The next hundred years: The best is yet to come
Edited remarks of Marillyn A. Hewson, President and Chief Operating Officer
and Executive Vice President, Electronic Systems
Women’s Leadership Forum
November 8, 2012
Good morning. I feel lots of energy in this room! It's an exciting time for us. Every year I so much look forward to this opportunity to get together with all of you. And I know, as I talked to some of you last night, how energizing it is for you as well, because it's a time where we can come together and connect and have a chance to share stories about business and things that we can do together. And I think we build longer‑term relationships that help us to make our company better as we move forward.
It's a great time right now for us to come together because there are a lot of women who are moving into increasingly prominent positions in our industry as a whole. And it's exciting for me and exciting for you, I know.
When I think about it from a Lockheed Martin standpoint, it's no surprise because, frankly, we've been investing in talent and developing our talent for many years. It's no surprise to me that we're seeing more and more women leaders moving into senior roles. It's not a surprise to me because these women have worked very hard. They have competed, and they have gotten results, proven results. And, they're competing in a very competitive environment as they achieve those levels of success.
I know you all have stories about how you’ve gotten to where you are. You've had a lot of support from Lockheed Martin, a lot of experiences, but you know that you’ve put a lot of yourself into it as well, and I thank you for that.
Today I want to talk about our opportunities because I'm very, very encouraged by where we are as a company. If you look at the state of our business today, we're very strong. Certainly, we’re facing some challenges, but we also have many, many opportunities. And I know that we're going to capitalize on those opportunities and move forward, and that's what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about our role as leaders as we do that.
But before I do, I want to reflect a bit about how far women have come in Lockheed Martin. Some of you have been on the path with me and others, but some of you haven't because maybe you're new to the corporation or maybe you just weren't in that process. So let me share a little bit about it because it will make you appreciate this event even more. Back in 2001, there were about eight of us that were on the corporate staff in various senior roles, and we said, "Gee, we're women. We ought to get together." So we set up a monthly luncheon, and we would come together down in the Executive Dining Room, and we'd talk about business issues. We'd talk about family issues. We'd talk about anything that helped us to continue to build our relationships and be stronger in what we could do inside and outside of the workplace.
And then over a few months, we said, "Well, we're high achievers. We don't just sit and eat lunch and talk. So we really ought to design some kind of professional development day for ourselves." And so we talked about it, and then we enlisted the support of Gwen King, our Lockheed Martin board member, because Gwen is someone who for years has been a tremendous supporter of men and women inside Lockheed Martin, and she helped us design a full day. She brought in some help from people that she knew, and we had just a fantastic day of professional development. Gwen is a trailblazer. She always has been. You have the opportunity later this morning to hear from her. She's a very inspiring leader, and I think you'll really enjoy it. But she encouraged us.
And then, as we went to the senior leadership meeting, where we're about 20 to 25 strong among 300, we said, "Well, let's get together. Let's have a drink. Let's connect with the women who are at this event." We had our first event, and eleven women showed up. And you wonder well, why not all 20 or 25? What an opportunity. Well, because, if you think about it, women have for many years been trying to fit in to a mostly male culture. And so there were some women who just weren't comfortable being different, coming to that event. But several of us did and we had a great evening and continued to build on those relationships we formed that night.
A funny thing happened the next year, though. We decided, "Let's have a happy hour. Let's get women together before the dinner," because we always had a big dinner with everyone. So we went to a bar there in the hotel, and they had two sections to it so we took over a section. They set up hors d'oeuvres for us, and we had a section on one side where the women could gather, and women started gathering there. Men started gathering on the other side. And we were connecting. And the next thing you know, one by one, men would move over and mingled with us and say, "Hey, can I join you? What's going on?" And then it got louder, and we were mixing with them, and all of a sudden we weren't distancing ourselves at all. We were all one large group, and we all had a great time. And the dinner bell rang and we all went off to dinner together and mingled with one another. I think that says a lot about how we have evolved.
And now, see where we are today. We're together at our Ninth Annual Women's Leadership Forum. We're more than 350 strong. We're working on professional development. We're working on connecting. We're working on making this company better. I think if you step back and think about it, in my view, it's just absolutely fantastic. Don't you agree? [APPLAUSE] It makes me think about a quote from Christine Lagarde who, when she came in to be the first woman leader of the International Monetary Fund, which is traditionally a male‑dominated environment, was asked, "Well, what's it like to be the first woman in this role?” And her reply was, "What matters to me is that I'm not the last one." And when I look around this room, I don't think there's any danger of that here at Lockheed Martin.
I'm really proud of Lockheed Martin and what we've done to build our talent pipeline. We have invested in the growth of our employees. We’ve sought them out and brought them into our company and worked hard to help them get ready for the next job. And if you think about the change that we've had in our company in the last few years with the Voluntary Executive Separation Program and other organizational changes we've made, I think it's a real tribute to our talent development program that we've been able to fill those positions from inside this company. That says a lot.
And I will say, speaking of new roles, I'm really incredibly excited about my new role as the president and chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin. And I'm excited because it's a time in our history when I have never seen our company stronger. I mean I have 29 years with the company, and we have the best portfolio in the industry. We have amazing, amazing products and capabilities. We've got the distinction of being a technology leader, and frankly, my view is, we have the best talent in the industry. So when you consider all of those things, we are very well positioned for the opportunities ahead. And what we need to do as leaders in this company to make sure we seize the opportunities ahead. In fact, it's what we're about.
Sure, we're going to face some challenging times, but we do hard things in this company, and that’s what our customers look to us for … to help them to solve their toughest problems, achieve their most critical missions. Think about building spacecraft that can go to Jupiter. Think about an unmanned, underwater vehicle that can help the oil industry monitor their wells. Or look at being the maker of the first and only fifth‑generation, multi‑mission fighter that's out there today, which we’re building for three military services, with eight international partners and selling it to security cooperation partners around the world. And there'll be many more countries, in my view, over time, that will buy that wonderful aircraft. Think about cyber security, where we’re not only addressing the problems of today, we’re also anticipating those of tomorrow, so we can protect the information for both commercial and government customers as we go forward.
These are just a few examples of the amazing technologies we have. Because, as I said, what we do is hard stuff, and we're going to continue to be faced with hard stuff. More things are coming down the pike. As we look at the geopolitical environment, it's going to continue to be challenging. Security issues are increasing. Information protection will be more and more important in this wireless world. Our military customers are moving from a decade of war into a situation where they're rebuilding our future force.
And with the tremendous population growth, we're going to see greater demand on resources, on energy, on water, on a number of things that we can join our customers in addressing. We do hard things, and we're going to continue to do those hard things. And that’s going to require us to bring forward our best … our technology, our creative thinking, our innovation … to address the world's toughest problems.
So, as leaders, it's important that we think not just about the tough problems and the business environment, but also how to become more proactive and focused on the future. Because we want to grow this company, and we're counting on all of you as leaders to help us grow this company. It's going to take leadership. We know leaders set the course. Of course they do. And leaders create that climate that empowers employees to be able to do their best work, to bring forward their best ideas so we've got to give them that clear sense of direction. But I think probably the most crucial thing that we need to do is to help to inspire and motivate our teams, and I think it starts with first looking at what really brings them to Lockheed Martin in the first place. How do we tap into the passion of why you're here, why I'm here, why all those people on our teams are here?
I think about that a lot. I think about it from a personal perspective. I mean, as I think back to what drew me and kept me at Lockheed Martin, it's really that sense of patriotism and purpose and being a part of a company that not only helps protect our citizens, but helps improve their quality of life. And I think that drives a lot of us in this company.
My parents, as I've shared with some of you, both went into roles where they could support our military men and women during World War II. My mom was a nurse in the Women's Army Corps. My dad, who couldn't go into the service because of an accident, was signed up with the Department of the Army. And I remember just vividly, as a young girl in high school, when my older brother left to go off to serve in the Vietnam War. And it's always meant so much to me to be able to give back to a country that has given so much to me. So that patriotism really is in my gut, and I know it is with a lot of you.
I’m also drawn to our technology, the amazing things we do, and how we really help people around the world.
Just as I have a purpose that really inspires me, we have men and women in our company who come to work here because they want to be involved and continue the mission of supporting war fighters. We have men and women who are scientists and engineers and want to be on the front edge of discovery and exploration. That energizes them. We have new graduates that come in who want to be part of an innovative, high‑tech company that’s doing things that change the world. Those are all things that you have to think about on your team. What really inspires them? When you know that, you can keep them focused on making our company better and growing this company. I think that's a very important role for our leaders.
It's even more important today because there are so many external challenges and uncertainties that are out there. We see the economy recovering, but not fast enough. A lot of people don't even feel the recovery yet. And we just don't know what's going to happen on sequestration. We don't know what's going to happen with future budgets. We don't know what's going to happen in the world today, where our security challenges are escalating. But what we do know is that we as leaders will deal with whatever challenge comes along. We will deal with them just as we've always done. And so we'll deal with the challenges, and we will make the opportunities because that's what Lockheed Martin leaders do, and I think that's what's going to continue to propel us as we move forward.
One aspect of our business where we can really make a difference is in our talent pipeline. We didn't get to our current position where we have a wealth of talent without investing in leaders, investing in women leaders and men leaders. But it starts with inspiring young men and women to look at science, technology and engineering and math. So as leaders, an important role that we can have is as role models; role models that will help bring people into our company, role models that, frankly, will help our country at large, because this is an issue for us. It has been an issue for many, many years, that we're not getting enough women and minorities into our science, technology and engineering and math fields. And so I want to talk to you a little bit more about what we can do there.
We need to be engaged. We need to be role models that are looking at how we can keep that pipeline growing, keeping it strong, keeping it healthy. And frankly, we can't take it for granted. The numbers are not robust. In fact, I want to show you a few statistics that caused me to step back. We do know that today there are actually more female graduates from higher education than there are males. But unfortunately, those who are going into STEM are either declining or stagnating. So let's talk a little bit about those numbers.
First off, minus 5.2 percent; that's the percentage decline of female engineering graduates from 2004 to 2009. The number of male engineering graduates actually rose during the same period by 11 percent. We're losing ground. Women are losing ground. Fifteen‑year low in the percentage of undergraduate degrees that went to women from engineering schools. A 15‑year low: we're down to 17.8 percent. That's significant. Does that surprise you? It surprised me. And only 13% of women graduate with computer science degrees. It's been declining steadily since 1984. And finally, this one just blows me away: Of all the women who seek a STEM education, only 26 percent of them end up in STEM careers. We just can't afford to leave this kind of talent on the table.
You know I said I've been focused on this for a number of years. Twenty‑five years ago, when I was in Marietta, Georgia, working with the Lockheed company there as a leader, a manager in industrial engineering, I was the Atlanta Chapter president for the Institute of Industrial Engineers, one of the chapters around the country. And I was called on, as a woman, to be part of a national task force to step back and look at how can we get more women and minorities into engineering and get them moving into STEM fields. So we came up with a lot of recommendations, ones that shouldn't surprise you. We came up with recommendations that we need to have more mentors. We need to have more role models. We need to have more success stories and celebrate those success stories among women coming into the field. We need to spend time with teachers and students and parents and be engaged with them and provide the teachers with tools that would grab the imagination of young women and students in the classroom.
We also said we have a lot of companies that are trying to do good things, but if we could bring all of those funds together and really make a fist and really have a consortium of funding and a consortium of activity, that that would help. And then we thought a lot about what influences young women have. She has influences, certainly, from her parents. So we suggested we must get parents involved. She has influences from her teachers, so we've got to make sure that she has teachers that are excited and can engage her and get her excited about going into jobs like we all have. But what else does she look at? She's looking at the television. She's looking at the entertainment industry. And we said one of the things we really need is for the entertainment industry to put out there role models for STEM careers that are exciting, that a young girl who’s trying to dream about what she wants to be, she would look at and say, "Wow! That's what I want to be."
So what do we have today? What do we have in these STEM careers? On TV shows like NCIS and Criminal Minds, these analysts “Abby” and “Garcia,” they would be great assets to any team; we all know it. We watch them. We know they're smart, they're bright. We would love to have them on our team, and they are just crackerjack. They get done what they need to get done. But why is it, why is it that the investigators, that the agents on these shows are beautiful and sexy and just great to be around, and these analysts are portrayed as quirky and odd. I mean it's a subtle cue isn’t it? And it's one that concerns me and, I hope, concerns you. In fact, when we were in California a few weeks ago on a panel, some women out of Defense, and I was among them, talking about what can we do, this is exactly a matter I brought up. And after the meeting I had a personality in the entertainment industry come up to me and say, "We're going to work on that."
Because, as a young girl, you're looking at this, and you have dreams. You are looking at careers, but is that what you want to be? Have we portrayed what you want to aspire to? Do you want to be considered quirky and odd? I mean we know these jobs are not quirky; you're not quirky and odd! You have fabulous careers. Think about it. Fabulous careers that are exciting. I think it's important for us to be engaged outside of the workplace, where we are role models, where we are mentors, where we are getting involved in the communities where we live: in the schools, with parents, with teachers, with students.
This is a call to action to all of us as women because we can be out there to look at what seized our imagination, what's seizing our daughters’ imaginations, how can we help to get them to see this, because it's good for our business, no doubt. And it's good for these young women – and young men as well – and for their futures. But it's also good for our country because we have not made a lot of progress. In fact, you saw the stats. We're declining over the past 25 years when I first started looking at this. So let's do our part.
So for the rest of the day today, you've got a great lineup of speakers, and I commend the team that put this lineup together. It's a wonderful agenda. I'm very excited about spending the day with you here and having a chance to talk to a lot of you, and I hope you'll take advantage of the time that you have here. I know you have demanding jobs. I know it's hard to take away this time, but it will pay dividends for you so make the most of it for the rest of the day.
I do want to also say it's important that we celebrate the successes of our future leaders and how we as women are continuing to grow this business and continuing to be focused on the future.
But I want to end by reflecting on a woman from the past who really made a difference for us as a company. That woman was Glenn Martin's mother, Minta Martin. Without Minta Martin, this company might actually not have taken flight, because Minta was the one who encouraged her son, Glenn L. Martin, who had this avid love of aviation at a very young age. He was moving into endeavors of aviation, even as early as the age of six. He had his own kite‑making firm, I mean firm … a true kite‑making entity. And he just always had this passion for aviation, and his mother encouraged that in him. In fact, the first aircraft that he had actually broke apart on the field; it never flew. And he was so disappointed, and she said, "Not to worry. You'll get it right. Keep at it."
And in fact, when he built his first successful aircraft in a Santa Ana church, Minta Martin was there with him nights, weekends. She was there holding the light as he assembled this aircraft and helping him with the assembly herself. And when critics were out there saying, "What are we trying to do? Why are we pursuing flying?" If God had wanted us to fly, He would have given us wings," Minta was right in there, again, encouraging her son, with her comment back, "Look. I suppose if He'd wanted us to cross oceans, He would have given us sails and a rudder." There she is, the first passenger with Glenn Martin when his plane took flight. She always believed in her son. She believed he could do things that no one else had done before. I think her story reminds us about how indispensable women have been for our company since its outset. Not because we are women, no; not in spite of being women; but because we are individuals who have vision, who have discipline, who have skill and who have the drive to make this company soar. And that's what we're going to do for the next hundred years. And, as I look around this room, I know, I know, the best is yet to come.