The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Awards were announced March 25, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person May 11 at the The Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia.
Next is Chief Operating Officer (Private & Public) finalist Heather Conigliaro, COO at SkyePoint Decisions. Here, she talks key recent achievements, career turning points, career advice and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2021/2022?
Maintaining operations for SkyePoint in a remote capacity for more than two years without skipping a beat has been a key achievement for sure, as well as helping the company to transition into the role of a prime contractor in late 2021/early 2022.
This has been the most exciting, humbling and game-changing achievement for the company, our team and myself. With the help of some key individuals, and a lot of hard work, we transitioned from being 3% prime to 35% prime over a 60-day period.
This has opened career opportunities for our staff, afforded a greater ability to compete for our growth team and has established our credibility as a market leader in delivering specialized cybersecurity services to the federal government.
What has made you successful in your current role?
Hands down, my team! Without the support of others, I don’t think you can truly be successful. My operations team helps to keep things moving every day. We’ve been together for several years now, and it’s so important to know that when I need to focus on things outside of the day-to-day whirlwind, my team has things covered.
The executive team at SkyePoint supports me every day as well. From helping to prioritize when the big picture gets lost in the day to day, to offering advice and guidance. It’s a lifeline that I’m grateful to have.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
I started my career at SkyePoint almost eight years ago and made the move from (very) large business to (very) small business. That was definitely the main turning point in my career.
The leap to small was quite a change — both operationally and culturally — however, I quickly learned that I could thrive in a small business because the sky was the limit. You are “forced” to wear many hats, which provides so much opportunity to learn and grow, and more challenges to tackle each day.
I’m grateful for the foundation I built at my previous large companies and had the best leaders guiding and teaching me, but joining a small business forced me to entirely own my role and allowed me the space and opportunity to exponentially advance my career.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
I’m proud to have been a part of helping to mature the organization since I joined SkyePoint. I have helped create new policies that benefit our employees, new processes that streamline operations and provide efficiency and scale and most importantly (to me), I am proud to be part of a team that has more grit and perseverance than any other team I’ve ever been a part of.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Learn, be a sponge, offer to take on duties even when they aren’t yours to take on and always ask others if you can help them. I believe the best way to learn is to do, and I don’t believe any task is “beneath” you. You will learn something from anything you tackle, even if it’s how best to delegate that task in the future!
And my biggest piece of advice would be to never use the words, “It’s not my job,” I think that’s a surefire way to set a bad example for those learning from you, decrease motivation with your team and ensure others won’t be inclined to help you when you need it.
Keep growing, learning and don’t be afraid to tackle something new — you’ll find that the sky will be the limit for you, too.