Position: Senior vice president and general manager, federal solutions group of Dynamics Research Corp., a company in Vienna that delivers professional services primarily to the federal government.
Career highlights: President, civilian federal services, Perot Systems Corp.; vice president, systems development group, Soza and Co. Before that, LeFevre spent about 20 years at Unisys Corp. in a variety of positions including senior program director, program director, senior program manager, and deputy program manager.
Education: BA, math, Rosemont College; course work in an MBA program, University of Houston.
Personal: Lives in Great Falls with husband, David B. Weisman. She has two grown children.
How did you get to where you are?
My career really started with getting involved early on when the software industry was just beginning. If you look at my age, software and building large software systems was in its infancy. I was fortunate in being associated with some very large complex systems, one of which was for NATO and it was a command-and-control system.
The other large software integration effort involved the NASA space shuttle program, where I was responsible for mission control center software. These programs required not only a technical competence but led to a large amount of management.
So after the technical experience I chose to move into managing larger and larger integration-type programs. There was a point in my career as a manager where I understood the necessity of being very involved in whatever problem my customer was trying to solve. And at that point, I moved from technical management into a more business-business growth role. I have focused on client relationships and business solutions ever since.
Whether my role was technical, management or business growth, the single most important aspect was listening. . . . Taking the time and having the patience to always listen to the parties of interest increases the probability of a successful outcome, and it requires a fair amount of discipline to do that on a continuing basis.
I learned the necessity of paying close attention on the NATO program where all information technology components were developed in the United States, but the users of this technology were from all of the NATO countries. And their command and understanding of English or our understanding of their languages at times were limited.
My sense of being a woman contributing in a predominantly male environment has been positive, but also challenging in terms of maintaining a professional, home and personal balance. I was fortunate for most of my career to have worked for organizations and have a management structure that maintained a balance in my life. My 25 years in the business was male-dominated, but the organization I was involved with always allowed me to be comfortable.
In order to feel comfortable, women of my generation were very strong. You had to have a strong self-image in order to survive. My sense is that women today are not as driven to want executive management positions as they were 20 years ago. There's a whole different set of values that are important to them, and executive leadership does not appear to be at the top of the list.
My aspirations at this point are to build a very strong, well-respected division for my new company, DRC, that will allow people to have as positive careers in the professional services industry as I've had.
-- Judith Mbuya