Name: Sandra Aldana
Title: Program Manager, L-3 Electron Technologies, Inc.
Headquarters: New York, New York
Number of Employees: 48,000
Education: BS in Engineering, California Polytechnic State University
What I’m Reading: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
My Philosophy: Take responsibility and lead by example.
Away from Work, I: Hike, bike, kayak, and read as often as I can.
How My Heritage Values Fuel My Success: The major values of my heritage—a strong work ethic, family, and respect for others—are the backbone of my life. In my career, I have found that people appreciate being treated with respect and will take extra steps to help a person they can trust. Also, knowing what is truly important to you is imperative when working in a high-stress environment. If we don’t know what’s important to us, we spend a lot of time wondering what we should be doing or, worse yet, regretting our decisions.
The Best Career Advice I’ve Received and the Advice I Offer Others: The best advice I ever received was this: “Take nothing personally, even when it is intended.” This mantra has helped me on a daily basis to focus on the job at hand and not the get sidetracked with negative energy. I find that often we assume other people’s actions or words are directed to us when, in fact, most people are only thinking of themselves.
My advice to someone looking to advance their career in program management is to build a reputation for being dependable, professional, and cooperative. The ability to work cooperatively and find win/win solutions, not only creates an environment of collaboration, but also better solutions and decisions. Forcing people to confront flaws in their thought process produces better outcomes. In contrast, pushing your agenda at all costs and not taking time to address valid objections takes time and energy away from the tasks that really count.