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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Is the glass ceiling for women shattering?

On Tuesday, I went down to meet a friend at the Association of the U.S. Army conference that is held each year.

I joked with her that we were at the convention for middle-aged white guys, or MAWGs. She laughed, but my joke kicked off a more serious discussion.

The world of defense and government contracting is going through a serious gender shift. My friend thinks the glass ceiling has shattered in government contracting, and that this industry is further ahead of other industries, as far as leadership opportunities for women go.

Is that true?

We do have some great leaders that are women, and the numbers are growing.

I always start with the three Lindas: Linda Hudson, CEO of BAE Systems Inc., Linda Gooden, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, and Linda Mills, soon to be the de facto chief operating officer of Northrop Grumman Corp.

Come Jan. 1, the CEO of General Dynamics will be a woman, Phebe Novakovic. Also at the start of the year, Marillyn Hewson will become the COO of Lockheed Martin.

Hewlett-Packard Co. federal services business is run by Marilyn Crouther. And, of course, the greater HP is led by Meg Whitman.

BAE’s intelligence and security business – 7,000 employees strong – has DeEtte Gray at the helm as president. She just joined in July.

Amazon Web Services global public sector is run by Teresa Carlson, who earlier ran Microsoft’s federal business.

Same with IBM Corp. where Anne Altman is the general manager of IBM global Public Sector.

CGI Federal is led by Donna Ryan, who replaced George Schindler, who was promoted to replace Donna Morea, who was a long time leader at CGI and American Management Systems.

Diana Gowen is the general manager of CenturyLink's government business.

Verizon Business has Susan Zeleniak running its public sector.

I’m sure I’m missing others, so send me some more names. And there are also many women entrepreneurs in the market. I know I’m short changing them a bit here, but that's because I want to focus on the women in the corporate world, because of the old boys’ network so many of these women faced.

With so many women running large businesses, are we seeing a culture shift? Has the glass ceiling really shattered, or has it just been pushed up a little higher? Is the market less of a boys’ club?

Let me know what you think.


Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Reader Comments

Thu, Nov 1, 2012

whomever wrote that statment about women not having longevity at positions and not working long hours, clearly does not know my sister, and many others who work for globally large companies like Johnson & Johnson and really should think before making such an assumptions, as it simply is not the case. If anything, woman are made to work harder in order to prove themselves, in a male dominant business world.

Wed, Oct 31, 2012

I'd like to know where Dave gets his "facts". Women tend to stay at firms longer because of a sense of loyalty while men jump from firm to firm looking for that next bump. Additionally, as a woman (and single mother) that routinely puts in roughly 60 hours a week along with a lot of my female co-workers I find it hard to stomach the comment about us not working the same amount of hours.

Tue, Oct 30, 2012

You mentioned Donna Ryan, President of CGI Federal, but you may also be interested to know that 80% of Donna's direct reports are female. Toni Townes-Whitley (SVP), Amy Bleken (SVP), M.G. Barbara Fast, VP (Ret.), Jo-An Skowronek, VP & Michelle Hertz, General Counsel & VP. Molly O'Neill (VP and former CIO of EPA) is also in the CGI Federal mix.

Mon, Oct 29, 2012

Hey Nick- At Lockheed Martin, Stephanie C. Hill is the president of the Information Systems & Global Solutions line of business that serves various non-defense U.S. federal agencies, international governments and regulated commercial industries. Hill is responsible for IT systems and services in areas such as citizen protection, transportation, finance, energy, cyber security, and health care.

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 Dave

I don't believe there is a pay gap between the genders. Women usually don't have the longevity at a firm and thus can't expect the same pay. Often they do not work the same number of hours as men, and again can't expect the same pay.

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