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Career Advice for Women in Government Contracting

Three times is a charm, and the recent elevation of Linda Hudson to head of US operations for BAE Systems makes three Lindas leading large area government contracting operations.

Linda Hudson

linda_hudsonLinda Hudson has replaced General Tony Zinni as the CEO of BAE Systems, Inc.  General Zinni was filling in as interim CEO of BAE Systems after Walt Havenstein left to become CEO of SAIC.  Before her promotion, she led BAE Systems Land & Armaments Operating Group, the world’s largest military vehicle business, as President since January 2, 2007.  Shortly after joining BAE Systems, she led the acquisition of Armor Holdings Inc., doubling the group’s size.

Hudson says she plans to seek “the growth markets of the future” after BAE’s land and armaments group’s business almost tripled in the past few years under her leadership.

Ms. Hudson told Bloomberg in a recent interview, “With the withdrawal from Iraq and shifting priorities, that’s going to come down a bit and level off, ” but acquisitions will be part of the plan. “Areas of particular interest to us are intelligence and cyber-security, energy, power management, services and support of equipment and being able to take what we do in the U.S. and parlay that into our global footprint where it makes sense.”

Linda Gooden

lindagooden1Linda Gooden is the Executive VP of Lockheed Martin’s $11.6 billion Information Systems & Global Services (IS&GS) business unit.  Headquartered in Gaithersburg, IS&GS employs over 54, 000 professionals in all 50 states and 60 countries worldwide.

Gooden was also selected one of ExecutiveBiz’s 20 People to Watch in 2009. She also sees cybersecurity as a major growth area, as she said in an interview early this year, “The whole area of cybersecurity is probably one of the fastest growing areas, ” Gooden says in a recent interview. “It’s something that we’re very focused on as I expect there will be a significant focus” on cybersecurity with Obama’s administration.

Linda Mills

lindamillsLinda Mills is corporate VP and president of Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector, a $10 billion business unit. She is also a member of the company’s corporate policy council and one of ExecutiveBiz’s 20 People to Watch in 2009.

Ms. Mills has been in the news lately as Northrop Grumman realigned and sold its TASC business unit to comply with OCI issues.  TAS was sold for $1.6 billion to KKR.

If you can’t change your name to Linda, consider following the example of other powerful women in government contracting, and read the advice they offer below.   ExecutiveBiz recently asked some of DC’s top women executives how they rose to the top, and here are some of their answers:

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(from left) Suzan Zimmerman, Teresa Carlson, Cheryl Janey, Judy Marks, and Stacy Mendler

Teresa Carlson, VP of Microsoft’s US federal government business: “Lead from the front, know your business relentlessly, and don’t accept anything but great customer satisfaction.” Read more >>

Cheryl Janey, VP of operations, Northrop Grumman information systems sector’s civil systems division: “Be very honest with yourself about your limitations and surround yourself with people who are good at what you’re not.” Read more >>

Judy Marks, VP of strategy and business development for Lockheed Martin’s Electronic Systems business: “When you make a commitment, you need to follow through because no one will remember the 10, 000 commitments you made for the one you’ve missed.” Read more >>

Stacy Mendler, COO of Alion: “At times I’ve been intimidated by the group I was with … not because of anything anyone did, just because I was with more senior people. You have to set that aside and realize you are as valuable a contributor as anyone else.” Read more >>

Suzan Zimmerman, senior VP of corporate development, Qinteiq NA: “The only glass ceiling is the one you put over your head. If you work hard, and people know you’re interested in what you’re doing, there is no glass ceiling.” Read more >>

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