The majority of people in Los Angeles consider the entertainment industry a family business. It is a sector that has seen children follow in the paths of their parents, time and time again, through multiple generations. While these Hollywood family trees are globally recognizable, I have seen similar patterns occurring in the government contracting industry within the broader D.C. area. Since the 1980s, there has been a pattern of the children of government contracting titans also joining the broad and vast industry.
My first job out of college was working for my father at his government services company, named IBSI. At 22, I was the assistant to the project manager of a high-profile call center contract for the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service. I learned a lot about the business of federal contracting over my eight years.
Working for my father in government contracting inspired me to serve those young adults who have moved into the same industry as their parents. Those with family relations to industry titans don’t necessarily always want their parents advice or help. My idea was to establish the first peer-to-peer network for the new generation of government contractors.
On April 26, 2011, I launched WashingtonExec. Over the past 6 years, I have often described my life as a professional eater. Over breakfast and lunch, I would always ask guests about their children. Many executives shared with me that their daughter or son were also working in the government contracting business as a young professional. This gave me the idea to host an informal meet-and-greet in August 2014 at The McLean Hilton with about 20 folks.
When I was a young professional, I wanted to join a leadership group to discuss with my peers the special opportunities and challenges of having a parent in the business. Now that I am older, I use WashingtonExec’s position in the GovCon industry to create a one-of-a-kind “Meet the Parents” event, where the children of government contractors can create their own family networks.
“Once again, WashingtonExec hits a home run, creating an invaluable networking concept that helps the next generation of the GovCon industry learn, grow and connect to the benefit of the broader GovCon community,” said Greg J. Baroni, chairman and CEO of Attain. “As one of my own daughters is now pursuing a career in our industry, I understand the level of insight and advice she can glean from current industry leaders and the value that establishing this kind of network can carry.”
Lisa Shea Mundt, Senior Marketing and Proposal Specialist at AOC Key Solutions, Inc., and chair of the Rising Stars Committee said: “I am so pleased to see the continued interest and involvement in the Rising Stars Committee, from both our members and their parents. I am proud to lead a group that focuses on building meaningful relationships within such a vocationally diverse group of young professionals. We come from a unique set of motivators. We have seen the progression of our parents’ careers—their hard work and dedication to the betterment of government contracting and our country at large—and we have been inspired. Thank you to our parents, who have entrusted us with their professional reputations and who encourage us to carry on their legacies.”
In the end, I believe the connections made by the participants of the Rising Stars of GovCon Committee will prove to be invaluable to the professional development of these newcomers and will result in this intimate network attaining the level of success seen in their parents’ careers.