The world of government contracting is a challenging and dynamic environment, requiring small businesses to continuously adapt and evolve to succeed. Recognizing the importance of honing leadership and strategic skills, J3 Consulting’s CEO Jeannie Jones-Ledford, CIO Peter Cipriano, and Junior Business Analyst Cameron Sutton recently completed the Small Business Ascension Program offered by IBM’s Federal Ecosystem in partnership with George Mason University’s Center for Government Contracting. 

This transformative three-month program provided an invaluable opportunity for GovCon small businesses to enhance their leadership acumen and drive their organizations forward. 

“The Small Business Ascension Program led by GMU Executive Development Professor Brett Josephson and IBM Federal’s Katharyn White and Machon Banks has been an invaluable resource for J3 and our fellow classmates,” noted Cipriano. “The professors and guest speakers provided us with real-world recommendations and best practices focused on business and technical growth, specifically for small businesses working in the Federal vertical.”

Highlights of the Small Business Ascension Program included:

  • Leadership Excellence. The program commenced with a focus on leadership excellence, equipping participants with the tools needed to craft a vision and build high-performance teams. Through sessions such as “Crafting Your Leadership Vision” and “Managing vs. Leading,” J3 employees gained insights into effective leadership styles and personas. These lessons enabled them to build on their leadership culture that inspires innovation, collaboration, and success within their organization.
  • Financial and Partner Management. Understanding the importance of strong financial management and strategic partnerships in GovCon, the program’s second module delved into these critical areas. The J3 team learned how to work effectively with partners and navigate the intricacies of financial management. Armed with this knowledge, they can continue to make informed decisions that support their business growth while building and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Strategic Management Excellence. The third module focused on honing management capabilities and developing effective strategies for business model innovation. J3 execs deepened their understanding of talent management, employee evaluation, and leadership practices. They also explored the significance of operational efficiency and the power of AI and analytics in driving organizational success. Armed with these insights, they can now lead their teams with a greater emphasis on strategic decision-making and business model innovation.
  • Growth Excellence. The final module centered on driving sales growth in the GovCon space. The J3 leadership team discovered the importance of nurturing a professional sales team and delivering exceptional customer experiences. With a focus on customer account management and leveraging customer analytics, they gained valuable tools to strengthen client relationships and fuel sustainable business growth.

“Completing the Small Business Ascension Program has been a transformative experience for our team,” Cipriano noted. “Through the program’s comprehensive modules, we have developed essential leadership, financial, strategic, and growth management skills necessary for success in government contracting. Equipped with new insights, tools, and a robust network, J3 Consulting is poised to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.” 

As small businesses continue to face challenges in the GovCon arena, programs like the Small Business Ascension Program serve as catalysts for growth and empower entrepreneurs to navigate the complexities of the industry.