7 women leaders driving innovation and transforming client delivery

7 women leaders driving innovation and transforming client delivery
Mar 1, 2024

Meet the experts whose commitment to excellence and impact has propelled them to the top of their fields and driven high-impact solutions that advance our clients’ missions

ICFers are well known for creating and implementing innovative solutions to our clients’ greatest challenges. We’re honoring seven our women who are delivering purpose-driven solutions to transform the fields of health and social programs, energy and climate, technology, marketing and communications, and more. Over the past year, these leaders have been recognized for excellence in their domains and for delivering high-impact solutions that improve mission outcomes for clients.

Health heroine

Jennifer welham headshot

Jennifer Welham firmly believes that health and its social determinants are inextricably linked. As the leader of ICF’s 2,700+ person health, people, and human services team, one of ICF’s largest businesses, she’s helping bridge the gap between health, technology, and advanced data, enabling our clients to better improve health outcomes. Her team is delivering health research, data analytics, bioinformatics, training, technical assistance, evaluation services, and more to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ICF’s largest client, and other federal civilian agencies. And she’s driving a holistic approach to our public health services, drawing from deep, interconnected domain expertise across multiple areas that allow for long-lasting impact.

Recognized as a 2024 FORUM IT100 honoree for advancing the fedhealthIT sector, Jennifer maintains an equitable, collaborative culture and workplace where all can grow and thrive. Her approach has led her team to record year-over-year growth and significantly increased impact for our clients.

Climate champions

Anne Choate headshot

Anne Choate has spent her career working at the intersection of decarbonization and resilience. Leading another of ICF’s largest businesses, our 2,900+ person energy, environment, and infrastructure team, she’s advising commercial, federal, state, and local clients on energy markets, climate change, clean energy, environmental planning, conservation, transportation planning, disaster management, and more.

Anne leads with empathy and inclusion. For example, to address the professional development needs of junior staff she established a program to connect them with group and company leadership and foster a sense of community. To date, this program includes 1,000+ staff, many of whom have advanced into key company leadership roles. She’s also the former executive sponsor for ICF’s Women Employee Community Network, our largest affinity group.

With Anne at the helm, her team has achieved record sales and revenue growth over the past few years, boosted by the strategic acquisition of two small environmental and energy firms, which expanded our geographic and technical reach. For her excellence in leadership, she was recognized as a 2023 ALM Women Leader in Consulting honoree.

Marian van pelt headshot

Leading ICF’s climate practice, one of the largest science-based climate consultancies in the world, is Marian Van Pelt, who also leads our energy and transportation business. She successfully guides governments and organizations worldwide toward sustainable futures. Collectively, her team is responsible for designing and implementing some of the most transformational U.S. federal climate change projects of our time.

As these challenges and their solutions become more complex, Marian is providing clients with approaches that can be deployed with the urgency that matches theirs. And evolving our services to embrace technology solutions that give projects scale, speed, efficiency, and insights to drive effective decision-making. She enabled the creation and launch of three of our proprietary technology platforms that help organizations quickly find and implement pathways to decarbonization, identify and manage climate risks, and scale the clean energy transition.

For her leadership and innovation, Marian was recognized as WashingtonExec’s 2023 Climate Change Executive of the Year (Public Company) and a 2023 FORUM Leading for Impact honoree.

Tech titans

Tahera zamanzada headshot

A transformative figure in fed tech consulting, Tahera Zamanzada is helping reshape how government perceives tech and use of data, tapping into its potential by ensuring the seamless integration of advanced technologies like AI and machine learning to support a wide range of applications. She supports ICF’s digital modernization portfolio, creating our go-to-market strategy and technical solutions across 10+ technology platforms.

Focused on the critical role empathy plays and the importance of human-centered design in digital transformation, Tahera merges emotional intelligence with technical acumen, ensuring digital transformation embraces organizational culture and inclusivity and that training, technical assistance, and employee upskilling are part of the modernization solution.

Her commitment to ensuring that digital modernization efforts include both human + tech aspects earned her two recognitions in 2023: Women in Technology’s Corporate Large-Market Sector Leadership Award winner and a FORUM Leading for Impact honoree.

Whitney Millegan headshot

A lead innovation specialist, Whitney Millegan (Millegan) is providing leadership and responsible advancement of our organizational AI capabilities. She is program manager for our GenAI advancement initiatives, overseeing the execution of GenAI initiatives aimed to unleash the power of ICF's workforce using GenAI and enable client delivery of GenAI solutions. This includes leading Agile teams, prioritizing backlog, and building executive buy-in to develop a suite of GenAI-powered business process improvements.

Recognized by the Northern Virginia Technology Council as a 2023 Tech 100 NextGen Leader for driving impact in the region’s tech community, Millegan applies an entrepreneurial approach to implementing new ways of working through experimentation. And her vision, leadership, and empathy have prepared us well to take advantage of GenAI now and into the future.

Creative communicators

Mary Schwarz headshot

As the leader of ICF Next, our integrated, full-service digital and communications agency, Mary Schwarz provides strategic guidance and data-informed digital strategies to help government and commercial organizations create long-lasting connections with their audiences.

Mary helps clients define their objectives and business goals; map user journeys; and develop incremental and iterative development plans; as well as evaluate the impact and efficiency of their programs, and revise and optimize their digital programs for maximum impact. Her work often calls upon deep data analytics to not only inform and tailor experiences, but to drive timing, frequency, and lasting behavior change.

For her leadership in advising the government contracting community, Mary was recognized by DCA Live as a 2024 Power Woman of GovCon.

Cindy Auten headshot

An experienced communications and marketing leader, Cindy Auten leads the government communications team for ICF Next, where she’s devoted to building and growing thriving teams to deliver exceptional work and achieve business results. She does this by focusing on two interconnected goals. First, grow the business so teams can do great work they know will make a difference. Second, grow team members by providing opportunities to develop and enhance their skills.

Cindy has launched several initiatives to achieve both goals and provide mentorship and growth opportunities for her team members. And for her commitment to mentoring and coaching others, she was recognized by Ragan as a 2023 Top Woman in Communications.

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