Diversity Spotlight: Quincy Stokes
Quincy Stokes earned his B.S. at Morehouse College, a historically Black college, and his M.S. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Since graduating, he has spent more than 20 years working on air traffic-related programs at Leidos, but he has never felt boxed in.
Quincy started with Lockheed Martin prior to its merge with Leidos after six years of graduate school. “Coming from academia to industry and adjusting to a world with budgets and time constraints was an eye-opening experience," he says. “It helped me understand the importance of process and even fall in love with it."
Along the way, Quincy gained a higher-level, customer- and solution-oriented perspective of software projects. He realized that he wanted to go beyond being an individual contributor and set his sights on earning a system architect role, which he recently accomplished. In this capacity, he's responsible for the technical readiness of an entire program.
“I thought the system architect would be the know-all, be-all, end-all," Quincy explains. “But it has taught me how to look for other people's strengths and delegate. That doesn't just help leaders complement their strengths with the skills of others, but also gives team members the opportunity to gain valuable experience."
Quincy also supports the progress of team members by mentoring, something he benefited from in his own career. He mentors both informally and through Leidos leadership and development programs.
As a leader, Quincy strives to include everyone and promote inclusive language. “The IT world uses a lot of non-diverse language," he explains, citing the example of a master/slave power switch for which he offers the following replacements depending on the context: primary/secondary, producer/consumer, leader/follower, conductor/follower, primary/replica. “But I've seen positive change. People are usually open to change such language once they really think about it."
Being inclusive goes beyond improving industry terms and lingo. “I consider whether I'm truly including everyone and not excluding them based on their unique situations," Quincy says, noting that he's experienced his own personal challenges over the last five years and never felt the pressure to not balance work and life. “Leidos has been fully supportive."
Reflecting on his time with Leidos so far, Quincy is grateful for a fulfilling career. He finds satisfaction in working with people toward solving a real problem. “Surmounting a challenge is like winning without the component of someone losing," he says.
Quincy's advice for pursuing a satisfying career? “Take advantage of opportunities to lead — no matter how small or how large," he says. " If you see an opportunity, jump on it because that's the only way for people to see your talent and potential, and makes you realize what you're capable of."
Inclusion is a core value at Leidos. Like Quincy, we aim to foster a welcoming workplace in which employees from many backgrounds bring different perspectives, experiences and opinions. By developing an atmosphere in which diversity is valued, our teams improve their performance, and our organization enjoys more innovation and better results.
As part of our drive to build and support a diverse workforce, Leidos will be hosting virtual hiring events in the coming months for diverse Systems Engineers, Software Engineers, Network Engineers, Cyber Engineers and Project Managers.