Women Worth Watching 2015
This VP & Director Drives Cyber Success for Booz Allen
In March 2015, Raynor Dahlquist, VP and Director of Booz Allen’s Cyber Solutions Network™, was named a Booz Allen “Leading Lady”—one of sixteen at the firm. The Cyber Solutions Network delivers infrastructure and tools used by client teams to deliver solutions to our clients including some managed-service offerings. Raynor is responsible for overseeing more than 100 resources, representing an over $10 million investment, that work across all firm markets to deliver client-facing solutions. The team she leads provides cyber assurance testing, client engagement and proposal support, infrastructure and operations support, and engineering and project management support.
Accomplished and driven, Raynor’s contributions have had tremendous business impact. In her prior work, she founded the first research and authoritative quarterly statistical publication for the domain industry and created a new research category for analysts. Her expertise is often sought, and quoted, by publications like The Business Journal.
“…the greatest resource for success is the team you build around you.”
Prior to joining the Booz Allen team, Raynor was responsible for leading Verisign Naming Services (a leading global provider of Internet infrastructure services) division, with P&L and operational oversight. During her tenure with Verisign, Raynor grew total revenues, year-over-year, by as much as 23 percent—even reporting 12 percent growth during the recent global economic downturn.
“My biggest career leap came from raising my hand and asking to take on a role that others did not want,” said Raynor. “It was a lot of hard work—turning around a large business unit and creating a sustainable relationship with the clients—but it turned out to be a great role. I learned that great opportunities come most often when we have to admit that we have absolutely no idea what we are doing and then set a course to master the opportunity. I also learned that the greatest resource for success is the team you build around you.”
Education: MBA, Pepperdine University, Malibu; BA, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA
First Job: CPR Certified Babysitting Services at age 12. I even had business cards!
What I’m Reading: “A Man in the Making: Strategies to help your Son Succeed in Life” by Rick Johnson
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
The women whom I admire most are all great advocates. This includes advocating for their teams, for those with potential, for their beliefs, for change, for driving action, for new ideas, etc.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Take better care of yourself and those you love. Your career is not your life.
Words I live by:
Surround yourself with talented and committed people. I believe that this is key for the team you create within the workplace and for the network you create in your personal life. I need to be with people who inspire and challenge me but who also want to come alongside me for support.
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
Get serious about finding and meeting with mentors earlier in your career. I was lucky enough to have some great ones who found me but I should have done more to solicit learning from great mentors. I am fortunate now to have great mentors.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
I hate to admit it, but I color code the calendar as “out of office” and go hide somewhere that no one can find me and hunker down. This is about the only way that I get large projects done like writing assessments and preparing budgets- things that just can’t be done in 30-minute increments. Now folks will know my secret!
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
My biggest career leap came from raising my hand and asking to take on a role that others did not want. It was a lot of hard work—turning around a large business unit and creating a sustainable relationship with the clients—but it turned out to be a great role. I learned that great opportunities come most often when we have to admit that we have absolutely no idea what we are doing and then set a course to master the opportunity. I also learned that the greatest resource for success is the team you build around you.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
I have always worked in companies that have had a large number of male leaders. I have always been fortunate to have at least 1 strong female role model in every company who has taken an interest in my development. However, I have also had many great male leaders who have done the same for me. The diverse talent and strong group of female leadership at Booz Allen was a huge draw for me to this firm because diversity breeds innovation.
I’ve learned that failure is…
Failure is never easy but what you learn from failure is helpful as long as you can put it into perspective. For those of us who are hard drivers, we sometimes need help putting failure into perspective. Having a trusted mentor in your life to help you to do a debrief on the failure is helpful. The hardest part of a work failure is not considering it to be a personal failure or a representation of your future ability.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
First, I try to remember that I should “Never Confuse Having a Career with Having a Life“. No matter how much you love your work, your company or your co-workers, you need to invest yourself in the development and care of your family, your friends and yourself. I firmly believe that having a healthy sense of commitment to quality and repeated time to invest in non-work related pursuits is essential for leaders. Fortunately, Booz Allen Hamilton promotes work-life balance for its employees. The reality is, however, that in order to work out every day and still get to my son’s baseball games after work, I have to bite the bullet and work out at 5:15 am every day. I don’t like it, but it’s the only way it happens!
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
I saw the innovation and synergy that we could help drive within the firm across all markets from a technology and strategy point of view. I love working across all of our markets and our Strategic Innovation Group. Our Cyber Solutions Network cuts across all facets of our firm to deliver value to our internal and external clients. It is an interesting use of my experiences across infrastructure technology, product development and client management. Being a part of our Enterprise Solutions Group team yet dedicated to solving client mission needs in partnership with our internal teams is really exciting.