2014 C200 Luminary Awards

Remarks as Delivered by

Chairman, President and CEO

Marillyn A. Hewson

 

 

 

San Francisco, California

September 19, 2014


Chairman, President and CEO 
Marillyn A. Hewson

Thank you, Renée [James]. Well, good afternoon, everyone. It really is a pleasure to be with all of you. And I am just truly honored to accept the STEM Innovator Award on behalf of the 113,000 women and men at Lockheed Martin. Because our company—the mission of our company—is all around the discipline of science, technology, engineering and math. So for us, STEM innovation is critically important to the future of our company and how we support our customers around the world.

I want to first begin by thanking the Committee of 200, all of the work that you are doing: the board, the members here. What you do in support of women and advancing women in business is tremendously powerful. And I truly thank you for all the hard work that you're doing. We certainly share your mission. We are, at Lockheed Martin, working hard on advancing women in leadership.

I think what I'd like to talk with you about today—because STEM is the subject at hand, and to me, is one of the most important things to our business, and to, frankly, our nation and the world—is really why leading is so important, and why I think it's absolutely critical that business leaders, as well as policymakers, are working together to encourage more women to pursue STEM careers.

I think all of us know that when you think about STEM and our high-tech world, STEM professionals really help keep our nation competitive. A STEM-savvy workforce is one that is keeping our economy thriving. It's one that's more creative, more resourceful, one that is working on how to keep our nation strong and secure. And it helps us in this world to see things in new ways, and through that process, to push the boundaries of human potential.

And so STEM is critically important. But what we found is in the United States, it's running critically low to have STEM talent. STEM talent is at a stage where we see, in the next decade, a gap of about a million jobs in STEM. And for us to maintain our global leadership in innovation and in discovery, we must get more people to pursue STEM careers.

Some of the most recent studies estimate this is a potential shortfall that we see. And what we have found is that one reason for that, one reason for facing that deficit, comes down to the fact that women are less than a quarter of the STEM workforce today. So this is something that as business leaders we need to change.

Studies have shown that if we have a diverse and engaged workforce, your business performance will be higher. Your innovation will be higher. That's why, at Lockheed Martin, we put such a strong focus on cultivating a culture of inclusion, one where an environment that embraces and celebrates our differences, and at the same time, connects us and makes us more inclusive, and enables our employees to do their best work every day. It means creating opportunities for women across the company.

And we're making significant progress here. Over the past decade, the percentage of women at Lockheed Martin has continued to rise. And it's continued to rise at all levels in our organization, but particularly STEM professionals. Women like Heather McKay, who is a propulsion engineer, whose work actually is rocket science. Heather, from the day that she was in college, she discovered the love of aerospace. And today she's working on the Orion spacecraft program. Orion is a spacecraft that will someday safely carry humans to Mars and back.

Or another woman, Stephanie Hill, a talented Lockheed Martin executive, who was sure she wanted to be in accounting until she took her first computer programming class. And after that, she pursued an engineering degree. Now, 30 years later, Stephanie runs one of our largest IT businesses, a multibillion dollar business, with over 8,000 employees—a business that's responsible for managing 60 percent of the world's air traffic, and does business with nearly every US government civilian agency.

Women like Heather and Stephanie, and many others, some of whom are right here in this room, are helping to shape the future of our company and the world. And importantly, they are serving as role models for the future generation of female STEM professionals.

You know, I’m really encouraged by this growing momentum that we see across our nation to support women in STEM. But I have to tell you, there's still a lot of progress that needs to be made. There's much more that remains to be done. And it's up to business leaders like us to make that difference, to help provide the opportunity to get more women in STEM.

So today I'd like to challenge each of you to focus on three actions that all of us can contribute to. I call them the “three Rs.” First, reach out to girls; secondly, remove barriers; and third, raise up women STEM professionals. So let me briefly touch on each of these.

Reaching out to girls means investing in programs to get and keep girls interested in STEM. At Lockheed Martin, we invest about half of our charitable giving to STEM education programs. And our employees volunteer in communities where they work and live, many hours, to STEM. In fact, we're seeing great results on that.

One example is in Colorado, our Space Systems Company—many of the women here today are from our Space Systems Company. Our Space Systems Company hosted a mentoring day at a local high school during National Engineers’ Week. Afterwards, we heard from a teacher who told us that one of the students was having doubts about whether she had what it takes to be an engineer. But after she spent time with her Lockheed Martin mentor, she decided to go for it. Today she's in college. She's pursuing an engineering degree, and I will tell you, when she graduates we'd love for her join our team at Lockheed Martin.

Secondly, remove the barriers that discourage women from entering STEM professions and being able to achieve their full potential. In this room, we have more than 200 women who are very successful in what they do. Most of us broke ground in industries or we overcame obstacles that got us to where we are today. And I'd say that now it's time for us to give back, to serve as role models for the next generation. Volunteer to be a mentor. Get out in schools and support STEM programs. Be visible. Be vocal around this. Because it's your deliberate engagement, your energy around this that will wear away the obstacles that keep girls from choosing STEM careers and women from actually achieving their full potential in their STEM fields. Together, we can ensure that the barriers that we may have faced continue to erode, and that the next generation of leaders builds on our momentum and achieves even greater progress. 

Finally, we need to raise the profile of women in STEM, going beyond mentoring to actively sponsor, advocate and promote them to positions of leadership. You know, I believe to really make a meaningful impact, we need to communicate the business case for diversity and inclusion. It's around business performance. It's around innovation. It's around what we can do as a nation and a world if we get more women into STEM. We need to champion the initiatives that promote women in STEM, and most importantly, we need to actively seek STEM leadership roles for women in our organizations.

So when it comes down to advancing women in STEM, we all have a role to play. We need to reach out to girls. We need to remove barriers, and we need to raise up women who are in STEM fields. And when we're working together, I'm absolutely confident that we'll make a difference.

Thank you again to leaders of C200 for this prestigious honor and for all that you do to support the advancement of women in business. I know that you will continue to illuminate the path for women for many generations to come. Thank you.