Women in Tech Leadership: Nyla Beth Gawel

Read an inspiring journey of an experienced woman in tech leader who now serves as the Chapter Director for Women in Tech USA

Women in Tech Leadership: Nyla Beth Gawel


In a world where technology continues to shape our future, it’s essential to highlight the remarkable journeys of women who are making significant strides in the tech industry. One such trailblazer is Nyla Beth Gawel, whose story serves as inspiration to aspiring women in tech everywhere.

Nyla Beth Gawel is a seasoned Fortune 500 executive renowned for her transformative leadership in $7B+ public sector companies. Prior to founding her own consultancy, Nyla Beth held executive positions at prominent organizations such as SAIC, Verizon, and Booz Allen Hamilton. In these roles, she spearheaded strategic initiatives that not only propelled business growth but also significantly increased financial returns. Nyla Beth’s leadership drove the adoption of innovation-focused corporate culture and cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, digital transformation, IoT, and 5G. She also actively promotes industry engagement and giving back by serving on institutions like the Board of the DC American Red Cross, Forbes Business Council, Children’s Hospital Founders Auxiliary Board, Canstar, Punks & Pinstripes, and 4 Girls 4 Change. She is simultaneously serving as the Chapter Direc­­­­tor for Women in Tech USA.

Nyla Beth Women in Tech

We’ll delve into her inspiring career, the challenges she’s faced, and her helpful tips. Nyla Beth’s story serves as a reminder that by empowering women in tech leadership, we can unlock the full potential of the tech industry and create a brighter future for all.

Early education and work

When Nyla Beth was studying International Politics at Georgetown University, she looked to expand her cultural horizons: “My whole life until I went to college, I had never left the United States, yet I was fascinated with how much US innovation was shaped and applied globally. Looking historically to understand patterns of the past and how they inform our future was, to me, always something for which I was just passionate, including just learning and deeply experiencing other cultures.”

This perspective enabled her to grasp the distinctions among people from various geographical backgrounds, fostering a strong foundation in international understanding and knowledge. Even during her early career, while engaged in counterterrorism research and development in science and technology within the US Department of Justice, she actively pursued avenues to bridge gaps across different disciplines and organizations.

Nyla Beth continues to develop this way of thinking by implementing an important habit in her personal time: “I make sure I go to one new country I’ve never been to every single year.” This inherent ability to always search to understand different perspectives would become a hallmark of her leadership style.

A pivotal moment for Nyla Beth’s career happened when she was Acting Chief of Staff of the US Department of Homeland Securities Science and Technology Directory: “A very unfortunate global offense, September 11th, 2001, fundamentally shaped not just the US – but my nascent career. I remember that day very clearly. I was living in Washington, DC, working on counterterrorism and public safety, technology research and development, and everything I knew at that point professionally changed after that day. “Homeland Security” became a term in the industry. The area of technology development in which I had already gotten professional insights became not only applicable but in demand. The horrific events of that day professionally played out as me being able to apply my experience to help stand up and shape what was a new department in the US government and a much bigger and more expansive focus on how technology is used for safety and security and the role both private and public sector organizations play.”

Her early work as a government contractor also helped her gain a long-term vision: “It offered me a unique perspective on the importance of the public sector and technology companies working together to advance innovation and ensure that technology truly benefits society, including citizens, as well as national and global security.”

From there on, Nyla Beth specialized in advising government programs on investment decisions, using her skills to bring a unique perspective forward: “That was the first time in my career where my unique strength of being able to see different things, different people, different organizations, and actually helping align them became a unique trait. This is probably one of the fundamental roles that I think is implicit in leadership, whether you’re leading a company or whether you’re leading a group of people. Leadership must have the ability to connect dots, the ability to see what different strengths from otherwise disparate entities bring together, and then actually set the trajectory and actively align the coordination and collaboration for some unifying mission or vision.”

Having led teams at large companies like Booz Allen, Verizon, and SAIC, Nyla Beth then had the desire to be closer to clients and creating connections, which led her to establish her consultancy, NBG Strategy Consulting: “I’m allowing myself to be a little bit more impactful on companies’ ability to achieve their missions with more exponential and sustainable growth and not just managing status quo or cyclical reporting.”


Balancing personal and professional life as a Woman in Tech

Nyla Beth faced a common challenge for women when she had to balance her time between her kids and her work: “There was a lot of stress at the time right after I had my first child – my daughter, but it required me to take this mindset of greater collaboration, greater alignment and pulling more people in. No longer could I roll up my sleeves myself and just push through and get something done. I had to rely on other people, so it shifted me from being a strategic doer into an empowering leader.” This ability to think about the whole person is what led to her continued views on strategy and how we can learn business strategy lessons by just thinking about the routine interactions every day.

With a more collaborative approach, “a quality that is essential for effective leadership”, Nyla Beth managed to become more multifaceted, being a mom, friend, and volunteer in community organizations. This inadvertently helped her in being a good leader: “That’s the important trend of what makes for good leaders and managers. They see the multifaceted being that you are, and they look to embrace and empower all your strengths and passions, rather than only seeing you from the lens of your job title or function.”


Nyla Beth’s Challenges as a Woman in Tech Leadership

  • Slower decision making: Nyla Beth struggled to accept the pace of decision-making in large organizations, as “It was a challenge for me because sometimes I saw that it diluted the decision that needed to be made.”
  • Balancing returns today with investments for tomorrow: “People who are in leadership positions, especially in the technology industry, have to constantly balance near-term returns with longer-term strategic imperatives. Over-rotation to either is a path to limited growth and potential failure. Good leaders emerge by taking a portfolio approach and setting their stakeholder expectations accordingly.”
  • Gendered feedback: “A lot of the feedback I received was, simply put, to make sure I was liked, because if you’re liked, you’re invited into the decisions; I don’t recall some of my male counterparts being told they need to be liked.” The style of feedback women receive is sometimes about their style and their assertiveness, not about their results, Nyla Beth concludes, “everyone should be held to both – results matter and collaborative respect is foundational.”


The Future is Female: Empowering the Next Generation

“Many of the women I know are leaders because they have strong business and management backgrounds, but they’re still leading tech. I think this is important to note because having built it [a product or technology] doesn’t make you qualified to lead it.”

But Nyla Beth notes that although gender should be treated equally, there are observable traits between feminine and masculine styles of leadership. She once wrote a thought piece while leading IoT efforts about the multifunctional perspectives and disciplines that had to combine for enterprise IoT architectures. Her research noted how the leadership traits historically identified as ‘feminine’ were well aligned to the needs of the then-new IoT industry field. Nyla Beth argues that tech leadership requires assembling many pieces of a puzzle, from audiences, engineering disciplines, data science and analytics, security, through user experience and operations management. She emphasizes that tech leaders need to be first and foremost passionate about and adept at problem solving: “A problem that somebody will buy or pay money to have solved… That kind of bigger picture view is one that I think leaders – especially women leaders – in tech can help begin to put together.”


Advice for Women in Tech Leaders

  • Be self-confident: “To pursue progress, innovation, and technological development – much like personal or professional development – requires a genuine and consistent commitment to your goals that reflects in every decision you make, in how you carry yourself, and in staying resilient even when faced with challenges that may tempt you to give up. The only person who can instill confidence in you is yourself. Have your confidence be something that you know when, how and where to ignite within yourself.”
  • Establish your own personal Board of Advisors: “Establish your personal Board of Advisors. Ensure you surround yourself with people who will give you true feedback and recommendations, not just pat you on the back. While confidence comes from within, advice, counsel, and tough love comes from those you trust with your weaknesses.”
  • Be honest with yourself about your boundaries: “There are times where you can work more because your schedule allows it. There are times when you need to be able to pick up the phone and drop whatever you’re doing to help a neighbor, a parent, a child, a friend. One of the things I think has really been challenging for me at different times is being able to acknowledge that it’s ok to say no. I realized that having more no’s in my vocabulary, used with intention, allowed my yes’s to gain better attention, have better impact, and gain better parts of my own attention.”
  • Take on challenging projects at work, not social planning: “One piece of feedback I often gave to women that I worked with is to say no to organizing the office lunch. You should say ‘yes’ to taking an opportunity on a new project or a proposal. Planning office social events may be enjoyable, but it’s going to have lesser impact on your career. Taking on new projects outside your swim lane is going push and challenge you to develop new business, management, or technology skills.”
  • Ensure the tech you develop brings results: “You need to get your business mind working because you can develop the coolest product or latest offering, but success is going to be measured on how you convert that development into revenue, then into investment, and ultimately into sustainable value and growth. When you think about technology embedded in every market rather than its own standalone market vertical, these business principles and focus is really required to be a leader in any form of tech.”


The perks of diversity in your team

Nyla Beth Gawel underscores the pivotal role of diversity in team success. She emphasizes that diversity extends beyond mere representation and encompasses unique perspectives and experiences.

“Inclusivity in the culture allows people to speak authentically and ensures that their contributions are acknowledged,” Nyla Beth asserts. She highlights her proactive efforts to ensure not only the presence of women and other underrepresented backgrounds in leadership positions but also their active participation and contribution.

An inclusive work culture embraces diversity of thought and experiences, Nyla Beth insists: “It’s essential to embrace diversity in all its forms and to create an environment where every individual feels empowered to contribute.”

Throughout the tech development process, Nyla Beth advocates for the incorporation of diverse perspectives, from requirements gathering to product testing. She emphasizes the necessity of diverse input, particularly in the realm of ethical AI development.

“Technology learns from us, so it’s crucial to provide it with diverse perspectives and inputs,” Nyla Beth explains. “Actively engaging diverse perspectives throughout the development process is fundamental for any product-based or service-based business relying on technology.”


Prioritizing honesty and results as a Woman in Tech

Nyla Beth met with an unexpected hurdle along her journey: “I was in shock at how scared people were to honestly and transparently share potentially negative information with company leadership. Everybody was scared about how slowdowns, performance risks, or other perceived negative updates would make them look as an individual rather than prioritizing what was right for the company, its shareholders, and its customers.”

Despite encountering resistance, Nyla Beth remained resolute in her commitment to providing a comprehensive view of the company’s status and investment decisions: “Whether it’s a system that highlights a red flag or a risk, the key is to be data-driven, insightful, and seek help early to strengthen proactive support. Especially for women in technology, embracing risks, seeking support, and owning our challenges are crucial steps towards success.”

Nyla Beth’s experience underscores a fundamental truth: hiding information and hesitating to ask for help only ensures failure: “Highlighting potential risks, asking for mitigation support, and embracing diverse input accelerates the path to success. This was evident from the early stages of our projects, where the desire to maintain a facade of positivity disregarded the realities critical to eventual success.”

One of the distinguishing strengths of women in technology leadership is their inclination towards collaboration and support. Nyla Beth highlights the importance of embracing input and seeking support, stating, “You’re never expected to have all the answers; you’re expected to identify opportunities and bring people along.” This collaborative ethos not only fosters innovation but also cultivates inclusive environments where diverse perspectives are valued and respected.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help or raise your hand,” Nyla Beth advises aspiring leaders in the technology sector. “For those who aspire not only to lead in technology but to lead effectively in technology-based businesses, embracing transparency, collaboration, and seeking support are essential.”


Nyla Beth’s final message for Women in Tech

“Never be afraid to lead. So often women are willing to follow, but the more that women lead, the greater the aptitude is for success.”

“I remind leaders to channel their inner Dolly Parton, the singer, songwriter, and country music star, who once said: “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.””


Check out more of Meta IT’s interviews with Women in Tech Leadership

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Zahra Apert at Air Liquide


Meta IT’s #MetaWomenInTech Initiative

At Meta IT, we believe in an innovative, inclusive, and diverse future. In 2021, we launched #MetaWomenInTech to empower women on their professional journeys. We’re proud that women make up over 35% of our workforce, significantly exceeding the industry average, and we continually strive to grow this statistic even more.

Women also hold 30% of Leadership positions and make up 50% of the Board of Directors at Meta IT, demonstrating our commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse Leadership team. At WOMEN IN TECH ®- Global Movement, our CDO, Simone Lettieri, was honored with the Global Leadership category award. This prestigious recognition celebrates her outstanding leadership, transformative initiatives, and global influence, underscoring Meta IT’s significant contributions to digital transformation on a global scale. Simone also won the prestigious third place in the WomenTech Network Awards for Digital Transformation Leader of the Year 2023 and Meta IT was a finalist as the Best Workplace for Women in Tech 2023.

We have organized training sessions featuring both internal and external speakers, and hosted specific webinars, such as Meta Trends, Meta Growth, and Meta Cast, aimed to inspire and encourage female entrepreneurship and career growth opportunities. We also established a dedicated networking platform to facilitate connections and further empower participants.

Since 2022, our Corporate Venture Capital arm, Meta Ventures, has furthered this goal through two editions of The Next Gen: Women in Tech – a startup competition whose goal is to accelerate women entrepreneurship across SaaS and B2B/B2B2C markets. In total, we have invested over US$200,000 in women-led startups.

Join us in making tech more inclusive for women!


Meta IT is a company with over 30 years in the market that opened its operations in North America in 2020. It offers digital transformation consulting and services, implementing technology solutions that accelerate results for large and mid-sized companies globally and supporting organizations and enterprises to rethink and update their business models. The company plans and executes projects that simplify the end-to-end digital transformation journey through strategic consulting, software development, application sustainment, SAP technologies, automation, also known as RPA, staff augmentation, and agile squads.