Women Worth Watching 2015
Randa G. Newsome
Raytheon’s VP of HR Believes in High Expectations and Individual Empowerment
As Raytheon’s top human resources officer, Randa Newsome is responsible for providing worldwide direction for the company’s human resource initiatives, and overseeing all human resources and security operations for a global workforce of more than 61,000.
Randa has more than 20 years of experience in human resources and holds a master’s degree in public administration, with emphasis on human resources management. This varied background helps her understand the employee population she supports, as well as her HR and Security organization.
It’s also the career she knows she was meant for. “I was working as a planner/scheduler on my second job at Lockheed Martin,” said Randa, “ and started being pulled in to help HR with some initiatives, such as rolling out the first Diversity and Inclusion learning at my site and working with the workforce on outplacement when the program was terminated. I decided then I wanted to stay in Human Resources as a career.”
“…you can do so much more than you think you can do!”
Along the way, she’s learned some valuable lessons. “My husband and I moved halfway across the country—both starting brand new jobs—with 14 month-old twins and no support infrastructure in place.” she said. “It was not easy! However, the job I moved for is the one I still reflect upon as the one that really built the foundation for my career and learned then that you can do so much more than you think you can do!”
A trusted advisor and team player, Randa believes in the power of knowledge-sharing and collaboration, and in providing an atmosphere in which everyone feels valued and empowered to perform at peak level. She drives positive change—both organizationally and individually—through her results focus and her ability to effectively influence senior leaders. And, because she balances high expectations with true appreciation, top talent enjoys working in her organizations.
Education: BS Communications, Florida State University; MS Public Administration, emphasis in Human Resources Management, Valdosta State University
First Job: Planner/Scheduler with Lockheed Missiles and Space Company on the Trident II D-5 Missile Program at Kings Bay, Ga.
What I’m Reading: “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt; “Vaclav & Lena” by Haley Tanner; “I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson.
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…confidence in your personal choices. Choices about career and family are personal and there is not a right or wrong answer. However, when a choice is made, be confident that it is the right one for you. I have chosen to do things that many other women may not have done, like moving our family while our kids were entering their junior year in high school. This worked out fine for us, but others may not have made that decision
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Take comfort in the fact that there is always a solution. I used to worry that any wrong decision could be catastrophic, but early in our careers, there are checks and balances and almost always a fix.
Words I live by:
Simplify! I try to demonstrate this at work by not exercising the team to create more than they need to demonstrate their point or get a decision. I do this in my personal life as well. I’m a minimalist at home and try to not have excess clutter.
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
….take an international assignment.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…get up even earlier! I am a morning person, so getting up early and tackling the big projects works best for me. This can mean getting to the office quite early, before others, or working at home on the weekends before my family gets up for the day
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
….learning you can do so much more than you think you can do. When my husband and I moved halfway across the country with 14 month-old twins, both to start brand new jobs with no support infrastructure in place, it was not easy! However, the job I moved for is the one I still reflect upon as the one that really built the foundation for my career.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
….frankly, a non-issue for me. Human Resources has historically been a field populated with women and people of color at all levels.
I’ve learned that failure is…
…sometimes the best teacher. I have always tried never to screw up the same thing twice!
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…staying as active as possible. I enjoy walking my yellow Lab and have recently joined a gym to give me a way to exercise when the weather is bad. I also ensure that I have personal things planned on the calendar, like vacations or weekend activities, because it is easy not to make time for non-work-related things if they aren’t planned for in advance.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…..I was working as a planner/scheduler in my second job with Lockheed Martin and started being pulled in to help HR with some initiatives, such as rolling out the first Diversity and Inclusion learning at my site and working with the workforce on outplacement when the program was terminated. I decided then I wanted to stay in Human Resources as a career.