In Aberdeen, Maryland, a diverse team of Booz Allen experts is working together to support some of the Army’s most pressing missions. At the helm is the Director of Booz Allen’s Army Command and Control business, Charlene Bridges. It’s her job to align the right people with the right projects, enabling our clients to deliver their mission-driven tech work and help protect the nation.
We sat down with Charlene to learn more about our defense efforts; the team in Aberdeen; and the ways in which diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to influence our culture at Booz Allen.
1. What tech work do you do in Aberdeen?
We have the chance to serve our Army clients in both soldier solutions and Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR). Much of our work on the C5ISR side is focused on battle networks, sensors, biometrics, intelligence, and operations. We’re also supporting our clients from the science and technology side. Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, we’re extracting the important parts of our client’s siloed data and making it discoverable where it’s needed most: by our soldiers on the ground.
2. What’s the team like?
What makes the team in Aberdeen amazing is the people. We have experts from the whole lifecycle of our work on deck—from software engineers and cybersecurity experts to technical writers and systems engineers. We have junior staff just out of college and raring to go, and we have senior staff who’ve spent years in the private sector and military lending their expertise. There’s a diversity of thought that really sets this team apart.
3. How are you involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion at Booz Allen?
I’m one of the Army leads for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I’ve always had a passion for it. While leading hiring efforts in Aberdeen, I was able to implement different strategies to change how we were hiring to remove unconscious bias, take care of our diversity candidates, and integrate them into the team. We focused some of our university recruiting efforts on the young talent coming out of Morgan State University—a historically black college and university with programs in engineering and computer science—deployed hiring manager training, and created integration plans for new staff so they feel a sense of belonging to our team and firm. Our senior leadership truly wants to be inclusive and hire people of different colors, races, and backgrounds and continue to make our firm look like the broader world around us. We’ve come so far and still have more work to do.
4. What advice would you give someone looking to join the firm?
Do your best every day. Effort is important. Lean forward. Some of the most successful people are the ones who can balance how far forward to lean without leaning too far. Take on responsibilities that scare you because you’re unsure if you can handle them; they’re necessary for your growth and doing things that challenge you is important. Drive your own career: Meet everyone you can, form strong networks, and leverage your peers and mentors for advice. Most importantly, don’t get stuck in the small stuff—the day-to-day nitty-gritty. Every one of us is here to take care of our clients, the team, each other, and the firm—and that’s what matters. When you focus on these aspects in proper balance, you will be successful.