In 1999, Colleen Hinton was hired by the Department of State as an IT policy analyst. In 2001, Colleen saw a Department Notice advertisement for an excursion tour with RIMC Pretoria. "It was a job that required travel across Africa to perform COMSEC audits at our embassies and consulates. I had never traveled overseas in my life and never dreamed I would get the job, but I did. For two years, I traveled alone, across Africa. The RIMC Director always said that he wanted me to have the true African experience. When I got caught in the 2002 coup in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, he crowed, “Your first African coup!”"
After that tour, Colleen continued to do audits but out of Washington for the Cryptographic Services Branch, visiting 80+ countries. "I do not speak any language other than English but was never shy, when I got stuck during travels, to call out, “Does anyone speak English?” Some kind soul always stepped forward. During one audit briefing, the Deputy Chief of Mission, the information management officer, the IPO, and I were discussing results when I suddenly realized, it was an all-woman meeting. When I mentioned my observation, everyone looked a little startled but then chuckled."
" I have ridden elephants and camels, seen Paris and the Great Wall of China, and once did a 75-foot deep ocean scuba dive in the Marshall Islands. I have come full circle and am once again an IT policy analyst, but one who now has a world view."