The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 11, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person Nov. 30.
Next is Artificial Intelligence Industry Executive of the Year (Private Company) finalist Kristen Cheman, who’s senior vice president of digital and analytic solutions for LMI. Here, she talks key achievements, success in her current role, career advice and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2021/2022?
Throughout 2021, as LMI’s director of data operations and acting director of enterprise operations, I was responsible for $35.5 million and 163 employees before transitioning to my current role, where I lead our digital and analytic solutions practice as senior vice president. I head over 550 data scientists, developers, engineers, and other IT and analytics practitioners and manage upwards of $100 million. In my first 9 months in this senior leadership role, I achieved 24.9% year-over-year revenue growth, a low attrition rate, and hired 131 new employees.
What has made you successful in your current role?
First, Iet me define what success means to me because that is different for different people. It’s a combination of accomplishment and fulfillment. It’s easy to get caught up in climbing the corporate ladder and forget about your purpose, your passion, and what really makes you happy.
I work hard for my accomplishments. However, I thank a circle of smart and supportive mentors and teammates for my fulfillment. It’s a privilege to be part of a team that gets me excited to go to work every day, that I have fun with, and with whom I make an impact. I must call out my current boss ⏤ Josh Wilson ⏤ for leading by example, promoting me to others, and lifting me up at every opportunity.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
I am so proud of the evolution at LMI that I’ve been a part of since I started in 2010. When I joined, our IT and analytics practice had around 30–40 employees and now we have over 550! It excites me to watch us add new capabilities, expand into new markets and customer spaces, and combine subject matter expertise with technology in unique ways, because that’s how we bring the best ideas to our customers and offer the best projects and leadership opportunities to our employees. We’ve transformed our business model completely to innovate at the pace of need, while holding firm to our culture and values.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Once you figure out what you want from your career, go after it! Set goals that align to your vision and work toward them every day. Tell everyone what you want. Have the courage to take on experiences to fill in your gaps and continuously ask for feedback on your progress. I’m so fortunate to work at LMI, where I can choose my own adventure, volunteer to try or learn something new, and have the organization’s full support along the way.