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 National Security/DHS Executive of the Year (Private Company) finalist Shannon White, who’s a partner at Guidehouse and the Department of Homeland Security leader. Here, she talks success in her current role, shaping the next generation of leaders, career advice and more.
What has made you successful in your current role?
I bring energy and enthusiasm to everything I do. I love my work, and knowing that every day I’m helping our clients help our country’s citizens.
Collaboration across the board is key. I know my team always feels supported by me. I’m hands on, but not a micromanager, so I create vision and seek collaboration from people on the team about how we’ll collectively achieve our goals. Collaboration is what makes Guidehouse who we are, and differentiates us from others in the industry.
How do you help shape the next generation of government leaders/industry leaders?
My most important job is helping people with their career paths. When I am able to promote professionals who I helped coach and mentor, I definitely feel a huge sense of pride. Nothing makes me happier than helping people find opportunities where they can thrive and be successful.
Part of that is encouraging risk-taking, stepping outside of the box of what your responsibilities are and volunteering for things you may not have thought of in your current role. When you hear someone mention a need in a meeting, say, “Can I help you with this?” Or identify gaps in your experience and proactively ask someone to help you find a way to bridge it.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
- Lead with your passion, build your capability to see how it can help our clients to deliver their mission successfully. When you are passionate about something the results will shine.
- Set goals but be flexible. Always be willing to change and learn. And remember to have fun along the way! You can’t know that you will have a successful career among the twists and turns, but if you set goals and remain flexible to take advantage of every opportunity, it will work out.