December 1, 2011
Zooming to Success in a Fighter Jet
Anne Stevens is no stranger to taking the helm at top companies worth millions – and billions – of dollars.
She went from being the first female executive VP of Ford Motor Company to COO before retiring as one of the highest-ranking women in the automotive field.
Next, she made a career switch to technology, as CEO of Carpenter Technology to her current role as CEO of SA IT Services, a leading national technology company.
She's also held positions at Exxon Mobil Corporation and had been featured on Fortune's "Most Powerful Women" list four times. But if you think this 62-year-old mother of two (and grandmother of four) is looking to slow down anytime soon, think again.
She talks to Little PINK Book about values she learned from her father, her possible foray into politics and the time she flew an F-16 fighter jet nine times the force of Earth's gravity.
PINK: What's the biggest issue for career women today?
AS: Over my career, I've seen too many women give up and exit the mainstream. Many women leave careers or the corporate world when things start to get too political.
We have to realize that, like it or not, politics are everywhere. Whether it's big business, small business, church or family, there are politics in life. I see giving up, getting frustrated and not sticking with it or pushing through as a challenge for many women.
PINK: What's the craziest thing you've done for your career?
AS: I serve on the Audit Committee and chaired the Management Development and Compensation Committee at Lockheed Martin. After I finished the interview process for a position on the board, I had dinner with the head of HR. I said, "I'd really like to learn more about the products." He said, "You know, we've never had a board member go up in one of the fighter jets – would you like to do that?" I said, "Absolutely."
By Caroline Cox
"If you don't fail, you're not pushing hard enough." Anne Stevens
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*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Bernie Condon