Editor’s note: The winner of the Chief Officer Awards Private Company CTO Award announced June 17 is Allen Badeau of NCI.
On June 17, WashingtonExec will be virtually celebrating the most impactful and innovative C-suite executives in government and industry. These chief officers work in technology, security, data, operations, finance, business and more, excelling on both sides of the government contracting sector. Our team of judges have chosen the finalists for the inaugural Chief Officer Awards, so before we announce the winners during the event, we wanted to get to know those in the running a bit better. This Q&A series highlights their careers, successes, proud professional moments and notable risks.
Srini Singaraju is chief technology officer at Akima and a finalist in the Private Company CTO Award category.
What key achievements did you have in 2019?
Akima has grown a lot in recent years due, in part, to its large and diverse pool of services offerings. As we try to communicate our strengths to our internal and external stakeholders, we needed to “baseline” our services to match industry trends and our customer needs. Therefore, my key achievement in 2019 was to help define Akima’s strategy to clearly define these offerings.
What has made you successful in your current role?
The leadership and my colleagues at Akima care deeply about our customers, shareholders and fellow employees. This collegial and supportive environment makes my job that much interesting and easier.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
Understanding the importance of communicating technical topics to non-technical customers. A little over 10 years ago, I learned the importance of connecting with a non-technical audience while at Booz Allen from Dr. Mary Greene who was the program director on the CTSA Program. Her guidance helped me immensely in understanding the customers better and how to deliver better services.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
Being part of the team ushering in a positive change to position Akima for the future to deliver mission critical services to our government customers
What are your primary focuses areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
Bringing in innovation faster based on Design Thinking Principles. To be useful and successful there are three key questions that innovation needs to answer — is the solution better, is the solution lowering risks and costs of change and ultimately will there be stakeholder buy-in. Design Thinking helps answer these questions and provides for an easier path to leverage technology to deliver on mission objectives.
What’s one key thing you learned from a failure you had?
Perseverance is key to achieve one’s goals. When pushed against the odds to achieve the objectives, it is critical to not waver from the path and be laser-focused on the mission.
Which rules do you think you should break more as a government/industry leader?
It is more of adjusting procurement strategies to allow for niche and upcoming innovators to offer services to government and not be mired in old school ways while procuring for the future.
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?
The journey of getting to where I am. It has been an incredible journey from being a software developer to a CTO. I learned a lot along the way from several leaders and colleagues.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Work hard and believe in yourself to achieve your goals. Remember, there are no shortcuts and be open to constructive criticism. Often, it is easy to not see the big picture when you are in the trenches, it is essential to seek feedback and make any necessary course corrections to achieve the goal. Remember to look for a place where you can make a difference and not just simply another job.