Booz Allen Stirs Spirit of Service through Leadership Development

What happens when a company selects 60 of its best performing employees to apply their technical, creative, analytic and other skills to solve some of the biggest challenges of the community’s nonprofits?   Families with seriously ill children can be served by improved programs; a provider of mental health services to veterans can better demonstrate its effectiveness; a charitable board can enhance its fundraising to help children.

For the third year, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Leadership Excellence for Senior Associates program combined leadership development with community support to demonstrate our employees’ Spirit of Service to communities in which they live and work. This summer, ten teams of employees led initiatives to provide expert consulting advice to local and national nonprofit organizations with missions as diverse as reforming services for veterans, leading the fight to treat and cure ALS, teaching girls to develop leadership skills through mentorship, and nurturing valued cultural exchange programs.

Part of an innovative program offered to the firm’s top Senior Associates, the Leadership Excellence Program has matched 27 nonprofits with teams of expert consultants over three years. The work, coordinated by Booz Allen’s partner, COMPASS, is donated to the nonprofits by the employees themselves, all of whom remain fully engaged in their work for the firm while spending their after-hours time on the nonprofit projects. While the nonprofits benefit from the knowledge and experience of the Booz Allen employees, the Senior Associates are offered a unique opportunity to put their leadership and management consulting skills to work to effect positive change.

This year, 60 Senior Associates formed ten teams – each guided by a “Champion” member of the firm’s leadership team – to deliver strategic solutions to the following nonprofit partners:

  • ALS Association
  • American Red Cross
  • Children’s Inn at NIH
  • Girls Inc.
  • Give an Hour
  • Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
  • Meridian International Center
  • Mt. Vernon Ladies Association
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund

Booz Allen Senior Associate Jo Ann Lata led a team of six who worked with The Children’s Inn (TCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).   TCI is a residential "place like home" for children and their families from around the world who are confronting rare diseases. Families stay together at the Inn while their children receive groundbreaking treatments at the NIH Clinical Center.

The Booz Allen team developed tools to assess the effectiveness of the therapeutic, recreational and educational programming offered to the families who stay at the Inn or undergo treatment at NIH, to enable The Inn leadership to demonstrate the impact of their programs and more readily assess where changes were necessary or desired.  The team concluded the project delivering an implementation plan to guide the rollout of the family programming assessment strategy.

Jennifer Luca, the Chief Program and Services Officer at The Inn said, “The team's ability to quickly grasp our unique mission and then apply business analytics to solve our business challenge was truly exceptional. We now have a comprehensive evaluation tool system, which we will use to improve programs and services for the families we serve, extend our pipeline of resources and clearly explain to external stakeholders the ways in which we meet the goals of our mission; and ultimately reduce the burden of illness for seriously ill children and their families.”

Senior Associate Margaret Arney’s team was tasked with developing a framework to measure the effectiveness of community collaboration for Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health care to U.S. military personnel and their families affected by the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. During its four-month engagement with Give an Hour, the Booz Allen team developed a process that will demonstrate efficacy to partners and donors. Give an Hour's D.C. Collaborative is kicking off this summer and the nonprofit will be piloting the tools created by the Booz Allen team.  

Give an Hour’s Founder and President, Barbara Van Dahlen, said, “From the first meeting with our team from Booz Allen Hamilton, it was clear that these men and women were extremely talented and capable. They took on the complex challenge of capturing the impact of community coordinated efforts to support the men, women and families who serve our nation. The product that they created is not only enhancing the work of Give an Hour, it is also contributing significantly to the advancement of an emerging field of focus referred to as ‘collective impact.’  Their performance far exceeded our expectations and we will forever be grateful for their generosity.”

Arney said, “Working with Give an Hour on this project was a rewarding experience for our whole team.  The focus of our project was measuring the impact of collaboration and we really integrated that theme into how we approached the project – leveraging our individual skills and capabilities and working together to collaborate with the Give an Hour team to develop mechanisms to support their concept.”

Senior Associate Shelley Merritt led a team of six who worked closely with the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation. Hopkins Children’s relies upon philanthropic support from the community for its funding, and strives to achieve the highest standards of medical care and best possible healing environments to enable sick and injured patients to return home to a healthier future. 

The Booz Allen team was asked to evaluate the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Corporate Advisory Board and offer a strategy and implementation roadmap to enhance the board’s performance with respect to corporate charitable contributions. The team delivered a new Charter and revised Bylaws with implementation recommendations that are tailored to operational needs of the Hopkins Children’s board.

“Because of this opportunity, we feel our board members have become reenergized and are excited to take on a larger role in helping to raise funds for our kids,” said Cynthia Palacz, Associate Director of Development at Johns Hopkins Children's Center.  “The team was truly passionate about helping us not only find a solution, but also laying the groundwork to implement a successful strategy.  We are so grateful to have worked with such a dedicated group of individuals and look forward to bringing their recommendations to fruition.”

Merritt says, “In my 17 years with Booz Allen, this was one of my most memorable and rewarding assignments because I had a chance to step outside of my area of expertise, work with recently introduced colleagues from across the firm and bring together our collective strengths to meet a client need.”