Lisa Teague - Rolls-Royce
Director, Research and Technology Strategy
After obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University, Lisa Teague joined Detroit Diesel Allison (now Rolls-Royce Corporation) in Indianapolis in 1983. She has held a variety of technical and managerial positions in Engineering and spent 2 years in the U.K. on assignment with Rolls-Royce. In her current role as Director, Research & Technology Strategy, she is responsible for the planning, execution, and global coordination of R&T activities in Indianapolis. The Engineering Employee Development group also resides in her organization, joining together coordination of university research activities with employee development and STEM support.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
We need people to take an interest in STEM careers so we can continue to produce the technological innovations that have made this country a world leader in so many different areas. For economic and national security reasons, and as the world continues to grow technologically, we need STEM graduates. Even if students don’t choose STEM as a career, having more people with an appreciation of math and science principles makes us, as a nation, better equipped to participate in resolving today’s global and technological challenges.
Personally, I have really enjoyed my career as a Mechanical Engineer working in the aerospace field. I want our next generation to have the same opportunities that I’ve experienced. I value having a job that creates something of value – in my case, gas turbine engines – that allows people to travel and, through defense aviation, makes our nation more secure. We provide jobs for people with a variety of skills as we design, produce and support our products that provide economic and national security. I want aerospace to continue to be a strong industry in this country. And for that to happen, we need students to take an interest in and ready themselves for STEM careers.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
I look to leaders to understand that we all have a shared interest in supporting STEM activities, and it is not something that just happens at the college recruiting level. We need to do what we can to interest students at all ages so they will become both interested and ready (particularly in taking math courses) to tackle STEM fields of study. Students at all ages need to know this is something to which they can aspire, so it is important that we engage them at every level of their education.
I also look to leaders to understand the benefits of having a diverse workforce. In the span of my career, I have gone from being “the” woman in the group, where everyone seemed to know who I was because of my gender – to enjoying a much better level of diversity in our workplace and feeling much more of an integral part of the group. I think we have made improvements in areas such as management behavior and inclusiveness that help us obtain more from a diverse workforce: color, gender and diverse views and perspectives.
Which woman leader do you most admire, and why.
I admire former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her achievements as a world leader. She is so accomplished in multiple areas. As a (former) amateur musician myself (hoping to get back to it!), her skill as a concert pianist gives me hope that you can indeed grow and be accomplished in different areas. In my industry, Carol Hallett, former U.S. Customs Service Commissioner and current member of the Rolls-Royce North America board of directors, inspires me for her achievements in the aerospace industry. At a women’s leadership conference, she gave advice on mentoring that I found particularly insightful and that I pass along to all the younger engineers that I mentor or advise.