Crystal Henson serves as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Your Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Crystal Henson was born in California and raised between there and Washington State, graduating High School from Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington. She is a veteran of the United States Navy.
Part of her undergrad work was completed at South Puget Sound Community College, and Central Washington University and while in the US Navy, she completed her Bachelor’s in Information Technology, specializing in micro computing through the American InterContinental University’s (AIU’s) online program in 2005. She furthered her education at AIU, while working for the Washington State Patrol by completing her Master’s in I.T. Information Systems Management and specializing in Project Management in 2011.
Crystal began her I.T. career while working in the US Navy building network and computing infrastructure within the jet aircraft she supported. She was a Tactical Flight Officer, so she got to troubleshoot technical issues while flying in the jets she worked on. When she transitioned out in 2006, her next big opportunity in I.T. was with the Washington State Patrol. She was actually hired not in networking which was more her background, but as a software developer. During her time there she learned a great deal about I.T., public service, and leadership. In 2011, she had the opportunity to promote as an I.T. Supervisor/technical specialist with the Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries, where she really found her passion for I.T., and her natural attraction to lead and support others around her. As a result, she gained a vast skillset supporting both I.T. operations and product development. She is also well versed, in policy development, contracts and procurement, and has several years of direct experience with Washington State’s legislative process. She continued her role at L&I in 2016, by accepting an I.T. Management role, coaching, mentoring, and guiding a team of 40. She is a great advocate for change, and is intimately involved in the goals focused to actively change how we sustain Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. Crystal also helped pioneer the implementation of Agile development at L&I, is a Certified Lean Facilitator and green belt, and is a graduate of the IPMA Leaderpath program.
In her free time she focuses on her family and likes to explore when she can. Having traveled while in the Navy, her love to travel is great, and she works to instill that passion in her son and daughter.