Jo Decker has traversed more than three decades both mentoring others and finding solutions to issues of national defense.
Decker joined General Dynamics Information Technology in 2013 as vice president of business development at the company’s Global Solutions Division. Her priorities include understanding customer needs, managing customer and partner relationships, and developing innovative solutions both cost-effective and efficient. That involves leading the development of solutions, services and business initiatives across the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force as well as all levels of government.
“Recently, I spearheaded an initiative to grow, mature and increase innovation capabilities in areas such as cloud, cybersecurity software and training,” Decker said. “As a result, we improved synergies across the company, and this resulted in recent contract award wins, including the U.S. Air Force’s Distributed Mission Operations Center – Infrastructure, Development and Engineering support contract, and the U.S. Army’s Regional Training Sites-Medical and Mission Training Complex Capabilities Support contracts.”
For the latter contract, the company supports the Army Mission Command through integrated training by replicating complex operating environments.
Decker’s earlier career was as a senior executive in the Navy, and her most recent position was assistant deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics.
Having served in a number of senior positions, Decker has gained numerous recognitions including the Defense Department’s Distinguished Civilian award, which is the highest award a civilian can receive.
Among her most recent accolades is the 2017 Service to the Flag Award from Women in Defense. The award recognizes “leaders who have served in national defense and security, supported military service members, or facilitated partnerships between industry and the military,” according to the organization’s website.
“I also had the responsibility of leading several large transformations within the government and developed programs to support mission-critical initiatives,” Decker said. “This helped provide me with an in-depth understanding of the department’s needs and taught me that every decision can have a direct impact to our infrastructure, our military and our country.”
Decker said she was inspired early on as a young professional to work toward becoming a leader.
“I don’t believe all people are born natural leaders,” she said. “I believe natural leaders are born out of individual experiences and the tutelage of others.”
Mentors have had a strong influence on her, and she’s likewise worked to incorporate mentoring others throughout her career, she said. Among the most important lessons mentors have conveyed to her during her career the need for transparency, the importance of creating an atmosphere of trust, and the necessity of remaining uncompromising on moral issues, she said.
“As a result, I made career choices and chose to spend my career in organizations and companies whose core values reflected my own personal ethos,” Decker said.
Mentorship has been a personal mission for Decker for more than three decades, she said, whether it’s advising high-ranking military colleagues or supporting up-and-coming leaders.
“While in the Navy, I led efforts to develop new, more flexible policies designed to improve surface warfare officer retention,” she said. “At General Dynamics IT, I lead a career development program that supports the growth of young professionals.”
Decker said it’s important for leaders to understand how to both embrace change and manage during times of change.
“At General Dynamics IT, we understand an agile organizational construct is a key to success,” she said. “In order to continuously evolve, we bring in new ideas, people and processes to best address our customers’ needs.”
Decker holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Troy State University and has done graduate work at the University of West Florida and The University of Southern California.