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Employee Spotlight

Employee Spotlight: Jennifer Whitlow

NetCentrics

No business exists without contracts – and every one of them is important to ensure successful business outcomes. Jennifer Whitlow knows this because, as Director of Contracts, she has a unique view into every department. At NetCentrics she works across teams evaluating, verifying, and managing contracts. Additionally, as a member of the executive leadership team, Jennifer contributes to strategic planning, growth opportunities, corporate structure, program management, and corporate policy.

Jennifer’s work ranges from dense government contracts full of specialized requirements for support of our customers’ missions, to active engagement in business development activities, and managing contractual agreements between vendors and subcontractors. NetCentrics’ role providing emerging technology services with cleared employees in Top Secret contexts also means that Jennifer negotiates Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and other sensitive materials.

Contrary to reputation, contract management does not only involve dry subject matter. In fact, Jennifer applies an agile contracts management approach which stresses the value of frequent collaboration between negotiating parties and the establishment of positive working relationships. “It’s a mix of art and science — balancing potential risk while achieving business objectives,” says Jennifer, who has worked in the government contracting field her whole career since graduating from George Mason University.

The Art and Science of Contracts

The art of this role comes down to people and relationships. “I’ve worked hard to be partner-centric with my internal stakeholders as well as our external ones, and that’s made a big difference,” she says, explaining that she maintains relationships with her network of colleagues and peers because personal connections can go a long way to establish mutual trust between businesses. Building trust matters, and is essential for securing new business and sustaining current business, particularly  with multiple parties working toward the same goals. Alignment starts in the early phases of business development and continues through proposal preparation, contract award, execution and matures through the final close-out years later. 

“Another critical success factor is one’s ability to bridge the innovation gaps in the federal marketplace. This involves close collaboration with the government on their business solutions by connecting end users with acquisitions.”

“Another critical success factor is one’s ability to bridge the innovation gaps in the federal marketplace. This involves close collaboration with the government on their business solutions by connecting end users with acquisitions.”

Internally, she approaches contract management with an eye toward collaboration and highest returns. How does one contract influence other obligations? How does a contract enhance business outcomes for NetCentrics and/or our partners? “I’m very ops-focused, and work in lockstep with them, and with management. It comes down to transparency at every step,” she says.

Contractually, You Must Make Room for Fun

It’s not all serious document review and business outcomes that drive Jennifer. She’s adamant that every contract should have some fun included, too. Not necessarily literally, but certainly attitudinally. Few things are done successfully without breaks that encourage some levity. It’s important to the overall the process, even when the process itself is serious and the stakes are high.

“For me, it’s the beach,” Jennifer says of her favorite way to recharge. “If not the beach, you’ll find me at the pool as much as possible when the weather is good.” She also enjoys concerts and restaurant dining as other fun ways to take a break. She and her family are Washington Football Team fans and expect to cheer them on this season.

Connect with Jennifer Whitlow on LinkedIn.

Katie

Katie McCaskey

Manager of Marketing and Communications, NetCentrics
Katie is passionate about cybersecurity and emerging technologies.
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