Jennifer Chronis, vice president of public sector at VMware and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, recently spoke with GovCon Wire in the latest Executive Spotlight interview to discuss her appointment with the company, how its workforce drives talent retention for the long term as well as the unique set of challenges on the business side of innovation.
“Across the federal sector, there are a lot of transformational forces at play shifting the focus to accelerating innovation. Our mission at VMware is to be a strategic partner of choice for agencies enabling a smarter path to multi-cloud, app modernization and distributed workforces. The passion I have for helping our customers comes from the foundation that I built as an Army officer for more than 21 years.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Jennifer Chronis below:
GovCon Wire: Congrats on recently joining VMware! What were the attributes of the company’s mission that attracted you to the role? What do you hope to accomplish with VMware?
Jennifer Chronis: “I’m still in the early days of my journey, but my belief in VMware’s multi-cloud vision is what led me to join the company.
The multi-cloud era represents the next chapter in VMware’s evolution. In chapter one, we pioneered server virtualization, laying the foundation for today’s cloud. In chapter two, we went bigger and broader – and virtualized the entire data center. We’re now in chapter 3, and multi-cloud is the center of gravity for everything we do.
I’m thrilled about the opportunity that we have in the federal sector because I think the customers are starting to truly accelerate cloud adoption and VMware is well positioned to meet our customers wherever they are on their digital transformation journeys.”
GovCon Wire: How does VMware ensure long term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees as you continue to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal marketplace?
Jennifer Chronis: “My focus is very much based around the mission for our customers as well as our team. I have used the phrase, “mission first, people always,” with my team a lot since I’ve been with VMware. It ties back to my time in the U.S. Army.
It’s really just about serving our customers and ensuring that we’re also taking care of the team. We’ve all undergone a lot of change over the past couple of years amid the pandemic, remote work and many of the different economic factors in play.
Personally, I just want to ensure that all of our team members are being taken care of and are motivated to have the best possible experience with VMware, which includes helping them along their professional development journey and ensuring that we are providing opportunities for growth and for mentorship.
VMware is focused on building the most diverse and inclusive culture and workplace for our people. We have this concept that we call ‘Create Your Own Adventure.’ It’s really all about helping every member of our team and retaining all of the amazing talent that we’ve got here at our company.
Providing a mission-oriented focus with purpose every day at work is part of what we’re doing to keep the VMware team together long term.”
GovCon Wire: How have recent partnerships been able to assist VMware to expand its position in the federal marketplace, drive innovation and new capabilities and ultimately help complete your company’s mission?
Jennifer Chronis: “First, we have an amazing partner ecosystem here at VMware. We rely on our partners to help address customer demand and to really accelerate our growth. We also have a strategic partner ecosystem with the major cloud providers to help our customers along their multi-cloud journey.
As it pertains to our federal business, Amazon Web Services is one of our critical partnerships.
In particular with AWS, the ability to achieve FedRAMP high authorization as well as the Department of Defense’s Impact Level Five is helping us accelerate cloud migrations in the federal government. The beauty of that solution is it allows our customers to leverage all of the investments they have in VMware’s capabilities and accelerate migration to AWS.
Together with AWS, we’re identifying customers that we can jointly help move to the cloud. With the upcoming end of the federal fiscal year, I would love to bring as many customers into the VMware Cloud on AWS solution as we can.
Cloud adoption is an ongoing journey and will absolutely be a top priority for our federal business for at least the next 24 months, if not much longer. It will take our customers some time to fully get to the cloud, but we’re right in the middle of it and really trying to help them achieve that goal as quickly as possible.”
GovCon Wire: We often discuss innovation from the technical or capability side. What are some of the unique challenges that you’ve seen on the business side of innovation that haven’t been addressed or discussed enough?
Jennifer Chronis: With our customers, we’re seeing cultural challenges associated with rapidly adopting innovation and the need to really re-skill their workforces. A lot of the challenges are also associated with enabling the hybrid and remote workforces that we have all adapted to in one way or another.
We are helping our customers lay the technical and cultural groundwork required as they accelerate innovation.
Our team is helping agencies identify and map out their digital transformation journeys in addition to the cultural shifts that will entail for their workforce.
We’re very excited about our work with the Army Software Factory, the Army’s first soldier-led software factory headquartered in Texas. We are helping their team build robust, compliant, and more resilient modern apps.
We’ve been working with the Army Software Factory for about two years to help drive our soldiers and leverage our software development to help achieve mission success.
VMware is also working with the U.S. Space Force to enable its mission of modernizing the new service branch through its agile software development. We’ve also been working with them to build some specific apps focused on satellites, radars, tracking incident events and network capabilities as well.
Ultimately, our goal is to help our customers innovate faster to meet mission demands.”