Women in Leadership: Christina Guthrie

Q: What is your background, and how did you start at COLSA?   

A: I am a Native Huntsvillian and graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in 2009 with my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management. While attending UAH, I was an intern as an HR Assistant at Qualis Corporation, a small government contractor. I left Qualis to accept a Technical Recruiter position at COLSA and have been here ever since. Having lived in Huntsville my entire life, I was familiar with COLSA, the company’s prestigious reputation, and Mr. Collazo. I was honored when a colleague contacted me about potential employment with COLSA. Given COLSA’s reputation and the opportunity to learn from some of the best and brightest in the industry, it was an easy choice to join the COLSA Family.  

Q: What challenges have you faced as a woman in leadership?   

A: A stereotype is associated with a woman needing to do more or sacrifice more to prove her standing in the workplace. As a result, I’ve struggled with feelings related to imposter syndrome. I’m thankful to have a supportive network inside and outside of COLSA comprised of colleagues, mentors, and peers to reach out to when these feelings arise.  

Q: What is your favorite part about being a leader?   

A: I am incredibly blessed to have been mentored by some incredible leaders, and their impact on my personal and professional life is profound. Now that I’m in a position that allows me to lead others, I have the opportunity to give back, serve and make an impact on the lives of others. It is extremely rewarding to empower, uplift, and focus on the unique strengths of each of my team members.   

Q: What has COLSA done to help you grow as a leader?   

A: I previously participated in COLSA’s mentoring program. I was honored to partner with one of the greatest leaders I have ever met – Mr. Ted Martin, our Senior Vice President of the Systems & Software Engineering division. COLSA also allowed me to attend Transcend’s Fearless Leaders MasterClass, a phenomenal, interactive nine-month leadership development program.  

Q: What is your advice to young female professionals?   

A: Failure is an evitable part of success; we learn when we stumble and keep marching forward. Own your seat at the table; Manifest confidence, assert yourself and be visible. You must speak with data rather than emotion. The perfectionism you strive for is a thief of joy—there’s an opportunity cost associated with obsessing over perfection (Stress, burnout, slowed decision making, anxiety, etc.). And finally, strive to be a leader with a legacy. Have a fierce desire to serve others & empower those on your team — teach them how not to need you by utilizing their greatest strengths.