Angie Lienert set out to establish the kind of company that, as she puts it, “I would want to work for.”
Along the way she became the kind of business leader that others want to work for.
Lienert began her career as an Arabic linguist with the Air Force. After six years’ military service, she joined Booz Allen Hamilton for four years. After switching to BAE Systems in 2004, she struck out on her own in 2007, founding IntelliGenesis.
She succeeded in building a firm that initially served defense and intelligence clients in the federal government with intelligence analysis, language analysis, machine learning/data science, software development and computer network operations. It has since branched out into the commercial sector.
Lienert has developed a reputation for hiring and helping former military personnel and their spouses, the kind of people who appreciate and respect the company’s mission.
Lienert took some time from running IntelliGenesis to answer a few questions from The Baltimore Sun about leadership:
What is a leader’s role in building a place people want to work?
Fundamentally, it’s leading by example and building a culture dedicated to employee growth and wellness. It’s providing a springboard for your employees’ careers while maintaining our corporate values and goals.
What is your influence on your organization’s culture?
Having been an employee in this industry, I set out to create a company that I would want to work for. Culturally, I’m the driver. From when I originally outlined our company’s core values to even today where I reinforce those values by practicing what I preach. Everything, from our benefits to our corporate strategy, has to tie back to our core values. Even the people I hire are individuals who embody and complement those core values and it all starts with me.
How do you decide when to be hands-on and when to delegate?
I like to be involved and aware of everything going on, but at the same time I purposely hire smarter, independent employees who can manage tasks without my input. Initially, I like to set the vision and once the employee understands the mission, I get out of their way. After that, I give them whatever support they need and check in for updates.
What’s the hardest lesson about leadership you’ve learned?
The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is that unfortunately, I can’t help everyone. Even with that said, I still like to provide the opportunity and leave it up to the individual to go from there.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in leadership?
Be a good listener. It’s not about you, your experience, etc., and the more you can listen, the more you can learn. Everyone brings some new perspective, insight and knowledge to the table that you won’t, so listening is crucial to leading an organization that’s much bigger than yourself.