Victoria Harker - AES
CFO and President, Global Business Services
Victoria D. Harker is CFO and President of Global Business Services of the AES Corporation, a global power company with 2011 revenues of $22 billion and assets of $45 billion in 28 countries. She joined AES in 2006 to lead the Global Finance Team in a re-engineering of the company’s financial reporting, controls and capital structure.Victoria manages all of AES’ Finance and Business Services operations worldwide, which includes IT, Purchasing, Risk and Trading. Before AES,Victoria was the acting CFO and Treasurer of MCI and served as CFO of MCI Group. She serves on the Board of Directors of ITT and Darden Restaurants. Harker is Chairman of the University of Virginia’s Board of Managers and is a member of The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Why do you believe STEM education and Workforce are important to our nation?
In today’s highly interconnected and increasingly technological marketplace, it is more critical than ever for the United States to grow its STEM workforce in order to remain competitive and support economic growth.
These programs help propel women and other minorities into fields they typically have not entered, which will bring new perspectives to these fields which will help spur innovation.
STEM education teaches young people the skills employers want most, and encourages them to pursue careers in technical fields that have been, and will continue to be, the key industries that are driving U.S. economic growth.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
There are a lot of stakeholders involved in this issue, from students, to policymakers, to school administrators, to multinational corporations. Senior leaders need to take a multi-faceted approach to the issue and be able to analyze STEM from varying perspectives.
What principles do you, as a leader, apply to your professional and personal life to advance the STEM cause?
Education is at the heart of STEM and also critical to achieving personal and professional success. In life and in business, I find it is critical to always challenge yourself and continually develop and hone new skill sets. While at AES for example, I initiated the AES Finance Leadership Development Program at the Darden School of Business.
What is your concept of mentoring and sponsorship of others for STEM careers?
Seek out a valuable mentor/mentee relationship: My ideal concept of mentoring occurs when both the mentor and the mentee are learning from each other, symbiotically, and there is often not even an acknowledged “formal” mentoring arrangement. This provides a mutually beneficial experience for both without the added burden of scheduling constructed sessions or read-outs in already busy lives.