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Duy-Loan Le, the 2002 Women of ColorMagazine Technologist of the Year, (standing left in the photo) was a senior fellow at Texas Instruments responsible for technology readiness and operational execution. She also worked to grow new businesses and revenue in Vietnam.

In 2002, Le became the first Asian and the first woman to get elected a senior fellow in Texas Instruments’ 80-plus year’s history. Today she remains the only woman to hold this title. Le holds 24 patents with six pending applications.Le’s service to the community is extensive. Among the volunteer work she enjoys the most is providing education assistance to children and supporting social economic developments projects in 12 countries, including her native Vietnam, through the Mona Foundation and Sunflower Mission.

Fundamentals of Executive Leadership: Strategies That Get Results

Women of Color: What would you say are the fundamentals of executive leadership?

Duy-Loan Le: From my perspective, seeking input, knowing the pulse of the organization, accessibility to people, being approachable and caring and demonstrating integrity. Do what you say and say what you do. Admit wrong and change course in a timely fashion, and always lead by example.

WOC: What are the most critical skills of leadership?

Duy-Loan Le: Listening and empathy, sound judgment and good intuition, communication with clarity and conviction, influencing ability, organization, planning, and prioritizing.

WOC: What’s been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Duy-Loan Le: Juggling the balancing act of when to be firm and when to be kind–especially when I have to operate in a man’s world and when I must honor both western and eastern cultures.

What helps me manage this challenge are never giving up in the face of failure, negative sayings, or hardship; having the courage to define what success means to me versus letting society or others do it, and a strong support system all around, starting with the spouse at home.

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