Maisha Glover, senior vice president in Booz Allen’s National Security business, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding her strategic goals for the company as well as the challenges to increase transparency, diversity and innovation in the intelligence community.
In addition, Glover also discussed the advantages of a hybrid cleared workforce, the challenges and opportunities of being a woman in the technology field as well as a parent and working mother during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“As we talk about opportunities for the working moms in our sector, this is a great time to provide opportunities for upskilling and retooling, where applicable. Coming out of the pandemic where some working moms took a step back or considered leaving the workplace, it’s a great time to think about how to create new opportunities out of those situations.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Maisha Glover below:
ExecutiveBiz: What are your strategic goals for the coming year with Booz Allen? What do you hope to accomplish for the company in the coming year?
Maisha Glover: “At Booz Allen, our work positions us at the intersection of mission and technology across a wide range of clients and critical programs. As a result, one of the value propositions we offer is the ability to work shoulder to shoulder with our clients to propel their mission forward.
At a high level, our goal is to create complex solutions that tackle complex challenges. We accomplish this by partnering with our clients and harnessing our understanding of their mission needs along with our integrative consulting experience to provide them with the right combination of strategy and technology to help them realize their vision.
As a firm, we empower people – our colleagues, our clients, our communities – to change the world. It’s our purpose, and it’s what we do every day through the expression of our values. But it also begs the question: How do you empower people and inspire them to do things differently?
Personally, I’m focused on creating platforms to cultivate an environment of inspiration. I believe success is not about accomplishments and accolades; it’s about inspiring our people to bring their whole selves to the job and do their best work.
My strategic goal for the coming year is to inspire people to address the complex situations and challenges that our nation is facing, and our clients are grappling with, that will require outside the box thinking and solutions.
Our teams create solutions and platforms through robust problem-solving sessions, and our intent is to not only be reactive to the government’s requirements. We’re directly helping our clients think through where they want to be in the future.
Ultimately, the adversarial threats at our doorstep aren’t siloed. They aren’t packaged into a box that you can just pick up and move. These are complex problems and Booz Allen is working to create platforms for our people that can have those integrative discussions.
The key is an integrated, holistic approach instead of siloed constraints. This is very exciting because we’re creating new solutions that keep us at the tip of the spear of the mission we’re working with our clients to achieve.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are the advantages of a hybrid cleared workforce approach? What kind of influence does it have on an organization’s culture?
Maisha Glover: “There’s a war for talent right now in the federal landscape, especially when you start thinking about the national security sector and the necessity for high security clearances for people to support complex missions. It’s a very dynamic market. But one of the value propositions Booz Allen offers is that we live by our company values.
One of our values is collective ingenuity. It’s about pulling diverse minds together and problem-solving with speed and agility. We need to be resourceful and creative. The key is to really harness the power of diversity of thought.
Harnessing the power of collective ingenuity, we have been experimenting with a nontraditional approach known as a hybrid cleared workforce. This refers to a framework that could allow the national security clients to use digital experts, who are skilled and processing for clearances, but not yet cleared, to drive forward in support the mission?
In our program, for example, uncleared developers in the process of obtaining high-level security clearances developed code, which the classified team securely migrated onto classified networks.
This approach offers several advantages. First, it minimizes the number of staff required to work in Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities. Second, it allows the IC and national security community to complete highly technical work more quickly.
From a culture perspective, this approach also boosts productivity, morale, and resiliency. Plus, national security agencies receive advantages across three dimensions, working with teams which are digital enabled, distributed geographically, and diverse in background and perspective.”
ExecutiveBiz: How can we increase transparency, diversity and innovation in the intelligence community?
Maisha Glover: “The intelligence community faces unique and diverse threats, so it needs an equally diverse workforce. There have been some gains in this area, but there is much more work to be done.
According to the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Annual Demographic Report for Fiscal Year 2020, released last July, the percentage of minorities and the percentage of persons with disabilities in the IC civilian workforce increased slightly from FY2019 to FY2020.
The percentage of women remained the same. Despite the increases, the percentage of minorities at the senior executive level across the IC stands at just 15.4 percent, according to data released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
Several Agencies are prioritizing recruitment and retention of underrepresented communities, and having leaders of the organizations be more open and visible on social media, conferences and industry events, and on campus events.
This type of visibility can go a long way in helping the IC recruit employees from diverse backgrounds, and helping prospective employees see a role for themselves in the IC. Moving forward, the IC should also focus resources on upskilling and retooling the workforce, enabling employees to build expertise in new areas and in more geographically dispersed regions.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are the challenges and opportunities of being a working mom and woman in tech?
Maisha Glover: “I get a lot of questions about being a working mom and a woman in tech. First and foremost, this isn’t an easy job for anyone. It’s extremely challenging to balance client demands, corporate responsibilities, speaking engagements, and performance reviews with homework, extracurriculars, and birthday parties.
It’s a constant juggling act, but I feel balancing the two lives of being a woman in tech and a mom at home has made me a more empathetic leader.
One of the things that the pandemic showed us is that many people are facing similar challenges. As I listened more to my teams, I became more empathetic. It’s also been a great opportunity to mentor the next generation, and it’s something I feel very strongly about in my career. We should all be paying it forward somehow.
As we talk about opportunities for the working moms in our sector, this is a great time to provide opportunities for upskilling and retooling, where applicable. Coming out of the pandemic where some working moms took a step back or considered leaving the workplace, it’s a great time to think about how to create new opportunities out of those situations.
I am heavily focused on being an authentic and empathetic leader for Booz Allen and creating opportunity platforms for the next generation of people I get to work with and mentor.”