bench of successive talent; consulting on information technology, biometrics and professional development programs; executing programs to retain subject matter experts; engaging with customer organizations to promote OBIM’s biometric services while providing educational venues for customers and stakeholders; and partnering with biometric thought leaders to align the human capital strategy to future technologies and biometric modalities. She holds a Master of Arts in industrial/organizational psychology.

My proudest accomplishment in biometrics and identity is transforming our Human Capital team into a team that operates as a strategic partner. Institutionalizing OBIM workforce programs has enabled us to look 3-5 years out at our work, our workforce and our workplace so we can plan for the talent we will need to keep pace with the ever-evolving landscape of biometrics and identity,” said Conley. “I feel my most significant accomplishment in biometrics and identity was most recently leading a team of instructional systems designers and subject matter experts to develop a custom Biometrics 101 e-learning course. This e-learning is a huge jump forward for the organization to train not only its non-biometric-focused employees on what we do, but also educate customers, stakeholders and the public on the history, uses and value of biometrics today.”

Conley was honored, along with four other recipients of the 2022 SIA Women in Biometrics Awards, on May 24 during a special award ceremony at the SIA GovSummit, SIA’s annual public policy and government security conference. In accepting her award, Conley emphasized the importance of “support” functions to the success of biometrics initiatives:

“I am honored to join this amazing cadre of women in biometrics for 2022 and the impressive women selected in previous years. I am appreciative enabling functions, such as those in human capital, are being recognized for the essential role they play toward expanding and advancing the biometric community,” she said. “The partnership between human capital professionals and operations is critical to mission success and I am grateful to my leadership and to my team at the Office of Biometric Identity Management for making this strategic partnership possible.”

The SIA Women in Biometrics Awards are generously supported by 2022 sponsors IDEMIA and Paravision and organizational and media partners AVISIAN, Biometric Update, FindBiometrics and SIA’s Identity and Biometric Technology Advisory Board and Women in Security Forum.