Our strategy and technology consultants have empowered our international clients with the knowledge and experience they need to build their own local resources and capabilities.
Our clients call upon us to work on their hardest problems—delivering effective health care, protecting warfighters and their families, keeping our national infrastructure secure, bringing into focus the traditional boundaries between consumer products and manufacturing as those boundaries blur.
Booz Allen was founded on the notion that we could help companies succeed by bringing them expert, candid advice and an outside perspective on their business. The analysis and perspective generated by that talent can be found in the case studies and thought leadership produced by our people.
We've come a long way delivering innovative solutions. But our next chapter is still being written.
Our 22,600 engineers, scientists, software developers, technologists, and consultants live to solve problems that matter. We’re proud of the diversity throughout our organization, from our most junior ranks to our board of directors and leadership team.
I’m passionate about mentoring and advocating for women in STEM careers. And my work with women in leadership— tirelessly partnering with other Booz Allen leaders to galvanize the message of opportunity and achievement for emerging talent—has been a game changer for the firm’s approach to recognition, recruitment, and retention.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked in technology solutions, systems development, and health care. How do I summarize my approach? We want to be the trifecta of good: understanding of their business, bringing the body of knowledge, and integrating the whole solution.
Susan Penfield is the firm’s chief innovation officer and a member of the firm’s leadership team. She leads our Strategic Innovation Group, which drives focused innovation and functional strategies that empower our people to change the world.
Through the creation of integrated capabilities, breakthrough products and solutions, and alternative business models, the SIG drives focused innovation on a few big bets intended to seed next-generation businesses—in secure operational technology, machine intelligence, directed energy, and digital solutions.
The SIG also scales innovative capabilities across the firm to drive growth and develops functional strategies to scale, deepen and retain the firm’s functional talent base through affiliation, development, recruiting and upskilling.
Under Susan’s leadership, the SIG reinvigorated the firm’s culture of innovation and opened Booz Allen’s DC Innovation Center—a physical embodiment of our commitment to innovation. Through the Innovation Center and its network of Innovation Hubs, the firm engages in the external innovation ecosystem to identify partnerships and emerging technologies to create original solutions to our clients’ toughest problems.
For the past 2 years, Susan has been recognized as one of the most influential figures in government consulting for driving vision, innovation, and achievement for American citizens through the Wash100 award. In 2017, she was recognized for her analytics and digital services program leadership, and she was celebrated for her collaborative leadership in 2016.
Prior to her current role, Susan led our health business, where she drove technology and transformation initiatives across the federal, commercial, and not-for-profit health space. Susan provided consulting services for every major federal health-related organization in the U.S., and led several high-profile engagements, including:
Susan is dedicated to helping the D.C. community, working with several not-for-profits in the area. Susan joined SEED SPOT’s DC Advisory Board in 2016, a not-for-profit supporting entrepreneurs who create solutions to social problems. Susan also serves on the board of directors for the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health and works closely with the National Capital Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Susan is an advocate for the recruitment, retention, and the advancement of women. She serves as an executive adviser for our women’s agenda and routinely speaks on STEM-related topics. Susan received a 2017 Diamond Award from Girls Inc. DC for her outstanding executive leadership as a woman and for Booz Allen’s service over the past 10 years for programs such as STEM Girls 4 Social Good.
Susan holds a B.S. in technology management from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania and a certificate in management from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business.
Profile updated April 2017
What is a great piece of business advice you’ve received? I have learned that leadership isn’t your title. It isn’t management. Leaders have followers. And leaders can translate a vision to those followers and their goal is to empower others to make accomplishments.
What is something you wish you knew as a young professional? I wish I knew that you can be a hard worker, but you do need to lift your head up and make connections. It’s important to be able to communicate to others what you do and to bring others into your platform. As women, I think we may tend to focus on the work and hope someone sees it, but we need to be able to show our platforms and connect with others.
How do you advocate for women in leadership at Booz Allen? One of things I’m most proud of in my future legacy for the firm is my role in the Women’s Agenda at Booz Allen. I partnered in this effort to create a set of initiatives in an environment where women could be heard and be successful. It was a five-year effort, and it changed the game for women here.
What makes you passionate about your work at Booz Allen? I love solving the toughest problems. As a technologist, I know that the solution isn’t always clear. It’s a journey to learn what technologies apply. I like driving the integration of all the technology solutions. I also really like to work in teams. I’ve been involved in sports since I was a child and so I loved the idea of being part of a team. We also have the greatest people. We have such good, passionate people who are interested in changing the world and helping clients change the world.
What makes Booz Allen a great place for you and your team? My team is inquisitive by nature. They have ingenuity. Here, they can test the boundary of what’s next in technology.
How does your team help clients look to the future? We try to help them understand what is happening across the industry and where people are innovating. We have close ties to the entrepreneurial community. We invest in and nurture our relationships with the startup community. They are testing and trying new things. Then we want to include all the places where innovation occurs, including Silicon Valley, Austin, Boston, St. Louis, anywhere we find a hotbed of innovation hubs. We want to be on the ground in the innovation ecosystem.
What is the most pressing need for your clients now? Everyone wants to be more efficient and transparent. They want cost savings and better levels of service. Technology can make that happen. I think about next-generation technology where machines can reduce complexity in everyday processes. The new robotics and machine learning will take over operations in many directions. But then there’s a human consideration and how to train and prepare a workforce to support these new technologies. We want to be cognizant of the relationship between technology transformation and what the workforce needs to evolve and advance.
What is a fun fact that most people might not know about you? I came from a small town in central Pennsylvania. My parents didn’t own a home or a car. I got so lucky when I came to Booz Allen, and I’ve worked hard. I try to pay it back. I was so happy when I was finally able to buy my parents a house. They did so much to put me through school and made sacrifices. I wanted to give them something. I’m most proud of that.