Terry Weipert is currently the General Manager of Maximus’ U.S. Federal Services Segment. Before Maximus, she served as the Vice President and Service Delivery Leader at IBM, leading its Healthcare, Life Sciences, and SLED Public Markets. Her previous leadership experience includes executive roles at top companies such as Accenture, Sutherland Global Services, and Unisys. During her 20-plus year career, she has focused on business process outsourcing and IT services management.
In this interview, Ms. Weipert discusses current trends in the field of technology that she has noticed over the last ten years and key strategies that she has utilized to adapt and evolve to a shifting technological landscape. She also shares some important pieces of advice regarding how to best develop and advance in one’s career.
Wei Zheng: Hello everyone, welcome the second event of the Women Leaders in Technology Series from the Stevens Leadership Portal. My name is Wei Zheng and I’m an Associate Professor of Management and the Richard R. Roscitt Chair in Leadership at the Stevens School of Business.
So just a quick word about Stevens Leadership Portal, it is a new initiative at our School of Business to help connect people with leader stories, cutting edge research, and learning communities through a web-based knowledge portal. We want to provide you with resources and fresh insights to tackle the problems that involve the intersection of leadership, technology, and inclusivity.
So let’s get started. It’s my great pleasure to introduce our guest today, Teresa Weipert. Teresa is currently the General Manager of Maximus’ US Federal Services Segment. Before Maximus, she served as the Vice President and Service Delivery Leader at IBM, leading its Healthcare, Life Sciences, and SLED Public Markets. Her previous leadership experience includes executive rp;es at top companies such as Accenture, Sutherland Global Services, and Unisys. During her 20-plus year career, she had focused on business process outsourcing and IT services management. Without further ado, welcome Teresa, thank you so much for coming here and sharing your stories and experiences with us today.
Teresa Weipert: Thank you.
Wei Zheng: Could you start by telling us how you became interested in technology?
Teresa Weipert: Sure, so I started in college with some courses, but then when I started my career as a district accountant, what happened was really a great opportunity. I learned the process of what was going on, I got accepted into the IT department, and then from there started taking all sorts of courses, eventually to the point that the company sponsored me and I became a Systems Analyst. At the time, you know just again the incredible training, but it was sort of the opportunity and they got involved in a lot of detailed databases, so running data centers.
At a very early age, I had a mentor that was pulling me into everything, and so did a lot of financial systems and application support and development for new programs and things like that that were required by the business. Then what happened in that same career path is I decided I needed to do some other things which I’m sure a lot of folks think about, but mostly in the program management areas so I moved into program management, eventually moved into sales general management, and that’s sort of what led me to where I am today.
Wei Zheng: Thank you. So could you share some examples? I know your experience and expertise especially in your current job is related to governmental services and maybe related to health care in your previous job at IBM as well, so could you give us maybe just one or two examples of projects you have worked on?
Teresa Weipert: Sure, well, first of all, I think you have from the government perspective, the state, local, and federal business of what we do. It’s all about citizen services of some type, so we’re either implementing the mission of various agencies or delivering a service to citizens, and it could be monitoring services, it could be new mobile applications. We’ve experienced a lot of it ourselves today with some of the things that they’ve implemented for code and if you step away and look at the commercial side of my experience and if you look at life sciences, obviously it’s in supply chain so again major applications in the supply chain area.
In most of the businesses that we’re discussing, there’s data involved too, so lots of data coming together, lots of updates, lots of critical missions. And you know the phrase that we use systems, when you sort of step away you think people just sort of take it for granted, though maybe those of us in it don’t, but how quickly you can do something?
You have to bring in the data, you have to bring in the applications, and you have to create a mobile front end, so I’ve supported many of these particular programs currently. A lot of credentialing is going on, so that’s data coming in from different areas, and you’ve got HIPAA compliance of course associated with all that so it’s really this whole universe of stuff. It’s just huge and it’s not as easy as everybody thinks, so I’ve worked on a lot of those programs to get them production ready.
Wei Zheng: What kind of big questions or trends have you observed and I’m sure there’s new technology introductions, adoptions, and transitions, so what are some big trends you have been observing in the last five or ten years?
Teresa Weipert: I would say there’s lots of different trends and some of it of course is driven by improvements in technology, but the one that does Facebook, the government market space, or the public market, as well as our commercials is something I’ve just recently heard the federal market refer to as tech debt. Really what that is, is the current investment that many companies have made in technology platforms and the requirement to upgrade those environments and the requirements to upgrade come from either you and me from demanding that we want just one click kind of applications or the industry itself in terms of supply chain, quality control, all those kinds of things, but the investments have already been made and it is a true statement that our clients have to change things, but also must be careful not break anything while they’re doing it.
That’s very difficult to do and it’s very expensive and so that’s why the investment in technology, the investment in the people that understand how to do that and keep an operation running as well as the program management of all those deliverables becomes very complex and critical. So almost every industry is facing that. They throw out terms such as innovation monetization and easy to go to the cloud, but none of these are easy to do and so tech debt is really kind of the one area I think is important.
Wei Zheng: So given those difficulties and challenges. What are some strategies you have adopted or you have evolved to deal with those challenges of trying to innovate things while not breaking existing things, but also making sure there are alignments between different parts of the organization or technologies? What are some key steps or measures that you would take to overcome or even anticipate some of the challenges?
Teresa Weipert: That’s a great question. I would say it is about the communication between the business units or the divisions that you’re dealing with as well as the IT departments. You cannot do anything in a siloed approach.
So I’m going to just say if you studied the most successful programs closely, you’ll have the technical skills there, you’ll have the people that have the experience to do things, but you’ll also have a real strong communication channel between everybody and I think that that will lead almost every program I’ve ever touched. If there’s things that go wrong, it’s generally because there’s not a strong communication chain of command or something like that in place.
The skills, I think most people can find the folks in the industry who have those skills and whether you’re implementing a new SAP system or upgrading one, you’re putting a mobile front end on something and just kind of screen scraping stuff so there are these things you can do and people have the skills to do them, but if you don’t communicate what the plan is or what the outcome is, or you haven’t set the expectations correctly, you’re going to fail.
Wei Zheng: Let’s get to one of the participant questions which is about user adoption of technology: What are some challenges and strategies to achieve higher levels of user adoption? This question has come in from Thomas, so Thomas, would you like to give us some context of your question?
Thomas Tobiassen: Yeah so I’ve been a PM now for 25 years and every project is different. Every project has its own level of complexity, there are different stakeholders, and that kind of thing and to get those users to really understand the need to adopt the technology and how best to position it, I think you answered that in some respects in that I think the level of engagement with operations as a part of a project and meeting some of the basic project management principles and applying them like having good governance protocols, establishing an executive sponsor, doing project charters. Everybody’s really clearly aligned to what done looks like on a project. I think through my experience those are the things that have absolutely helped, but I’m always looking for other angles to really enhance the user experience because it’s just it’s hard to do so.
Teresa Weipert: Yeah, I agree. I have a way I summarize it for myself but making the complex simple requires a lot of creativity and so you cannot continue to project complexity. You must somehow put it in words or presentations that match the audience that you’re speaking to, so again the strong communication thing on any technical project.
We’re such an impatient community now, I don’t know about you guys, but if I have to click more than once or twice, I’m annoyed. And if something breaks while I’m doing it, I’m even further annoyed, but I’m also forgiving too, so something else has changed here where if I’m implementing something and a user community finds a fault and arrow subtype we sort of skip that and we go on so maybe we’ll take on new technology faster because I think generally our communities are much more tech savvy than they were even five years ago, so good project management or program management is always going to be required to get anything adopted.
Wei Zheng: So simplifying things is one key strategy. How do you do that? Do you have an example of a project where things were complex in the process but then it became simplified in a way that’s more easily adopted by users or the client organization? I know you work with a lot of governmental agencies. Do they use particular languages or systems that you can help to simplify the language of new technology for them to use?
Teresa Weipert: I don’t know if you’re asking me from a technical perspective, but there is never one solution here at all. We have government clients and commercial clients, so it’s not just government, we have legacy programs and systems in place, cobalt programs in play in some cases, and if you look at the financial community or you look at other communities
And in the code and programs that are 50 years old, or maybe a little less than that but I don’t know if you’re asking me from a design perspective, but I definitely look at commercial off the shelf programs, the RP systems, the CRM systems, all those things as part of that simplification process and as a point of direction. I would not develop anything from scratch anymore, so all those different things are coming into play here. From a technical perspective, what I always say to people when I’m getting deep into a program is I skip ahead and say APIs, I’ll just develop an API, which is an application programming interface, you can put an API in front of everything and fix stuff so maybe that’s the way to go.
Wei Zheng: Thank you, I am going to transition a little bit to talk about career changes or career advancement, I think some of our audience is very interested in those. So you have worked at several organizations and you just got your new job at Maximus in April, so congratulations on that. In all of these transitions, what prompted you to leave one organization for another and when do you know it’s time?
Teresa Weipert: Yeah so I was trying to think about that. First of all, I’m really excited I am the General Manager of about a $1.6 million division. It’s tremendously exciting, you can Google them and look up what’s going on there because there’s been some recent announcements that I’m very excited about. Just generally, as far as me from a career perspective, it’s usually the momentum that I want to move on, or I want to move up and I want new opportunities and in some cases I’ve always had a reason to look at something else.
I tell people to keep your eye on the market, know what’s happening, keep your eye on the companies that are around you and the skills that are required. And I’m not going to be bashful, I also do it for the financial rewards too, so when I give advice to other people and I’m like well if you’re pretty comfortable where you are, you like it, and you see a career path, then stay right where you are. But if you see some other opportunities, some financial advancement, or even some skill further skill development, take a look at it. And in my case, the skill thing is also pretty important.
Each time, I’ve either enhanced what I already knew or I got to make. Some have been opportunity specific where someone’s called me and then maybe some of them more deliberate in terms of how I wanted to advance.
Wei Zheng: Wonderful and I wanted to linger on that point that you made, it came up during our prior conversation about not being shy about talking about money or financial advancements. What are some ways of doing that because some women and even some men as well, are often afraid to be looked down upon as a greedy if they ask for raises or other financial related benefits? What are some ways you would suggest that they can do this in a way that is more acceptable and not incurring backlash?
Teresa Weipert: One of the things that I do and I’m sure others do as well, but there’s so much data out there today, there’s so much information about salaries, base salaries, compensation packages, things like that. I like the packages, so I do that homework, and everybody should know exactly what the going market rate is or whatever it is that they’re doing. That changes a little bit depending on your location and the country, but overall there’s no reason you shouldn’t know what’s out there, so you should make sure that you understand how you’re compensated within that community.
On a going forward perspective, I like the positions where I’m rewarded in addition to my base salary, where I’m rewarded for good work and obviously in the sales world it’s a commission-based program and in other areas it’s project-based or team-based, but I like it when I’m rewarded for what I’ve accomplished. So I look for programs like that.
Wei Zheng: Thank you. Let’s talk about those transition. Whenever you transition to a new organization, so I think you’re in the similar technology space, but there’s got to be some youth organization specific features that you need to adapt to and learn about. What are some strategies you use to adapt and transition and learn about your new organization quickly?
Teresa Weipert: Yeah, I’m right in the middle of it myself right now, transitioning into a fairly large or you know from a large organization. I try to get to know people and I listen, I try to understand the culture of the environment as quickly as possible. We’ve all gotten away from the old-fashioned sort of command and control, so it’s more of a collaborative environment. Most environments that I’ve gotten into are very collaborative which maybe is my choice to make sure I’ve done my homework on that, make sure I understand that that’s the way it’s going to be.
One piece of advice I was thinking is when someone comes into an organization, they say, “Well, this is the way I did it at you know XYZ company or whatever,” I don’t do that. Nobody likes to hear that. Instead, you listen and then you can advise based on your experience but it’s not about telling them what I used to do, but more applying what you used to do to the environment.
Wei Zheng: So just to pursue this a little bit more, can you talk about understanding the new culture of the organization’s culture? What kind of things do you look for to understand? What are some key things that you look for that really help you understand what the organization’s culture is like?
Teresa Weipert: We’ve got so many tools today such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor where you can find out almost anything about what environments are like today. Also, you should have the backgrounds of the peer group you’re going into as well.
You should know what the company’s mission is all about which is why I love the Maximus position I’m taking now because it’s all about citizen services, so the journey of the citizen which is all related to agencies in terms of what their mission is. I know it’s not really about politics as much as it is about what is it that we’re trying to implement, it’s the law or the rules of that environment
Wei Zheng: Hmm. So you talked about using external websites, for example, LinkedIn and things to understand what’s expected and what are the values.
Teresa Weipert: Right. You really can tell a lot about a company on their websites with the cultural statements that they make. I believe that sometimes people just think that it’s just sales messaging or whatever, but it’s not. People have got done a lot of work to make sure that what they’re putting out, and maybe not everybody, but the large corporations for sure, and even the midsize and smaller nonprofit world, it’s very clear that their websites have mission statements that have been carefully developed and put out there and I believe them so that helps. I think you can do research in your homework that way.
Wei Zheng: So let’s talk about leadership. First of all, a lot of people are interested in getting into higher levels of leadership positions, so they have more impact and more freedom, autonomy, probably at higher positions. What are some strategies of doing that? We do have an audience question about advancements, especially for women in technology: What are some strategies, tips, or advice you have in terms of how to rise through the ranks in organizations?
Teresa Weipert: Yeah so the thing about that is obviously there are lots of leadership styles and training that you can take that and people should do that to learn them, but I also think your skills are critical. You must have the skills and educate yourself to be able to deliver what is expected and take advantage to learn more on the job.
I tend to have a personality, you know I’m not combative, I suppose you know, we are in a collaborative world today, I think everybody has a position to take, and everyone should be heard, so I have a sort of style about that at the end of the day, you still have to get the job done so, you have to be able to step in and face it. I don’t avoid confrontation at all. I’ve learned over the years to talk up front, communicate up front, and communicate clearly and effectively. I think the traits are respect for others, empathy, all those kinds of things are critical and important to create a leadership style that helps you advance.
Wei Zheng: And in one of our in our prior conversations, you also talked about projecting confidence. Could you talk more about that?
Teresa Weipert: There are some days where I don’t know how to do things, but you do have to project a confidence in yourself and confidence in the position that you have or whatever it is that you’re delivering. You know you’ve got a project and you have to stand tall and hold a position, be ready to defend yourself. A lot of times in the business that I’ve been in, people will be sitting around the table questioning numbers or questioning a project outcome, so I better know why I’m taking that position and be able to defend it. So that’s what I mean by the confidence, you have to project to move forward.
Wei Zheng: How do you develop that confidence in addition to being prepared, knowing your data, and knowing how to approach your stakeholders? What else is needed to develop that sort of confidence?
Teresa Weipert: Wow, that’s a hard one, but it’s experience over time. You’re not going to be the person in charge a couple months into a position or even a couple years into the position, and that goes back to what I said in the beginning; study your career path, but understand what it is what direction you want to go in and maybe you don’t even want to be in a leadership position or a management position, maybe you want to be a system engineer and at the top of the engineering side so you’ve got to decide all those things and that will impact what you do.
Wei Zheng: Thank you. You also mentioned in our prior conversation never to do anything without letting your boss know about it, could you talk about that?
Teresa Weipert: So you had asked me about advice and I learned a long time ago that if you want to do something by yourself and not let anybody know you did it, well then you know why, so you know you’re being paid to do a job you’re doing or whatever it is that you’re doing, communicate that you’re doing it right, don’t be a martyr in the position, you know those kinds of things is really what I meant.
Wei Zheng: So let’s transition a little bit to talk about your experience as a woman in technology and I’m assuming in quite some situations, especially a top levels of organizations, you are probably surrounded by men. When that happens and you become one or two women at the table, how do you have kind of self-talk or how do you notice that? How do you deal with situations like this where you feel very visible?
Teresa Weipert: It is true that in the technology field, there are still a lot of men in the field and so if your question is you know how am I positioning for that or how do I get through some of those things in a dominated environment like that, again it comes with experience, so making sure I project confidence in what I know in my knowledge.
I project in a way that I know kind of what I’m doing. I worry about that for women still though because it’s talked about a lot that women are exiting the technology world fast and they do it for various reasons. One, they’re not being heard at table. In some cases, it’s a work life balance. I keep thinking you know I had such a great work life balance as a technology leader that I still don’t quite get that one and so I’m still looking into that and I joined Women in Coding because I was just trying to understand that a little bit more because I just still feel that there is work life balance. As far as not being heard that’s you know it’s up to me and it’s up to you all of us as individuals to figure out how to be right.
Wei Zheng: Have you ever experienced unfair treatment because you’re a woman or because you were younger in your days career or from another organization? Did you ever experience those and if so, how did you deal with that?
Teresa Weipert: So when I was younger I would probably tell you yeah every day, but I have experienced it, but it’s actually up to me to resolve that. It was up to me to figure it out and it was up to me to communicate. If someone wasn’t going to listen to me, I would then go find the person that would listen to me. I don’t want to provide an excuse for not taking the action on my own, it’s up to us individually to act when we’re not being heard.
Wei Zheng: So what kind of actions have you taken?
Teresa Weipert: Going to my boss, talking about the issue, going to their boss. I never took anything personally, it’s more about the issue itself, so another piece of advice from a long time ago is I was brought here to do a job right and here’s the mission or here’s the statement associated with the job, this what I was asked to do so, you need to listen to that, and so you know I mostly presented it from that perspective.
Wei Zheng: Great, thank you. So in the technological field, what are some things that organizations can do to make the technology field more inclusive of women, underrepresented minorities, or other underrepresented individuals?
Teresa Weipert: I think that there’s a general awareness now, more than there ever has been in the past in making sure that people are promoting correctly and are still rewarding for the right kinds of skills, but I think there’s generally been a good awareness. More work needs to be done. We need to keep it in front of us all the time, I need to do it, you need to do it, it has to be part of us all the time to continue that awareness and promote it across all of our people. Maybe I might spend a little more time like I mentioned, I was looking at the Women in Coding and things like where I spend a little bit more time making sure that people are aware of opportunities and promotion opportunities.
Wei Zheng: I know you have given some really good advice, but what other advice you received that has been helpful?
Teresa Weipert: My father’s best advice was always momentum. Always move things forward, always keep moving everything forward, and I had his coaching. Frankly, he was a technologist, but he was also the trainer and in the business so he was always advising me on momentum, you know, keep things moving forward, keep your career moving forward, keep the business moving forward, so if you think about that all the time that’s really what everybody wants. So that’s kind of something that keeps me going all the time.
Wei Zheng: I like the idea of keeping the momentum going. So what if you’re stuck in a very difficult project, how do you get yourself out of the rut and regain your momentum? Do you have one or two examples of that?
Teresa Weipert: Only one example just came to mind. I was in a tough project one time and I’m really tough so I decided that instead of complaining about it, I would fully embrace it, and so we created what I would have called a war room strategy, and really I just showed up and I got through it, but that would be the only one I can think of that you just sort of couldn’t give up, but that would be a strategy to sort of throw myself into it as opposed to running from it.
Wei Zheng: So it was it because of some conflict. What was it like?
Teresa Weipert: Well it’s technology based, timelines and deadlines where you need to get everybody together, so if you want to get everybody together, then you have to show up too. You can’t just say go off and figure it out, you’ve got to be present too so that’s how I got through that.
Wei Zheng: I see well my last question before we turn to our audience for questions is: What do you read, watch, or attend to keep yourself up to date with the ever-changing technology landscape?
Teresa Weipert: Yeah so I like to read like fiction for fun, but I don’t like to read anything that scares me. I’m not putting a pitch for them, but I like the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know if you guys read the Wall Street Journal, but of all the papers, it usually has a great synopsis of some interesting stuff and I specifically pay attention to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. On Tuesday it’s generally about operational kinds of things or at least that’s the way it seems to me. And then on Fridays in the weekend edition it always has a technology insert and I just read one recently that talked about people moving to the cloud and I thought that was a great article. I like The Wire for some interesting kinds of stuff. They always have something cool or extra going on, and then I do belong to associations that are geared towards what I do whether it’s in the government space or noy. There’s a lot of technical associations and I’m in the business process outsourcing world, I’m in the infrastructure world and consulting services, so I belong to a lot of associations with that.
Wei Zheng: Great. I’m going to pause here and let our audience ask their questions so feel free to just unmute and ask your question directly.
Nishitha Dodda: The best advice that I had received from my father is don’t ever demand respect, command it, so when I tried to implement it actually during my work experience, I know there is a barrier in hierarchy and I found it really intimidating. Is there any advice that you can give so that I can overcome the barriers?
Teresa Weipert: I guess the best way to tell people what you’ve done or gain the respect of leadership or whomever is that you are talking about is communicate what you’re doing. Demanding respect and commanding respect are really good points, so I think you have to talk about it and one thing I do is read the crowd or an individual, so if you’re talking to someone and you feel that they haven’t connected with you for whatever reason, use that to reset or something and be aware of how someone is interpreting what it is that you’re saying.
Nishitha Dodda: Thank you. I think it’s really subjective and it varies from person to person, so I need to analyze that more. Thank you.
Wei Zheng: Great another question. Jennifer, you submitted a question too while you’re registering so I’m just going to read it and you can provide some context. How do you bridge and advocate for technological advancements with leadership between investment and prioritization? I’m assuming you would like to explain a little bit Jennifer.
Jennifer Ghith: Oh sure. Thanks for asking it, it really is embedded in the question that we’re constantly coming up with new ideas and trying to innovate and ensure that there are processes in place for technology, but what I struggle with or what we’re trying to do right now is gain executive sponsorship and gain leadership investment as well, so what’s your advice for building a case for something that you believe in? How do you prepare and then how do you handle objection as well because I find that it’s the uptake is a bit slower at times than we would like for technology at the pace of technology?
Teresa Weipert: Yeah so the ROI on everything is required. The return on the investment has to be visible and almost first in the conversation because depending on that, and there’s so many ways to answer this, but it depends on the project, depends on the people and what it is that you want to do, but for most businesses, technology is an investment and there has to be some kind of return in the tech debt world. The return is to reduce the how much it costs to maintain the infrastructure or the environment or in the case of some work we’re doing in citizen services it’s going to be the investment in technology or the solution is going to be related to how quickly I can deliver some information to somebody, so it always goes back to the return on investment. I’ve never had a project that didn’t have that. I think it’s almost like we have to lead with that and with your earlier comment on simplification, I find that if my story is too complex, then you will lose people very quickly at that level.
Jennifer Ghith: Completely agree, thank you.
Wei Zheng: I am going to ask another question. You talked about citizen services, which is wonderful, so what’s your vision for that and I don’t know but when you are interviewing for the job, do they ask you for big visions, directions, or things that you would like to implement when you are in the role? I’m not sure how much we can share, but maybe if you can give more of the big picture, what kind of things would you like to help make happen in federal agencies?
Teresa Weipert: So the citizen services that I am sort of passionate about is delivering. Whether you’re calling 1-800-medicare for information or you’re talking to the IRS, it’s mostly service civilian agencies, but think about what their mission is and then think about what it is that I have to deliver back.
There has been a lot of technology improvements now with robotics and basically all those new technologies are streamlining citizen services, and it’s good, it works, and so I love that kind of stuff. You also have to think about the distribution of money through the COVID situation with the Affordable Care Act and all that stuff that is going on. Those are systems where people want to know information quickly or a transaction has to be appropriate, but those are all part of the citizen services, so it’s all that kind of thing that’s going on in the technology to enhance that and provide a better experience.
Wei Zheng: So how has doing technology services in federal agencies been different from commercial organizations? I assume there’s more consistency needed and maybe compliance related things as well. What’s your observation? How is it different from deploying technology in a not for profit organization?
Teresa Weipert: I don’t think it’s much different other than for a profit organization when we talked about ROI a few minutes ago, that’s pretty critical because you get down to the stock, you know the value of the company, you start talking about all that stuff and it has a big financial impact. The federal and even the state and local communities themselves are usually doing a law, perhaps you know, in the regulatory activity which is very important and security and compliance and all that is critical, but it is in the commercial side too, so the mission of the two entities is a little bit different but the outcomes are basically using technology to do something, so it’s very similar.
Wei Zheng: So what roles do generally play in your in your current role and back at IBM when you are working with clients? Do you guide them in terms of the technologies you should be considering or are you more the support and service in that they tell you what they want to do and you figure out how to support them in their needs? What roles do you usually generally play in those projects?
Teresa Weipert: Well it’s both, so it’s both roles. You’re required to introduce new technology to improve what they’re paying for whether it be consulting, delivering IT services, or you’re supporting an application. Nobody wants anything to break, yet we have to do technical improvements, whether it’s to the hardware and software firmware those kinds of things, or whether again it’s a new feature that you’re implementing. Nobody wants anything to break so it’s both you know it’s both those things in those environments.
Wei Zheng: Usually, do you work directly with their IT, do you work with the business side, or the service?
Teresa Weipert: So in the business that we’re all in or even as a somebody new, you’re communicating with the IT side, you’re communicating with end users, in some cases business units or divisions, so all of them.
Wei Zheng: How about the influence of COVID? So COVID actually highlights the importance of technology and things. We did have a question here from one of the audience members: What are some popular solutions or technology solutions that are being required or requested by nonprofit or governmental organizations? I assume there’s a lot of different ones, but how does COVID highlight or change the direction or push more for certain technologies than others? What’s your observation?
Teresa Weipert: On the code situation, my general comment for the companies and the agencies is what an excellent job they’ve done, you know we moved everybody to remote. Now think about that, think about the technology that wasn’t in play for that, whether it be just your Internet service and the speed with which you produce something or the application itself and how you add the interface.
We had to change contracts, we had to get security measures put in play, can you imagine doing what the team was used to whiteboarding together, how do you remote whiteboard? Well there’s lots of tools to remote whiteboard and you got to get used to using them and the teams had to work on that.
Everybody in the country and in the world had to do that and we had to move people to remote. In one particular organization 45,000 people had to come up live within like a day. Then you’ve got people’s homes, you know how did you get your home setup, how did you get the equipment out there, how’d you get the recruitment repaired, what did you do when your laptop went down when the office is closed eight?
Think about all that went on, it’s just amazing and I think people just did an outstanding job to try and do all that but the technology allows for a lot of this in fact we’re on Zoom right now and Zoom is so natural now.
Wei Zheng: Do you think would be different after COVID? Hopefully there is an after COVID, so where are we going?
Teresa Weipert: Yeah there’s a lot of articles on that. It really depends on the company and the requirements, but it’s probably going to be hybrid models and I think the governments themselves have accepted more remote work than ever before and I think I’m very comfortable with that.
I have people who had command and control mindsets who got out of that and realized hey I can get a job done and can be remote and then there are other people that need to be back in the office for different things, so you’re going to see hybrid models going on here.
I think it’s Amazon that declared that they want everybody back in the office and that’s a little bit easier when you have this setting, but when everybody’s gotten used to doing this, I think I think there’ll be hybrid models here.
Wei Zheng: Great, thank you. We’ve got one person who’s interested in Maximus and asked a question about it. Could you tell us more about Maximus?
Teresa Weipert: Sure, so Maximus is a company that does a lot of business process outsourcing and a lot of IT services, so you’ll see Maximus mostly in the public market, state, local, and federal and they are a citizen service, so I’m calling them citizen service company.
The focus that we have is digital transformation for our clients so we talked about taking what’s running and making it better, we talked about delivering services with a lot of people who get trained on rules and regs and all that kind of stuff, and then we have consulting and IT services, so we’re very known in the state, local, and federal market.
Wei Zheng: So during COVID there’s a lot of data collection, data analysis, and data publication in terms of, for example, infection rates and things. What do you think would have been better in this whole process?
Teresa Weipert: I don’t know. I thought they did a pretty good job just generally as much as possible, getting the data out to me. I don’t know about y’all but initially when I started just watching it you couldn’t even stop watching it as the numbers went up. And then I think people got just better reporting all that information. I still think there’s just a lot of data out there and the country has responded so well to this, from the life science companies who moved very quickly to the supply chain models that got put in place, so I think they’re doing a good thing given what we’re facing, but I just wish it were over.
Wei Zheng: If there are no other questions, thank you so much Teresa for your time and sharing your experience, it was really informative.
Teresa Weipert: Thank you for your time. Bye.
Wei Zheng: Bye. Bye.