“Accepting the fact that you do get better business results with a more diverse group is the first step” to employing more women in technology, said Dr. Pam Drew, the executive vice president and president of Information Systems, a business area of Exelis. “Then, the most hard-nosed business person will see the benefit of having a more diverse experience base, as well as gender, race, and inclusion in their workforce.”
Dr. Drew sat down with Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm, hosts of the Women of Washington radio show, to discuss her personal journey as an executive in the aerospace industry, as well as how the industry is changing with regards to women.
“I think there’s a change. I think people are starting to understand it is unacceptable, and I think that in the next 10 years there will be vastly different statistics,” Dr. Drew said about the lack of women in executive positions. “I think we need to insist that people are where they have the capability and the expertise.”
Drew says that she, personally, felt inspired to go into aerospace as a child.
“Both my parents worked in the aerospace industry. My dad was an engineer for Martin Marietta, my mother was a secretary, so it was very real and personal as the space race was underway. My father would leave town for weeks at a time to go participate in the development of the programs. And when the actual events took place, like the landing on the moon, it was a real big deal for my family. On a personal level, I remember that we would get dressed — I was dressed in my Sunday best for the moon landing — and it also inspired me to be a part of something bigger than myself.”
Listen to the entire program to hear Dr. Drew discuss her life as a professor and young mother in Hong Kong, why women make good engineers, and the tough choices she faced in balancing her family and career.