FedScoop’s Best Bosses in Federal IT
This awards list was created to celebrate champions of federal technology, including WWT's Rick Piña.
At the helm of the most successful IT organizations across government are leaders who demonstrate vision and inspiration, rallying their teams to deliver innovative technology solutions to serve American citizens.
FedScoop’s Best Bosses in Federal IT awards list was created to celebrate these champions of federal technology.
The list of winners comprises CIOs, CISOs and other tireless federal IT decision-makers striving to deliver on their agency’s mission and serve the American public through technology. The list also includes leaders from industry who play an instrumental role in working with federal agencies to provide the mission-critical commercial technologies they use.
Nominees were sourced from community nominations and the winners chosen through open voting over the last several months.
FedScoop interviewed the winners about the importance of federal IT leadership, the advice they have for the next generation of leaders and some of the best lessons they’ve learned to get to this point in their careers.
Please join us in congratulating the winners (including WWT's Rick Piña) and see their thoughts on federal IT leadership in profiles.
FedScoop interviewed the winners about the importance of federal IT leadership, the advice they have for the next generation of leaders and some of the best lessons they’ve learned to get to this point in their careers. The complete Q&A between Rick and FedScoop’s Jackson Barnett can be found below.
Q: What does it mean to be a leader?
A: While serving in the U.S. Army, leadership was first defined for me as “the ability to influence soldiers in the accomplishment of the mission, while providing them with purpose, direction, and motivation.” However, the definition that I use for leadership takes what it means to be a leader a step further to further encompass all involved in that process. To me, leadership is a servant relationship which facilitates human development. It is founded in your commitment to the people you have on your team and your tireless dedication to helping them become the best versions of themselves.
Q: How does good leadership affect the management of federal technology and driving outcomes for the American public?
A: Leaders chart the course; managers steer the ship. Leaders have to be visionary to establish direction and set forth the right path toward success and accomplishment of the ultimate mission, whatever that may be. When good leadership establishes this effectively, their managers are then able to put that system to work in order to achieve the mission. In the ever-changing environment of federal technology, it takes good leadership to see what is ahead on the horizon and what is coming next in IT so that we are prepared. For me, I do as best as I can to keep this top of mind while remaining committed to our people.
Q: What advice would you pass on to those interested in pursuing a leadership role such as yours?
A: I am an engineer and I love machines for the sheer fact that you can determine when they work and when they don’t; however, if you want to be an effective leader, you have to constantly remember that people are not machines. They are not static, they are not binary, they are not made up of 1’s and 0’s. Leadership can get messy, especially when you are dealing with the complex nature of human beings. It takes good leadership to be able to deal with real people facing real challenges and engage them in real ways.
Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned to get to this point in your career?
A: When I was 18 years old, a private in the U.S. Army, the son of immigrants who had just emigrated to this country from the Dominican Republic, my expectations for my career and what could be ahead of me were low. Thankfully, there was a leader, who at the time was my first Company Commander, who saw something in me that I did not see in myself, and he invested his time and his leadership in me. His mentorship as a leader and investment in my potential influenced me to become the man I am today, and we are still friends to this day because of it. I equate that type of leadership to “being a gold digger”: everyone has gold inside his or herself; as a leader, if you care enough to do so, you can keep digging to find the gold in every person.