Women Worth Watching 2013
Alison J. Hartley
This VP of Helps L-3 Reach New Heights of Success
In 2003, Alison Hartley joined L-3 Communications as a director of business development, and, since that time, she has taken on many leadership roles. During the past six years, she served as president of L-3’s ComCept division responsible for meeting all profit and loss objectives. The division specializes in persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) networking, Multi-INT sensor systems, advanced aperture solutions, and “Big Data” information management technology solutions in support of US Department of Defense ground and airborne theater operations.
In April 2015, Alison was promoted to vice president of corporate business strategy, reporting to the corporate executive vice president (EVP) of corporate strategy and development. She also supports the aerospace systems segment—one of L-3’s largest businesses. In her new business strategy role, she will assist the EVP in overseeing L-3’s worldwide customer relationships, research and technology initiatives, and new business development activities.
Alison has a broad background in P&L, business development, program management, contract management, and marketing/communications roles & responsibilities.
“…from ‘where we are’ to ‘where we want to be’…”
“I think my biggest career leap was moving from SVP Group Business Development to Division President,” said Alison. “This was a shift from being (chiefly) externally focused to being focused on all aspects of the business. I learned how important it is to listen and adapt to the changing priorities that each new day would bring. It required being deliberate and consistent in my actions, having the right team in place to get things done, and driving performance excellence in everything we do.
“I also learned that the ability to stretch ourselves—to find more effective, innovative ways of doing business—aligns with both this business’ core values and my own. As leaders, we must cultivate this ability throughout our organizations and ensure that our people are properly equipped to do the job we are asking them to do. It is critical to our efforts to go from ‘where we are’ to ‘where we want to be’ in the future.”
Education: MBA and BA English/Business from Gordon College;
First Job: File Clerk at Medical Office
What I’m Reading: “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…integrity. Our values form the foundation of our character and the principles we live by.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Quickly adapt to change, and celebrate the fact that you are unique and can add extraordinary value in any circumstance.
Words I live by:
Know what is “right” and do it —we are all accountable for our actions.
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…be more willing to take risks earlier in my career. This is a lifelong professional challenge for many as it is difficult to break out of our comfort zone; however, it is an essential element for growth. Risks offer the opportunity to develop and improve.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…set priorities and rely on others as needed. This is very important as it is often necessary to delegate some of my responsibilities to others so that I can focus on an urgent requirement. I will frequently tap into the organization for participants on a critical project as this provides an ideal opportunity and motivation for others to contribute, be innovative and add value outside their core responsibilities.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…moving from SVP Group Business Development to Division President. This was a shift from being (chiefly) externally focused to being focused on all aspects of the business. I learned how important it is to listen and adapt to the changing priorities that each new day would bring. It required being deliberate and consistent in my actions, having the right team in place to get things done, and driving performance excellence in everything we do.
I also learned that the ability to stretch ourselves—to find more effective, innovative ways of doing business—aligns with both this business’ core values and my own. As leaders, we must cultivate this ability throughout our organizations and ensure that our people are properly equipped to do the job we are asking them to do. It is critical to our efforts to go from “where we are” to “where we want to be” in the future.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…challenging at times but, overall, an extraordinary journey. I learned early on how critical it is to set gender aside, how to focus on my own set of values, and the importance of working collaboratively to meet our commitments. I mentor so many women in this field and emphasize how critical performance excellence is in all that we do. We all have so much to contribute and can draw attention to our performance by having the right values, working effectively with others, adapting to change, making quality a priority, and delivering results,…regardless of gender.
I’ve learned that failure is…
…a necessary learning step. Central to our future is our past, and we each have the opportunity to humbly grow from our mistakes and approach the future with renewed confidence. Our jobs are not guaranteed to be comfortable all of the time; more often, they resemble an obstacle course fashioned of many demanding and difficult experiences. These hurdles better equip us for the future and enable us to be more effective as we move forward.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…staying active and keeping my priorities in check—personally, spiritually, and professionally. I respect and trust the people around me to do the right thing for the business when I can’t be there. This frees me to spend time doing the things I enjoy away from work with family and friends. My husband got me involved in riding dressage a few years ago and it has been a great break from work, especially since horses can be somewhat unpredictable and require 100 percent of your attention when riding.