Get to know our Emerging Leaders

Get to know our Emerging Leaders who Inspire, Innovate, Empower, and Elevate

April 03, 2024

Each year Women in Defence and Security (WiDS) hosts an Annual Awards Breakfast recognizing female Emerging Leaders. As a platinum sponsor and proud participant at this event, Lockheed Martin always looks forward to recognizing these inspiring women. With close to 1,400 attendees this year’s breakfast was the largest to date offering us a chance to foster connections and celebrate the shared goal of building a diverse and inclusive defence and security community.

What is an emerging leader?

Someone – in any stage of their career – who is doing great things; someone who is inspiring change; someone who is blazing a trail and setting an example for other young women to follow. This year, we received 16 strong nominations and through careful consideration senior leadership selected two amazing nominees, Erika Cion, Senior Propulsion Engineer from Montreal and Kelly Alder, Associate Manager, Hardware Engineering from Ottawa

2024 Theme - ­ Inspire, Innovate, Empower, Elevate

Working off this year’s theme we asked Erika and Kelly to share with us someone who has Inspired, Empowered or Elevated them in their life and who they feel they have been able to Inspire, Empower or Elevate.

Headshot of Erika Cion

Erika Cion

Senior Propulsion Engineer, Montreal

Someone who inspires, elevates, or empowers me:

I am fortunate to have been mentored by a variety of people through my professional career and personal life. One person specifically comes to mind when I reflect on this years WiDS theme to inspire, innovate, empower, and elevate: Dr. Ali Shanian, the Chief Engineer at Lockheed Martin Commercial Engine Solutions.

Ali has taught me the importance of driving innovation to further technological advancement but also as a means to improve culture. He has the unique ability to alter his leadership styles to the different personalities amongst his team, which allows him to harness the full potential of the engineering group. He is strong at embedding valuable feedback from stakeholders and customers; paying attention to the large scope as well as to the small, but important, details.

Under Ali’s mentorship, my journey has been challenging, however I know that through such challenges is where growth is truly fostered. He has encouraged me to gain new technical skills in line with my goals whilst working on my interpersonal abilities by opening opportunities that push me beyond what I thought possible. Most importantly, Ali always does what’s right, a quality I value in a leader. His mentorship will undeniably be a significant marker in both my career and personal life.

Someone who I’ve inspired, elevated, or empowered:

To support our business unit’s target to achieve Industry 4.0 and 1LMX, I’ve been leading digitalization programs, with several different technology initiatives, in collaboration with multiple business units at Lockheed Martin and external companies. This initiative requires cross collaboration between RMS, Space and Aero, and works with Lockheed Martin Fellowship on the deployment and knowledge transfer to our business unit. I use projects aligned with the digitalization program as a means of providing exposure, new challenges & and knowledge transfer to those I mentor. I specifically have found myself learning and finding fulfillment mentoring both Leanna Salt and Vicky Vigneault, who have both been valuable contributors within Lockheed Martin Commercial Engine Solutions. 

Headshot of Kelly Alder

Kelly Alder

Associate Manager, Hardware Engineering, Ottawa

Someone who inspires, elevates, or empowers me:

When I think about someone who has inspired, empowered and elevated me in my career, I think back to my first manager at Lockheed Martin, Randy. Joining the company as a new grad, he gave me many opportunities to learn and grow. As I started a family, his support continued for me to both grow professionally and to take care of my young family. It was truly an environment where we all felt safe to be ourselves. 

Someone who I’ve inspired, elevated, or empowered:

As a leader now, I hope to inspire others by providing the support and understanding that Randy showed us. I strive to create an open, honest and trusting environment where everyone can be their authentic selves at work. I hope to inspire others to be that kind of leader as well.