Ellen M. Lord

Ellen M. Lord
President and CEO, Textron Systems

Headquarters: Providence, Rhode Island
Education: Master’s degree in chemistry, University of New Hampshire;
BS in chemistry, Connecticut College;
Textron Six Sigma Black Belt
First Job: Analytical chemist
What I’m Reading: Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy by Ian Toll
Best Advice: Listen twice as much as you talk.

Developing a global mindset

Corporate diversity is not a social program. It is smart business. We operate in a global marketplace, where successful organizations must galvanize quickly around customer requirements. Being representative of the customers we serve generates value-rich, comprehensive solutions.

And remember, diversity is not solely about factors such as color, gender, or age—it is about creating organizational strength with a team of skilled, experienced professionals and their different backgrounds and experiences. Because of the variety of customers we serve and the geographic spread of our business, attracting and sustaining a diverse workforce is a competitive advantage.

Our talent strategy is built around internal growth and development. We aim to fill 80 percent of our open requisitions by developing talent within the enterprise. With the large, diverse talent pool represented across Textron Systems and the larger Textron Inc. family, we can expose the best and brightest to great advancement opportunities. Giving our employees a spectrum of career experiences both augments their skill sets and enhances our ability to retain them.

We then fill the pipeline for future leaders with early-career hires and their fresh, innovative thinking. Textron Systems plans to hire 139 interns this year and at least 104 new graduates. In addition, Textron Systems has begun working with the U.S. State Department to broaden its internship programs to international candidates. We also will take advantage of the enterprise-level Textron Leadership Development Program, with dozens of participants in several disciplines completing rotations at Textron Systems during 2014.

This diverse workforce also gives us abundant perspectives from which to generate new thoughts and ideas—allowing for greater innovation. Introduced this year, the Textron Systems CEO Challenge creates teams of high-performing employees from all areas of the business to research, develop, and propose solutions to our customers’ biggest challenges. Winning teams are incentivized for their collaboration in creating the company’s next great customer solution.

A global marketplace demands a global mindset. Our emphasis on developing an educated, skilled, and customer-focused organization not only reflects the diverse face of our customer base here and abroad, it reflects the talent pool available to us across the larger enterprise. Our people are our competitive advantage, and making diversity a priority gives us a powerful position from which to innovate, execute, and succeed for our customers, employees, and shareholders.