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Denise Russell Fleming is the vice president and chief information officer for Boeing defense, space, security, and product systems. She is the first woman of color to serve in this role. Her work has had a significant impact on the safety of the nation as she is responsible for the information technology (IT) strategy and digital and analytics defense capabilities across products spanning from the seabed to space.

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During her tenure, Denise has established a program office to ensure enterprise-wide compliance with defense department cyber regulations. She also has an integral role to enable the digital thread through engineering, operations, quality, and after-market support for the entire company.

She believes in the power of fundamentals: taking care of your people, communicating early, and often, focusing on what’s most important, and delivering with speed and excellence.

Her passions include making sure women and girls underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have the tools to succeed in these fields. Her hope is that the next generation allows STEM to forever change their lives for the better, just as it has done for her.

“This little Black girl on the south side of Jamaica in Queens, New York, was told I could attend a top ten university, be a doctor, a TV news anchor, an engineer. My parents, aunts, and uncles encouraged my dreams and embedded a strong determination that has sustained me. As a people, we know about glass ceilings. We also know that if you’re the one who shatters them, you may get some cuts. Like many women of color, I have a few scars I wear proudly because they brought me here. I was blessed with mentors and role models, my husband and my two boys, and loved ones who cheered me on. If you’re just starting out, find your village. Identify your gifts and step out on faith to become your best self.”

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