Over a 15-year career at GDIT, Nikoia has embraced the opportunity to step into new roles and create her own path. Her experience supporting a variety of missions across programs helped pave the way for her current role as the Senior Operations Director for the Intelligence and Homeland Security Division.
“I haven’t had roadblocks when I’ve wanted to do something. I’ve had really encouraging leaders who have brought out that drive and desire in me to keep going, to do something different, and to keep learning.”
Moving the mission forward. My team owns it.
I’ve built a reputation of getting things done, building relationships, and moving things forward. I’ve been at GDIT for almost fifteen years and I’ve been given a variety of opportunities to contribute to the organization. From starting as a systems integrator to training network administrators at embassies around the world, to working on a program - I’ve gotten to try so many different things.
GDIT is really supportive of its people. And I know that may sound like a tagline, but I’ve lived it, I’ve experienced it. I’ve had supportive managers who have been there to guide me and given me opportunities to learn and grow.
Embracing the next opportunity
One of my best days was when they announced I was moving into my current role. It was a new position and it’s been really exciting to shape the direction of our division.
This past year, I was involved in the division’s strategic planning process. Looking at the next four years to determine what we want to accomplish, where we see our customers going, where we see technology headed. And how can we be in a position to be ready to support those changing needs.
I recently attended a briefing that was given to the Chairman and CEO of General Dynamics where I got to learn what it’s like to brief a CEO. My manager championed for me to be a part of the meeting.
I was honored to be a part of it, but I also felt that I deserved to be there. I helped put the briefing together and was involved in the behind-the-scenes prep. I felt very supported and it was a great experience.
Building community inside and outside of GDIT
I’m the lead for the Black Employee Network and I’ve worked to create opportunities for connection and professional development.
We volunteer with Black Girls Code to help girls ages seven to 17 learn more about STEM and we’ve seen such an impact participating in their workshops.
Everytime we do an event members come back and they’re so enthusiastic about the work. Seeing how excited the girls are to learn about STEM and technology really does feel like you’re making a difference. One of our recent volunteers was male and he volunteered because he said he wanted to see more women working with him. It’s great to see support not just from women or support from black women, but to see support across the board for these types of organizations.
Hard work pays off
I’ve been recognized recently for the work I’ve done with the Black Employee Network and other community involvement. I won a Science Spectrum Trailblazer award through the Black Engineer of the Year Award program. This is an award that recognizes people who help others come up in STEM and technology careers.
I’m proud of the help I’ve given to others who are interested in technology or just furthering their careers - both externally through programs like Black Girls Code and internally through mentoring other GDIT team members.