Integrating Our Culture

Integrating Our Culture

Erika Marshall, Vice President C4ISR, Rotary and Mission Systems

February 12, 2024

My journey has always been about more than just technology and defense. It’s about connection, integration, and paving the way for a more inclusive future. Now, in a new leadership role leading some of Lockheed Martin's Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) efforts, I find myself reflecting on my 21-year journey with the company, especially as we celebrate Black History Month, a time that resonates deeply with my personal and professional ethos.

JADC2 is about bringing disparate systems together, creating a unified whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. This vision of unity and integration mirrors my goals for the culture within the defense industry. As a Black woman in a field where we are notably underrepresented, my career has been a series of firsts – moments that I hope will pave a smoother path for those who follow.

Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, my fascination with science, technology and math often felt like a solitary path, especially as a Black girl. However, my journey would lead me to Spelman College where I was surrounded and supported by female scholars from around the world who excelled and triumphed in all fields. The experience taught me the value of mentorship and gave me an understanding for how diverse perspectives can foster change, growth and success.

Joining Lockheed Martin was a step into a world where I could meld my technical expertise with my desire to make an impact. My roles have spanned various dimensions of the company. Each transition was more than a career move; it was an opportunity to embed the values of diversity and inclusivity into the fabric of our work.

Erica Marshall


In my new role, I see a direct parallel to my efforts to transform culture. Just as we strive to bring coherence to diverse systems and platforms across the military landscape, I strive to integrate diverse perspectives and experiences within our workforce. This integration is not just about checking boxes; it's about enhancing our collective strength, creativity, and efficiency.

Black History Month serves as a poignant reminder of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans. It’s a time to reflect on the giants whose shoulders I stand on – those who broke barriers and paved the way in STEM fields and in the defense industry. I am reminded of the importance of being a connector in an industry where Black voices are often marginalized. It’s not just about being a leader in technology; it’s about being a leader in change, advocacy, and empowerment.

My work with the Black Excellence Council and the Women’s Impact Network BRGs at Lockheed Martin is a testament to this commitment. These platforms allow me to support and mentor aspiring Black professionals in STEM, ensuring that their voices are heard, and their talents recognized. It’s about creating a culture where diversity is not just welcomed but celebrated.

As we advance 21st Century Security technologies, I see a profound connection between the integration we enable in JADC2 and the unity we strive for in our people. It is a vision of what we can achieve when we bring diverse elements together for a common purpose. Just as we bring together diverse systems to form a unified defense network, we can bring together diverse talents and perspectives within our team. This synergy between technology and people is not just about innovation; it's about fostering a collaborative environment where every contribution is vital, and every individual is valued.

My Lockheed Martin journey has been one of constant learning and growth. Each role has shaped me into the leader I am today. As I take on this new challenge, I am driven by a mission that transcends the boundaries of technology – a mission to integrate, connect, and create a culture where every voice is valued, and every perspective is a vital part of our collective success.

As Black History Month unfolds, I am reminded of the power of our stories, heritage, and the boundless potential of our future. So, as we strive to bring forth the next generation of diverse technological capabilities, we must recognize that effort is inextricably linked to bringing up the next generation of diverse leaders. And for both, I am excited for what the future holds.