… is in our name — “Freedom.” The company was created to provide its employees with the “Freedom” to grow and focus on their skills, and not worry about red tape or jumping through corporate hoops. Our goal is to provide an environment and culture that allows our employees to succeed and grow as IT professionals, and enjoy the journey along the way. At Freedom, we have created a culture where information and expertise are shared, allowing both junior and senior engineers to thrive.
Freedom was founded with the idea of building a company free of encumbrances, a company in which employees had the freedom to be creative and innovative. It is that Freedom, our love for technology, and the integrity of our employees that enable us to deliver exceptional solutions to our clients. FCG is a company in which honesty, integrity, and trust are valued above all else. The founders believe that these values and our reputation are fundamental to our success and aim to instill these values in all who work for Freedom. We don’t believe a quick buck is worth sacrificing our values, nor do we believe in “spin.” We treat our clients with respect and “tell it like it is.” Such an approach builds trust, which in turn enables us to work in closer cooperation with our clients to ensure their success. It is through the success of our clients that we measure our own success.
At Freedom Consulting Group, we believe our reputation is the foundation of our success. We ensure our clients always come first and provide them the highest quality of work in order to help them achieve their goals. We do this through the creation of positive relationships with our clients and providing proactive management of our highly trained team of engineers. Our technical teams focus on using the right technology to create flexible, long-lasting solutions for our clients.
When establishing Freedom, the founders’ intent was to build the type of company they want to work for. They wanted to create a company where its clients and employees were the most important part of the business. Freedom thrives on the mutual success of its employees and clients — for us, there is no greater achievement.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
As a Sr. Program Operations Manager for Freedom Consulting Group (FCG), my team develops the organization’s Geo Spatial software Geographic Information System (GIS) and location-based software solutions through Agile Engineering and DevOps for large development. I also serve as the Advanced Scrum Master using SAFe framework including leading scrum meetings, sprint planning, and release planning to gather customer requirements and translate them into stories points and formulate completion criteria and blockers. My goal is to improve communication between myself, team and the customer. I establish regular feedback sessions and advanced reporting practices in a on site and remote work environments.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is being able to help foster the growth of my team. Being able to lead new teams is also very beneficial as it allows me to interact with different people and learn about their different learning styles. Being able to acknowledge the strengths of each individual allows me to help them grow. As a Program Manager, I am able to reinforce my own knowledge and experiences.
Due to the emergence of Covid-19, many organizations had to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. This lead to new processes and technologies that can hinder productivity and lead to employee dissatisfaction. I’ve been successful by providing the most effective ways to avoid this is by taking small steps to make sure that my team and customer is on the same page.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
I studied Sports Medicine but soon realized that the medical field didn’t fit the drive that was inside me. I applied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). My first job was a Fingerprint Examiner for the FBI. This was the start of my career with the government. I continued my passion for Defense work. The idea that I was preventing and ensuring national security satisfied the hunger inside me.
Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in a small town in West Virginia (WV). The oldest of three. I was a outgoing child, very athletic, participate in a lot of activities in school and outside of school. I grew up in a era where women were taught to become homemakers/wife not career women. My father was my main supporter in my life guiding me with leadership skills and encouraging me to follow my dreams regardless of being female. He always encouraged me by telling me “the world is always in need of a strong women in high heels, high standards, and high expectations. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure always leads to greatness”. I am highly motivated and ambitious, he brought out the strong woman that I am today.
Can you share some details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
I have 23 years of experience in Leading Information Technology Systems including Development, Security, and DevOps. Total of 15 years working with FBI. One of the most critical moments in my career was making a decision to leave the FBI and enter into the private sector world. I realized that life is way too short to apologize for taking risks. The bureau taught me to be diverse. I never longed to follow the pack. I had a drive to find myself in this world. I found myself by peeling off years of social conditions that existed as “a woman’s place” in a career environment. I’m where I am today because I un-masked that childhood girl that my father raised to be a strong and independent woman.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
Currently in my career, I’m professionally where I want to be. My career advancement with FCG has taken my career to the next level on a corporate platform. I’m very fortunate to work for a company that is growing. FCG recognizes new talent regardless of gender, race, and background. The company remains a small company culture and encourages professional
For people who are looking to write a similar story, what advice can you provide in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?
Advice that I would provide to women and men out there is to find your passion. Your passion isn’t just about money or career, it’s about finding yourself. Find what drives you, what makes you happy. Don’t remain in a career that bury’s you beneath work or other people. Find a company, like FCG, that’ll encourage the best for you. Accept change, attach yourself to a mission, a calling and a purpose. That’s how you find success and peace.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, and reading.
How do you compartmentalize the demands of your career with the interests of your personal life?
Being your best is very important in order to have a more balanced perspective on life and to be able to make the most of the opportunities that come with being in this industry. Avoid taking on everything in life in order to be your best. Being selective don’t get carried away by the opportunities that are available. Maintain a healthy balance between your personal and professional life. Pursue your passions.
Coffee, tea, or neither? How many cups?
Tea! As many as needed.
Do you have any recommendations for publications, books, or podcasts?
I recommend the following books : Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, Lefi Babin and The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford
What advice do you have for current college students or recent college graduates?
If you want to get a job that you love, don’t settle for a job that you don’t want. In your career, take risks. One of the most important lessons that this economy has taught us is that we should always take risks. There is so much that can go wrong in our lives that we can’t get ahead unless we take risks. One of the most important things that you should do when it comes to your career is spend more time with people. This will allow you to develop a stronger relationship with them and avoid getting lost in the endless world of technology. Travel as much as possible. Because of the global economy, companies are looking for the best talent regardless of where they are located. By traveling and experiencing the world, you will be able to take advantage of this opportunity and provide companies a diverse employee. Find a mentor. I believe that you need to find someone who will support and encourage you, and who will also be able to provide you with the necessary advice and guidance. Having the right mentor will allow you to achieve your goals and stay on track.
Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in the military. My dad served in the Army for 22 years. My mom was a stay-at-home parent until I was about 10 years old. She then went to work in the retail facilities on the military base. My older brother experienced a bit more travel than did, however we were mostly stationed in Massachusetts and Maryland. As a child, I was always fascinated with learning and teaching. I enjoyed school and loved reading and writing.
What inspired you in picking your career?
I had a speech and communications instructor in college, that inspired me to pursue my career in adult learning, training, and human resources. She always encouraged her students and provided us with the tools to be successful. Most importantly she allowed me to get over my fear of public speaking!
What has your career path looked like in tech and the various positions you’ve held before joining Freedom?
This is my first experience with the tech field and it has truly been eye opening (in a good way!). For most of my career I have worked with employees in higher education and financial services and it has been really interesting how my experiences in those industries have helped me here.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position at Freedom?
I am an HR Generalist responsible for onboarding new hires. I also assist the HR Manager with general day to day administrative duties.
What has attributed to your success thus far and what types of obstacles have you had to overcome along the way as a minority in your career?
Never stop learning! Things are always changing and it important to stay up to date with the latest and greatest if you can. Also, its important to network and collaborate with others in your field. Throughout my career I have found that many times, if I am searching for a solution to an issue or trying to find a resource the greatest amount of help has come from someone I have connected in the industry.
What advice would you give to other minorities who are considering career options?
Be your biggest cheerleader and maintain high standards! Always remember that you are worthy of every opportunity that comes your way. While general awareness of the problem of diversity in the tech industry is a step forward, to make a lasting change, real actions need to be taken. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on what companies or employees can do to step up and make a difference? I think that the most meaningful way for a company to make meaningful contributions to their diversity initiatives is connecting youth and young adults with the communities around them, particularly partnering with local schools, colleges, and universities. I have personally been on the receiving end and the organizational side of this experience, and it is very rewarding. It is something that can truly make a difference in someone’s professional and personal life.
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