Salvadorian born, Hildi Pineda came to the Virginia area when she was five years old. Participation in a George Washington University STEM program after eighth grade inspired her to continue her studies in math and the sciences and seek a career in technology. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in business information technology, she earned an M.B.A from Johns Hopkins University. Since, Hildi’s career path has spanned Fortune 500 companies and award-winning small and large businesses.
Recently, Hildi was named to FCW’s 29th annual Federal 100 Award list. Her selection recognizes her ongoing achievements in leveraging technology to accelerate the mission of federal agencies and their clients. In particular, she’s been mobilizing cross-functional business and technology teams from AbleVets and its partners to help Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) bring even more innovation to the ways in which it serves Veterans across the continuum of care. Hildi is especially proud of her work on behalf of VA, as two of her brothers serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Hildi recently sat down and shared her thoughts on a variety of topics.
Q: Tell us about your career path.
A: I interned at Booz Allen and began my career there. I worked in the healthcare IT space and soon recognized the impact IT could have, especially its power to improve healthcare delivery, tracking and monitoring. Even more important, I saw the power healthcare data gives patients in terms of making informed health decisions.
My work at Booz Allen focused on program management. I realized I wanted to get closer to client missions and move into delivering and implementing systems that could affect healthcare outcomes on the clinician and patient sides. I moved to Agilex, which was eventually acquired by Accenture Federal Services, and worked on many programs including VA’s enterprise health management platform.
My interest in strategic solution development and implementation prompted my move to AbleVets. I enjoy the creative problem-solving opportunities and client focus AbleVets affords as a small business.
Q: What aspect of being AbleVets’ Chief Growth Officer do you most enjoy?
A: There are two facets that immediately come to mind. First, my role continues to evolve, and it is never the same on any given day. The variety challenges me. Second, I like the stakeholder interaction – potential clients, existing clients, potential partners and existing partners. With existing clients, I enjoy the journey from concept to solution and seeing the impact that solution has on an organization. With potential clients, I enjoy communication the AbleVets point of view, learning about the client’s mission and how AbleVets can help and evolving our relationship into a trusted adviser role. Collaborating with various partners is fun, too, especially discovering what drives different organizations. Most of all, I enjoy building teams that leverage the strengths and assets of multiple partners to solve complex problems.
Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?
A: I consider myself a facilitator who strives to be open-minded and agile. From this perspective, I am proud of the teams we’ve assembled, the high level problem-solving they’ve accomplished and the quality of the solutions we’ve implemented, especially in the healthcare arena.
Q: What is your next objective?
A: My immediate objective is to remain forward looking, stay ahead of the market and continue to bring innovative solutions to the forefront for AbleVets clients. Part of this challenge is helping to mature our organization by developing key capabilities and technologies so we can continue making a measurable impact on people’s lives.
Q: Tell me about your efforts to advance women in the AbleVets workplace.
A: I am one of several executive sponsors of the Women’s Network at AbleVets and a mentor for our next-generation leaders. My role as a mentor is multi-faceted. One part involves creating and advancing opportunities in the IT space for interested women. Another aspect is educational, informing women about a career in technology and the wide range of possibilities. There are many paths of progression within IT and many opportunities for continuous growth and improvement, so getting multiple perspectives can help inform your career choices. And, it’s not just the technical aspect. It also involves understanding the business side of technology. It’s important to know the market, emerging trends, client interests, the problems clients face and how we create solutions to address these challenges.
Q: What messages would you convey to all young women interested in pursuing a career in technology?
A: Keep informed, as knowledge truly is power. Always be open to learning new things. Stay on top of technology and market trends. Most important, be a good, active listener. Hear what the client is saying relative to its mission, needs, pain points and challenges and then tailor each solution to your client. Ultimately, it is the best way to become your client’s trusted adviser.
Read more about Hildi’s Fed100 award.