Fort Belvoir, Va., –
Editor’s note: This article is part of the Women’s History Month series featuring some of DCAA’s women leaders’ perspectives on leadership.
How do you climb to the top of the corporate ladder and become one of the top leaders in an organization? Does someone tell you that you have what it takes to be a leader? Do you need a detailed plan? Do you need a mentor to guide you? Do you need to study leadership? There are many paths to leadership and for Angela Moomand and Laura Michaels, the key was to look at challenges as opportunities for growth.
Angela Moomand, Corporate Audit Director for the Lockheed Martin-BAE Corporate Audit Directorate believes the most rewarding opportunities come from the most challenging positions. Angela has been with DCAA for over 30 years, beginning as an auditor and rising to Senior Executive Service level, the highest level of DoD civilian leadership. Her climb to Corporate Audit Director required her to challenge herself, seek new positions and dare to try new things. Today, she still strives to have a great impact for the Agency.
During her path to leadership, she challenged herself to look for ways to improve the Agency, step outside of herself and question the normal processes. At DCAA, she did not progress linearly, but took on many different jobs, moving laterally and even stepping back to obtain experience in positions important to her growth. Challenging herself in new positions took her across continents and out of her comfort zone at times. All of those experiences helped her grow professionally and personally and relate to others better. She also focused on self-improvement, looking at her faults and working to improve them. Seeking and listening to the advice of others was also important to her growth as a leader. Her advice for those who desire to be a leader, “learn continuously, learn about yourself, seek feedback and try new approaches.”
Laura Michaels, Corporate Audit Manager in the General Dynamics-Raytheon Technologies Corporate Audit Directorate has a similar philosophy stating, “In order to grow you need to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone. However, as you take on new challenges, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.” Laura began as an auditor in the Air Force Audit Agency and has moved up to her current position of Corporate Audit Manager where she is responsible for three field audit offices. She took her first leadership position of supervisory auditor on the advice of her supervisor. She has always looked to learn new things and believes gaining experience by volunteering for challenging assignments or ad hoc teams is a great way to grow and is something that got her noticed.
Laura is also a strong believer in the mentoring program and recommends to those who aspire to leadership positions to participate in the program. Good mentors will help you identify your strengths and areas needing additional development. Mentors challenge you to move outside of your comfort zone, which will strengthen and develop skills. “Mentors are there to support you. That’s something we all need,” stated Laura. “I think we can all benefit by both being a mentor and also from being mentored.”