When Air and Sea Business Lead Dottie Simeona landed an internship with Booz Allen, she was grateful to find a role that leveraged her pending degree. But in an advanced business class the next semester, her professor highlighted Booz Allen’s Monte Carlo Simulation tool, and Dottie was excited to see her company in the spotlight. Fast-forward 33 years, and Dottie has led multiple technical teams and programs across the company, most recently delivering to our Navy and Marine Corps clients.
What’s it like to spend your career here? We spoke to Dottie about her professional path, her advice for future executives, and how she’s grown at Booz Allen.
1. What’s your career path been like at Booz Allen?
I joined the firm during my senior year of college as an intern supporting the division secretary. When my boss asked me what I wanted to do after graduation, I said I wanted to travel, lead a team, and improve programs. In the last 33 years, I’ve gotten to do each one of these things at Booz Allen. Since I started here, I’ve transitioned roles three times. I started out on the business side, focusing on acquisition, program, and financial management. When I saw the general trend move toward tech work, I started leading teams in cybersecurity, and I had the chance to travel to support those projects. Once the travel ended, I grew a team dedicated to information technology (IT) requirements and lifecycle management. It’s my job to focus on the nuanced business side of this work, while my proficient team focuses on the tech itself.
2. How have you been supported in your professional growth?
I found a career champion who helped me pave the way to my current role. He saw my potential and was eager to discuss my skills with senior leadership. These chats with leadership opened the door for me to tell them my story and share my career goals. I had always wanted to serve at an executive leadership level, and the support of my career champion helped make this possible.
3. What advice would you give to others looking to work on the executive level?
Advocate for yourself. It’s important to find supporters and mentors to help you navigate your path, but you need to take the lead. Also, tell your story. Let people know what you do and be able to demonstrate and showcase the things you say you’ve done. When I first started at Booz Allen, I learned that there are five stories you should be ready to share when someone asks you: how you lead, how you’ve ended up in your current role, how you shifted your perspective on an issue, how you’ve selflessly acted to help your community, and what you’ve learned from your greatest misstep. Each of these narratives explores an important side of you. When you share them with the right people and have the mentorship supports in place, that’s when big things happen.