Distinguished Alumna

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The Katherine Delmar Burke School Distinguished Alumna Award is given each year to an alumna who embodies the values at the heart of the school’s mission to educate, encourage, and empower girls. The recipient exemplifies a life of learning, service to community, individuality, and the ability to make a difference in the world.

Distinguished Alumna: Kemba Walden ’86

Kemba Walden is an American lawyer who serves as the President of the Paladin Global Institute. Walden comes to Paladin after serving as the acting United States National Cyber Director in 2023. She joined the Office of the National Cyber Director as its inaugural principal deputy in June 2022. While at the White House, she substantially contributed to the development of and launched the National Cybersecurity Strategy (March 2023) and the corresponding Implementation Plan (June 2023). Walden also executed the joint OMB/ONCD Spring Guidance to Federal Departments and Agencies on cyber priorities as they develop their fiscal year 2025 budgets (June 2023). She had a substantial role in developing the National Cybersecurity Workforce and Education Strategy, ultimately executing it in July 2023. In addition, Walden lead the U.S. Government in U.S.-Cyber Dialogues with Singapore and Ukraine and was the head of the U.S. Delegation in several international cyber fora, including Cyber UK, Israel Cyber Week, and the OAS Cybersecurity Summit. In 2023, she brought cybersecurity into the global national security conversation at the Munich Security Conference.
Walden was previously an Assistant General Counsel in the digital crimes unit at Microsoft where she launched and lead Microsoft’s counter ransomware program. Prior to Microsoft, Walden spent a decade in government service at the United States Department of Homeland Security, most recently at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency where she focused on election security, the financial services sector, and the energy sector. Walden was also an inaugural member of the Cyber Safety Review Board responsible for reviewing the Log4Shell vulnerability as well as the Lapsus$ Ransomware gang and producing recommendations for improving the cybersecurity of the Nation.
Walden continues to serve as a co-chair of the Ransomware Task Force and serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies teaching a graduate level course entitled “Information Security Laws and Regulatory Compliance.” She earned a B.A. from Hampton University, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Distinguished Alumnae Award Recipients

Kemba Eneas Walden ’86

Eileen Gu ’17 

Lisa McKnight ’82 
Shafia Zaloom '85
Blair Rosenblatt Shane '85
Ebony Frelix Beckwith '91
Mary Shen O'Carroll '90

Zoe Duskin '97

Robin Hauser '78e

Erica Howson Fortescue '89

Lareina Yee '87

Nancy Bibbero Cherney '70
Pauline Moffit Watts '66

Rachel Skiffer '88
Vendela Vida '85
Jean Afterman ’75
Ann Blumlein Lazarus ’67
Dr. Mary Maillard Piel ’73
Mary Lowrey Gregory ’71
Dr. Bella Shen Garnett ’89
Nancy Hellman Bechtle ’55
Heather Martinez Zona ’81
Elisa "Bambi" Escamilla Schwartz ’56 

Nominate a Distinguished Alumna

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2024 Distinguished Alumna. Nominations will close in mid-November 2023, and we look forward to announcing the recipient!
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.
Burke's admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.