5 Lessons in GovCon Innovation and Growth: Inspired by MCA

By Global Services on August 30, 2022


We recently spoke to our dear friend, client, and fellow Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) partner, Lisa Firestone on our New Normal in Government Contracting (GovCon) series. Lisa Firestone, leader of Managed Care Advisors (MCA), started as a small business to a now wholly owned subsidiary of Sedgwick.

Our discussion begs the question, how can contractors innovate and grow in the GovCon industry? We’ve outlined some key lessons from our discussion with Lisa below:


1. Be Flexible in GovCon

The ability to pivot under pressure is the landmark of a successful business. In GovCon, as the landscape of the industry changes, so should you. The pandemic of 2020 required a huge pivot for many, as businesses were forced to adapt abruptly to a “new normal.” Between the lockdowns, mask mandates, and GovCon safety guidelines, contractors had to reexamine how and/or where they conduct business. Adopting a teleworking model would prove key for many.

Companies who successfully implemented teleworking practices and systems were quicker to conduct business as usual. For those who did not have the systems and infrastructure in place, their ability to deliver goods and services took a hit. In fact, according to a report by FedScoop and StateScoop entitled “Pandemic Fast-Tracks Plans for Future-Ready Government,” even government agencies learned this lesson the hard way.


 2. Lead with Empathy

Now that we’re two years into the pandemic, what does your remote work model look like? It’s important to build your work model, whether it be fully remote or hybrid with equal regard to two things: 1) how the work needs to be conducted and 2) the needs of the employees conducting the work.

The pandemic is an especially tumultuous event that’s impacted everyone differently. The trauma associated is still prevalent. It’s important to know how your team is coping with this “new normal.” Do you consistently check in?

“As a leader, you really have to keep your ear to the ground,” said Lisa, “and find out who may be struggling because they’re isolated.”

Remember, most employees leave managers, not companies. According to a recent EY Consulting survey, 90% of US workers correlate empathetic leadership with higher job satisfaction.


3. Invest in Emerging Technologies

How can you be more efficient for your government clients? How can you help lower costs?

Using emerging technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can automate processes, increase efficiency, and cut costs.

According to GOVCONWire, AI was marked as a high-priority for federal agencies in fiscal years 2022-2026. The government is aiming to become more tech enabled. Contractors should too.


 4. Team Up in GovCon

It’s important in GovCon, not unlike other industries, to make those important connections. In GovCon, you want to find teaming opportunities to expand your capabilities for federal clients. You never know where an advantageous partnership may take you. In the case of MCA, they were on the radar of Sedgwick, having worked together on projects, long before the acquisition.


5. Give Back

Graduating from a small or midsized to large business positions you to grow the next segment of small businesses.

“Don’t forget where you came from,” Lisa advises, “Don’t forget the next generation of small businesses.”

Once you’ve graduated to Large Business status, you’ll need to create your own small business subcontracting plan to guide your pursuit of future endeavors that will require small business support. Now that you are in the position to offer a helping hand, never forget your small business roots and the partnerships that took you to the next level.


Watch Lisa’s episode on our New Normal in Government Contracting series here.


About Lisa Firestone

Lisa M. Firestone, MHSA President and CEO of Managed Care Advisors, Inc. has been involved in the healthcare industry for more than 30 years gaining recognition for her expertise in the areas of workers’ compensation, disability management, and employee benefit program development, management, evaluation and strategic planning. Ms. Firestone has been actively involved in the evolution of workers’ compensation case management and disability management programs, most recently focusing on the federal workers’ compensation and disability systems.

Ms. Firestone started her career in hospital administration at a large, university-based medical center, followed by more than six years as a health benefits consultant and practice manager with The Martin E. Segal Company and American International Healthcare. Prior to founding Managed Care Advisors in 1997, Ms. Firestone served as Vice President and Principal with Managed Care Options.

Ms. Firestone serves on the Governing Board of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and is a Co-Chair of the WIPP Procurement Committee. She is also a member of the WBENC Certification Committee and an at-large member of the Women President’s Organization (WPO). Ms. Firestone was named the 2011 VIP (Victory in Procurement) Teaming Government Contractor of the Year by American Express Open.

Ms. Firestone has an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from George Washington University.