suzan cengiz

Transform by Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

As the child of immigrants seeking better opportunities, and starting their own business, I developed a strong sense of family and business savviness at a young age. I gained valuable real-world and hands-on business experience. I ran daily operations, managed personnel, and grew the business. We faced challenges, such as downturns in the economy, but sustained because of our family dynamic and resiliency. 

I earned my bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Decision Sciences and Management Information Systems from George Mason University, and a master’s in International Policy and Practice from George Washington University. Following that, I joined LMI in 2001 as an enterprise architect leading digital transformation and business transformation, and stood up new organizations and functions. Through looking beyond my role to how I could help improve the company, I gained new responsibilities for managing tasks, projects, and programs. As I expanded my skill set, my portfolio increased with programs, personnel, and profit-and-loss responsibility. 

A New Growth Strategy

When LMI realigned to focus on growth, I utilized my extensive experience in operations, business management, and transformation to stand up our business development organization and function. In 2017, I established the transformation management office (now called performance and business operations) to set a new growth strategy for LMI, transform the organization from a hierarchy to a matrix operating model, reduce bureaucracy, and improve agility and career opportunities. I operationalized these entirely new functions seamlessly with a focus on mission delivery, and taking care of our people.

LMI crystalized its vision of powering a future-ready, high-performing government in the LMI 2025 strategy, which attracts and retains dedicated employees, shifts our operating model, and delivers repeatable solutions for new growth and greater opportunity. My team and I strategically transformed the organization by operating as a business for scale. We shifted our operations to a for-profit entity and grew LMI’s mergers and acquisitions posture and playbook. I now oversee additional functions including, contracts, workforce management, quality, ethics and compliance, as we improve, transform, and modernize our enterprise systems. 

In July 2021, LMI acquired Suntiva, a business transformation and technology company serving the federal government. Within the first 60 days, the performance and business operations team will ensure successful and responsible integration with no disruption to our clients while leveraging new opportunities for our people.

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Throughout my career, I have always uncovered areas in need of improvement and pitched in to create solutions. Even when I felt uncertain about taking on a new responsibility, I quickly learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. In moments of fear, I pushed through with courage, seeking guidance through education, mentors, and life experience. My upbringing brought solace and prepared me for embarking on each unfamiliar opportunity. 

As my career accelerated, so did my personal life. As a wife, new mother, caretaker of elderly parents, and mentor, I realized there is a lot to juggle. I found the key to managing my personal and professional career is to not be so hard on myself and to handle myself with care. If you don’t care for your own needs, you won’t be strong and present enough to take care of other aspects of life. This advice has helped me to perform better professionally and personally, and sustained the resiliency I learned early on in life.   

Susan Cengiz

Susan Cengiz

Chief Performance Officer