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  • Writer's pictureKristy Mandigo Kinkor

Chat & Learn through Raytheon / Power to Fly

Hope you get to listen to the following through YouTube. Exciting news – your Chat & Learn recording is now available for your access right here.



Spread the word about the recording, too! I hope you enjoy the video. I believe you are enough.


Some additional thoughts on the subject:


Embracing Self-Worth:

·       How do you personally embrace your worth and navigate challenges in your career?

  • I write down my thoughts and activities.  The way I talk to myself, profoundly affects my self-worth. Through my journaling, I challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations.  I also have friends that will call me out!  I say choose your friends wisely. Every Month, I acknowledge my accomplishments and re-read my notes and note my potential. Finally, I set Healthy Boundaries: I evaluate my limits and continue to strive to be unapologetic about setting boundaries in my personal and professional life.

·       What advice do you have for professionals dealing with imposter syndrome during a career pivot or job search?

  • Visualize Success for yourself, try to remove others pressures both personal and professional.   When you drought your abilities you will struggle, write it down, and showcase your skills and accomplishments.  I have developed strategies to build up my confidence and self-esteem by writing down.  I have even taped myself reading them down.  I have primary reviewed job searches internally, and the 3 week Saturday of the month I review the Raytheon Portal, Even if I don’t want a new job, it reminds me what is out there now.  I sometimes look externally to determine what I am worth.  I talk to my manager at least once a month, but I try to have an agenda. 

·       Can you share tips for staying positive after a layoff and maintaining confidence during a job search?

  • Determine why you got laid off is often hard and get to a negative start. Reframe your thinking to be positive, I believe everything happens for a reason. Always be proactive in searching. Have an internal and external mentor, someone that you trust.  In my opinion it should be a person external to your internal family, so that you have a less bias opinion. Journal your likes and dislikes so you will be prepared for the next opportunity. And always keep your resume up to date.  I share my resume with my boss, and my leads, program managers. Don’t be afraid to share it, and make sure you match it with your social media pages. There are network events go to them and maintain that confidence! Practice being crisp, clear and concise with your answers, but also remember to dress for the job you want not the one you had.           

 

·       How do you strike a balance between recognizing your current skills and continuously striving for improvement without succumbing to feelings of inadequacy?

  • Use the job postings, and honestly you will need to learn on your own time.  I learned a long time ago that you need to put in the work, outside of work to strive for excellence and improvement.  This will help your feeling inadequacy and give you a sense of accomplishment.  Share it with your boss. I once asked to be adding to a program within Raytheon, and there wasn’t funding, so I went and used the educational assistance program instead.  If you can’t find the door go through the window.     

Culture of Empowerment:

·       As a leader in the defense and technology industry, how do you encourage a culture of empowerment and self-belief within your team?

  • As a chief engineer, I have used servant leadership as my method of empowerment, I need to trust my team, I also instill my door is open and if you see something, say something. I believe in each person on my team, and I work for them to get the best product to the war fighter.  If I am asking someone to complete a task at a unreasonable hour or timeframe.  I get in at 4:00a.m. in the morning, and hand them the tools.  If it is a task, I ask them what grunt work can be done.  I remember to recognize and also set-up happy hours and/or cake, bagels or something.  I have even used candy canes at Christmas.  Be excited to work, and others will follow.

·       What initiatives or programs does Raytheon have for onboarding individuals new to the tech industry or those looking to pivot in their careers?

  • Each discipline has a package, but programs also have onboarding. I do a 1:1 with folks on my team, and ensure they feel welcome, each person gets a buddy which helps them understand the RRAA. 

Career Growth and Mentorship:

·       How did you convince yourself to transition from an individual contributor to a management role, and how did you balance technology skills with managerial responsibilities?

  • transitioning from a technical to managerial role requires a shift in focus from technical aspects to the people and processes that will make your team successful. You'll need to develop leadership skills, learn best management practices, network with managers and most importantly find a mentor.

  • Create a plan including a succession plan. Always keep in mind who you are training to be your replacement.  Remind yourself you want them to be the 2.0 version of yourself. This will show your management you are ready.

  • Voice your intention to be promoted with your direct boss and skip-level manager.

  • Take training, but don’t expect the company to do all the work this is your dream and desire.

  • Look for opportunities to delegate and get strategic.

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·       Can you share insights on finding mentors to propel your career forward, and what role have mentors played in your own professional growth?

  • The company as a mentor formal portal, if you refer an informal approach, as your manager or peer for recommendation.  I recommend having an external mentor in addition to having an internal Raytheon mentor.  A mentor can help you set realistic goals and hold you accountable for your progress. By regularly checking in with you and providing feedback, they ensure that you stay focused and motivated. Moreover, mentors can provide objective assessments of your performance and help you identify areas for improvement.  It takes work to improve and launch your career, I have never been tapped on the shoulder, I have always make the first step.

  • Skill Development: Mentors often identify areas where the mentee can improve and provide guidance on skill development. Whether it's technical skills, leadership abilities, or soft skills like communication, a mentor can help the mentee hone these talents, making them more valuable in their field.   

Overcoming Challenges:

·       What obstacles have you personally overcome in building your career, and how did you navigate those challenges?

  • Early in my career I was not confident in my abilities and had to overcome several obstacles including both medical and decisions on family and travel. I sat down and made a plan once I realized my career was going stale. I made a decision to take a role that was engineering but a support role while I was raising my children. This decreased the amount of travel as well as complexity the plan included that once both of my children were in grade school I would start looking to migrate 2 a more complex role.  For me it took longer for me to get both children into grade school then both my husband and I anticipated this created a obstacle because I became very good at my sustaining and support role. It was difficult for them to remember me doing more technical tasks my resume showed a lot of certificates and a lot of education that would lead them to believe that I could do all of those technical tasks but my day-to-day was support. I decided to create a project that allowed me to show the technical side of myself through the innovation challenge and also through the mechanical engineering department manager. I developed the project around something that was consistently shown on directorate charts as a problem. Now these products did require me to work really difficult problems in terms of convincing them to fund the project but also stay positive and not take no for an answer. Once the projects were launched they saw how passionate I was and how dedicated I was to move into a more technical role. I think the key to the story is that sometimes you have to do really hard and challenging things that will require additional effort and navigation that I see many people lack or may not be willing to work so hard to get to that next step. No one is going to make your career launch the way you want it to be it doesn't serve their interests or the companies. 

·       How do you deal with negativity around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and foster a positive environment?

  • I would recommend to continue promoting DE and I but also ensuring that you should communicate the importance of maintaining and managing those biases whether they're known or unconscious bias. If you journal like I mentioned in some of my previous response you can read what you have done and look on it and see and acknowledge biases, With new perspectives. When I work on a team I make sure that my calendar has all of the acknowledged holidays for all of the cultures.  I would also encourage you to get involved in resource groups or all activities through church or team activities like robotics or spelling bee judges.  Giving back to the community well decrease the negativity and foster a more productive environment especially if you incorporate it into all aspects of your life. 

·       How can professionals deal with unnecessary conflicts from colleagues who may feel threatened by growth and recognition?

  • This is always a difficult topic the first place I would start would be to evaluate the conflict and the individuals with this conflict are they open to talking about it or is their mind made-up and do not confuse them with the facts?  If the latter then I would seek assistance from a mentor or even HR but before going down that road make sure you write down the situation and look back on what was it an emotional conflict or was it a conflict that needed to be resolved develop a plan and follow through with that plan.  If this plan is not successful then it is very important to seek help. 

Raytheon-Specific Inquiries:

·       Can you share specific programs at Raytheon that support women reentering engineering after a long break in experience?

  • I don't have personal experience with this however when I was a hiring manager this was one of my passions to find ways to support women reentering engineering after a long break because of a personal reason whether it was for family raising their children or some other reason. I did end up hiring someone that did take a long break and she was a high achiever in many aspects right from the start in others there was a growth need. The ReEmpower program, at Raytheon was a great help!  It’s 14 weeks long, any open role we have posted is eligible as long as the candidate has taken a year a more career break and meets the minimum quals in the role.

·       In your role, what qualities or skills does Raytheon Technologies look for in a candidate?

  • As a chief engineer they are looking for an experienced and seasoned individual that understands all aspects of the design development and sustainment of a product. There are also looking for an individual that understands the tools that are used by the individuals they manage. You would need to be able to communicate well with the customer as well as internal management. It is really important to be clear concise and factual and lean on your technical staff build up your staff it's almost like a football game where you're the one that needs your whole team to work with you or you'll get hurt. You need to understand the technical challenges and longevity and see opportunities for the product before just not Execution but what comes next for the product line. 

Personal and Inspirational:

·       What made you want to become an engineer, and did you face discouragement along the way?

  • I grew up on a dairy farm and I saw my dad fixing things and he was an engineer and his brothers were engineers and they all did different types of jobs but all of them were very technical and could do frankly everything in front of them I found it amazing. I was always the one that wanted to build things and modify things to be better design our garage I enjoyed every minute of those activities I also was unable to read so I had everything read to me so I knew that thing to deal with a lot of English was not a career for me.  Once I realized I was able to read mil-standards much easier than any fictional novel I sold.

·       How do you balance career and personal life, and what lessons have you learned in the process?

  • I would say that based on where you are in your career growth balancing your career and life it's going to be modified depending on your goals and your aspirations sometimes you'll have more time for family and others you'll have less. For me I made sure that I spent less time working during those days than I was raising my children before they went to school.  That was my priority today now that they're older and they have studies and friends I try to work around those times and then be free when they're not busy going often having fun.  Now that the kids are a little older my husband and I enjoy random date nights spontaneous makes it more fun.  We also make sure to take some trips.  We tend to go to Hawaii because it has three hour time different which gives me the opportunity to check in at the office because I really enjoy working and my family is not impacted or even notices because they're still sleeping sometimes I even get a round of golf when there's no issues and everything is handled.  Every person is different and every family is different. My husband knows that I am ambitious and I truly love working at Raytheon so he knows when we take a vacation that it's always better for me when I can check in. 

 

 

·       How would you describe the culture in one word?   Change

·       What’s your favorite part about working at Raytheon?   The confidence that I know that what I do, and the products that we make keep our county and war fighter safer.

·       What’s your top tip for someone who is interviewing?  Practice, what do you want, what do you need and why do you want the job.  Finally, explain why you are best candidate for the job.

 


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