RADM(ret) Paige Speaks to the Women of SEG

SEG hosted RADM(ret) Paige on 18 May to speak to the women at Systems Engineering Group, Inc.

Over 25 people gathered (in person or via Zoom) to listen to the experiences and advice the RADM had to share. The RADM began the event by getting to know the Women at SEG better and learning how we make up a large part of the company. She then gave some back history on her story and how she became the esteemed leader she is today.

For those unfamiliar with her, RADM Paige was the guiding hand of Navy’s Aegis Weapon System for 20 years after the retirement of RADM Wayne E. Meyer, the “Father of Aegis” and progenitor of Navy’s Systems Engineering Heritage. She led the development of Aegis BMD as Program Executive, served as Chief Engineer of the Navy, and became the first Ballistic Missile Defense System Technical Director.  She continues to serve as an MDA Senior Advisor.

An interesting take away is that the RADM doesn’t have an engineering degree, but was able to use her strengths and knowledge to become one of the most respected Naval Engineers in history. She also shared some of her history with SEG General Manager CAPT(ret) Mike Anderson and how his success was instrumental in hers.

The RADM addressed topics and questions identified by SEG staff, and provided subtle lessons to help women succeed in the workplace.  Key messages she left with the team include:

  • Ground yourself and have an inner confidence. Know that you’ve accomplished difficult things before and you can do it again.
  • Be willing to respond to those who don’t believe in you. Do so with confidence and calmness.
  • Everyone is different than everyone else in some way or another, so no one is better or worse than anyone. Don’t be cocky about yourself and give others the benefit of the doubt.
  • Break projects down into smaller tasks and know what your primary objectives are. Focus the engineers in the room on solving those problems and they won’t see rank or gender or any other differences.  They’ll only see the problem and will work together to solve it.
  • Listen to what people say. Speak concisely and with thoughtfulness.  Ask questions to ensure you have all the appropriate information to lead the team forward.
  • Her greatest teachers were the mentors and leaders that she worked with. Pay attention to those around you and learn from them.
  • When it comes to risk taking you have to understand and be willing to accept the consequences of taking the risk, and what happens if you decide not to take it.

She also gave some great tips!

  • When you speak, don’t let your voice rise – make sure you end your sentence with a period, and not a question (verbal tone). Stand tall and ground, don’t move around and make yourself seem uncertain or unconfident.

The Women at SEG are very honored that the RADM was willing to come and speak to us, and very much looking forward to future opportunities to engage with RADM Paige.