Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Joanne Maguire

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?
Best decision: Leaving company I had worked at my entire career (28 years) when it seemed my leadership options were limited and joining Lockheed Martin where the culture of ethics and inclusion as embodied by CEO Bob Stevens offered the opportunity to lead the finest aerospace organization in the world!

Worst decision: drawing a blank here ... I really have not many regrets!

What was your dream job as a kid and why?
As a child, like many kids, I aspired to be a teacher. To share knowledge and give service like so many of the nuns who taught me in parochial school has always held attraction for me. Indeed as a leader in the aerospace and defense industry, I get some of my greatest rewards sharing knowledge with the extraordinary teams with whom I work and giving service by providing space systems that help to make the world a safer place.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Cultural stereotypes continue to present significant challenges for women leaders. Stereotypes routinely cause men and women to underestimate and underutilize women's leadership talent. For example, when women leaders act in gender-consistent ways — cooperative and relationship-focused — they "fit in" as women, but are often perceived as soft leaders by both genders. When women act "like men" — authoritative or ambitious — they are often viewed as too tough and overly aggressive. As a result, successful women leaders must learn to effectively thread the needle and call on the leadership attributes of men and women when the time demands.

What woman inspires you and why?
Golda Meir inspires me. As prime minister of Israel from 1969-1974, she was a pioneer for women leaders well before other icons like Margaret Thatcher. Leading Israel during a time of great turbulence and danger (like the Munich Olympics, Yom Kippur War), she showed extraordinary strength and wisdom.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Generation Y women are confident they can have it all and are redefining success. Research tells us they are highly ambitious, but they have articulated that they are not as interested in the corporate ladder. They want a career that inspires passion. They seek to advance quickly, but still insist upon balance among career, family and personal life. They value control and flexibility as an ultimate goal. As this generation enters an unpredictable marketplace and a demanding — and at times inflexible — work environment, I hope that they will choose to transform the workplace with their values, rather than opt out of leadership.