The author's sister Stephanie Cole Hill is one of the few African-American leaders in her industry.
I remember the day my sister Stephanie was born. I was 4 years old, and I was so excited. I was, prior to that moment, the little sister of Susan, the eldest in our family. When Stephanie came, I got to be the big sister.
I will never forget when my mother brought Stephanie home from the hospital and took her into the nursery. Immediately I was there, and I announced -- making myself as tall and imposing as I could -- that I was going to be moving into the room with her because she was "mine." I claimed Stephanie as my own on that day. And from that day to this, I have never let go.
What's amazing to me is that "my baby" has grown into one of the most accomplished business leaders among African-American women in the field of science and technology. Having worked more than 25 years at defense leader Lockheed Martin, Stephanie was recently named president of one of the company's key businesses: Information Systems and Global Solutions-Civil.
IS&GS-Civil, a multibillion-dollar business, serves various nondefense U.S. government agencies, international governments and regulated commercial industries. My sister leads approximately 10,000 employees, who are responsible for a wide array of information technology systems and services in areas such as citizen protection, energy, health care, information and cybersecurity, finance, transportation and space exploration.
At present, Stephanie Cole Hill is the only African-American president -- male or female -- at Lockheed Martin. She reports directly to the other African-American woman at the top, Linda Gooden, who is executive vice president of information systems and global solutions.
"I am excited to have Stephanie join our team," Gooden said. "She is a phenomenal leader whose business acumen, expertise and commitment to excellence will ensure that Lockheed Martin provides the world's best information technology services and solutions to federal agencies worldwide. As African-American women, the two of us are among the few but growing number of minorities represented at top-level management positions in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Inspiring others to pursue exciting careers in STEM is a passion that we both share and tirelessly promote."
Stephanie said, "As a nation, we must increase the number of scientists and engineers that we are producing. Since the minority population will be a huge part of the workforce, we must commit to sparking interest in those communities for science, technology, engineering and math fields. This is imperative -- not just because it's what is needed for my company's future success and for our nation's competitive edge, but also because it's the right thing to do."
A Sister's Admiration
As an English major, one with purely right-brain capabilities, I have to admit that I don't understand most of what Stephanie does. I know that she's smart. That's obvious. But a few times along the way, I have gotten insight into the gravity and breadth of her work.