It was the dream of a family that led Chief Technologist Jennie Eustace to Booz Allen. Following 4 years of nonstop travel, she was looking for a company that would challenge her professionally while giving her room to pursue her personal goals. Eight years and a set of twins later, Jennie is expanding Booz Allen’s digital solutions footprint in Dahlgren, Virginia, while leading a team of experts.
What’s it like to succeed as a working mom and a leader? We sat down with Jennie to talk about her career path, the challenges of being a woman in her field, and how women can thrive at Booz Allen.
What’s your role at Booz Allen?
My job is to grow Booz Allen’s digital solutions work in Dahlgren for our Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint Combatant Command clients. I craft proposals, engage in business development, execute tactical sales, lead hiring efforts, and manage technical contracts and programs across these accounts. Our clients have such diverse needs, so over time I’ve developed a talented team that can handle any software problem, and I get to lead them.
How did you get started in your field?
I planned on being a teacher, but at my college orientation, I had an unexpected conversation with the dean of the business school and the head of Computer Information Systems (CIS). I told them I had no skills in software and computers, and they said that they’d teach me. I ended up loving the logic of CIS. The analytical nature of it resonated with me. My professors taught me how to do requirements, basic design, and system testing, and I was so curious that I taught myself programming languages and how to build applications and websites.
What advice would you give women in the field?
Advocate for yourself. If you led a project or took the lead on an initiative, say so. As women, we sometimes shy away from taking credit for our meaningful contributions, but we deserve to take pride in our work. When we talk about our accomplishments, we’re giving people information about where we are and where we’d like to go next in our careers. Also, be willing to learn and stretch. That’s the one thing that helps me grow. I always ask a lot of questions and put myself out there. It’s okay not to know something—no one has all the answers, and that’s freeing.
Why should women in tech roles join us at Booz Allen?
You get to be in the driver’s seat of your career. You define what you want your career to look like and what work-life balance will make your personal and professional goals possible. There are pros and cons to every decision you make, and it takes time to strike a balance between your career and family. But you have that choice here. You can adjust it either way, as long as you’re patient. Your leadership will always support your decisions and flex with you. At Booz Allen, you can establish your own balance.