STEM Woman Leader of the Day- Sondra Barbour (Lockheed Martin)
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on October 18, 2012
Sondra Barbour is the Senior Vice President of Enterprise Business Services and Chief Information Officer for Lockheed Martin. She leads all internal information technology operations, including protecting the corporation from cyber threats, as well as the Corporation’s Financial Services and the Environmental, Health and Safety organization. Ms. Barbour is currently a member of the Executive Diversity Council and is the executive sponsor for the People with Disabilities Leadership Forum. Ms. Barbour holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in Computer Science and Accounting. She is also a graduate of Lockheed Martin’s Program Management Development Program.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
For the United Statesto remain competitive, we must emphasize the importance of STEM education and inspire students to pursue these disciplines. Our nation is becoming more diverse, and at the same time, we’re facing a significant challenge as a generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians retire. There are not enough young people pursuing these important technology positions, which are critical to our national security and economic strength. I believe we need to help fill this gap and encourage future generations, of all backgrounds, to pursue challenging and rewarding careers in STEM disciplines.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
I strongly believe that women in STEM-related fields should get involved in organizations that educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians. By serving as role models and mentors, women in leadership roles can help young girls discover a potential career in STEM and aspire to become leaders in these fields. Across industries, we must also continue efforts to create work environments where diversity is a business imperative and considered vital for competitive strength. At Lockheed Martin, our commitment to closing the gender gap can be seen in an upward trend in women in leadership roles within the company. Three of our four business areas are currently led by women including Electronic Systems Executive Vice President Marillyn Hewson who will become our new President and Chief Operating Officer effective January 1.
What about STEM gives you passion?
My passion for STEM is fueled by the ability to see, over a span of many years, how a young mind was shaped through mentoring and STEM education. Some of the most rewarding experiences in my life have been watching a student or young professional I have mentored overcome obstacles and grow in the pursuit of a STEM career. It’s incredibly fascinating to hear about their accomplishments years later and realize the significant roles that each of us can play in helping to inspire a new generation of innovators.
How is your company innovating to promote STEM?
Lockheed Martin’s approach to STEM outreach includes non-profit and school partnerships that provide unique and innovative opportunities for our 64,000 engineers to build one-on-one relationships with students as role models and mentors. Through Engineers in the Classroom, our K-12 STEM education outreach initiative, Lockheed Martin engineers work directly with students on programs like FIRST Robotics, Team America Rocketry Challenge, 4-H Robotics Clubs and Project Lead The Way. We also actively support teachers with training and curricula development. In addition, Lockheed Martin has hosted the USA Science and Engineering Festival, the country’s only national science festival, creatively promoting STEM through interactive, family-friendly exhibits and fun, engaging speakers. Lockheed Martin also proudly supports STEM education through corporate giving. In 2011, we dedicated 50 percent of our philanthropy to STEM education programs, which amounted to more than $13 million.