Culture News

Director of LMI's HHS/CMS Market on Becoming an “In-Demand” Colleague

July 29, 2019

LMI Staff

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Whitney Owen
Whitney Owen is a long-time veteran of LMI who interfaces with customers, satisfies client needs, and ensures deliverable quality. As someone who has moved up through the organization, Whitney spoke with us about her perspective on becoming an “in-demand” colleague who does whatever it takes to meet—and exceed—mission requirements.  

What are you responsible for as Director of LMI’s Health and Human Services (HHS)/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) market?

I’m responsible for making sure our current HHS/CMS clients continue to receive excellent service by maintaining client relationships. Along with my business development colleagues, I help identify new clients within HHS to expand our presence. Finally, I am responsible for profit and loss in the HHS market to ensure we use our clients’ resources effectively.  

How do you plan to grow LMI’s HHS/CMS market?

I am always collaborating with LMI’s service line teams to better define our capabilities and to expand our work across our current clients. We are working to identify existing capabilities that we aren’t currently providing to HHS/CMS to see if we can offer additional support to these clients. Although we currently support CMS and the Food and Drug Administration, we would like to grow our work within those agencies and expand into new HHS operating divisions, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies where LMI could be of service. We think that the work we have been doing with CMS for 23+ years can translate into these agencies as they implement policies to improve healthcare outcomes for Americans.

How has your experience brought you to this position, and what made you want to work for LMI?

I started with LMI in 2006 through the graduate fellowship program after completing my master’s degree from The George Washington University. I did not have a singular policy focus coming out of school; I received my master’s degree in public administration and was focused on government management and improving how the government operates. I was drawn to LMI’s not-for-profit mission, and I wanted to work alongside experienced individuals who had served in the government and military that I could learn from at an early stage in my career. I have been afforded several development opportunities during my tenure with LMI as a consultant and as I have progressed in management.  

How would you describe your leadership style, and what makes you a great leader?

I like to work with the team to get input and ideas—I enjoy working with others to achieve our client’s mission. When I need to make a decision, I do take input from others, but ultimately, I take the best information I have at the time to make an informed decision. I’m decisive, and although I know I won’t get 100 percent consensus, my goal is to help my team understand how I reached a decision.

What advice would you give to those who are just joining LMI as they look to advance their careers?

I often tell people when they join LMI that they want to become an “in-demand” person, always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done (even seemingly trivial tasks like taking notes or creating an Excel tracker). These tasks may not be the most glorious, but people will quickly take notice that they can rely on you to get the job done and will start to give you more meaningful work. Eventually, you’ll become more in-demand, people will start asking for you to be on their projects, and you’ll soon find yourself in the driver’s seat in terms of being able to make a choice on what you are working on. In short—just be willing to do whatever is asked and offer suggestions for improvement. You may have a fresh perspective on how to do things better.

Who has been your most influential professional mentor?

When I first joined LMI, I enjoyed the people I was working with and liked the company overall, but I didn’t love the work I was doing. John Handy, the former head of LMI’s Health market and former U.S. Air Force General, talked to me about what I wanted to do and gave me an opportunity to switch roles by moving into the Health market. I am so glad I made the switch—I’ve been in the Health market now for 11 years. John not only talked to me about my career and the importance of the mission, but he also checked in with me regularly about my personal life and my family. I learned from his example that it’s important to make a personal connection with our colleagues because we spend so much time at work.

Of your many professional accomplishments over the years, which one makes you most proud?

Being promoted as a young manager at LMI makes me proud—at the time, I was the youngest manager at the company by about a decade. I felt that LMI’s leadership put a lot of trust in me by giving me the role. I have tried to carry forward that mutual trust into each of my subsequent roles.

— Whitney Owen

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