Booz Allen's Dr. Lauren Neal Wins National TIMMY Award for Best Tech Manager
“Leading technical teams has taught me that there is power in community and connection. When developing AI solutions, diversity is critical for designing technologies that benefit all people.”
-Dr. Lauren Neal, Principal, Strategic Innovation Group, Booz Allen
What does it mean to be an exceptional technology leader in 2020? It means going beyond the requisite duties to empower teams in a changing world. It means promoting career growth, performance, and a great team culture while delivering the highest quality products and services. And it means driving innovation and making technology a more diverse and inclusive space.
This fall, Tech in Motion recognized the leadership of Booz Allen Principal Dr. Lauren Neal by including her among its 2020 North American winners. Her award: Best Tech Manager.
Traditionally, TIMMY winners and finalists at this level have been consumer companies like Casper and Mercedes Benz and tech innovators like Audible, Eventbrite, and Venmo. Booz Allen was the only government contractor among Tech in Motion’s 2020 North American winners.
Reflecting the growing tech profiles of Booz Allen and Metro Washington
TIMMY Awards are first held at the regional level in cities across North America: Boston, New York, Seattle, Toronto, and Silicon Valley, to name a few. Washington, DC’s inclusion on this list reflects its growing profile as a commercial and innovation hub. The metropolitan region is home to the headquarters of companies such as Marriott International and T. Rowe Price, as well as Amazon HQ2.
Neal was chosen out of a diverse group of software engineering and technology start-up executives to become Best Tech Manager in the sixth annual D.C. TIMMY Awards. She is a leader within Booz Allen’s Strategic Innovation Group, which has since 2016 driven a culture of innovation aiming to connect people and ideas across markets, capabilities, and geographic distances. During this time, the firm has launched several new technology offerings. Examples include SnapAttack™, which helps security teams better understand and stay ahead of threats, and the COVID-19 Safe Return Simulator, which combines proven epidemiological modeling methodologies with sophisticated forecasting techniques to predict when communities are projected to be low-risk at a county-by-county level.
Recognizing leadership, innovation, and positive influence
“Lauren personifies the TIMMY Award criteria of leadership, innovation, and positive influence. This recognition is well deserved, and we are so proud to have her on our team,” said Booz Allen Senior Vice President John Larson. “The pandemic has made this an exceptionally challenging year, and Lauren has continued spur her team to great results, while fostering collaboration and inclusivity—traits that make a top manager.”
In areas from AI to data science, Dr. Neal has led engagements for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and military health organizations. Her teams have developed data solutions for medical imaging, electronic health records, wearable data, and tools to fight human trafficking, along with data science strategies in areas like population health surveillance and precision medicine.
Harnessing diverse perspectives for richer, more innovative solutions
Across the business world, diversity pays off. In the world of start-ups and venture capital, for example, diverse teams of founders and executives generate stronger results, like higher median realized on acquisitions and IPOs, versus all-white founding and executive teams. Research has also shown that demonstrating diversity encourages more innovative ideas, attracts talent, and signals to investors that an organization is well-run.
Neal has used her skills as a data scientist and as a leader to harness the power of diversity at Booz Allen. In 2016, she noticed in census data that the women’s entry into STEM careers was decreasing over time. Soon after she presented this data at a networking event, Booz Allen’s Women in Data Science group was born.
The innovative, gender-inclusive program is built on four pillars that aim to increase gender parity and racial equality: education, social good, sponsorship, and special projects. Women in Data Science helps employees accelerate their careers through creative learning initiatives like hackathons and coding tutorials, projects with community partners, mentoring initiatives to build confidence, and opportunities to increase visibility throughout the firm.
“Today’s accomplishment would not be possible without Booz Allen and my colleagues, and especially the Women in Data Science group,” Neal said. “Women in Data Science is an exceptional team of technologists who go above and beyond, from building AI solutions for local nonprofits to ensuring women technologists have the tools to be successful in their careers.”
“At Booz Allen, my goal is to ensure we have a community of women who feel they have pathways to become leaders, to be successful and to give them a supportive environment,” Neal said. “As tech leaders, we have the power to shape a future that values respect, equity, and opportunity for all.”