The Best Advice: More Wise Words From 2017’s WIT Leadership Award Nominees

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, this blog is part of a Women in Technology (WIT) series honoring women doing amazing work across technology roles and organizations.   As we move towards WIT’s May 11, 2017 Leadership Awards event, we are featuring real life stories and insights of women who are rising, leading, and paving the way. 

This final installment of the “Best Advice I’ve ever received,” shows once again the diversity and wisdom emanating from our 2017 Leadership Award Finalists.  Take note and take some of this great advice to heart…..


Laura Downey, PhD, CIP Chief of Applied Architecture, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)  (Unsung Hero category)

“I am a high-volume, high-quality producer and as such sometimes I can be going 90 miles an hour with my hair on fire.  Best feedback I ever received was slow down and take a breath so that it gives your team permission to slow down and take a breath too."

Lisa FolkSenior Information Technology Consultant at Electronic Systems, Inc. (ESI) (Corporate Mid-Market category)

“As a little girl hearing, “Be a leader, not a follower” empowered me. As an adult, “You do best when you speak and act from the heart” keeps me humble and on the right track.”

Meghan Good Cyber Solutions Architect at Leidos (Technical Leadership category)

“The more you do, the more you can do.” Over the years, I find that taking one more class, starting one more project, having one more conversation, or sending one more email has opened up new opportunities for me. Those opportunities then lead to more actions and the chance to learn new things, try hard, and explore the possibilities.”

Lieutenant Colonel Samantha M. Haberlach Chief, Program Execution Branch, Plans and Integration Directorate, HQ United States Air Force (Women in Defense)

“Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, then respect their diversity and skills.  Because everyone is better than you in some way, even the newest and youngest team member.”

Heather Harinstein Senior Technical Account Manager at Microsoft (Unsung Hero category)

“From the time I was a little girl, my mom and dad have always encouraged me to try my best and not to be afraid to fail, which is something that holds true every day and I bring to my job daily.  It also has helped me in my career to put myself out there for new jobs, new projects, new opportunities that I might not think I was ready and/or qualified for.”

Joey Ho Technical Account Manager at Microsoft (Rising Star)

“Someone once told me “People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be.””

LTG(ret) Patricia Horoho Managing Director of Accenture Federal Services Military Health (Women in Defense)

“Figure out what your passion is and to pursue it wholeheartedly; don’t get distracted and have an impact no matter the challenges which may come.”

Meagan Metzger  Founder Dcode42 (Small Business/Entrepreneur category)

“You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable, meaning that you need to be willing to do things a little outside your reach. That’s how you’ll grow.”

Jen Mellon Founder Trustify (Small Business/Entrepreneur category)

“My first boss, Kerry Mark Hasenbalg, told me early in my career to always work with diligence and excellence.  13 years later I see that the best work I produce and my best employees have these core values in common.”

Lisa Mayr Chief Financial Officer at Blackboard (Corporate Mid-market category)

“Don’t be afraid to be fired. Taking risks is part of leadership.”

Ashley Mahan Evangelist at the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) (Government category)

“Surround yourself with good, bright people who have a true moral compass and congruent values, but who also approach and think about things differently. Create space for divergent thinking to enable creative insights and collaboration, which frees teams from the confinement of the status quo in order to stay relevant.”

Anna Levine SAIC Vice President for IT as a Service (Technical Leadership category)

“With a positive view in life, there is always something good that comes out of a negative event. You have the power and opportunity to change the course of your journey.”

Naina Leo Senior Vice President, Civilian at Octo Consulting Group (Corporate Mid-market sector category)

“As my father (and mentor) told me, the minute you stop touching the business is the minute you stop understanding the business. That’s also the moment leaders stop adding value and their effectiveness begins to wane along with their reputations.”

Meena Krishnan President and CEO at Inoventures, LLC (Corporate Small Market Sector category)

“Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries.”

Priyanka Komala Technology Leader at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine  (Rising Star category)

“Be prepared and position yourself for future opportunities – received from my mentor Judy Marks, CEO of U.S Seimens.”

Nazzic Keene Global Markets and Missions Sector President at SAIC  (Corporate Large Market sector category)

“In my early days of leadership, the CEOs had a philosophy of ‘run the company so the best people love it’.  That simple phrase has stuck with me for my entire career and I use it as a reminder in many decisions I make as we are only great leaders when surrounded by even better people.”

Michelle Kang Founder of Cognosante (Corporate Mid-market sector category)

“From very early on, my father always said “you can do anything; there is nothing you can’t do because you are a girl.””

Dr. Margaret (Maggie) Hurwitz Applied Sciences Coordinator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Rising Star category)

“The importance of sleep.  Creative thinking and productivity really depend on being well-rested.”

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