International Women's Day: Celebrating the Women of Booz Allen Who Met the Challenges of an Unprecedented Year

Mar 8, 2021 8:20 AM ET

International Women’s Day is both a call to action for accelerating women’s equity and a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. This year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge.” Over the past year, women everywhere stepped up bravely and selflessly to confront a multitude of challenges that touched all facets of society. In recognition of their achievements, part one of this two-part series explores how the women of Booz Allen answered the call.  

Stepping up and “being human” during COVID-19

When COVID-19 upended work and life at the beginning of 2020, Booz Allen’s first response was to listen and understand what employees most needed. For working parents, priorities included childcare and learning opportunities, flexibility to balance home and work, and emotional and financial well-being.

Booz Allen, with support and guidance from leaders like Talent Strategy Officer Aimee George Leary, responded with updated benefits that reinforced the firm’s reputation as a best place to work.

“I’m proud of our legacy supporting and creating opportunities for the working mothers that are an essential part of our workforce and leadership, and who are doing critical work that empowers people to change the world,” George Leary said.

Throughout the year, the firm’s commitment to giving back endured—with Booz Allen focused on supporting its employees and the communities in which they live during a global pandemic. “Strengthening the communities where we live and work, particularly during such a challenging year, is core to Booz Allen’s purpose and values,” said Christine Hoisington, head of Booz Allen’s Community Impact and Philanthropy Team and executive director of the Booz Allen Foundation.

Throughout 2020, Hoisington and her team worked across the firm to develop a multifaceted COVID-19 response, investing in the health and financial security of Booz Allen employees, their loved ones, at-risk communities, and first responders, via donations to the CDC Foundation, Feeding America’s networks of food banks and community-based agencies, and more.

“It’s really about being human, and that’s what I’m most proud of,” said Nancy Laben, Booz Allen Executive Vice President and cofounding board member of the Booz Allen Foundation.

Protecting the nation while supporting each other

Veteran-founded Booz Allen has a longstanding commitment to supporting women service members, veterans, reservists, and military spouses. This support takes many forms, from offering flexible career paths and opportunities that leverage military skills to connecting women to resources, guidance, and support.

Shannon Page Katulich, a systems engineering project manager at Booz Allen and president of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of Women in Defense (WID), spoke last fall at a virtual event celebrating the WID Scholars program.

“My personal journey in the defense industry has been unique. Starting as a communications major from Pittsburgh, I never would have dreamt of being where I am now,” Katulich said. “I shared my story in hopes that it would inspire other women to confidently seek opportunities in defense and know that there is support for them throughout their career.”

Members of the military community find support for all aspects of life, including challenging times. Lead Technologist Laurie Bagley led the Family Readiness Group for the 351st Aviation Support Battalion, battled cancer, then lost her husband, Sgt. Robert H. Bagley, who served with the South Carolina Army National Guard. Last summer, she shared her story as part of National Military Appreciation Month.

“Had I not had the support of a caring career manager and job leader and the support of my clients, I don’t know where I’d be today,” Bagley said. “Booz Allen is my family. They just don’t say it, they mean it.”

Becoming stronger together

Booz Allen offers a variety of networks and resource groups to support its employees during good times as well as challenging ones.

Organizational Transformational Specialist Ebony Thomas and Senior Program Manager Marvette Cofield co-chair Booz Allen’s African American Network (AAN).

“Booz Allen can be a big place if you don’t have a network. We want to make sure people have the resources to be successful here,” Thomas said.

Over the past year, under leadership from Cofield, Thomas, Executive Sponsor Patricia Porter and the network leadership team, the AAN’s role pivoted and expanded. The network facilitated conversations across the firm, worked with leadership to shape Booz Allen’s Race and Social Equity Agenda, hosted the firm’s first Juneteenth celebration, and provided a year-long educational component where people can research and learn.

In February, Cofield and Thomas helped plan a full roster of Black History Month activities under the theme “Stronger Together: Reflecting on Our Resilience and Fortitude.” 

 “2020 brought everything to the forefront and brought a focus on where are we in America? Are we really making the strides that we thought we’ve made?” Cofield said. “We want to support African Americans at the firm and open up a dialogue. We’re part of the solution that will make a better firm overall.”

Learn more about diversity and inclusion and women making a difference at Booz Allen, and about Booz Allen’s commitment to advancing racial and social equity.