What is the coolest project you've worked on at Booz Allen and how did you grow and develop from it?
My U.S. government program involves partnering with foreign governments on collaborative projects, so I get to travel internationally and build relationships with foreign stakeholders. On one project, our team put together a training exercise to simulate a foreign site visit. We focused on a variety of challenges that have been encountered in these site visits (e.g., the van breaks down, the team is denied access to the site, etc.) so new program employees know what to expect from a visit, can be prepared for a variety of situations, and know how and when to ask for help. We made up a foreign country called "Freedonia" and detailed a list of potential collaborative projects, key international relationship issues, and major exports. For fun, we also made up a handshake greeting and national anthem. I played a foreign intelligence officer in the exercise—my job was to ask probing questions to gather information and attempt to bribe or otherwise comprise the new employees. This helped them learn how to recognize those signs and get practice reporting acts of surveillance. Basically I got paid to play spy for a day. Best. Day. Ever.
Describe how you've grown your career, and developed your skills and expertise at Booz Allen?
Before I joined Booz Allen, I worked for a construction and engineering company. In that industry, success is doing work faster, better, and cheaper. At Booz Allen, however, I've learned that it's less about self-performing work and more about impacting others. You can do beautiful A-grade work, but if it's not used by the client or the project then you've made no impact. I've learned that I should spend most of my time communicating about my work—what it does, how it helps, and how clients can use it. My PowerPoint skills and persuasion skills have exponentially grown at Booz Allen. It's important to step out of your swim-lane and help out wherever you can to continue to grow your skills.