David Hess Speaks at P&W Women's Leadership Forum
The door to advancement in business for women is wide open, but success requires commitment and sometimes sacrifice, the head of the company that makes the F-35 Lightning II fighter told an audience of more than 900 at Pratt & Whitney's Women's Leadership Forum.
"Women must be prepared to take on new and more challenging assignments, pursue mentors, and network with others to learn from them," Lockheed Martin CEO and President Marillyn Hewson told the predominantly female gathering Wednesday at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. "And most importantly, always perform at your best and focus on continuous learning."
Hewson was introduced by Pratt & Whitney President Dave Hess as one of the nation's top corporate CEOs. "She is a great example of a great woman who's made a difference at a great company," he said. "I think it's fair to say our guest speaker today is one of the most capable and accomplished executives you can find anywhere in the world, in any industry." [Read more.]
Good morning. Thank you, Mary [Gallagher], for that introduction.
I am always impressed by the remarkable turnout for this event. It gets bigger and better every year!
I really can't say enough about how much I appreciate the superb work done by the Pratt & Whitney Women's Council.
This forum is one of our premiere employee events, and it has the total support from the Executive Committee, and from me personally.
And I like this year's theme: "Take Charge: Your Future's Bright" because it applies to Pratt & Whitney and to all of us who work here.
As busy as we are these days at Pratt & Whitney – and believe me, I know how busy you are – I applaud everyone who arranged their schedule to be here today. It's a great way to take advantage of all the valuable opportunities for networking and learning.
This forum showcases the many great offerings of the Women's Council – part of the great work being done by our eight Employee Network Groups.
I look at the many women in the audience and I'm reminded of your many contributions to the outstanding achievements of Pratt & Whitney.
I can't help but think: "What more will you and other talented women contribute to our industry in coming years?"
Our commitment to diversity in our workforce is important to making Pratt & Whitney more competitive. The business case for drawing on diverse pools of talent is rock solid.
Pratt & Whitney has been making Dependable Engines for 88 years now, and women employees were here right from the start.
Then in the 1940s, more women moved into technical and production positions. Since at least 1950, we've had women engineers – so that is for 63 of those 88 years.
We are committed to recruiting, retaining and developing the best people – and that means reaching out for diverse talent.
In a highly competitive industry, we know this helps makes us better, smarter and stronger in every way.
A big part of that is encouraging women to advance and build successful careers, and providing opportunities in every part of Pratt & Whitney.
So how are we doing? Well, we still have a long way to go, but today there are more women in leadership positions at Pratt & Whitney than ever before.
And we will continue to see women advance to leadership positions. Today's Women's Leadership Forum is helping us move toward that goal.
Women are achieving great things at Pratt & Whitney and throughout UTC.
One fine example is the Women of Innovation Awards recently given out by the Connecticut Technology Council. We had seven finalists selected from Pratt & Whitney this year, up from three finalists last year.
For all of UTC, there were 14 finalist nominees for this prestigious award out of 52 finalists statewide, and half of them came from Pratt & Whitney.
So we have outstanding women leading this company in so many ways, at all levels.
Today in the United States, there are 21 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies – quite a change from 15 years ago, when there was just one female CEO at that level. Women are filling the top jobs at Xerox, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dupont, Sunoco, Pepsico, Kraft Foods, Wellpoint and others.
Women hold the top position at three of the six largest Pentagon contractors: BAE Systems, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin.
So the ascent is steep, but the doors to leadership are opening wider. I will say with my deepest conviction that Pratt & Whitney truly needs your talent, your leadership and your contributions.
So "Take Charge: Your Future's Bright!"
Now it's time for you to hear from someone who will make this point far better than I can!
We have a world-class guest speaker today, and I'm honored to introduce one of the nation's most outstanding executives.
Marillyn Hewson is someone I rank among the most dynamic and accomplished leaders in the business world – not just in the aerospace and defense industry, and not just in the United States, but globally.
She is CEO and president of the world's largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-22 Raptor and the F-16 Fighting Falcon, as well as satellites, rocket launchers, radar systems and many other sophisticated, advanced technologies.
I've known Marillyn for years, and besides being one of the most capable and accomplished executives you can find anywhere, she's just a pleasure to work with.
In fact, I try to keep in touch regularly in the hope that some of her great leadership skills would maybe rub off on me!
She is a leader of absolute integrity, customer focus and genuine consideration for partners and customers.
Marillyn was born just south of Manhattan – Manhattan, Kansas, that is! – in the little town of Junction City (population 23,000). She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in business administration and her master's in economics from the University of Alabama, and has completed executive development programs at Columbia and Harvard.
She's spent 30 years with Lockheed Martin. During that time, she has been a star performer in a dozen or more senior positions. That's why the company's board chose her to succeed the legendary leader Bob Stevens.
She is a great example of a great woman who's making a difference at a great company, and we're so glad to have her with us here today.
Please join me in welcoming Marillyn Hewson.
# # #