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Meet five leaders recognized at the 2022 Pinnacle Awards

Meet five leaders recognized at the 2022 Pinnacle Awards
Dec 21, 2022
From climate change to post-pandemic workforce engagement to diversity and inclusion, our executives bring innovative leadership to address some of today’s biggest challenges
Each year the WashingtonExec Pinnacle Awards recognize the success of executives and businesses that foster innovation in the federal public sector. Given our long-standing history of serving the public sector, we’re a natural fit for this recognition as we continue to grow our capabilities, offerings, and talent to help agencies transform their programs, systems, and teams to meet evolving challenges.

Caryn McGarry, HR Executive of the Year Winner

Pinnacle award winners

It was an exciting moment when our own Chief Human Resources Officer Caryn McGarry took home the prestigious HR Executive of the Year (Public Company) award! With more than 20 years of multifaceted HR experience, Caryn brings passion and purpose to her leadership style, inspiring continuous enhancements to how we approach talent acquisition and management, change management, and organizational design, not to mention HR business partnerships, technology, and operations.

Pinnacle award winners

Caryn shared with WashingtonExec that as we’ve learned to navigate a “new world of work,” she and her fellow leaders have taken a holistic view at ICF, balancing the benefits of in-person collaboration with our desire for flexibility. And true to our values, we’ve done it with fairness, inclusion, and well-being top of mind. In our most recent employee survey, 87% of us felt we have flexible schedules that meet our personal needs—a full 16% above the industry average.

Congratulations, Caryn, and thank you for your inspiring leadership!

“Don’t be afraid to take risks. I’ve had to learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable—especially when taking on new roles, standing up new functions, or establishing a new capability. It may seem cliché but getting outside your comfort zone can lead you to new and unexpected places along your career journey.”

Caryn McGarry, Chief Human Resources
Caryn McGarry
Chief Human Resources Officer

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Jennifer Welham, Healthcare Industry Executive of the Year Finalist

Jennifer Welham

For over 30 years, Jennifer Welham has been helping our clients use research and data to make critical decisions that impact the health of communities and populations. As our senior vice president for public health and social programs, she applies her domain expertise and extensive background in supporting federal clients to help solve complex and interconnected public health challenges as she leads a 2,000+ team.

Jennifer noted in this interview with WashingtonExec that today’s public health challenges are complex and often interconnected. She shared that she’s most proud of how her interdisciplinary team brings collective expertise in public health and social programs’ research, analytics, training, technical assistance, and evaluation—along with the latest technology solutions—to help our clients and the public make informed and life-changing public health decisions and create breakthrough solutions.

Jennifer was the 2021 Pinnacle Award Winner for Healthcare Executive of the Year (Public Sector).

“We have the opportunity to make a meaningful and lasting impact on society as we rebuild from the pandemic, continue to address recovery challenges, and use lessons learned to improve our public health infrastructure.”

Jen Welham headshot
Jennifer Welham
Senior Vice President, Health, People, and Human Services

Marian Van Pelt, Climate Change Industry Executive of the Year Finalist

Marian Van Belt

As senior vice president of climate and clean energy and a senior fellow for the ICF Climate Center, Marian Van Pelt is proud to work with 2,000+ dedicated and passionate climate, energy, and environment professionals. A climate and sustainability expert with over 20 years of experience, her work focuses on greenhouse gas management, climate adaptation and resilience, transportation, and energy activities to accelerate efforts to address climate change across industries.

Marian explained to WashingtonExec that as the impacts of a changing climate are becoming increasingly apparent, the need to address climate change has become much more urgent in recent years. In response, public and private sector organizations have come forward with ambitious decarbonization targets. And we’re helping government agencies (at all levels), utilities, and companies accelerate their efforts to address climate change—including our work for several flagship programs, like ENERGY STAR®️.

“I have the pleasure of bringing together teams with deep subject matter expertise across client types and domains to collaborate and solve new and emerging climate challenges. This diverse expertise is particularly crucial in our climate work because the impacts of climate change and their solutions also cut across client types and domains.”

Marian Van Pelt Headshot
Marian Van Pelt
Senior Vice President, Climate and Clean Energy + ICF Climate Center Senior Fellow

Kary James, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Industry Executive of the Year Finalist

Kary James

Equity advocate and social justice expert Kary James leverages her vast experience to address organizational biases, build authentic relationships, support federal clients, and shape the next generation of leaders in her role as our vice president for equity and inclusion for the public sector. As a former social worker and child welfare professional, her unique perspective drives her ambition to make an impact in improving standards to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations.

Kary shared with WashingtonExec that government agencies are increasingly required to show how they’re advancing racial equity and addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion—both within their operations and through their delivery of public services. And we can help them get there with our combination of domain expertise plus demonstrated results with multicultural communications; social justice, race equity, and equity-inclusive technology; program implementation; surveys, research, and analysis; and more.

“I firmly believe that sustainable social impact is grounded in an organizational culture of learning, innovation, respectful engagement, and effective collaboration. And the advancement of an anti-racist advocacy framework in leadership development, organizational cultures, and strategy development and planning is key.”

Mark Lee, Givers of GovCon Finalist

Mark Lee

Previously recognized by WashingtonExec as a Top Public Sector Leader to Watch in both 2020 and 2021, Mark leads our largest organization where our domain experts and technologists are helping government leaders think differently about how to address large-scale and often interconnected challenges. In addition to his industry contributions as our executive vice president of public sector, his personal philanthropic endeavors also further ICF’s purpose of building a more prosperous and resilient world for all.

In this Givers of GovCon podcast, Mark shares the importance of improving public health in some of our most underserved communities and developing the next generation of public health leaders. His family’s nonprofit HeartWorks works to provide a better base for children in rural North Carolina through after-school programs, affordable daycare, grants, and other initiatives. He and his wife also established a scholarship program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for graduate students focused on maternal and child health, to honor his mother who has always been passionate about work in this area.

“As industry leaders, we should be asking ourselves: What are we doing to help create healthier and more resilient communities and more equitable outcomes for vulnerable populations?”

Congratulations to our finalists for the recognition of your industry leadership and impact!