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Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, my attention was sparked by two classes, art and mechanical drawing. I couldn’t get enough, and looked to architecture as a way to combine the two.
Today, leading Booz Allen’s real estate and facilities operations, I create and maintain workspaces that reflect who we are and what we do at Booz Allen. My job is never the same problem twice and the set of solutions we place on the table is entirely up to us. It’s really quite challenging and satisfying at the same time.
Why are you passionate about your work at Booz Allen? We have a new initiative to rebrand Booz Allen offices into next-generation workspace, and the support we have from all levels of management has been overwhelming. Everyone we’ve talked to is onboard with the concept of a new workspace and the benefits it will provide.
What do you see in the future for workspace trends? We are moving closer and closer to a “free address” environment, where no one will have an assigned office. I think that mobility is becoming more and more a part of our everyday work life. We can work anywhere. Technology allows us to work “face-to-face” without being in the same room. In the long term, I see flexible and unassigned workspaces available for those who need them when they need them. Employees won’t be limited to one purpose. It’s evolving. The future workplace will provide different types of workspace and allow employees to work in a variety of styles throughout the day. New hires just coming out of college may never know a space that is dedicated solely to them and to one purpose.
How do you keep your team inspired and excited about their work? I encourage them to get involved in professional associations where they can meet their peers and industry leaders working hard to create spaces that meet the needs of their respective organizations. They meet and talk to people who are doing great things and share ideas. It’s and ideal platform to stay engaged and be inspired by not only what we are doing but what others are up to as well.
What do you look for in a great team member? No matter what task you perform or what level of management you work in, it always gets down to people. I want individuals who are creative and can interact with other people. Our team has to be approachable, engaging and pleasant on one hand, while being bold-thinking and courageous on the other. We are the catalyst for new ideas and solutions, but we rely on our internal customers for feedback. We are asking them to be open-minded and honest about their needs, and allow us to translate those needs in exciting spaces.
What business advice do you share with people? Everyone wants to progress and get higher in the management structure. But the truth is, that won’t happen if you don’t do your current job well. I’ve seen people so obsessed with getting to the next level, they ultimately lose ground because they’re not focused and commited to the task at hand. I have never approached a supervisor or senior leader about a job or chased a title. We operate in an ultra-competitive business climate and you cannot afford to lose good people. Let your work and contributions to the organization speak on your behalf and the rest will take care of itself.
What do you consider your strongest character traits? I think I’m candid, honest and forthright. I don’t tend to sugarcoat anything or make commitments I have no intention of keeping, and I’m a strong believer that people appreciate the honesty. I get to the bottom of the issue quickly and manage customer expectations much more effectively by doing so. I’m not confrontational at all, but I’m straightforward. I don’t like surprises, and I try to be upfront so no one else is surprised either.
What can we do to be happier in life? Follow the golden rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Have respect for others and deliver honesty the same way you would want it given to you. Respect all. Love all. I don’t think we have enough of that these days. We have to find it.