About Us

As a well-rounded small business that offers clients cyber security, cloud, and management consulting, we are committed to our clients’ success, giving them the strategies to achieve their performance goals.

Who We Are

At Zen Strategics, our mission is to help federal and commercial agencies evolve in their business acumen, offering a unique, innovative, and analytical approach to crucial and current challenges. Our approach is based on intuitive solutions gathered from multiple years of engagement with federal agencies and fortune 500 companies, and adapts to each client’s unique mission and requirements to ensure sustainable outcomes.

Taking a holistic approach to protecting your network, we integrate state-of-the-art solutions into existing security infrastructures, being able to quantify, visually represent, and reduce cyber risk. In working with federal agencies, Zen Strategics has created IT strategies using today’s emerging technology that are now standard operating requirements. With our ‘Zen’ approach, we help our clients’ leadership grow with industry changes, create clear and concise plans to accomplish this growth, and align these plans with productive business practices.

Organizational Policies

Zen Strategics ensures security is built in every aspect of our development processes from planning, designing, developing, testing, and deploying, to operations and maintenance. Our 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. Following these practices, Zen Strategics formulates and implements information security objectives and monitors performance against these objectives. We 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.

Our solutions exceed client expectations, providing the highest quality of service by establishing effective processes and systems that meet all safety, quality, cost, and delivery objectives. Zen Strategics promotes a workforce culture of continuous improvement and constant evolution in our business practices through individual competency development, effective communications, and employee engagement.

Our Team

Venu Ayala, Founder and President

Venu Ayala is an experienced 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 compliance, business process optimization, change management, internal controls, risk assessment, and security 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. His key responsibilities include creating and enhancing product/service lines, and developing cyber and cloud strategies that build brand equity, reduce risk, and promote a strong compliant corporate image. Overall Mr. Ayala is an enthusiastic, innovative, and decisive leader, managing strategic and tactical operations by building innovative and transformational analytic solutions that address emerging management, technology, and operational issues.

Michael McNealy, VP of Delivery and Operations

J. Michael McNealy, Vice President of Delivery & Operations, is a seasoned and committed Leader who brings over 30 years of experience to the Zen Leadership Team. A retired Army Colonel who served in command and staff positions from the Platoon Level to the Army Staff, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and multiple deployments to the MIddle East and East Africa, he spent his initial post-military time working in support of the 2020 Census, successfully providing the IT Security for the first internet self-reporting U.S. Census in our nation’s history.  After the success of the 2020 Census, Zen Strategics recruited Michael to work as the Program Manager in support of the Department of Education’s Financial Student Aid (FSA) Security Operations Center, then as the Director of Program Delivery, and now as our Vice President of Delivery & Operations.  Intellectually engaging and drawn towards challenging endeavors, Michael is at his best when leading myriad lines of effort, building cohesive teams, and growing a learning and adaptable organization.

William (Bill) Webster, VP of Security Engineering and Architecture

Bill Webster brings over 25 years of IT experience to the Zen Leadership Team. Bill served as a Cryptologic Technician for 11 years with Department of the Navy and various positions within the National Security Agency (NSA). Since ending his military service in 2008, Bill developed expertise in Software Development, Data Analytics, Systems/Integration Engineering, Enterprise Administration, Security Engineering and Architecture, DevSecOps, and Technical Project and Program Management. Prior to joining Zen, Bill supported numerous Federal clients including DHS, DoD, NSA, DoD Healthcare, and CISA. Zen Strategics recruited Bill as the Technical Program Manager in support of the Department of Education’s Financial Student Aid (FSA) Security Operations Center (SOC). Bill’s unique skillset enables him to create highly complex technical solutions while also applying industry standard business practices. Always eager to teach, Bill’s enthusiastic multitasking style encourages the professional growth of his peers while fostering an environment that enables success.

Jay Diem, Director Cyber Strategy

Jay Diem is a seasoned cybersecurity and business operations leader bringing over 25 years of experience to the Zen Leadership Team. Jay is an Air Force veteran who has served overseas in NATO then hand-selected for duty at Joint Base Andrews in support of Special Air Missions (SAM Fox). After his military service, Jay consulted many military (FMS, Navy, Army, Joint Staff-Pentagon, Air Force, and DCMA) and government civilian agencies (DOC, State, Postal, and DHS) spending several years in South Korea, Thailand, Iraq, Kuwait, and Djibouti among others providing advisory and consultancy in cybersecurity and acquisition management. Jay is a firm believer in and enabler of personal growth and training environments, putting in practice his own achievement of numerous certifications and industry training in part certified in PMP, GSLC, CISSP, ITIL, and HDI. Zen Strategics brought Jay onboard to provide cybersecurity strategy, continuing to drive the vision for Zen’s service offerings. Jay’s a natural listener and applies a “so what?” approach to ensure value delivery for Zen clients and career growth for employees.

Tammy Strickler, VP of Information Management

Tammy Strickler, VP of Information Management, brings more than 39 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 also ensure the records can be preserved through upgrades and system changes, remaining fully authentic and retrievable.

Advisory Board

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 critical 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.

Mr. Forman has given 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. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, Australia Senate, and several State Houses on information policy and management reform issues. Mr. Forman 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.

John Condon, Senior Advisor

John Condon is an accomplished business executive who has 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, later running 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, Mr. Condon joined Dynamic Integrated Services (DIS) as Chief Growth Officer.