About Us > SBA 8(a) certified small business, providing niche cybersecurity, cloud and management consulting services

Who We Are

At Zen Strategics, our mission is to help government agencies evolve in their business acumen thereby translating to efficient performance. We are a minority owned SBA 8(a) certified, management consulting firm that offers a unique, innovative and analytical approach to the crucial & current challenges faced by federal and commercial enterprises in the realm of cyber security, cloud & big data analytics. Our approach is based on intuitive solutions gathered from multiple years of engagement with various federal agencies and fortune 500 companies and adapts to each client's unique mission and requirements to ensure sustainable and ingenious solutions.

We treat cyber security as a solution stack being built and managed for best ROI and thereby taking a holistic approach to protecting your network. By integrating state-of-the-art solutions into existing security infrastructures, we are able to quantify, visually represent, and reduce cyber risk.

Our Story

As our name suggests, our consulting experience is built on enlightenment attained in the art of strategy, by being intimately involved in the growth of government companies in the realm of cyber security. In working with federal executive branch agencies, Zen Strategics has created IT strategies using today's emerging technology that are now standard operating requirements. The Zen Concept of Leadership embraces a blend of strategic planning and implementation. In Zen Practice, leadership is a blend of courage, clarity & humanity. Zen Strategics embraces 3 core values:

  • The leadership of business growth is a combination of innovation, understanding & motivation (Courage)
  • The idea that a plan has a clear and understandable goals (Clarity)
  • The goals respect the potentials of a productive business ecology (Humanity)

Our Team

Venu Ayala Venu Ayala, Founder & President

Venu Ayala is an experienced management executive, recognized for his contributions while bringing over 20 years of experience in the cyber, cloud, telecom, aerospace and federal strategic consulting. He enjoys advising clients on issues ranging from IT systems cyber compliance & automation, business process optimization, change management, internal controls and various risk assessments and cybersecurity design projects. Mr. Ayala has architected and managed the information systems/product design and development for several commercial, federal and state agencies, and serves as a trusted advisor to senior executives in the federal government and commercial enterprises. Key responsibilities include creating and enhancing product/service lines and developing cyber/cloud strategies that build brand equity, reduce risk, and promote a strong compliant corporate image. Overall, an enthusiastic, innovative, and decisive leader, he manages strategic and tactical operations by building innovative and transformational analytic solutions that address emerging management, technology and operational issues. Venu’s academic pedigree includes an MBA from Cornell University (2006), a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University (1998) and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering(1996) from India.

Tammy Strickler Tammy Strickler, Principal

Tammy leads the Zen Records Information Management offering and brings more than 37 years of experience in Federal Records Management, specializing in evaluating electronic systems and repositories for proper management of records and information. Tammy has been at the forefront of this discipline, and even attained one of the first designations as a Certified Records Manager, Federal Specialist in the nation and has been a strong voice in implementing Federal guidance as the government moves towards full compliance with M-19-21 to shape the future of a paperless records and information management environment. She is an expert in providing IT system developers guidance for methods and standards to meet these requirements, and shifting from paper to electronic processes. Tammy’s experience encompasses work in the intelligence community and federal law enforcement arenas ensuring records guidance will not only fully meet their business needs but ensure the records can be preserved through upgrades and system changes, remaining fully authentic and retrievable.

Tammy Strickler Carla Faison, Senior Consultant

Carla is a senior consultant with over twenty-five years of experience supporting federal government projects. She comes to Zen as a Deputy Program Manager, with experience that includes planning and executing strategic communications to implement the Controlled Unclassified Program (CUI) at a federal science agency. She collaborated with senior federal staff to create a strategic communications plan to support implementation of the CUI program. For fifteen years, she supported strategic communications for information technology projects at several federal agencies in the areas of immigration, homeland security, defense, and law enforcement. She was a senior member of a team that implemented several successful employee-focused internal communications projects including the “Get Connected, Stay Connected” initiative which included the creation and production of a video and various marketing materials to encourage employee collaboration. She has also traveled across the U.S. to plan and manage special events, meetings, workshops, and conferences for various federal agencies. In addition, she has facilitated CUI overview briefings, Zoom and PowerPoint training courses. Carla graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film Production. She also earned a professional certificate in 3D Animation and Digital Video from George Washington University.

Joseph Lynem Joseph Lynem, Senior Consultant/Advisor

Joseph is senior consultant/advisor at Zen Strategics. He comes with great demonstrated extensive history of working in the government administration industry. He is an accomplished Senior Program Manager with a Strong professional skills in Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), Data Privacy, Program Management, Privacy Law, and Competitive Sourcing. For 22 years he has worked with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a Senior Program Manager; his duties included the Privacy Principles, Practices and Techniques are accounted for in any system, application, or business program/process development from a lifecycle perspective- end to end. He also served as Senior Program Manager for the IRS Controlled Unclassified Information ( CUI) Program responsible for briefing Senior Executives on a weekly basis on the status of the IRS CUI Program. His responsibilities include developing the IRS CUI Program Roadmap, Program Plan, Communications Plan, and Managing a CUI Staff of 10 Personnel plus a Contractor. He has also worked with Department of Treasury, Office of Privacy Transparency and Record management as a Senior Privacy Specialist. He has attended Auburn University and has obtained Graduate Degree in Counseling-Collage Student Development and Leadership and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from United States Military Academy at West Point.

Advisory Board

Mark Forman Mark Forman, Senior Advisor

Mark Forman is an accomplished Executive with more than 30 years of government reform experience, including a Presidential appointment to be the first U.S. Administrator for E-Government and Information Technology, the Federal Government’s Chief Information Officer. Currently as Executive Vice President, Enterprise Optimization for Dynamic Integrated Services (DIS) a CVE verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Mr. Forman is leveraging deep domain expertise across the portfolio to provide Digital solutions important to U.S. government clients. This includes data analytics, applications modernization, and hybrid cloud services using techniques including low code, containerization, and cloud native. He has previously served in senior national and global leadership positions at Unisys, SAIC, Engility, KPMG and IBM.  His government experience includes roles on Senate Committee Staff and the Government Accountability Office.

He has given well over 100 speeches on federal IT management, E-Government, business transformation and information technology to a wide variety of industry groups and government officials from around the world.  Mr. Forman has testified before the U.S. Congress, Australia Senate, and several State Houses on information policy and management reform issues. He has been a frequent guest on radio, television, and social media interviews related to government modernization, and published numerous papers and articles on government reform.

Professional Accomplishments, Affiliations, and Other

  • Janice K. Mendenhall Award for Leadership
  • CIO SAGE at the Partnership for Public Service
  • GCN Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement award
  • FCW Eagle Award Winner and Multiple Fed100 Awards
  • Industry Advisory Council Executive Chairman’s Award
  • Guest Lecturer, Defense Acquisition University
John Condon John Condon, Senior Advisor

John Condon is an accomplished business executive who worked in the Federal Government marketplace since 1988, after retiring from his Naval Career. He was a Partner in Coopers & Lybrand's Federal Consulting Group until 1995 when he was recruited by IBM to create the Government Consulting Group. He later ran IBM's Public Sector Services Group. Pursuant to retirement from IBM in 2001, he became President of Touchstone Consulting and when Touchstone was acquired by SRA in late 2003, he co-founded Ambit Group LLC - one of the original SDVOSB's. Following his retirement from Ambit group in late 2016, he joined Dynamic Integrated Services (DIS) as Chief Growth Officer.

Organization Policies

  • Security Policy
    • Zen Strategics will ensure security is built in every aspect of our development processes from planning, designing, developing, testing, deploying to operations and maintenance. Zen Strategics will ensure information security practices and guidelines are followed in accordance with both the Zen Strategics State Of Applicability (SOA) document / Information Management Security System (ISMS) Policies and Federal / State security compliance regulations. To achieve these standards:
      • Zen Strategics will formulate and implement information security objectives and monitor performance against these objectives.
      • Closely adhere to information security compliance requirements, guidelines and processes and adhere to a high standard of competence, professionalism and integrity for all information security related activities.
  • Environmental Policy
    • Zen Strategics is committed to protecting the local and global environment of the earth. To minimize our environmental impact, Zen Strategics shall:
      • Comply with applicable legal requirements and other requirements that relate to its environmental aspects.
      • To include the consideration of environmental issues in all business strategies and initiatives.
      • Prevent pollution, reduce waste and minimize the consumption of resources.
      • Educate, train and motivate employees to carry out tasks in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • Quality Policy
      • Exceed customer expectations by providing the right solution and the highest quality of service.
      • Establish effective processes and systems, designed to meet all safety, quality, cost and delivery objectives of the business
      • Promote a culture of continuous improvement and constant evolution in our business practices as per market needs and demands
      • Maintain a skilled, knowledgeable, and accountable workforce through individual competency development, effective communications, and employee engagement

Core Capabilities

  • Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Governance, Implementation & Assessments
  • Cyber Security - Strategy & Operations
  • Cloud – Fed RAMP & IV&V
  • Mobility & Big Data
  • Program Management
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Market & Competitive Analysis
  • Systems Engineering
  • Business Operations
  • Wireless & Telecom
    (Public Safety/Interoperability)
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Mergers & Acquisitions(Advisory, Due Diligence & Support)