Former JAIC acting deputy director explains how to create a healthy workplace culture

Jacqueline Tame, founder of PsiQuantum, and former acting deputy director at the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), joined Aileen Black on Leaders and...

Jacqueline Tame, director of Government Affairs at PsiQuantum, and former acting deputy director at the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), joined Aileen Black on Leaders and Legends to discuss how leading with candor and authenticity can help create a postive and healthy workplace environment.

Tame is the inaugural director of Government Affairs at PsiQuantum, a company building the world’s first useful fault-tolerant, error-corrected quantum computer. Previously she was the vice president of innovation at Landaus, a multi- billion-dollar agricultural co-op in Iowa. During her tenure at the JAIC, Tame served as the inaugural chief performance officer, where she oversaw  day-to-day operations for the center and led engagements with the White House,  Congress and other key stakeholders and investors to raise awareness of DoD AI programs and secure policy priorities in support of JAIC offerings.

Tame also helped design DoD’s inaugural AI performance framework, marrying statutory and policy-driven roles, responsibilities  and functions with customer-defined indicators of success to generate repeatable, outcome-based performance data.

Throughout Tame’s career she has tried to be a leader that is both authentic and transparent. Her goal is to build a culture that  gives members of her team the freedom to be open and honest when discussing the organization’s goals.

”Leadership is culture. If you have a leader that is toxic, not respected, the culture will reflect that,” she said. “A good leader builds a team that they trust and empowers them. If you give them a clear vision and provide them with clarity on how they can help reach mission goals, you will build a team that will be unstoppable. You will build a culture to be proud of and they will want to be part of it.”

Tame added that empathy is also an important leadership quality and one employees will appreciate.

“Many leaders are afraid to leverage empathy in their leadership style in fear it will be seen as a weakness,” Tame said. “At the end of the day we are all human and a great leader understands that and adjusts to allow their team the space and safety to deal with human everyday issues.”

Tame said she has worked with many “amazing” leaders during her career, including Lieutenant General Vincent Stuart, who holds the distinction of being the first Black director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and DIA’s first director from the U.S. Marine Corps.

He left a lasting impression on Tame, who said General Stuart “taught me to embrace what makes me different. He taught me that it is diversity that gives an organization strength. I learned to bet on myself and not be afraid to take on the hard jobs even if it was not popular.”

Tame described those jobs as “growth challenges,” and said they give you the opportunity to “work and learn while building expertise” in your chosen field.

She encouraged workers to embrace these opportunities, and volunteer for challenging roles in the your organization.

Tame quoted former New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, who once said, “If there isn’t a seat at the table, pull up a folding chair.”


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