Director, Professional Services Consulting
Welcome back to our series featuring Octo’s innovators! In our first installment, we talked to Cesar Tavares, Senior Director of Emerging Technology. We followed it with an interview of James Farley, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions and then Mark Wells, VP of our DevSecOps Center of Excellence (CoE). Today, we’re highlighting Gwen Forkin, Director, Professional Services Consulting, who innovates every day through her work with technology, processes, and her teams.
Gwen, it’s nice to “meet” you and learn more about you and what you do for Octo. Can you tell us about your position?
My official title is Director, Professional Services Consulting. I am the Portfolio Lead for Market Research and Digital Experience Services for GSA under the Halley’s Comet contract. I have six Agile teams, and I have a core of portfolio level support team members (security, Human Centered Design or HCD, and Tech Architect). I manage my portfolio and my Agile teams, facilitating communications with our customer and handling staffing, financials, delivery, and reporting.
You sound incredibly busy! What do you feel is your personal mission, your “why,” and how does that align with your work at Octo?
My why is very important. I want to support my staff in providing the best service to support my customer – which aligns with both our Octo culture and with my customer’s goals. I am all about my people. I get satisfaction from solving problems and seeing my staff grow.
What part of your job truly brings you satisfaction and why?
Recognizing my staff for a job well done. Of course, this is a very positive experience for my personnel and for me!
What technologies do you geek out on and why?
As a manager, I don’t get to code anymore. Perhaps sadly, I get a kick out of working in Excel (not very elegant, I know). I am all about the tables! Another area I am interested in is how machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) work. I am very interested learning more about both ML and AI.
Tell us about your team. How would you describe them and the way you work together?
Our Agile teams are very supportive of each other and not siloed – a lot of cross-team support! I am very involved with my teams. I don’t make every Agile ceremony for every team, but I try to be there for each team to provide whatever they need for success.
Why should someone consider working for Octo?
We have had a lot of changes, and there are a lot of growing pains, but that said, the Octo culture is about the people, which is a critical thing when what you are selling is services. At every level of leadership, I have seen this focus on the well-being and development of our employees.
Anything else you would like to add?
Octo provides many great opportunities to our teams – from Octo University to our Impact Hub that engages employees in activities, volunteerism, giving back, and other opportunities. In this remote environment it is especially important for managers to communicate these benefits to our staff and encourage their participation to interact with others.
Interested in opportunities where you can work with mission- and people-centric experts like Gwen? Explore careers with Octo.