Education: BS, University of Arizona
First Job: Aside from babysitting in my high school years, my first official job was a receptionist/secretary for an automobile dealership.
What I'm Reading: Inferno, by Dan Brown and Winning, by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch.
My Philosophy: Embrace change. The past is the past and tomorrow is promised to no one, so make the absolute best of today. I try and remember this daily, in both my personal and professional life.
Headquarters: McLean, Virginia
Annual Revenues: $11.2 billion
Nazzic Keene • SAIC
President, Enterprise Information Technology Sector.2013 award winner
Much of my leadership style, and who I am today, can be attributed to the values instilled in me by my mother. She raised three children on her own, working full-time and raising three strong-willed daughters. With her as my role model, I learned very early in life the value of independence, resourcefulness, and how to embrace change.
As my career and my leadership style have evolved, I’ve tried to live and work by one simple principle: Do what you say, and say what you do. It’s simple, but powerful. It demonstrates a sense of transparency and ethics that is important to me personally and professionally. By staying true to your beliefs, the organization will always be a better place for it. This will ultimately create an environment of trust and collaboration throughout all levels of a team.
Through it all, I’ve also learned that it is important to be myself. I decided early on that my success would be based on my own style, hard work and merits, and originality. It is important as a leader to know who you are and appreciate and leverage your strengths. But it is just as important to recognize those areas in which your colleagues can help you become a better leader. For those starting out in their careers, it’s important to find your own style, learn how it best fits in with the organization, and always be true to yourself.
First and foremost, I am a mom, and like many working moms and dads, I have been faced with the challenge of balancing work and home. I am so proud of the young adults my children have become and I hope that I have been, and will continue to be, the positive role model to them as my mother has been for me. Much of my time outside of work, however little that is, is spent traveling or simply enjoying our home with my husband. I live to enjoy every day.
How has education affected your career?
I knew in order to succeed, I needed an education, and I did whatever was necessary to achieve that goal, juggling my studies and various full-time jobs to receive that degree.
What does it take to succeed and stay competitive in your position/field?
Surrounding yourself with a diverse team with different talents, strengths, and ways of solving issues creates a successful organization. Everyone has special talents.