Director of Civilian Sales
Mary is the director of civilian sales for Affigent. She has been with the Akima family of companies for nine years.
Shortly after Mary Colville graduated from Vanderbilt University with an MBA, she came across an information technology sales role through her network and decided to go for it. That turned out to be the right move for the business-minded Virginian drawn to the technology world. For the past decade, Mary has stayed in an industry where she says she sees firsthand how technology positively impacts citizens and transforms society.
“I feel directly connected to it in my current role,” says Mary, who today is Affigent’s director of civilian sales. “For example, the pressures on public services have increased dramatically, but yet our government has to deliver with flat or declining budgets. Every day in my role, I’m talking to customers about moving to the cloud because it presents potential economic benefits for them and allows them to focus on their mission of serving the public.”
Mary says she learned how to work hard and to pursue her passion from her family. Her father, a family physician who still makes house calls 40-plus years into his career, has been particularly inspiring for her. “He loves practicing medicine, and even on the days when he’s exhausted or when he has to make an unpopular decision or deliver unfavorable news, he does it, every day,” she says.
Outside of family, she recognizes that Akima’s leadership has enabled her to pursue her passion. “I am grateful to work for an organization that supports women from the top down,” says Mary. The president of Affigent and Mary’s current supervisor, Carol Rivetti taught her a few important things. For example, being a leader isn’t about you; it’s about enabling the people around you to succeed. And having a strong network is a great resource, so take the time to engage others in a genuine way and stay connected.
“Carol encourages me to be authentic and do the work, and that’s part of who I am,” Mary notes. “Even when you’re unsure of yourself, walk through the fear and put in the effort.”
Whether digging in means working late at night on a proposal or talking with her team members about professional growth, “it builds your confidence in your own role,” Mary states.
Last year when Mary went on maternity leave, the Affigent leadership saw major changes—and Mary returned to work with expanded responsibilities. While that period was especially demanding, her hard work paid off, she notes.
“I’m pleased to share that our team had record-breaking growth this year,” she says. “All of that effort that we put in—the extra hours, the intense thought, the engagement both internally and with our external partners and customers—shows in our results, and I’m really proud of our team and how I contributed.”
During those strenuous moments, striking a balance between work and life can be tough, but “there’s a validation that comes from the success of my career, so the confidence I gain in my career shapes who I am as a mother, a wife, a sister and a friend,” Mary says.
Key to Mary’s career success—and something she advises other women to do—is to foster a network of driven, brainy friends who push each other. “Surround yourself with passionate, positive, and smart people,” she says. “I have a group of very intelligent female friends and they’re all successful in their own careers. We guide and validate each other. That’s been critical to my professional growth, to have that sounding board with friends going through similar things in their careers and in their personal lives.”