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When people ask me what I do, I could talk for days about how we’re bettering the world.
Technology has brought a new set of expectations with how we interact with each other, businesses, and government. With the rise of the digital citizen, we all expect the same on-demand, app-enabled, 24/7 intuitive access to government information and services that we experience in everyday life.
To meet that demand, we’re helping our clients transform and modernize their missions, leveraging innovation and emerging technology in digital, cyber, machine learning, and cognitive computing.
Shannon Fitzgerald currently leads Booz Allen’s Citizen Services business focused on modernizing and transforming government missions through digital technology, cyber, and analytics capabilities. Her clients include finance, energy, transportation, health, and economic development agencies. Prior to this role, Shannon led a team charged with incubating new solutions that leverage emerging technology and architecting new businesses and ventures for the firm to pursue.
Shannon is an expert in organizational strategy, transformation, digital, and analytics. Her 20 years of consulting experience spans across both federal and commercial sectors. She has extensive experience in the design and stand up of new organizations and programs having led some of government’s largest transformation initiatives and commercial-sector technology integrations.
As a recognized expert in transformation and change management, Shannon is an instructor for the Change Management Advanced Practitioner course at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She holds a B.S. in business and operations management from Towson State University. Shannon serves as an advisory council member for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
How did you find and tap into your passion? It comes from home. I look at my family, my children, my friends—we are all citizens. Working in the financial industry during the 2008 financial crisis and hearing stories of people—some close to me—who were losing their homes and life savings, that ignited my passion to ensure something like that never happens again. I’m passionate about modernizing government to better serve citizens.
How do you help your clients prepare for the future? When you’re serving the mission day in and day out, it’s hard to pause and understand how emerging capabilities could embed into it. At Booz Allen, we understand the government missions deeply and are in a unique position to step back and reimagine how they’re delivered.
What are some examples of emerging technologies that you help companies incorporate? It’s about the digital and analytic capabilities that are here and on the horizon. For example, with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if you’re a taxpayer with a question, you used to search their website to no avail, then dial into a call center and stay on hold for a very long time. We’re partnering with the IRS to make the taxpayer experience, both on the phone and online, similar to how you interact with your bank. It’s the expectation.
What are the biggest challenges your clients face? The complexities and pace of change. Technology is rapidly changing, the scale of their missions is growing and becoming more global, and the threat landscape is changing all the time, too. And with the rise of the digital citizen, even with an experience such as accessing our national parks, users expect a 21st century experience, with on-demand, app-enabled services. Our clients need to make technology modernization leaps while maintaining what they currently have, all within contracting budgets.
What is your tip for managing and motivating your people? If you empower them, and serve them up meaningful work that gets them jazzed—there is no stopping them.
What sticks out in your mind as the best piece of business advice? Don’t get complacent. Crave new information, and ask bigger questions. Push the boundaries.
What were you like in high school? I was focused on making change. I was very active in student government, which was all about making change in the community and the school. I wanted to make things better than how I found them. I still do.
What advice would you give yourself as a young professional? Enjoy the moment a little more. I didn’t give myself time to savor things, and take advantage of the relationships I was building.
What is one thing you always have with you? Physically, chapstick. I can’t think or function without it. Emotionally, my family. They are always at the forefront of everything that I do.
What would you say is your strongest character trait? My passion. I hope that when people leave a conversation with me they’re more inspired, excited, have more energy, and can see the future with me.
What’s an obsolete item you can’t get rid of? My hard-copy photos. I still print my photos and I just love to hold them.