In an industry still struggling to implement diversity and inclusion, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is something of a rarity: women make up...

by Henry Hernandez, Jr.

Vice President, Director of Diversity & Inclusion
SAIC

In an industry still struggling to implement diversity and inclusion, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is something of a rarity: women make up 32 percent of the workforce and a little over 20 percent of senior leaders. Three of the 13 members of the executive leadership team are women, as are three of the members of its 13-person board of directors. The company ensures a healthy pipeline of female talent through a vertically integrated portfolio of programs that support and sustain women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

SAIC expanded its relationship with Women in Technology (WIT), a regional organization of entrepreneurs and professionals in science, engineering and information technology, to underwrite its flagship mentor/protégé program. The program selects 30 protégés—entry- to mid-level women who are considering a career in technology or are re-entering the field after an absence, who would like to build their leadership skills and advance in their career or start their own business. Each is paired with a senior professional woman with at least 20 years of experience. Many SAIC female employees have or will serve as mentors. SAIC hosted five sessions in 2011 at SAIC’s headquarters in McLean, Va.

“These efforts are paying off. Targeted mentoring is expanding across the company and it reinforces that women are appreciated at SAIC.”

“We went from a limited relationship with WIT to a highly engaged, strategic partnership to encourage outreach and development via our employee resource groups and the organization,” says Henry Hernandez, Jr., SAIC vice president, director of diversity & inclusion “It’s a win/win.”

In addition, SAIC sponsored and hosted WIT’s inaugural launch of Girls in Technology, a high school initiative to encourage teenage girls to con- sider STEM careers. Twenty-five SAIC female junior professionals in the first stages of their careers volunteered to be mentors. They, in turn, received guidance and advice from SAIC female senior leaders. The program has multiple layers of benefits by providing a natural environment for nurturing networks among early career and senior level women. SAIC employees not only serve as role models for the next generation of women in STEM, but also for each other. Ultimately, the program brands SAIC in the wider community as an employer of choice for women.

Within SAIC, senior female employees have an opportunity to forge powerful relationships and explore future career paths at the Women’s Business Forum, a quarterly networking breakfast hosted by board member Dr. Anita K. Jones. A different group of between eight and ten participants from different business units, functions and geographies, is selected each quarter.

“These efforts are paying off,” says Hernandez. “Targeted mentoring is expanding across the company and it reinforces that women are appreciated at SAIC.

Henry Hernandez, Jr.

Henry Hernandez, Jr.

Vice President, Director of Diversity & Inclusion
SAIC

Henry Hernandez, Jr. is vice president, director of diversity & inclusion at SAIC. Hernandez provides thought leadership and strategic direction for diversity and inclusion processes enterprise-wide. Prior to joining SAIC in 2009, Henry was managing director for diversity & inclusion at Executive Consulting, chief diversity officer at American Express, executive director for global diversity leadership at Pitney Bowes, and intelligence officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. Henry is co-founder and first President of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA). Henry holds a BA degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *