GEA: You launched Macro Solutions over 15 years ago. What has it been like to grow from two employees to over 150? And in an age where entrepreneurs jump to multiple companies, what has it been like to be with and grow one company for such a long period?
Starting a company is always harder than you think. Getting our first contract was by far the hardest contract to get, because you have no corporate past performance. Our first client had to believe in “me” more than our company, and we are thankful every day that they took a chance on a small business. Now, the challenges we face are more centered around long-term sustainable growth and staying relevant in a rapidly changing environment. Being with the same company for such a long time has enabled us to build strong business relationships and back office systems and processes needed to propel Macro Solutions forward.
GEA: Prior to Macro Solutions, you had been working as a consultant. What inspired you to leave consulting and take the entrepreneurial plunge?
My brother and I had always talked about starting a business. By 2000, I had worked as an IT consultant, but was also responsible for business development and corporate growth. The company I worked for decided not to continue performing work for the federal government, so I though it was an excellent time to start a business. I was always given the advice: “If you decide to start a business, focus on something you know very well that has a clear revenue model.” It was still not easy, but I felt that I had enough experience in the IT industry to give it a shot.
GEA: With technology changing at such a rapid pace, how do you continually innovate to achieve new levels of growth?
We work with really bright people who are providing innovations for our clients every day. We receive feedback from our projects and are constantly researching ways to apply new technologies to existing problems and provide value. In addition, we monitor industry trends to ensure that we keep abreast of cutting-edge technologies and processes and how they can be applied to solve the challenges facing our clients.
GEA: You were recently recognized as a SmartCEO Future 50 Award Winner and have been named one of D.C.'s fastest-growing technology firms in D.C. What do you attribute to your success?
Macro Solutions' success is directly attributable to our team of consultants and employees who work every day with our clients. Macro Solutions believes that retaining these talented individuals is paramount and, as such, we initiated a consultant care program designed to make sure that each employee is able to achieve their professional goals. This has resulted in one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry. In addition, Macro Solutions is a high-touch company, which results in better service and stronger relationshiops, a quality that has been recognized by our clients.
GEA: As an incredibly successful female entrepreneur, why do you feel that technology is still a male-dominated field? What is it going to take for more women to enter technology?
I believe we need to introduce technology in our elementary classrooms to every child at an early age. Typically, boys have been more drawn to technology, for example, video games, but a lot of it has to do with exposure. If we teach technology early, and girls find out they are good at it, as well as how many different career options exist in IT, there will potentially be more women pursuing technical careers.
GEA: What is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur and the hardest part of being one?
The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur is working with great people and watching something you started grow and become successful. The hardest part is that you can never fully disengage from your business. You are mentally working seven days a week and are always thinking about how you can sustain your business and remain relevant.
GEA: You became a Hoya when you came to the Hilltop for your MBA. What are some of your fondest memories on the Hilltop and what was your favorite class?
My fondest memories are of all of the great people I met and the fun things we did, like the Annual Report. I am still very good friends with many of those people today. My favorite class was, surprise, “Entrepreneurship.” It was in that class that I learned the practical side of starting and running a business. Each week a guest entrepreneur would speak about their business as well their successes and failures. I was fascinated by their stories.
GEA: What do the next several years look like for Macro Solutions?
We are in a rapid-growth mode right now. In a year or so, we will no longer be considered a small business by federal government standards. We will be competing directly with very large businesses and are in the process of planning and preparing for this transition.
GEA: Lastly, do you cheer for UVA basketball or the Hoyas?
What a tough question! I love both teams, and it is great to have attended two schools with such strong basketball programs—how is that for diplomacy?!