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On site, working side by side with clients—that’s where I prefer to be. I learned early on at Booz Allen how important it is to connect with your clients and see their challenges firsthand.
My first assignment? Helping build database systems for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other clients as part of the Superfund program to manage the nation’s hazardous waste inventory.
Now I’m an executive vice president leading the firm’s Joint Combatant Command business.
Judi Dotson leads the firm’s Joint Combatant Command business. Her clients include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the Combatant Commands, and more. She develops market strategies, leads business and contract capture activities, and oversees delivery. Judi is also responsible for recruiting, developing, and delivering talented teams that consistently exceed customer expectations.
Judi’s team is positioned in close proximity to clients around the world with the largest hubs in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Hawaii, Florida, and Germany.
Judi has more than 28 years of experience in consulting services. She leads diverse teams with deep mission understanding and functional expertise in cybersecurity; engineering and science; analytics; digital services, including system modernization, cloud capabilities, and mobility; and strategy & organizational development and workforce management.
Over her career, Judi has worked across both civilian and defense clients, with her teams delivering critical programs for a wide variety of clients including Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Education, EPA, Army, Air Force, Navy, and Defense Acquisition University, among others.
Judi has held several internal leadership roles at Booz Allen including serving as a member of the firm's Booz Allen Excellence Awards Committee, the Partnership for Public Service Executive Committee, the Facilities Governance Board, and the Women's Golf Network Sponsor.
Judi has served on the board of directors for the public sector division of TechAmerica (formerly the Information Technology Association of America) and is a member of the board of directors for the Nature Generation, a not-for-profit that inspires and empowers youth to make a difference through innovative environmental stewardship programs in literature, science, and the arts.
What has been the common thread as you're career progressed and you worked with different clients? In my journey at Booz Allen, I stayed with the EPA and other environmental clients for a good 15 years. Then I moved to working in the defense business, then in military health, then to our Finance, Energy, and Economic Development (FED) business, and now our Joint Combatant Command business. While systems development is my background, along the way I listened and developed deep client relationships and an understanding of how to operate a business. That combination has been the common thread throughout my career.
What excites you about the work that you do? Every day I have the opportunity to help our clients and the people on our team to be successful—to be positioned for their own success as well as the firm’s success. To me, that’s pretty exciting.
Why are you passionate about the work Booz Allen does? The work that we do in each case is key to our clients’ missions and their successes. It could be for the IRS, where we help manage the tax season or discourage or catch fraud, or for the Department of Labor where we make sure citizens understand their benefits. That’s exciting to me.
You’ve always gotten out there and been with your clients. What kind of a difference does that make? It makes all the difference. I didn’t realize it at the time, but getting sent straight to the client site for my first 6 years at Booz Allen was the best thing that could have happened to me. I saw what clients had to deal with, I learned their mission, I understood the pace at which they needed to move and the kinds of services they needed. The relationships you develop when you’re onsite are very different than when you’re just visiting from time to time.
How do you help your clients prepare for the future? Our job is not to just answer the question that they’re asking us but to step back and to think more broadly, to bring all of Booz Allen together to think about: What’s the question, and what’s the answer, not just for today but for the future. That’s how we can truly build that loyalty with our clients as well as differentiate ourselves in the market. We do that by building solutions in advance of the ask—there are prototypes to show them the possibilities—and really trying to shape their thinking around our thinking as it makes sense for them.
What are your three tips for managing and motivating people? Clearly define the role. Make sure that role has some stretch opportunities. And give your people the autonomy to execute but stay close enough so you can guide them along the way as they’re learning.
What mentorship advice would you give someone who took on a new leadership role? Listen carefully to the people around you. Accept help from those people. And when it’s time to decide, make the decision.
What were you like in high school? Social.
What advice would you give yourself as a young professional if you could go back in time? Enjoy the journey.
What is an obsolete item that you can’t get rid of? A business card holder.
What is your strongest character trait? I’m kind. I like people. That’s why I’m kind. I genuinely like people.
What about your life has most surprised you? It keeps getting better. Really, I am blessed and I have a great life.