The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) welcomed Leanne Caret, Executive Vice President of The Boeing Company and President/CEO of its Defense, Space & Security (BDS) division for its latest Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture (SGL), March 7, in King Auditorium. Caret shared her insights on inspired leadership with university students, faculty and staff, and her views on what makes an effective leader.
“I am very fortunate to lead a team of 50,000 people, and we are working very hard to deliver products and services that we put into your capable hands, and those of your fellow servicemen and women that protect and defend this great nation and our allies,” said Caret. “It’s a great time to be in this industry, but while it’s exciting what we do, the inspiration is who we do it for, and that’s all of you.”
Speaking of inspiration, Caret remarked about the innovative research she was introduced to during a brief tour of the NPS campus.
“Earlier this day, I had the chance to look at projects and different labs here on campus,” said Caret. “The depth of the research that you are doing here is truly inspirational.”
Caret focused the bulk of her discussion on effective leadership, and the parallels that can be drawn between the military and civilian sectors, many of which apply to NPS’ own diverse student body.
“It is always inspiring to see great minds lean into a problem until it is solved, and it is no less impressive when I see leadership in action,” said Caret. “I know that the student body here includes civilians as well as military. And that’s perfect, because I think that there are some universal concepts of leadership that can resonate with anyone with a job to do … whether you wear a business suit or a uniform.”
Before concluding her remarks to the student body, Caret shared some of what inspires her as a second-generation Boeing employee, and as an American citizen.
“As you may be able to tell, we have made many accomplishments over the past 100 years,” she noted. Referring to the broader efforts of pioneering American engineers, she continued, “Just think about what we did … from the Wright brothers to actually going to the moon,” she said.
“I now think about what we do in space on a regular basis, and I can’t help but think about how many ideas are waiting to be discovered, how many mysteries are just waiting to be unlocked,” she concluded.
NPS’ Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture program provides a series of professional lectures by senior leaders throughout defense, government, industry and academia designed to help the university’s students and faculty link their studies, teaching and research efforts to the defense needs of the nation.