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Great Tips For Navigating the Multigenerational Workforce

Incessant rain didn’t deter 110 attendees from attending an engaging evening of networking, educational and recruitment opportunities on January 17. WIT’s “Navigating the Multigenerational Office: Communication Strategies for Successful Teams” event, hosted and sponsored by KPMG at their DC office, and also sponsored by Fiscal Note, was a huge success.

The presentation featured moderator, Ginger Bonin, Managing Director, KPMG, who represented the Baby Boomer generation’s point of view.  The panel of generation representatives included Dawn Fournier, (Gen Y) an experienced marketer and Georgetown MBA student, Lisa Frumin, (Gen X), CEO, The Heart Alchemist, Leadership & Career Coach and Nora Chazan, (Millennial) a Senior Associate, KPMG.

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WIT Q&A - Sysenex Incorporated’s Laurie Wiggins

With October’s WIT Connect right around the corner, we sat down with panel moderator, Laurie Wiggins, for a quick take on some of the topics to be discussed during this Thursday’s panel discussion. Laurie is the CEO and Founder of Sysenex Incorporated, a systems engineering company, with 28 years of experience in engineering and business development.

An entrepreneur and an engineer, Laurie shared some thoughts around questions that will be asked of WIT’s panel of experts --

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WIT Q&A - NextGov’s Camille Tuutti

In preparation for next week’s WIT Connect Panel, we sat down with panelist Camille Tuutti, the Executive Editor at NextGov, to chat all things IoT. Camille is responsible for the editorial vision and strategy at NextGov, having previously served as editorial director at FedScoop, and prior to that, was a staff writer and "People" section editor at Federal Computer Week. Before that, Camille worked as a news editor and reporter, covering government contracting and IT.

A long-time journalist in the federal government space, Camille shared with us her thoughts on the Internet of Things; where she is seeing opportunities, challenges, and how government entities are taking advantage of IoT.

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Clarity, Vision and the Importance of Knowing What You Want

Clarity, Vision and the Importance of Knowing What You Want

By Shari J. Goodwin 

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Protecting Yourself - And Your Data - in an Increasingly Connected World

Connected devices are all around us; in the cars we drive, the smart thermostats we install in our homes and the smartphones we always have within reach. Take fitness trackers for example; according to Forrester Research, more than 20 percent of U.S. adults use a wearable device on a daily basis. These devices are counting our steps, monitoring our sleep patterns and helping us to live a healthier life. They’re also commercializing the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is changing everything from the way we deliver healthcare and receive in-home entertainment to how manufacturing facilities and other critical infrastructure run. Organizations around the globe are embracing IoT to listen to their data, analyze patterns and trends and make real-time, autonomous decisions at a massive scale. If the rise of these connected devices tells us anything, it’s that big data is here to stay - and there’s more to IoT than just being connected.

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Mary-Claire Burrick, President, Rosslyn Business Improvement District

Mary-Claire Burrick, President, Rosslyn Business Improvement District

by Trish Barber, President, 3WaysDigital

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Welcome to the WIT Women’s Business Owners Special Interest Group (WBO SIG) blog!

We had an impressive turn out for the Women Business Owner’s first Spring into Action session "Communicating, Writing, and Winning: An Insider's Guide to the Proposal Process" on April 26th at Venable with Tim Gibson as the speaker. Our series this Spring is focused on adding resources and information to your business owner toolbox that will help you to grow and protect your ideas and venture.

The feedback for Tim’s session was great, and we appreciate him taking the time to share his insights about how to win Government funding to help grow your business.  We asked him for a summary of his presentation. He sent a few tips for proposal writing and included some additional information at the links below. First the tips:
  • Proposal writing is much like taking a written exam. First, read the question.  If necessary reread it several times. Answer the question (proposal), clearly, precisely, understandably, completely, and with as much detail as required.
  • The goal is for the readers to understand what you propose to do with as little time/difficulty on their part as possible.  A hard to understand proposal … is a hard to fund proposal.
  • The proposal should flow logically from one concept to another.  Explain each concept “clearly, precisely, and understandably.”  If several concept/ideas/products will be put together into a component or deliverable, explain how this “integrating” will be done after explaining the individual parts.
  • If there are technical or programmatic risks to what you are doing, address how you will deal with those risks to minimize the Government’s risk.  Ideally, move any risk reduction forward in the schedule; this avoids cataclysmic problems at the end.  Do not try to hide the risk or hope the customer “will not see it.”
  • Never underestimate the power of a figure or diagram to explain something better than a page of text.  Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.
  • Facts work better than hyperbole.  If your company is great or your employees are more highly trained, explain why this is true, don’t just claim it.
  • Tailor your past performance section on every proposal, don’t just pull that section from the last proposal and recycle it.
  • Write in “one voice.”  Even if several people are collaborating, have one person go through and make everything read like one person wrote it because a “one voice” proposal is easier to read and looks far more professional.
  • Pay special attention to the Executive Summary. It is your “elevator speech” to get them interested and keep them reading.  If you wrote it early in the process, edit it last to ensure it reflects your final proposal and that it is as clear and compelling as possible.
  • Plan your time; avoid the dreaded weekender or all-nighter; and above all, good luck!
If you have questions, Tim would love to hear from you at [email protected].  His web site is  He also shared a shorter version of his presentation, which is available at:
We look forward to seeing you at Session 2 of our WBO SIG Spring into Action series, Protecting Your Business: The Nuts and Bolts of Navigating Contracts & Beyond, on May 31st!
Arti and Robin
Arti Varanasi, Chair, WBO SIG
Robin McDougal, Vice Chair, WBO SIG

Balancing the Genders in STEM

This month’s blog posting is an excerpt from the Diversity Best Practices newsletter.

Balancing the Genders in STEM
By Lindsey Clark, Member Research Analyst, Diversity Best Practices
Publication Date: May 24, 2016

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Erin M. Thorpe – Breaking Through the Jargon; Communications Break Through

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Erin Thorpe is assigned to USCG Command, Control & Communications Engineering Center (C3CEN) in Portsmouth, VA. Her responsibility is to oversee the security and accreditation of IT systems supported by the Communications Area Master Station Product Line.  Her USCG assignments include three USCG Cutters, an Aviation Training Center, a Sector Command Center (Search and Rescue Controller), and a District Telecommunications Office.  CWO Thorpe consistently seeks opportunities to mentor fellow Coast Guardsmen.  She is an active member of her community, volunteer tutor at a local elementary school and participates in various local charity events. CWO Thorpe is the proud mother of three amazing, high energy kids.

Which skills or attributes do you value most in coworkers that are just starting their careers?
Communications: being able to take complex information and translate it into something that anyone can understand, ability to make subjects approachable and not sound so scary. People in tech use dense language with a lot of jargon; especially in the military, acronyms are everywhere. I value being able to break away from buzzwords or terms that only your small work community can understand

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Sheryl Lemma – How to Stay Focused on Solving the Right Problems with Technology

Sheryl Lemma has over 20 years of experience in higher education technology and has been with Ellucian for almost 16 years. She currently serves as Director of Product Management, with responsibility for Ellucian’s document management solutions, Ellucian Mobile, and Ellucian Reporting, powered by Ellucian Ethos.

Prior to this role, she served as product owner on new product development teams in areas such as reporting, Ellucian Portal, ILP, and most recently, Ellucian Mobile. Before joining Ellucian, she worked as a Colleague and Unix system administrator at Lebanon Valley College. Sheryl is passionate about creating unique and exciting applications that solve people's business problems, and is looking forward to engaging in new areas.

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Lisa Wolford – Cruising Through Male-Dominated Fields and Becoming a Female CEO

An inspiring leader and Marine Corps veteran, Lisa Wolford, President and CEO, founded Constellation West in 1997 as a single mom needing a career that could help her better support her family, including a son with severe disabilities. A dynamic, financially savvy executive, she built Constellation West into a place “where extraordinary works” ‐‐ becoming one of the country’s fastest‐growing service‐disabled veteran‐owned, women‐owned, small disadvantaged businesses – attracting top talent, winning contracts ‘where no woman‐owned business’ had gone before, and delivering top cyber security, agile development, and IT systems solutions to help federal agencies tackle their toughest challenges.

What was the process like of starting your own company? Did you know other female CEOs?
Well scary. I had done an Entrepreneurship class in college along with others that really set me up well to run my own company, and I had a contract before I started the company (18.5 years ago) where I was an architect for client-server technology, which was really hot stuff back then.

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Sophia Paros – Finding a Career by Recognizing Your Strengths

Sophia Paros is the Cyber Technical & Development Support Team Lead of the Cyber Security Workforce Technical Programs Branch supporting the Cyber Workforce Development Division of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). In this role, she provides oversight and guidance to both government civilian and contract personnel to manage to cost, schedule and performance of the Information Assurance Support Environment (IASE) ‐ DoD’s primary source for Information Assurance training, policy & guidance, and Cyber Defender ‐ DISA’s continual cybersecurity awareness program. Sophia earned a dual‐Bachelors in Business and Information Systems from the Notre Dame of Maryland University, and a Masters of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University. She enjoys spending time with her Big Fat Greek Family, traveling, and crafting.

On sexism in the workplace:
I actually started off as a software engineer, so that’s really male dominated, and I was often the token female in the room or on the project or in the development phase, and it was hard to gain the same level of respect that my male counterparts did.

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Annelise Dubrovsky, Senior Manager, Product Development, Appian

Annelise Dubrovsky is a Senior Manager of Product Management at Appian, the world's leading Business Process Management company. Annelise has spent over ten years shaping, building, and delivering Appian’s product vision to more than 4 million users worldwide. She is the leader of a portfolio comprising five development teams, a co-author of Appian's patent-pending SAIL technology, and a frequent speaker to customers and prospects. 

Annelise is a long-standing champion of Appian corporate culture and an ambassador for women employees, serving as a mentor and board member of Appian's Women's Leadership Program.  She has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and lives in Herndon with her husband and daughter where she enjoys cooking in her free time.

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Sonya Jain, Founder and President, eGlobalTech

Founder and President of eGlobalTech, Sonya Jain, a PMI certified individual, has 20 years of Information Technology (IT) and management-consulting experience working primarily in the Federal Government sector. She founded eGlobalTech in 2004 with a vision of creating a family-friendly company based upon principles of the book Fish!: Bring a positive attitude to the job; be present; have fun; and make someone’s day! After more than a decade as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Sonya left to start eGlobalTech; determined to create a company that could be successful in providing management consulting services and be responsive to client needs.

YP team met with Sonya for a short interview to get to know her, here is a summary.

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Maria Sasinowski, Microsoft

Maria Sasinowski started at Microsoft less than three years ago as their first Federal Sales college hire in the pre-sales engineering role.  She has since been a key player in Microsoft’s first cloud deals for the intelligence community and lead the Windows 10 migration sales strategy for DoD. In November, she became an Account Executive on the Army team managing 350,000 users across give major commands. She will be the chapter lead for Girls in Technology NoVa next year and has been a guest speaker for girls in STEM at high schools in Metro DC.

YP team met with Maria for a short interview to get to know her, here is a summary.

What music are you grooving on?
Maria is so into Brian Adams' new rock/pop album and is a big fan of Sia.

Describe, anonymously or not, the best manager you know, and why they are so good at it.
Maria had 3 managers within 4 years whom she is grateful for different aspects of their managerial skills.  She had a hardworking technical manager who would fight for the team, another sharp one with great diplomacy and political skills, one who is big on recognition and awards and finally one who would treat the team with fairness.

Any tips on staying energized when the going gets tough?
Maria calls her favorite customer to cheer up and get some positive energy. However, she suggests to remind ourselves what gets us excited and employ that.

You win the lottery for $10 million. What do you do?
Maria would invest it and would not tell anyone! She also added that a vacation would be another way to spend the money yet it’s not enough to quit her job.

Suzanne Campbell, Director, Federal Systems Engineering, VMware Public Sector

Suzanne Campbell is a recognized business and technology leader in the Federal IT community. Her 20+ years of experience span tenures at VMware, EMC, IBM and her own consulting practice. Suzanne has accomplished a strong track record of success with over 14 years in leadership positions. Suzanne has led teams ranging from 10 to 100+ employees, exceeding business growth objectives and delivering successful customer business and IT outcomes. Suzanne thrives leading and growing high performing solutions and engineering sales teams, supporting team and individual development, and cultivating collaborative partnerships internally and with clients and solution providers across the Federal ecosystem. Her background includes expertise in software development, systems engineering, program management, pre-sales systems and solutions engineering, business and financial operations. Suzanne holds a B.S in Computer Science from Virginia Tech and is a certified Project Management Professional.

YP team met with Suzanne for a short interview to get to know her, here is a summary.

Describe, anonymously or not, the best manager you know, and why they are so good at it.
Suzanne thinks that the key characteristic of highly skilled managers are being a listener, not a teller and an enabler without micromanaging so that one can bring the best out of employees.

What music are you grooving on?
Suzanne is currently listening lots of pop as that’s what her 13 year old and 15 year old are into in addition to GarageBand. She enjoys 80s, 90s music.

Any tips on staying energized when the going gets tough?
Reframe the situation. Listen to the inside message because chaos is opportunity and solving means growth.

What are some of your favorite vacation spots?
Suzanne has a couple. SF for its innovation and beauty, DC for being the most powerful city, Italy is her favorite vacation spot and she also enjoys diving in Maui. She used to be a scuba diver!

Cyber Trends and English Lit – An Interview with Sara Abiusi

Sara Abiusi is a Managing Director with Accenture Federal Services. She is the Civilian Portfolio Technology lead and leads Technology for the US Postal Service account. She founded the Accenture DC Women in Technology program. Sara serves on the DC Board of Ascend – the largest PanAsian Professional Development nonprofit in the US and the board of the JHU Women in Business affinity group. Sara graduated in 1996 from Johns Hopkins with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Sara is married with two children: an eight year old daughter and a four year old son.

Which of your special projects or undertakings are you most proud of?
I helped launch a Women In Tech group at Accenture. We have a leadership series, we monitor cyber trends, and do other activities to ensure that we as a company can stay relevant.

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Founding, Managing, and Growing a Company – an Interview with Rebecca Andino

Ms. Rebecca Andino, founder and CEO of Highlight Technologies, LLC has supported Federal agencies as an IT professional, program manager, and business owner for more than 15 years. She got her start working as a database developer for the Department of State, and led technology projects for national security missions after 9/11. In the last 8 years, she has led Highlight Technologies to achieve steady, profitable growth, currently managing 14 prime contracts across a dozen federal agencies. Ms. Andino is passionate about creating a customer and team-oriented environment that takes chances on talented and hard-working individuals, invests in employees’ careers, and provides opportunities for professional growth.

What inspired you to found Highlight Technologies?
Coming up, I had some really positive experiences working with small companies. You can have a lot of impact, you can learn a lot and own your growth. The small company for which I was working ended up growing, but I wanted to use the skills I had learned to recreate that environment. I hire a lot of talented junior level employees, and mentor them in the world of government contracting, providing them with lots of opportunities to grow.

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Volunteer of the Year – An Interview with Michelle Richards

by Laura Harcourt

Michelle Richards leads the Mobility Solutions sales team dedicated to the National Security and Public Safety sectors of Global Business - Public Sector Solutions. An accomplished team leader, Michelle Richards holds key roles in WIT and Women of AT&T (WOA), currently: President, WOA MD; Chair, WIT Maryland Leadership Lunch; and Coach, Mt. deSales CyberPatriot Girls, where she engages students to explore STEM careers.  Michelle champions the WIT/WOA collaboration, launching the Maryland Executive Leadership Lunches, which she has chaired for the last three years, and supporting expansion to Virginia.  She launched the WOA cell phone drive to fund WOA MD Scholarships and expanded it to WIT to support GIT programs.

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Prosthetic Limbs and Caribbean Port Calls – An Interview with Amy Grable

Commander Amy Grable is currently serving as Product Line Manager for the Coast Guard’s Enterprise Information Systems Infrastructure. In this position she is responsible for delivering IT services to 42,000 men and women supporting every Coast Guard mission. Previous assignments include Commanding Officer of Electronic Systems Support Unit (ESU) Boston and other positions held at the Coast Guard Personnel Service Center, ESU Seattle, Acquisition Directorate, Research & Development Center, and CGC SPENCER (WMEC 905). CDR Grable holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Coast Guard Academy and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.

CDR Grable talked to the WIT Young Professionals about her achievements and career path. One of her proudest accomplishments, she said, was completing her training at the Coast Guard Academy. One of the country’s five prestigious federal military academies, the USCGA is extremely selective and well-established. Graduates of the Academy are obligated to serve five years in the U.S. Coast Guard. CDR Grable says her time there was physically and mentally difficult but she loved the challenge.

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