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Procurements, contracts, and subcontracts. Welcome to my world—I love it.
I love the complexity, minutiae, and strategy. I love the process of cutting a deal, of being on the front end of establishing a contract. The process of capture and the strategy behind it is energizing. I’ve been doing it for 30 years—more than a decade at Booz Allen—and I still find new challenges every day.
Vice President Linda Asher leads corporate contracting operations across the firm, overseeing services to a broad base of clients across the defense, intelligence, civil, commercial, and international sectors.
With more than 25 years of contracting and business management experience, Linda offers expertise in contracting lifecycle services, risk management and issue resolution, trend analysis, client engagement strategies, and mergers and acquisitions. She worked with senior leadership to develop contracting strategies that meet growth goals and business optimization initiatives. Her focus areas are contracting and acquisition services with a balanced approach to regulatory compliance, risk management, and business development.
Before joining Booz Allen in 2005, Linda served as deputy director of operations at Mnemonics Inc. She provided business and contractual management expertise and led the technical service division by supporting contracts and programs with the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. In addition, she led technical programs in quality management and process level improvements (International Organization for Standardization 9000 and Capability Maturity Model Integration Maturity Level 3), successfully managing those activities through certification.
Linda holds a B.S. in management information systems from George Mason University. She is an active member in industry associations such as the National Contract Management Association and the Professional Services Council, and completed an advanced executive leadership program through the American Management Association.
Why is Booz Allen an ideal firm for someone with expertise and skills in your line of work? There’s a lot of contracts expertise here, but also strong business expertise. We have a relationship management and engagement strategy that sets us apart as a leader in acquisitions.
How do you help your clients prepare for the future? When we look at a particular opportunity or procurement, we work to ensure that our response meets the requirements for our client through innovation and service. At the procurement level, we’re strategically helping to shift acquisitions trends to suit the needs of our clients and our business.
What excites you about working in acquisitions? Client interaction. I visit clients frequently to ask how we can best help them, to talk about acquisitions trends, and the acquisition community perspective. It’s exciting and satisfying when we solve tough problems.
What’s scaring your clients? The time it takes to get a requirement on contract. The government’s acquisition process is very slow. In addition, the budget environment is very constrained for our government clients. Both defense/intel and civilian agencies are worried about how they can stretch their budgets to get the most capability for their money.
How do you stay on top during a market downturn? Be willing to take risk and change. It’s what Booz Allen does well. The other key is innovation.
What are your tips for managing and motivating your people? I encourage my team to embrace change. Collaborate. Don’t be afraid to take risks. To ask for help when they need it. And to provide help when asked for it.
What mentorship advice would you give someone who took on a new leadership role? Have multiple mentors that can give you insight across the business. And always take care of the people that support you.
What advice would you give yourself as a young professional? There is so much opportunity out there, don’t settle for what’s right in front of you. Keep your eyes ahead because there’s a lot of opportunity if you’re looking.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A marine biologist. I wanted to work at Sea World!
What was your first job? A cashier at Anita’s Mexican Restaurant in Vienna, Virginia. I watched how the owner ran the business and how hard she worked. She had a huge heart for her employees, but, boy, she required accountability. I learned a lot from her.
What is one thing you always have with you? Music—it’s a passion for me. I play guitar and on a good night I’ll even carry a tune.
What’s your most prized possession? My Yamaha guitar. My father gave to me in the 4th grade; it’s a beautiful instrument.
What are you nostalgic for? To spend time with my parents. They’ve both passed away and I’d give anything to have dinner and a glass of wine with my mom and dad again.