For Kevin Weinstein, it all comes back to humor. As a digital engineering leader for Booz Allen’s East Coast global defense business, Kevin’s 17-year tenure at Booz Allen has afforded him the opportunity to lead multiple engineering projects for various clients. With defense-centric engineering work that includes cybersecurity, model-based systems engineering (MBSE), and systems integration within the aerospace sector, Kevin finds fulfillment in “working with brilliant teams of people with diverse backgrounds to solve complex problems using modern tools and techniques.”
And he does so by prioritizing relationships, encouraging collaboration, and relying on a shared sense of humor.
Kevin has undergraduate and graduate degrees in systems engineering. He recently completed the LEAD program through the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education, where he earned the Impact Award. In addition to his credentialed background, Kevin has found leadership inspiration in an unexpected place: his improvisation classes. His time there has informed how he works—and how he empowers his team.
We spoke with Kevin to discuss his career at Booz Allen and how he’s learned to use humor as a leadership tool.
What brought you to Booz Allen?
Every day, I solve hard problems with smart people. That brought me to Booz Allen, and it’s what has kept me happy here. I enjoy thinking strategically and seeing multiple facets of a complex problem. I love working with multidisciplinary teams and learning from my colleagues.
How does your improv training inform your role as a leader at Booz Allen?
Booz Allen encourages you to “Be You. Be Booz Allen. Be Empowered.” You’re encouraged to be yourself, and you can laugh and build connections here. Before I took improv classes, I was likely to be hesitant or nervous in certain situations. These classes have helped me become more open. I’ve learned to empower my teams by creating a shared sense of humor and encouraging laughter.
Improv classes have also trained me to consider ideas that I might not necessarily agree with right away. When practicing improv, you’re forced to accept someone else’s point of view or idea, which, in turn, makes you a better listener and collaborator.
When people are free to be themselves at work, you can build true connections. Humor helps you achieve this.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I’m passionate about engineering, but I’m more passionate about people. Ultimately, what we’re doing is helping to make people’s lives safer and better—our work directly improves people's lives. Whether the mission involves streamlining the benefits process for the Department of Veterans Affairs or working to improve soldier survivability for the Department of Defense, the work directly impacts people. I find a lot of value in that.
Engineering work like writing proposals is fun and challenging for me, but the way this work impacts others is the most meaningful part.
How has Booz Allen fostered your career growth?
I have used Booz Allen’s tuition assistance to pursue executive education programs through Stanford Graduate School of Business and MIT Sloan. Senior leaders at Booz Allen have been amazing mentors to me, and I'm proud to pay it forward through mentoring programs here.
What advice would you offer a candidate interested in joining Booz Allen?
Booz Allen is an amazing place to work and grow your career! You'll have an important mission and a chance to grow your skills when you come here.