Exploring ‘The Best Experience in My Career,’ Leadership Tips, and More: My Journey to HR Director

Sponsored by General Dynamics Information Technology

Nicole Domowski

Photo courtesy of General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT).

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April 19, 2024 at 10:33PM UTC

“I am always ready and willing to take on a challenge,” says Nicole Domowski, the Director of Human Resources at Praxis (a General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) company). “I have been very open with my leadership on my personal career growth goals and asked for guidance. This helped me get selected to work on programs and projects where I had knowledge gaps, enabling me to become more educated in those areas.”

One such program is GDIT’s new Rising Leadership Program, of which Domowski was one of the first cohort. GDIT’s Rising Leader Program is a fast-paced, three-month leadership development experience for their top talent. The unique program reflects GDIT’s priorities to grow and elevate leaders from within, while accelerating visibility and career progression to historically underrepresented groups such as women, People of Color, and veterans. The immersive experience is similar to an executive MBA curriculum — GDIT combines hands-on learning modules and executive leader engagement with leaders addressing a current business challenge.   

“The rising leadership program was amazing,” Domowski reflects. “I learned so much about myself, how to advance my leadership skills, how to think differently, and how to push myself outside my comfort zone, all of which ultimately leads to better ideas and outcomes.” 

During the program, Domowski notes that she was challenged by the other leaders in the cohort, which “pushed us all to come up with awesome ideas,” that they could share with GDIT’s executive leadership team. And, even more importantly, the leadership team really listened to these ideas! 

“It was the best experience in my career to date,” Domowski tells us. As she notes, in regards to leadership, “there is always something new to learn.” 

Here, Domowski shares more about her exciting career and her best advice for others hoping to take charge of their own career paths.

To start, many people can find it intimidating when entering a management role for the first time. What were your initial thoughts when you learned you were moving into a leadership role?

Excitement. I love encouraging others and helping them through challenges. I make sure to ensure that the people I manage have what they need to be successful, and I provide the same career guidance that I was fortunate to have.

What’s the one management-level career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of? 

One career shift I made was moving into a Program Manager role for a very visible, large program (with 80 people and 80 million dollars) for a complicated and challenging customer. It was a unique program that was not doing as well as it could be when I took it over. This opportunity pushed me in ways that I hadn’t experienced before, and I learned valuable lessons in teamwork and what real leadership means. I am so proud of that team and how I got to be part of it. I will bring those lessons with me into my new role at Praxis and hopefully can make the same type of impact here. 

What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?

I have been very fortunate in my career to work with amazing people and have the best leadership a girl could ask for. My managers have taken a personal interest in seeing me succeed, which pushed me when I needed it. They trusted me to do my job and that I was doing what was best for those I was leading.

What’s been your most valuable career mistake? 

Remaining objective instead of jumping to conclusions. I found that you have to dig deeper into challenges to understand the full picture from all sides before you can draw conclusions or suggest solutions. 

How does GDIT help people grow and advance their careers?

This is what I love about GDIT and their affiliated companies — they promote career growth, sometimes even in another area of their business! Our leadership embraces and supports career development and where that takes you. 

Personally, I have been afforded the opportunity to work in different positions that expanded my knowledge and helped my career growth tremendously. 

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