Four months ago today, 2006 Black Engineer of the Year Linda Gooden stepped into one of her biggest public roles since she retired as executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Information Systems and corporate officer.
Gooden was elected chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. She joined the board in 2009.
A longtime advocate for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and careers, Gooden looked back on what she had learned from the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference as she moved forward as the third woman to win the top ward.
Here’s what she said about BEYA’s legacy in 2006.
“I am honored to be among this distinguished list of nominees; that it is the 20th anniversary of the Black Engineer the Year Awards makes it even more special. There’s been a lot of change in the past 20 years. On the whole, progress has been made in workforce diversity, promotional opportunities, and in work-life balance.
“The future offers even more opportunities. What we do today will set the stage for the next 20 years, just as those who walked down the aisle and accepted this award 20 years ago set the stage for us,” Gooden said in 2006.
Since then she has given many interviews to Career Communications Group’s Black Engineer and Women of Color magazines. In one interview with CCG CEO and Publisher Tyrone Taborn, Gooden talked about “Leadership Development and How to Influence Others.”
“You went to (Lockheed Martin) and said you needed $200,000 and we’re going to make $11Million in that year. But in fact, the seed money you received from the company was $600,000 and you made $24 Million in 12 months,” Taborn said. How does somebody come up with that kind of concept and make it work? Asked Taborn.
“It was actually $23.6Million,” Gooden said modestly of her now legendary profit and loss account.
One of the most respected business leaders in defense and aerospace during her 40-year career, Gooden has served on the Board of Directors of General Motors, Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP), The Home Depot, Inc., and Washington Gas Light Company.
The corporate world is not perfect admits Gooden, who retired as executive vice president at Lockheed Martin in 2013.
“In many ways, her career mirrors some of the cultural shifts society has gone through over 30 years,” wrote Nick Wakeman in Washington Technology magazine. “Greater opportunities for women and minorities in the business world and defense market in particular,” he noted along with the “challenges she had to stare down” before (and after) leading the largest provider of IT services to the federal government for a decade.
“There will always be stereotypes,” Gooden noted.
However, she added that women and men willing to earn a STEM degree, get a job in the field, apply themselves, and demonstrate consistently high performance will be treated fairly.
“Business exists to make a profit,” Gooden said, “and STEM talent is an essential enabler.”
To help focus on the things that mattered, Gooden created a go-to-battle list: rules that she gleaned from her experience of leading organizations of diverse people in the corporate world.
Click here to read Linda Gooden’s 10 Rules, It’s A Great Time to Be in STEM.
Her many external awards include Maryland Business Hall of Fame, Corporate Board Top 50 Women in Technology, and Greater Washington Contractor Awards’ Executive of the Year.