Throughout my career, I have focused on performance, successful execution, and relationship building. It’s often forgotten that before becoming a leader, you must be a valuable team member. In my early days, I learned from senior leaders and volunteered for major assignments to gain experience.
As a woman in the male-dominated aerospace and national security industry, it was important to establish a reputation with management and my peers as a knowledgeable and dedicated professional who could deliver in the most challenging situations. Through the quality of my work and my ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, I earned the respect needed to spearhead high-profile communications initiatives. This drove my career advancement into positions of increasing responsibility until eventually I was asked to lead the department.
I was given the opportunity to contribute to the creation and execution of the communications and branding strategy for L-3, which included the company’s formation, initial public offering, growth to a $12.6 billion company, and $2 billion spinoff of Engility.
Throughout your career, it is critical to identify your strengths and develop weak areas. You can accomplish this by learning from everyone around you. Having a strong voice is important, but it is equally important to listen. I work with talented and dedicated people, who have their own perspectives and capabilities. We all understand that a collaborative effort produces the best result.
Recognize that missteps, as well as triumphs, hold valuable lessons. Don’t let setbacks stop you. Regroup and reevaluate, and then move forward stronger and smarter.
When given the opportunity to lead, lead by example. This creates a supportive and productive environment. When people feel their work is meaningful, and their contributions valued, the company ultimately benefits—and so do you.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
It goes without saying that success takes hard work and dedication. In my position, it also takes attention to detail and a high degree of flexibility. Because they are public, and truly brand a company and its culture, communications activities, such as advertising, media coverage, collateral materials, websites, trade shows and events, are subject to a great deal of scrutiny—both internally and externally. While my team and I spend a lot of time devising our strategy, it’s also necessary during the execution of a project to be creative and agile in order to achieve a successful result.
Communications is a function that spans all aspects of business operations. So it’s imperative that I maintain positive and productive working relationships with other departments and business leaders at L-3, as well as with outside vendors. Also, to properly advise management, I monitor industry developments and trends in communications. Producing materials that require multiple inputs and approvals is a delicate and complicated process. Working together ensures that projects are well received by management and the public.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Having the ability to reassess a situation and create a method to move forward is the only way to succeed in a dynamic workplace.