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 Healthcare Industry Executive of the Year (Public Company) finalist Lisa Slaughter, who’s senior vice president at Maximus Federal Services. Here, she talks key achievements, primary focus areas going forward, career advice and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2021 / 2022?
First and foremost, our work to help government agencies fight the COVID-19 pandemic has been our biggest achievement over these past two years. Since 2021, Maximus has supported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention VAX hotline that has helped millions of Americans access critical health information and schedule their vaccination appointments. It’s a direct connection between our team and the general public, and it speaks to the ethos of who we are as a company to help governments better serve constituents.
From a business perspective, one accomplishment that stands out is that we retained 100% of our recompete contracts this year. It is a testament to the confidence that government agencies have in Maximus’s ability to bring ongoing innovation and emerging technologies that drive efficiency and improve their performance.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
My career changed when I stopped being the only woman in the room. Over my career, I’ve seen dramatic changes as different perspectives are being more integrated into business areas and decision-making. That was a game changer for me and many others to have diverse voices participating on equal footing.
When I was younger, I would look around the room for some partnership. Being the only woman, you learned quickly that only you could make your voice heard. Then again, that’s a lesson that still holds true today.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
We’ve built an amazing team that really enjoys working with each other and do so cohesively. There’s a saying, “Many hands make for a light load,” and that’s reflected in how we approach challenges at Maximus. The team wants to help each other and not just focus on singular success.
I take great pride in how our team works together because it leads to us delivering better results for agencies. We understand our resources, we understand each other’s strengths, and we’re able to work together to bring out the best in all of us.
Simply put, I’ve got a great team that works hard. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.
What are your primary focus areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
My primary focuses center on the modernization priorities for federal agencies. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed critical issues around antiquated systems, particularly around how these systems communicate and exchange data. We’ve been discussing this a lot with our clients recently, about how to improve those processes with technology moving forward. Along those lines, data analytics is another critical area of modernization for public health.
The questions center on how we can modernize the way health agencies use data analytics to make it more effective. For example, can we improve the methods and timeliness of data sharing among federal and state agencies to provide a comprehensive picture of the situational status and trending?
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Do not be afraid to extend yourself, try new things and find out what you are truly capable of accomplishing. You must invest in yourself. Especially as you are starting your career, starting at a new company, or taking on a new focus, volunteer to lead that project and take on that task ⏤ look for ways to extend your comfort zone.
In particular, if someone believes in you enough to ask you to take on a new task or a new project, don’t turn it down because that person has confidence in your ability to succeed. In turn, this expands your knowledge and experience which you can draw upon for the future.