STEM Woman Leader of the Day- Cindy Halsey (Cessna)
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on October 12, 2012
Cindy leads Cessna’s interior design, interior engineering and industrial design for all Cessna products from new cabin concepts to unique creations for customer aircraft. Cindy has a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and Architecture from the University of North Texas, and is a graduate of the Sr. Executive Leadership Program at Duke University and Executive Leadership Program at the Thunderbird School of Global Leadership. Cindy has two sons and resides in Wichita, KS with husband, Larry. Cindy, Larry and their boys are accomplished Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do and avid snow skiers.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
STEM education is critical in preparing the next generation of leaders, innovators, critical thinkers and educators for real world challenges and solutions. Education is a key differentiator in the development of top talent by positioning highly qualified individuals to better compete in a global economy.
Improving science and mathematics education in the K – 12 years is vital to our country’s ability to sustain our competitive advantage. Creating a STEM pipeline for future leaders broadens the knowledge of teachers, better prepares students for entry into higher education and creates a skilled workforce to support companies that fuelAmerica’s economy in critical areas.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
Awareness and advocacy in the earliest stages of education is important along with the understanding of all the facets of STEM. Students in elementary and middle school need exposure to how a solid STEM education translates to real world jobs and innovations. For some senior leaders, the STEM acronym might be new, but the content and importance is well-valued. Our company relies on the innovation and critical thinking of our people; their individual accomplishments, and our company’s ultimate success, can be attributed to STEM degrees.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
By engaging young girls at an early age, we can open their minds to the endless possibilities are available with these degrees and how competitive they can be with anyone, anywhere. By connecting young girls with successful women in STEM through mentoring, awareness and leadership development they will understand that anything is possible.
Which woman leader do you most admire and why?
Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox, began her career as an engineering intern and through her leadership in research and product development activities was instrumental in the company’s success. Mostly, I admire her positive outlook toward all that she does.