WashingtonExec has awarded 10 members of Booz Allen Hamilton’s executive team with the Longevity Award, which recognizes executives who made outstanding contributions to their companies throughout the years.
Those executives are President and CEO Horacio Rozanski; Chief Operating Officer Kristine Martin Anderson; Chief Financial Officer Matt Calderone; Civil Sector President Richard Crowe; Global Defense Sector President Judi Dotson; National Security Sector President Tom Pfeifer; Chief Legal Officer Nancy Laben; Chief Technology Officer Susan Penfield; Chief People Officer Betty Thompson; and Chief Administrative Officer Jen Wagner.
Collectively, this team brings over 175 years of dedication to the firm. Yet, this recognition of commitment is one of culture. The consistency of leadership has allowed for a culture that can adapt to societal, economic and innovative changes. This leadership team also laid the foundation for this adaptive culture for years to come.
“We are intentional about building a culture of empowerment where we can grow innovative future leaders from within,” says Penfield, who has been with Booz Allen for 29 years. “I enjoy the challenge of transforming and growing businesses within the firm.”
Before being named CTO, Penfield led the firm’s strategic innovation initiatives, health and digital business. She remains committed to catalyzing technical growth for the firm’s talent. This year, Booz Allen launched its Technical Experience Groups, firm-sponsored and member-led communities to build affiliation, skills and career growth around critical technology domains.
“We’ve seen strong employee interest and engagement from the start with over 42% of the firm enrolling in these communities,” Penfield says.
In March, the TXG hosted the inaugural X Summit for over 2,500 employees with more than 40 employee-shaped sessions of luminary speakers, technical training, a hackathon and pitch competition and networking events.
Laben, who joined the firm in 2013 as general counsel, spent the past decade collaborating with colleagues, the leadership team and the CEO. Together, they have developed an evolving portfolio of enterprise functions aimed at positioning the business for the future as a technology-first market leader.
Today, she oversees the company’s Legal, Ethics & Compliance, and Corporate Affairs departments. These areas work together to support the firm’s business priorities, strengthen and integrate Booz Allen’s leading enterprise practices, provide expert counsel to manage risk and enable growth, and protect and enhance the firm’s reputation.
Outside her day-to-day responsibilities, Laben is committed to the firm’s culture, largely through its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
When Laben first interviewed at Booz Allen, she was “immediately drawn to the firm’s long-standing commitment to DEI because I saw that the organization’s purpose and values matched my own.”
“Working in corporate law throughout my career, I had first-hand experience in a field with historically limited gender or racial diversity – so supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has always been important to me,” she says.
This is one reason the Legal and Ethics & Compliance team recently underwent a 2-year process to become Mansfield Rule certified, which requires companies to include female lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities and lawyers of color as at least 50% of the candidate pool for top legal roles and outside counsel representation.
Diversity of gender, race, thought and perspective is a fundamental piece of the firm’s values and the leadership team’s focus. Thompson, who recently celebrated 15 years with Booz Allen having initially joined in 2008 as the senior vice president of human resources, says the firm’s purpose is to empower people to change the world.
“We can only do that if we design and cultivate an environment where all of our employees can achieve their full potential ⏤ and that work starts at the top,” she says.
Thompson brings over 20 years of experience directing human capital strategy and HR functions for a variety of large corporations in multiple industries. She joined the leadership team in 2011.
“As a leadership team, we believe that diverse perspectives and experiences broaden our conversations, power innovation, and ultimately drive business success,” Thompson shares. “Our Leadership Team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to leading by example, empowering employee potential, inspiring belonging, and using our voice to advance equity both inside and outside the firm.”
Booz Allen was ranked in February as No. 1 on the Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, which evaluates and scores the executive and board diversity of U.S. Fortune 500 companies.
This commitment to diversity translates to the firm’s overall commitment to people, and creating an environment for growth, both for the business and workforce. Calderone, who joined Booz Allen in 2000 as an executive in its Global Commercial business and returned in 2010 after a brief stint at another consulting firm, says Booz Allen always had an entrepreneurial culture.
“Our leaders actively work together to encourage that spirit in our people and across our organization ⏤ particularly as the pace of innovation and change rapidly accelerates,” he says. Calderone has held various leadership roles across the firm’s finance and strategy teams.
As chief strategy officer, he led Booz Allen’s M&A activity, long-term financial strategy, the establishment of its corporate venture fund Booz Allen Ventures, and the development of its VoLT growth strategy ⏤ focused on Velocity, Leadership, Technology.
Today, Calderone’s focus is on the firm’s financial performance, capital structure and related operations to drive shareholder value as the business evolves to meet clients at the intersection of mission and technology.
“Whether it’s incubating new products internally, leapfrogging tech cycles through M&A, investing in areas of hypergrowth, or offering employees opportunities to upskill and reskill in high-demand disciplines like cyber, cloud engineering, machine learning, and software development, a growth mindset is at Booz Allen’s core,” he says.
That approach is supported by the entire leadership team’s commitment to drive mission transformation ahead of the curve.
“As the industry’s long-term organic growth leader, we can continually invest back into our business and our people in a virtuous cycle that benefits clients, employees, and stockholders as we scale,” Calderone says.
Anderson has both benefited from this mindset and helped to cultivate it. She joined the firm over 17 years ago to help grow the health business. From there, she moved into a role leading its civil business to advance analytics, technology and consulting solutions for civilian agency clients.
“I came to Booz Allen from a startup and have continued to be amazed at the ways that a large organization can mimic a start-up culture,” she says. “Employees are empowered and encouraged to steward their careers. Developing leaders is part of our DNA ⏤ it spans the organization, not just at senior levels.”
Wagner, approaching her 30th year with the firm this fall, says her career has similarly always focused on empowering Booz Allen’s business, processes and people for the future. In her current role as chief administrative officer, she leads a firmwide effort to transform the shared services functions across IT, people services and finance, into one multifunctional team to optimize Booz Allen’s resources and scale with growth.
Over the past decade, Wagner has served in transformational operational roles, such as standing up the firm’s Enterprise Risk Management program and creating the Office of the CEO. Since 2012, she’s either supported or been a member of the leadership team, first as director of operations orchestrating the team’s agenda.
“This gave me immense exposure to senior-level thinking and taught me to put my ‘institutional hat’ on first when talking about firmwide topics so that we could make decisions in the best interest of the firm as a whole, rather than to benefit specific individuals or teams,” Wagner says.
This is a skill the firm helps leaders build across the business, whether they serve clients or enterprise operations. It’s a key component of one of the core company values, “passionate service:” to build community through generosity, and above all, embrace the mission.
“Living that value through our work is a foundational element of developing leaders at any stage of their career,” Wagner says.
The same sentiments ring true for other members of the leadership team. Crowe, who has been with the firm since 2004, started as a program manager for Booz Allen’s Army account. Since then, he has managed the Veterans Affairs Department portfolio, led the health business and served as chief growth officer. Today, he leads the firm’s civil business with a focus on driving growth and transforming missions across federal civilian departments and agencies.
“I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and Booz Allen has always supported my growth by empowering me to think differently and try new things,” Crowe says. “From engaging with employees to tackling client problems, harnessing the power of data has been instrumental to my success.”
Throughout Crowe’s career including at Booz Allen, he’s been intentional about collecting, understanding and using information to define pain points, identify solutions and drive change.
Dotson experienced similar growth at the firm. In her three decades at Booz Allen, she says she’s always been challenged and offered opportunities to grow, whether by helping the firm break into new markets, advancing its technical abilities or taking on new leadership opportunities.
“I am also grateful to have started my career with a degree in computer science,” she says. “Through early partnership with other technology leaders like Susan Penfield, we have had the opportunity to bring Booz Allen to the intersection of mission and technology.”
The firm’s growth mindset and its opportunities for new and challenging roles are “key to personal and professional development,” Pfeifer adds. He’s been with the firm for over 30 years. He describes his experience as an amazing journey, where he’s led business units focused on defense military intelligence, space, national agencies, the Air Force and NASA.
“I’m a life-long learner, a competitor, and technical integrator,” he says. “I’ve been built to begin and end with the mission-in-mind, that is what drives our focus on technology ⏤ we deliver, on time and on target support to our clients. To meet that goal, we do everything we can . . . and then, we look to do more.”
His time at Booz Allen has fueled his sense of urgency for transforming and strengthening the nation’s mission-critical combat and national security systems with an emphasis on robust resiliency, survivability and adaptability.
“My goal as a leader is to empower our purpose-built team to evolve the business closer to the mission through tech integration and innovation,” he says.
The most expansive career journey within Booz Allen, in terms of longevity and growth, is that of its CEO. Rozanski joined Booz Allen over 30 years ago as a summer intern working in the Buenos Aires office.
“At that time, I only expected to be here for a few years, but I enjoyed the work and loved the people,” he says. “I was always interested in learning and was provided with new opportunities to grow ⏤ and that has kept me here my entire career.”
After working in the firm’s commercial business, Rozanski was named chief personnel officer and later, chief operating officer, then president. In 2015, he became Booz Allen’s eighth CEO.
“Over the years of working closely with our visionary Leadership Team, we’ve collaborated to drive some of the firm’s most strategic initiatives,” he says.
This includes the firm’s successful 2010 initial public offering; defining its purpose of empowering people to change the world; and transforming over the last decade to bring technology and innovation to the forefront of its client mission work.
While the leadership team continues to bolster a foundation built on culture, growth, workforce empowerment and innovation, it’s also preparing the firm for change. It all goes back to adaptability.
“In this time of tremendous technological advancement, I believe we are going to see more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the 30 years since I joined Booz Allen. And I anticipate the next decade will bring massive change to our client’s needs,” Rozanski says.
In the firm’s next era, Rozanski says Booz Allen will scale to a greater level of industry leadership by supporting federal digital transformation and bringing more speed and innovation to address complex client missions of the future.
“Through our VoLT strategy, we are empowering our diverse talent to bring their mission expertise together with emerging technology to solve tomorrow’s challenges,” he says. “The Booz Allen of the next decade will stay ahead of the rapid pace of technological change, innovating with speed and agility, to achieve our vision of making tomorrow better than today.”