Technology and family are two of Brandee Daly’s biggest passions. “I like seeing my kids grow into their own personalities,” Daly explains, “seeing the way they hold themselves and carry themselves, having real conversations with them, seeing them work through what kind of person they want to be, and seeing them figure out and demonstrate their character.”
Just a few months ago, this past May, she left her job as Federal Account Executive with Amazon Web Services to start C2S Consulting Group, a company that assists businesses in utilizing cloud technology. Starting her own business is a natural progression for a woman with a B.S. in Engineering and an MBA from American University. The idea for her company came to her while she was working at Amazon Web Services—she saw a need that wasn’t being met. “I was selling cloud space to businesses but found that the businesses needed help moving to the cloud.” So, she quit her job and took a risk, a risk that’s already paying off: by the end of this month, CS2 Consulting Group will have hired 10 additional people; by end of this year, that number will have grown to 20.
This past March, Brandee Daly was named one of the Federal 100 for 2015 for helping intelligence agencies transition their operations and management to the cloud. “I did a lot of leaning in early in life. I never said no to a task. I became the person everyone could count on. I failed early, failed fast.” [This references the Silicon Valley philosophy to fail early, often, and quickly, because making and learning from mistakes is integral to innovation.]
What do you do for a living.
I have the greatest job in the world. I get to help companies move to new and exciting technologies and save money! I’m the President and Founder of C2S Consulting Group. We specialize in cloud migration and next generation innovations. We make moving to the cloud easy and allow our customers to enjoy the many benefits of cloud computing such as innovation, cost savings, and increased security.
Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
The most influential person in my life is my husband, Liam. He started his own business, Loudoun Sports Center. His constant encouragement, positivity, and his success allowed me to make the leap from Amazon to start my own business. He constantly reminds me, “We only live one life, and let’s make the most out of it,” and, “You can do anything you set your mind to.”
Who is your role model and why?
My role model is Jill Singer. She was the CIO for NRO and is now leading AT&T’s Government Division. She seems to balance work and family seamlessly.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I ever received is, “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.” I find this to be true so much in business. I am consistently asking to do things that may be outside the box or new or different, such as asking for the organization to form a Program Office around Cloud or realign resources to do new and different technical tasks.
What book has most influenced you?
“Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” by Sheryl Sandberg.
Advice you would give your 21-year-old self?
The best advice I could give is to follow your heart, find what makes you happy, and do what you love. If you follow your heart and do what you love, then work seems far less like work and more like fun.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I’m usually at one of my kids’ many sporting events: football, soccer, swimming, etc. I also have a great group of friends and families that we love to socialize with.
What is the biggest global challenge facing our world today?
Companies have to figure out how to do more with less, and they have to be far more sophisticated to prevent situations similar to Snowden.
If you weren’t in your current career, what would you be doing?
I would volunteer to help more at the kids’ schools and in other organizations that need help.
What’s your greatest accomplishment and why?
My greatest accomplishment is being a MOM. I love my work, but being a mom is the most fulfilling role I could ever have.
BY KATHRYN WELSH
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHELLEY MILLER
MAKEUP BY MEREDITH EHLER