Kelly Ortberg

Kelly Ortberg
CEO and President, Rockwell Collins

Headquarters: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Education: BS mechanical engineering, University of Iowa
First Job: Making pizzas at Pizza Hut at age 15
What I’m Reading: Lead by Gary Burnison
My Philosophy: There is no greater power in getting a large organization aligned, focused, and excited about the future. My job is to help create the environment that allows that to happen

Developing new markets

At Rockwell Collins, we recognize that the power of diversity and inclusion is the key to unlocking innovation—and driving growth.

For example, we have a globalization strategy that calls for our international business to grow faster than our domestic business—and it requires that we expand in some markets that are non-traditional for us. One of the key elements of that strategy is to have talented people across our organization who understand those cultures, and who can establish effective networks that will enable us to win. As a result, people across our company with different personal and cultural perspectives are enabling us to better understand our customers in those markets—and are helping us to respond to their needs with the right solutions. So, our diverse workforce—and being inclusive in the way we do business—is not only helping to foster better decision making, but also more effective cross-cultural communication.

Going forward, our diversity strategies are designed to build a workforce across our company that represents a variety of people who have different backgrounds, beliefs, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. But more importantly, they’re designed to create a culture that values those differences as a competitive advantage for our company. These strategies are founded on the belief that more diverse teams will outperform less diverse teams. I feel strongly that those things that make us different will contribute to greater innovation—and enable us to serve our customers even better.

We’re working hard on the challenge of creating a culture that empowers employees to take more ownership and accountability for their careers—and part of that process is removing barriers. In my first few months as CEO, I eliminated outdated lateral transfer restrictions, and ensured leaders could make promotions any time of the year. These changes were designed to provide employees with more options for career development and advancement.

We also recognize that leadership engagement is critical for successful employee development, and we provide a full suite of resources intended to increase the quality and effectiveness of career development conversations between leaders and employees.

Ultimately, we understand that our future depends on our ability to provide smart solutions for our customers around the world. That’s why we’ll continue to value diversity and inclusion as a strategic business imperative.