Senior Project Manager
Cindy Poggi is a senior project manager with Tuva. She has been with the Akima family of companies for two years.
In the early 1980s, Cindy Poggi was a full-time mother. Her husband’s job with IBM had brought the New York couple to Maryland in 1979 and over the next few years, the family grew. Cindy stayed home to take care of the couple’s two children, she kept busy with a few small craft businesses, Brownie Troop leader duties, and coaching her son’s recreation team. Driven by a passion for technology, Cindy was eager to continue learning. So she enrolled in classes at the University of Maryland, eventually earning a degree in computer science. After a while, she realized coding wasn’t what she wanted to do. Her husband suggested she look into a career as a project manager. Cindy decided to give it a try—a decision that led to a decades-long career in managing information technology projects.
Cindy’s first few project management jobs were for small consulting businesses and as an independent freelancer. Once her kids were off to college, Cindy spent some time working with the Fairfax County school system in Alexandria, Virginia, and a banking company.
In 2001, she joined Affiliated Computer Services, a Lockheed Martin spinoff. For nearly seven years, Cindy did E-ZPass project management, focusing on E-ZPass systems for New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and South Carolina. The E-ZPass deployment for the Garden State was a huge accomplishment for Cindy because it was completed over a very tight 9-month deadline and involved all new hardware and software. “We were able to bring it up—and it actually worked!” Cindy says.
She came to work for Akima in 2016 after being introduced to the company by a friend. She landed a job as a project manager for the Federal Drug Administration, working on software deployment for off-the-shelf products and other tasks.
Reflecting on her early days in IT, Cindy remembers when IBM’s first personal computer came on the scene and hard drives were the size of shoeboxes. Programming was done with punch cards and green screen computers, without the functionality of today’s machines, she recalls. In those days, Cindy was regularly the only woman in meetings. “It was a very male-dominated field,” she says. “You didn’t automatically have the same level of respect that your male counterpart normally would have.”
What kept her going was her family. For a long time, she and her husband relied on a single income—and that had to change if they wanted their kids to go to college.
“The main motivator was doing something in the professional field where I could make decent money to put the kids through school,” she states.
Now what drives her every day is being a project manager and working with people. “I enjoy figuring out a problem—it gives me a sense of fulfillment,” she says. As for advice to other women climbing the career ladder, Cindy says striking a balance between home and work is key.
She has changed jobs many times in her adult life, but her family has been constant throughout. Cindy advises up and coming professionals to be mindful of time and energy spent at work versus at home. No matter how stressful or high-visibility your career is, never lose sight of pursuing balance between home and work, she says.