June 07, 2022
Dawn has been part of the SNC family for 12 years. With 15+ years of experience as a woman working in the Aerospace & Defense industry, she is grateful for the opportunity to directly support the establishment of the first Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) as part of the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity initiative at SNC as its executive sponsor.
What inspired you to lead the Women’s ERG?
I have been part of the SNC family for 12 years and have both personally and professionally enjoyed the journey. As a woman working in the Aerospace & Defense industry for 15+ years, I have had some very notable experiences thriving within a largely conforming environment that I will hopefully have the opportunity to share over time.
Off the cuff, I’ve always noticed a lack diversity within this industry, but I never really focused on it as something that would pose obvious challenges to me, either personally or professionally. After all, at a fundamental level we are all human beings trying to thrive in our various environments, and that’s what brings us together. So instead, I personally looked at a lack of diversity as an opportunity.
Why do you feel that Inclusivity, Diversity & Equity is important, especially at SNC?
The two areas I focused on to leverage this opportunity were central to the concepts of diversity and sponsorship.
For starters, the basic definition of diversity is the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people. This is a very powerful component to how we live and work due to its capability to drive innovation and creativity. I personally thrive on the value of diversity and structure, and it is a lot of how I lead, grow and develop my teams around this principle. It’s statistically proven that the more in common a group of people have, the less variation in ideas will be generated, thus yielding an outcome that has not reached its optimum potential.
Luckily for us women working in the A&D industry, we have a positive effect on business outcomes because we tend to be a diversifying factor in most business settings. This naturally allows our collective teams to push the limits of innovation and creativity further and is something that we should be proud of. A key element to this, however, is having the confidence to participate when you have a seat at the table.
It is not uncommon for some women to struggle with confidence in a conforming work environment and is something that I have personally needed to work through during my career. To help me improve in this area, I have found that sponsors are a fantastic resource. Not only did they help me with building confidence, they also created opportunities that I couldn’t ever imagine.
What impact do you hope to make as part of this ERG?
Sponsors are like mentors with super powers. In addition to providing coaching, guidance and advice, sponsors take a very tangible, vested, interest in your development. They will advocate for you, provide you with professional experiences that you typically would not receive in your current role, take you out of your comfort zone to push and stretch your capabilities, and ultimately help build personal and professional confidence. My sponsors over the years have been very diverse, each person providing their own unique perspective and approach, and I am forever grateful for them. One of my goals is to bring awareness to the power behind sponsorships and encourage its growth within SNC. The sheer act of sponsorship has the ability to demonstrate what embracing diversity is all about.
As we start this journey together, first as an SNC family and team, I’ll be an advocate for balance in approach as we lean in to learn more about and from each other. From there, we can be supportive of recognizing and talking about characteristics that make each of us unique and valuable as humans, as colleagues, as friends and as SNC’s family.
Interested in joining the Sierra Nevada Corporation team? Apply today at sncorp.com/careers.