Debbie Hughes, Director

Debbie is an executive at the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), a membership association of CEOs and university presidents that engages at the intersection of business and post-secondary education. Her work focuses on aligning the workforce needs of industry with developing talent in emerging fields and has resulted in a nationally recognized framework for building strategic partnerships between business and higher education. Over the past six years Debbie has worked closely with Virginia and the McAuliffe administration, helping define the Commonwealth’s labor market and talent needs around emerging fields such as cybersecurity, data science and analytics, and artificial intelligence and bringing executives from companies like Northrop Grumman and AWS, across different sectors, to invest in building workforce solutions. Debbie has many initiatives with Virginia’s Secretaries of Technology and Education resulting in key activities such as: developing the state’s plan around cybersecurity physical systems, high-profile workshops and conference, and is now tasked with leading the Governor’s Executive Working Group on Smart Communities. Debbie looks forward to bringing her leadership, expertise and get-it-done attitude, working with executives and national leaders to the Council to benefit Northern Virginia and the state.

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