18 Jan Meet Kim Weaver, Program Manager
Criterion’s program managers play a critical role in helping our Federal government customers meet their mission objectives. Each brings a unique perspective and background to their jobs, a combination of technical expertise and problem-solving capacity that helps Criterion develop and implement creative solutions to the challenges our teams face every day.
Today we would like to introduce you to Kim Weaver, a program manager for our Department of Agriculture (USDA) customer, where she is responsible for the delivery of enterprise-wide IT services in cybersecurity, disaster recovery, operating system administration, applications and databases, network, and information assurance.
Kim has more than two decades of experience in Federal government contractor IT project management and program management, including seven years working with the USDA. She is known for her strengths in collaboration and an “engagement style” approach that her customers and team members greatly appreciate. In 2020, she was named Criterion’s Program Manager of the Year, the same year her program achieved all exceptional ratings on Contractor Performance Assessment Reports (CPARs). She also participates as a mentor in Criterion University’s Mentoring Program.
Kim has an MBA and a BS in Management and Human Relations from Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. She is PMP and ScrumMaster certified.
What would you consider your key subject matter expertise?
I would say my most significant contribution is relationship management, and that would apply to customers, employees, and our corporate leadership team. I enjoy people. I like to fully engage, learn their perspectives, and provide whatever support, encouragement, or tools they might need.
What is an important lesson learned in that area that you apply frequently to add value to your customers?
What I remind myself often is that whatever “it” is, it is rarely about me. Almost always, everyone is doing the best they can. If there is a problem, don’t take it personally. Look for the underlying cause. Then provide constructive criticism, if necessary, but always empathy and encouragement. No one has ever been threatened, coerced, or manipulated into giving their best. That comes only from inspiration.
Do you have a particular approach to solving problems?
My approach to problem solving is to first remove the fear: fear of failing, of being wrong, of looking foolish, or of my solution not being the one that is chosen. For me, that opens a world of possibilities. Living in fear is not playing to win, it is just playing to not lose…and there is a big difference.
What drives you? What is the key to your success?
I always feel that my best life is still ahead of me. I can’t do anything about the past, but I can impact the future. I want to be a constant source of empowerment and encouragement to others.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement in your role here at Criterion?
Although I am very proud to have won Program Manager of the Year for 2020, what I am most proud of is the degree to which we have established a superb relationship with our customer. Over the past few years, we have focused on opening and supporting an effective dialogue, which makes our customer feel like their concerns are always heard. This has been tremendously valuable in helping us help them meet their mission objectives.
What is the craziest job you ever worked?
When I was in high school, I spent summers working for the Corps. of Engineers. I lived in a lake town, and they hired teenagers every year to mow and underbrush, pick up trash, and dispose of rotting fish. It was hot, sweaty, manual labor. We had to wear hard hats and work boots in the sweltering summer, and all for $3.35 per hour.
Tell us something about yourself that may surprise your coworkers
I’m a hillbilly. I grew up in the Ozarks. We heated our house with a wood stove, had a well, rarely had hot water, and I milked nanny goats every morning before school. We were dirt poor, but those years taught me to work hard and scour the horizon for opportunity.