Posted Date: May 1, 2023 by:
Sidney Antommarchi

Leadership and Communication in the Hybrid Work World

Like every other company and Federal agency, Centennial works in a hybrid work model – we go into the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and work remotely on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. After three years of primarily remote work, I adjusted to commuting to an office and not wearing sweatpants every day! 😊 Now, I’ve found that I enjoy getting back into an office environment again part-time.

Returning to the office got me thinking about the different challenges that come with in-person and remote work environments; and what it means for leadership to run teams and organizations in the hybrid world we live in today.

A little bit of background about me – I’ve been in public sector professional services consulting for about 27 years and have been fortunate enough to serve in leadership roles for all kinds of teams and people; from one person to teams of several hundred. I’m a new addition to Centennial – earlier in my career I worked in the U.S. Senate, spent about 17 years at Booz Allen Hamilton, and most recently spent four years at another company, helping them grow from small to mid-size.

Over time, I’ve learned a bit about leadership: People want to hear from their leaders and want them to communicate a vision and plan for where the organization is going.  And people want to see a path for themselves – what might my career progression look like? As a leader, I’ve been lucky enough to create a sense of ‘followership’ in different organizations where people want to be part of my team. Hopefully, that means I’m doing something right.  

I’ve always been a big proponent of more leadership communication. People are always looking to connect and communicate with leaders, and it can have so many benefits to the organization, such as greater connections within the team and to the Firm.  In many cases, I have seen that there is resistance to transparently communicating when a leader doesn’t have all the answers. Leaders may fear saying, ‘I don’t know’ or they might prefer to not communicate at all instead of saying something that makes them appear vulnerable.

Last week, I attended a government/industry event and heard a Federal leader, new to his role, talk about external communications within the industry.  He laughed as he shared that he asked his new team how they engage with private industry, and their response was, ‘Oh, we don’t do that here.’  They would be in for quite a shock as he changed things.

A couple of recommendations about communications:

  • In-person communication is most effective. This article displays a chart that shows effectiveness on the Y axis and the richness or temperature of the communication on the X axis. Written communication or email is the coldest, with in-person being the hottest. And the curve is a diagonal line going up and to the right. If you are part of a meaningful or significant conversation, try to have that conversation face-to-face.
  • Non-verbal communication accounts for 55-65% of communication. A lot is ‘said’ by everything other than the words coming out of your mouth., From your body language, and your facial expression, to the tone of your voice;.  Your words account for very little of what is really communicated.   Be attentive to these non-verbal cues, whether you are sending or receiving the communications.

While both workers and technology have remarkably adapted and improved to fit a remote work environment, nothing can replace in-person interactions! Leaders can have better engagement with their teams, be more effective and efficient in their work, and better help build the team and culture of their organization.  Similarly, staff within the organization can make stronger connections with their leaders, leading to a better understanding of their leaders and the organization’s goals.  Every organization chooses the best work environment model for them, but I can already see the benefits of two days a week in the office at my organization. To help with bonding and adjusting to a hybrid work model, Centennial provides free lunch on on-site workdays which is icing on the cake!

As most organizations work in a hybrid work model, I’ve also seen the value of conferences and other in-person collaborative government/industry events rise. With limited opportunities to have in-person interactions in the office, conference events have become more critical. Especially within this industry, I’ve seen the importance of in-person events with interactions with vendors and government clients.

In conclusion, I want to encourage leaders and team members to take advantage of every opportunity to engage in person with their teams. I promise you’ll get more out of it than you’d expect!

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Sunitha Ravi

Vice President of Operations and Delivery

Sunitha Ravi is the Vice President of Operations and Delivery at Centennial Technologies Inc. In her role, she focuses on building trusted relationships with senior federal clients while driving innovative and customer-centric solutions. Using over 26 years of experience supporting both the public and private sectors, Sunitha aligns technology with strategic business and operational goals while managing operations and technology teams to deliver excellent customer service.

Before Centennial, Sunitha was a Director at VMWare public sector and led various programs for federal clients through agile and scrum practices while meeting growth and profitability goals. Before VMWare, Sunitha held various leadership positions at Verizon, Terramark, and Tetra Tech. She managed the delivery of financial and technology solutions and served as a trusted advisor to executive and management stakeholders. She successfully led teams of over 200 staff and agency portfolios with ~$100M in annual revenue. She supported financial teams and improved the finance function by driving more efficient processes and streamlining financial reporting.

She holds a Master’s degree in environmental engineering and is an Earned Value Practitioner (EVP), Project Management Professional (PMP), and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certified. She lives in Ashburn, Virginia, with her husband and two daughters and enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and cooking.

Ben Marglin

Vice President of Business Development

Ben Marglin is Vice President of Business Development at Centennial Technologies, focused on developing and leading the growth strategy for Centennial. With over 25 years of experience in public sector management and technology consulting, Ben’s strengths include building strong client relationships with both existing and prospective clients, and serving as a people leader across the organization, helping to promote a strong and healthy company culture. Ben leads the growth team to identify and capture new opportunities across the business development lifecycle, working to expand Centennial’s business in the Federal and commercial space. 

Before Centennial, Ben was a Senior Vice President at Karsun Solutions, where he led client delivery for a ~$130M portfolio across several Federal civilian agencies and led a team of over 500 folks providing support to Federal clients. He spent 17 years with Booz Allen Hamilton, mainly in Federal Civilian market leadership roles where he had full P&L responsibility for a portfolio of Federal agencies, and he also spent two years in BAH’s Strategic Innovation Group (SIG) helping to lead the Digital Solutions practice area. Earlier, Ben worked for American Management Systems (AMS) providing IT and management solutions to state and local clients, and he spent three years on Capitol Hill working in the U.S. Senate.

Ben’s areas of expertise include digital strategy and transformation, acquisition, change management, and IT program management. He has a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and has professional certifications in Program Management (PMP), AWS Cloud, Agile (SAFe and ICAgile), Change Management (CMAP), ITIL, and Technology Business Management (TBM). Ben lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, son, and goldendoodle Sophie, and when he’s not doing yard work, he enjoys golf, running and biking, and following his native Boston sports teams. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Brad Marchand

Executive Director of Operations

Brad Marchand is the Executive Director of Delivery and Customer Service at Centennial Technologies Inc. In his role, he focuses on driving excellence in customer service and building lasting partnerships with customers. Using over 30 years of experience delivering solutions in the areas of Digital Modernization, Enterprise Systems Implementation, Business Optimization, Financial Management Transformation, Business/Technology Transformation, and Shared Services.

 

Before joining Centennial, Brad was a Partner with Grant Thornton’s Public Sector practice where he led the Finance Transformation Service Line and Grant Thornton’s ERP Practice. Before Grant Thornton, Brad was a Principal at SRA, Inc., where he was a leader in Information Technology (IT) Systems Implementations, particularly in Federal Government Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). He also has over five years of experience in the private sector at JPMorgan Chase as a Vice President specializing in Global Supply Chain implementations.

 

Brad earned his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and is Project Management Professional (PMP) certified. He lives in Haymarket, Virginia, with his wife and two children. He coached both of his kids in baseball and basketball and now enjoys golfing and routing for all sports teams from Chicago.

email us your CV at @centennial-tech.com - 17

Shabiha Yasmin

Director of Delivery and Customer Support

Shabiha Yasmin serves as the Director of Delivery and Customer Support at Centennial Technologies Inc., leveraging over 20 years of experience in the IT sector. With a process-oriented approach honed through extensive work with federal agencies such as CMS, FDA, EPA, and SSA, Shabiha excels in requirements elaboration, project definition, initialization, planning, and the successful delivery of complex technical projects. Known for her tenacity in securing stakeholder commitment to objectives, she excels in clarifying misaligned initiatives within strategic portfolios and resolving conflicts across cross-functional teams.

 

In her leadership role, Shabiha prioritizes exceeding client expectations by delivering innovative solutions, mentoring leaders, and staying abreast of emerging technologies.

 

Before joining Centennial, Shabiha served as a Program Manager at CareFirst, where she provided subject matter expertise in IT modernization, financial management, and business transformation initiatives. She focused on assembling robust and agile teams to support diverse federal agencies. Shabiha’s professional journey also includes holding leadership positions in technology divisions of esteemed organizations such as Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and CareFirst.

 

Shabiha holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Biochemistry and Botany, complemented by an MBA degree in IT and Marketing. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), SAFE Agilist, and ITIL4 practitioner.

 

Shabiha resides in Clarksburg, Maryland, and is a proud parent of two children aged 20 and 13. Outside of work, she enjoys indulging her passions for rock music, attending concerts, embarking on hikes, exploring new destinations through travel, and engaging in various crafts.

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Prasad Siddabathuni

Director of Technology

Prasad Siddabathuni is the Director of Technology at Centennial Technologies Inc. He provides invaluable technical and strategic leadership, solutions, and advisory services to our clients, partners, and internal teams.


With 25 years of experience in the technology domain, Prasad has a remarkable track record in delivering technical services and solutions across diverse IT sectors. He specializes in delivering integration, cloud, and data/AI strategies that drive enhanced process improvements and reduce costs. Prasad is adept at building and executing long-term product and service strategies across matrixed organizations, as well as in establishing and directing multinational technical and business teams. His proficiency areas include ownership and innovation, presales, architecture, transformation, delivery, M&A, integration, and field operations.


Prasad resides in Fairfax, Virginia, and enjoys traveling, playing the violin, and supporting local sports teams.

matt

Matthew Shields

Director of Delivery and Customer Support

Matthew Shields is the Director of Delivery and Customer Support at Centennial Technologies Inc. He excels in building and leading high-performing teams across multiple concurrent contracts in fast-paced, high-profile environments. With a focus on cultivating professional relationships with clients, Matt brings over 25 years of experience in federal consulting, account management, program management, contract execution, and quality management to his role at Centennial.


Before joining Centennial, Matt served as a Senior Program Manager at Halvik Corp., where he provided expert contract management, budgeting, financial management, and program management services to an Agency-level portfolio. He oversaw the efforts of multiple project managers, prioritizing the achievement of program objectives and the delivery of high-quality results while maintaining disciplined financial management practices. Before his tenure at Halvik, Matt was a Director at Evoke Consulting, where he supported Operations and Business Development, spearheading enterprise-level transformational initiatives across various government agencies.


Matt earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington College and holds certifications as a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Project Management Professional (PMP). He is trained in Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), ISO standards, and Organizational Change Management (OCM).


A lifelong resident of Loudoun County, Virginia, Matt is passionate about adventure travel, hiking, and cycling in his leisure time. He and his wife take pride in being parents to two Eagle Scouts and are actively involved in volunteering with their sons’ troop.

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Ned Blackburn

Director of Growth and Client Success

Ned Blackburn is the Director of Sales and Business Development at Centennial Technologies Inc. In his role, he focuses on exceeding clients’ expectations through delivering innovative solutions, advising customers, and working with solution partners. Ned brings 25 years of experience in strategic account management, program management, and business development in the federal and commercial sectors to Centennial.

Before Centennial, Ned was a Director at Grant Thornton, providing subject matter expertise on IT modernization, financial management, and business transformation initiatives. He focused on building resilient and agile teams to support various federal agencies. Prior to Grant Thornton, Ned held several leadership positions in small and large businesses where he led business development, capture management, and vendor partnerships. He built and managed large teams specializing in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Intelligence, and Data Warehousing solutions.

Ned earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Ohio University, is a Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and ITIL4 certified. He lives in Ashburn, Virginia, with his wife and three children. He enjoys coaching little league baseball, playing golf, and cheering for Cleveland sports teams.

tony

Antonio "Tony" Hylton

Chief Strategy Officer​

Antonio “Tony” Hylton is Chief Strategy Officer for federal and state sectors at Centennial Technologies Inc. In this role, he develops service offerings, establishes strategic partnerships, and supports acquisitions. Tony brings over 30 years of public and private sector experience with business transformation, organizational change management, and innovative solutions to Centennial.

Before Centennial, Tony held various leadership positions at Verizon and managed over $100 million per quarter in sales. He guided the relationships with the National Association of State CIOs, National Association of State Technology Directors, US Conference of Mayors, and numerous state, local, and public safety agencies. Before Verizon, Tony served as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Cook County, IL, where he led budget planning and execution, process optimizations, and technology innovation. Before Cook County, Tony held a variety of leadership positions with the Center for Digital Government (CDG), Dell-EMC, AT&T, and MCI.

Tony earned his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, is an accomplished Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and Certified Scrum Master. He loves golf and watersport activities. He is a home chef with a specialty in Asian-Fusion and Japanese Cuisines.

mani

Mani Allu

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Mani Allu is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Centennial Technologies Inc. With over 25 years of experience providing financial and technical solutions, Mani provides overall direction to the corporate growth strategies, differentiated capabilities, and company culture. He works directly with customers, employees, and partners daily and fosters the work environment to develop and deliver highly innovative solutions.

Before founding Centennial, Mani held leadership positions at Verizon, where he led operations and delivery of enterprise services for public and commercial sectors, supporting $240M in revenue. He focused on solutions that drove efficiency and effectiveness, including financial transformation, organizational development, business intelligence, data analytics, application and system modernization, cloud enablement, and cybersecurity. Before Verizon, Mani served as the Vice President at ADS Inc. and supported the telecommunications, financial, retail, and media sectors. He orchestrated the creation and management of service offerings, supervised partnerships, and supported mergers and acquisitions.

He earned his Master’s degree from West Virginia University and lives in Ashburn, Virginia, with his wife and kids. He enjoys tennis and supporting his home sports teams.