We take great pride in featuring Michelle Allen, our accomplished Director of Systems and Security, and Facility Security Officer, in this month’s executive spotlight. Michelle has been with Cornerstone Defense since 2018, and her career trajectory that led her to the Cornerstone team is a testament to her journey of adaptability, commitment, and pursuit of excellence.
Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a minor in Spanish from George Mason University. However, after graduation, Michelle decided to further pursue studies in Accounting, which she had always been interested in. After working in banking for several years, Michelle expanded her areas of professional expertise by taking on roles in the fields of Accounting, Human Resources, Operations, Security, and Compliance Management. The diverse experiences she gained during this time would later serve as a bedrock and inspiration for her specialization in Security and Compliance. While she enjoyed a wide range of experiences in her previous roles, she was inspired to find a new position that would allow her to hone in on a specific skillset. She also wanted to work for a company that encouraged collaboration and innovation.
Michelle’s journey with Cornerstone Defense began after the CEO of Cornerstone, Patrick Palmer, sparked by interest in her varied and experienced resume, sought her out for an interview. Michelle was drawn to the company for several reasons. She viewed Cornerstone Defense as a fast-growing small business with a lot of potential. Also, she was excited by its fresh and energetic company culture that emphasizes the continual growth of its employees.
When asked about why she is proud to be a team member of Cornerstone Defense, Michelle said, “It’s currently a very exciting time to be here – we have new leadership, new goals, new focuses, and new opportunities for growth, now more than ever. I love that our team is on the same page, and each team member is excited and truly enthusiastic.” She also said, “Having good energy where you work is also important, and when you find a company like that, you want to stay!” Michelle thinks that what sets Cornerstone apart from other small government contractors is that it is open to change as a company, the investment in diversity, and the very generous amount of money it puts in every year for continuing education and career growth for our employees.
In her Executive Spotlight interview, Michelle also discussed the Security world, saying, “There are so many constant changes in technology, changes in processes enacted by the government, and of course great risk and responsibility, so it can be daunting to think about entering the field. But in any Security role, you also have the opportunity to help and protect people and protect your company. Best of all you will always be learning new things and adding more to your resume.”
Michelle’s ascent to a Director role at Cornerstone Defense is echoed by the best career advice she ever received, “Progress not perfection.” This advice now reflects her ethos of hard work, and always being open to learning and changing. This is also part of why she makes for such a valuable member of the team. This approach is also deeply intertwined with her life mantra, Phil 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Of this she says, “My interpretation of this is whatever circumstance, good or bad, I can get through it.” We wholeheartedly agree that Michelle embodies this sentiment, and we are fortunate that her goals and principles align with those of Cornerstone Defense – a sentiment that fills us with immense pride to have her on our team.