From becoming an U.S. Air Force veteran to founding the Howard County-based business IntelliGenesis, president and CEO Angie Lienert has made a name for herself in Maryland and beyond. After becoming a small business owner, Lienert knew she wanted to promote a supportive working environment where employees enjoyed their careers and felt a significant work/life balance. She also knew this was her chance to improve opportunities for other women and veterans in the industry.
Formed in 2007, IntelliGenesis employs more than 135 workers across its four locations. Not only has the company consistently been listed among the “Best Places to Work” by the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, but Inc. Magazine named it one their top workplaces and featured Lienert on the front cover in 2019. She also served as the keynote speaker at last year’s Governor’s Business Summit.
As part of our Year of the Woman celebration, we recently sat down with Angie Lienert to learn more about her successful career journey.
One of IntelliGenesis’ largest customers is the Department of Defense. How does it feel to lead a company with critical security clients?
I love my job. I love having the opportunity to improve and positively impacting National Security missions. My job provides me the opportunity to work with some amazing people, create the corporate culture I’ve always wanted to work in, and take care of both my employees and customers to the best of my ability.
What steps do you think contributed to your career trajectory?
I think that never being satisfied has helped me continue to grow. When I was in Frankfort, KY (after graduating from high school) with no college prospects, working at a gas station, I knew I wanted more. I needed an opportunity, so I joined the Air Force.
After being in the Air Force for six years, becoming an Arabic Linguist, completing my Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor of Science, getting married and having my first child, I still knew that I wanted more. I pursued my MBA, obtained my PMP (Project Management Professional certification), and became a Project Manager. I didn’t like that I was having to choose between the customer and my employees—I knew I wanted more. Then I started IntelliGenesis. I’ve continued to want more and have never been satisfied staying in one place for too long. My perseverance and drive have served me well (at least most of the time).
Every step I made included tons of risks. I always asked myself, “what’s the worst that can happen?” If I was satisfied that my answer wouldn’t result in death or jail time, then I pursued it. Most of the time, the risks could have resulted in a step back from where I was at that point in my career. That was completely worth the risk.
How did you feel taking the leap and expanding with an office in Augusta, Georgia?
It was a great to expand and have other opportunities… Next on the horizon is a San Antonio office. I look forward to the new opportunities and challenges it brings. When I started this company, I knew I’d have to grow to stay competitive.
How does it feel to be a successful female CEO in a male-dominated industry?
It feels amazing! When I was younger, I felt like I had to speak more loudly to be heard because I was a woman. Over the years, I’ve realized that I deserve to be where I am and it’s okay to be a successful woman. I don’t need to speak louder or over assert myself. I just have to be comfortable and confident. It’s worked well for me.
What advice would you give up-and-coming female entrepreneurs and business leaders in Maryland?
Go for it! Don’t give up. Push yourself until you think you can’t go any further, then push yourself even more. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. Always, always, learn something from your mistakes and failures. Use them to fuel your passion and drive.
What can we expect from the company in the years to come?
We will continue to grow and challenge ourselves to expand into new markets, new technologies, but will remain true to our core values and mission of helping the good guys to capture the bad guys.