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By Desmond Johnson
The Department of Defense hosted the annual Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program cohort nine graduation ceremony June 14 at the Executive Management Training Center in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Six of the approximately 130 graduates were from the Defense Contract Management Agency.
“I’ve always wanted to better myself and develop my leadership skills,” said Silkia Babilonia, an administrative contracting officer from DCMA Atlanta and one of the agency's graduates.
Others from DCMA included: Stokely Samuel from DCMA International based in Samlesbury, England; Neil Galloway from DCMA Boston; Soumya Chandran from DCMA Lockheed Martin Moorestown; Sean Anderson from DCMA Albuquerque; and Barbara Rooney from DCMA Dallas.
Babilonia has been a part of the DCMA Atlanta team since 2016, and prior to that, she worked at DCMA Baltimore. She is a Keystone graduate and has been with the agency for seven years. In her current role as an ACO, she negotiates contractors’ incurred cost and overhead rates; reviews and approves the payment for final vouchers and contract financing; makes the final determination for contractors’ business systems; and issues corrective action requests and approves corrective action plans.
“By participating in the program, I feel that I have become more confident in my communication skills and interactions with people. The process was definitely worth it,” she added.
DCELP is a leadership development program for federal employees, grades GS-7 to GS-12, or the equivalent payband. The program consists of four one-week resident sessions, writing and briefing projects and individual coaching.
“Since coming on board to DCMA, I have had a desire to keep growing and developing myself. When the time was right, I submitted the application and was selected on my first try. I didn’t realize that it takes some people multiple attempts to be selected, so I was grateful to be selected when I was,” said Babilonia, who spent 20 days in the resident courses from March to June 2019. “I had faith that my application would be successful and luckily it was.
“Now that I’ve seen the areas I can improve in and began working on them, my relationships with my coworkers have improved. Anyone who aspires to be a leader would greatly benefit from the program because it is absolutely amazing.”
Employees are encouraged to begin the application process early. Many organizational leaders, including the applicant’s supervisor, contract management officer commander and regional commander are required to prepare and complete portions of the application.
“Before attending DCELP, Silkia established a solid reputation as a noteworthy acquisition professional,” said Nicole Bragg, DCMA Atlanta’s Contracts director. “After her completion of the program, I have observed an even greater demonstration of leadership, astute decision making and overall professionalism. I look forward to her future contributions and service to DCMA Atlanta and the agency.”
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