Blog Post

Diversity Dialogue with Rainia L. Washington, Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion at Lockheed Martin

March 24, 2020
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Rainia L. Washington
Lockheed Martin

Rainia L. Washington is the Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion for Lockheed Martin Corporation. In this role, Ms. Washington is responsible for developing and executing global strategies that cultivate and maintain a culture of in inclusion for the 110,000 employees worldwide.

This includes diversity outreach efforts that support the development of diverse talent pipelines, employee engagement and retention, and promoting inclusive leadership behaviors.

Under her leadership, Lockheed Martin has significantly increased engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Over her 25-year career with the company, Ms. Washington has held a number of Human Resources positions, including Corporate Director for Performance Management, and Director and Human Resources Site Lead for the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Marietta Facility in Marietta, GA.

She also leads Lockheed Martin’s Executive Inclusion Council in partnership with the CEO and senior executive leadership.

Diversity Best Practices had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Rainia Washington about her current role and how Lockheed Martin is driving real progress through their D&I initiatives.

1. What Diversity and Inclusion programs does Lockheed Martin leverage to maintain a competitive advantage?

Lockheed Martin’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion begins at the top. Our Chairman, President and CEO, and Senior Executive Leadership Team, are all members of an Executive Inclusion Council that approves Lockheed Martin’s commitments to diversity and inclusion.

Throughout the organization, Lockheed Martin designs and deploys diversity and inclusion learning and knowledge management approaches to equip leaders and employees in understanding and embracing the value of diversity and inclusion.

One of our signature programs is ELOIT (Executive Leadership of Inclusive Teams). ELOIT engages leaders through meaningful dialogue that heightens their awareness of demographic challenges, creating a forum for exploring personal perspectives, prompting candid discussion and equipping participants to be catalysts for inclusion.

Lockheed Martin also leverages new and innovative ways to develop leaders through technology. Our Leading Diverse Teams series develops topics such as managing across multiple generations, increasing understanding of differences across teams and navigating cultural differences that ignite conversations between leaders and their teams.

Through our national and regional annual leadership forums for our communities and Employee Networks (EN), these communities prove to be a great opportunity for providing professional and personal development, networking, mentoring and business focus learning for its participants.

An example of how our communities demonstrated business focus learning was through our inaugural Strategy Showcase in 2019. This showcase recognized leading and best practices that can make a sustainable impact. Each of our seven Employee Resource Groups highlighted innovative ideas that leveraged technology, had strategic impact, and fostered collaboration and inclusion across all communities.

2. What have you found that works in driving real progress?

Accountability, Commitment and Strong Partnerships. A focus on diversity and inclusion is a key business enabler that provides us with the opportunity to continue to attract and retain the diverse talent pipeline we need to deliver business results.

Lockheed Martin has strong partnerships with diverse community organizations that promote the nation’s STEM talent pipeline, employee development, recognition, and engagement of industry and academia.

We revamped our minority serving institution strategy, particularly Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, to more fully engage executives and employees. We also have strong partnerships that enable us to attract and drive greater female representation.

Our Enterprise ELOIT Alumni Engagement sessions launched in 2019, provides an opportunity for executives to engage in dialogue connecting their day-to-day activities with ELOIT learnings as well as diversity and inclusion culture initiatives.

Our goal is to ensure Lockheed Martin has an inclusive culture that allows our employees to maximize their contributions and achieve their full potential. To support this goal, we need to develop leaders and employees who model inclusive behaviors and leverage diversity to maintain our competitive advantage.

Development and mentoring encourage and advance the growth and development of all employees, including those from diverse backgrounds. Programs such as our Program Management and Functional Talent Management (PMTI) initiative is designed to accelerate the development of female and minority talent. PMTI is a unique program structured on the basis of intensive talent assessments, accelerated development, leadership engagement and accountability, high visibility opportunities, and exposure to senior executives.

Since the program’s inception in 2011, we have continued to see progress in the number of women and people of color who are nominated to participate, those who graduate and receive promotions post-graduation.

3. How do you measure success of diversity and inclusion in your organization?

We pride ourselves on our “listening culture” and the multiple programs and avenues we use to gather feedback from employees to ensure we continue to evolve our culture to meet the needs of prospective and current employees.

We utilize employee and pulse surveys to continuously gather feedback from across our population. Through our inclusion index, we use this data to analyze employee sentiments across various demographics to identify what we are doing well and where we can focus to improve our culture.

Through the partnership with our Executive Inclusion Council and Business Area levels Inclusion Council chairs, there is a focus to ensuring progress occurs and supports the business areas which aligns efforts and serves as a catalyst for action.

Additionally, Our Global Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report and Annual Sustainability Reports allows us to highlight our progress towards meeting our diversity and inclusion goals such as representation and how our Business Resource Groups are positively impacting our business through strategic partnership. We share our reports both internally with our entire workforce as well as key external stakeholders and partners.

4. What have been the roadblocks/challenges along the way and what the strategies you have used to overcome them?

Over the last 15 years, there have been many challenges. What we have learned is that senior leadership and employee partnership is key to ensuring our strategies meet the needs of the business.

Our employees are also key to solving some of our companies most complex challenges. Through our diversity and inclusion efforts that engage employees in developing and designing tools and processes, hearing from our employees on what is important to them will continue to help us shape policies that continue to evolve Lockheed Martin.

5. What does the future of diversity and inclusion look like at Lockheed Martin?

The future for diversity and inclusion looks bright at Lockheed Martin! We are extremely proud of the progress we have made as we continue to blaze new trails. We continue to excel and create a workplace that embraces, encourages and empowers innovation through our most valuable resource – our people.

In early 2020, we launched and communicated that our former Employee Resource Groups were transitioning to Business Resource Groups. This journey began in 2018 as we began to build excitement and enthusiasm around our three-year alignment roadmap of how our communities would align, collaborate and impact Lockheed Martin.

Our close partnership with Diversity Best Practices over the past year has been pivotal in our evolution and understanding the impact that Business Resource Groups bring to the business. Through this partnership, we have developed a strategy that will help support our communities evolving to become an integral part of the fiber of the company.

Our mission for Business Resource Groups is to recognize the power they bring in strengthening employee engagement, delivering talent to the company, valuing diversity and driving a culture of inclusion while contributing to business impact.

We are excited to expand our diversity and inclusion reach globally in our international markets. We are developing and deploying an International Diversity and Inclusion strategy and growing key diversity and inclusion networks both within Lockheed Martin and in local markets.

At Lockheed Martin, the future is now. We are honored to have the unwavering support of our most senior executives and the passionate dedication of our workforce that allows our corporation to act agilely and step boldly into unchartered territory.

Just as we pioneer solutions for our customers, our mission is to continue to be pioneers of diversity and inclusion for years to come.