How I Manage a High-Impact Leadership Role And My Family Without Burning Out

Sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation

How I Manage a High-Impact Leadership Role And My Family Without Burning Out

Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Fairygodboss
Fairygodboss
July 21, 2024 at 8:8AM UTC

Louise Doyon is passionate about encouraging women and girls in their pursuit of STEM careers. Not only because, in her words, “geeks rule the world,” but because she’s had the chance to see firsthand how important it is that women support each other, especially when navigating male-dominated spaces.

“I learned the importance of encouraging other women at an early age when I was often one of a few female intelligence officers in the military,” she said. “Ever since, I’ve made it my mission to get involved in STEM, coach and mentor (including mentoring my friends’ daughters!), and show girls that engineering is cool.”

Thankfully, at Lockheed Martin, where Doyon is today Portfolio Director of Rotary and Mission Systems’ Spectrum Convergence Market Segment, no one needs convincing. Women are actively supported as they advance through the company, which works within the aerospace, defense, arms, security and advanced technologies space.


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“Lockheed Martin does an incredible job supporting their women engineers,” she said. “There really is no glass ceiling here, and you can go as far as you want in your career.”

Going far in your career doesn’t have to come at the expense of pursuing personal goals either. Even as a high-impact senior leader, Doyon feels it’s possible to put her family first, thanks in part to Lockheed’s emphasis on flexible schedule options. (The most popular? A 9/80 schedule that facilitates a three-day weekend every other week.)

Recently, she shared with us exactly how she sees women in STEM empowered at work, as well as her most memorable piece of career advice.

How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously? 

I’ve been in my current role at Lockheed Martin for 1.5 years as a portfolio director in our Spectrum Convergence market segment. Prior to that, I was the program manager of our Signals Reconnaissance contract, which is part of the U.S. Air Force’s Distributed Common Ground System. Working with my team over the past 15 years, I’ve been able to expand our share of work on that program from being a single product application to providing eight key mission applications to this Air Force Weapon System. 

What projects or programs are you currently working on? What about this type of work most excites you? 

In my role as a portfolio director, I am focused on capturing new business for the company versus working on just one program or with a single customer, which I find very exciting. Now, it’s important that my team and I understand the needs and challenges of our Armed Forces, such as the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy, and work with colleagues across Lockheed Martin to develop solutions that meet their mission needs for the 21st century battlespace. 

How do you prioritize and deal with your to-do list each day?

The night before, I plan the next day by prioritizing our military customer’s needs and requirements. Their missions are essentially ours, so if they have a new requirement for example, I place my focus on getting them what they need. Equally important are the people on my team and making sure they have the tools and support required to perform on our contracts. Some days, my calendar is booked, which forces me to push more routine tasks to a later date. It’s also important to prioritize my family. Having people who I trust and can delegate work to helps me focus on areas where I can have the most impact while putting my family and customers first. Lockheed Martin also offers multiple flexible work schedules that foster proper work-life balance. With the primary option being a 9/80 schedule, it facilitates every other week as a three-day weekend that gives the flexibility for long weekends, personal appointments, and overall mental health breaks.

How have you used your role to help bring up other women behind you? How do you build time into your schedule for this kind of work?  

This is my favorite type of work and you don’t build time into your schedule; you make it. I learned the importance of encouraging other women at an early age when I was often one of a few female intelligence officers in the military. Ever since, I’ve made it my mission to get involved in STEM, coach and mentor (including mentoring my friends’ daughters!), and show girls that engineering is cool. After all, geeks rule the world! I am also very conscious in meetings to create safe spaces for women to feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. I also host a “working women lunch” for the young moms on my team. These have been helpful in fostering discussions about finding a balance between their work and caring for their kids, and brainstorming solutions to problems they’re encountering. 

How does Lockheed Martin empower women who are pursuing careers in tech and/or engineering? Do you participate in any employee networks or programs for women in engineering? 

Lockheed Martin does an incredible job supporting their women engineers. Our leadership team focuses on finding the right person for the job based on their skills and experiences. There really is no glass ceiling here and you can go as far as you want in your career. In addition to local team activities, we also have various Business Resources Groups, one of which being the Women’s Impact Network (WIN) that helps women and allies across Lockheed Martin with professional development and networking. 

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?

Own your own career. My father once said to me “you are your only limitation,” which means if you want something, go for it. No one else will take better care of you than you.

What advice do you have for women in engineering who want to take their career path to the next level?

If you’re looking to get to the next level, do your homework on what that level requires and actively pursue getting those skills. One way to do this is by volunteering to do work related to the position you want next and take opportunities outside of your comfort zone to build those skills. That will help you be successful when you do get to that next level, while boosting your visibility to leaders. Even if you were still in a learning mode while performing that additional work, the fact that you volunteered for it will be remembered by more people than you think.

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