Leading Leidos Women: Susan Gugel in the United States
In celebration of Women’s History Month in the United States and International Women’s Day (March 8th), we're highlighting five leading Leidos women from around the world. Click here to read about all five.
Susan Gugel is a Deputy Program Manager for the Modeling, Simulation and Training Division of our Advanced Solutions Group. She is based out of Orlando and has spent her entire 24-year career with Leidos.
Susan on her ... Professional Accomplishments:
"During sixth grade, I had my first real experience with a personal computer. My school was able to purchase one computer to share across all grades (kindergarten through eighth grade). It was love at first sight. I knew then that I wanted to be a software engineer and worked hard to obtain my dream. With my mother’s love and support, I graduated from the University of Central Florida (UCF) with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer science.
"While still working on my master’s degree, I started interning at Leidos (then called SAIC). After graduation, I was hired on full-time as a software engineer and worked to support requirements analysis, design, code and unit test. I was provided opportunities for technical leadership roles as well as the ability to participate in research and development, proposal development, metrics collection, process definition, process audits, customer interactions, demonstrations, and program start-up. This exposure to different aspects of software engineering as well as a variety of software programs allowed me to present and publish several papers in industry conferences focused on military modeling and simulation."
Susan on ... Leadership:
"Even as I started my career at Leidos, I received peer recognition for my capabilities. I helped anyone and everyone with questions and learned the ability to explain highly technical topics to our non-technical customers. This was the beginning of my career as a technical manager.
"I started with a small team of software engineers. Over time and different programs, my teams grew to include more and more engineers, and a variety of disciplines including system engineering, system architecture, test engineering, technical writers, cybersecurity, configuration management, quality, and hardware engineering. Each new program and team allowed me to learn more and allowed me the privilege of helping the members of my team to reach to achieve their own personal goals.
"Along the way, I have also been provided opportunities as a process point of contact, metrics point of contact, Leidos Central Florida Chapter Women’s Network Vice President, Wellness Champion, and various Leidos technical councils — both at the local and corporate levels. In the last few years, my career has taken a new path into program management, opening more windows to learn, experience, and hopefully excel."
Susan on ... Service:
"Throughout my personal life and career, I have been provided with strong role models, unique opportunities, and valued mentoring. The experiences have all left a lasting impression on me and formed the engineer I am today. As I look forward, I can only hope to provide the same experience and opportunities to others. As a result, I actively work to return what I have been given by lecturing as part of the UCF COMPASS classes, which help students select a future STEM career.
"With Leidos, I mentor both through the formal mentoring program and informally day-to-day for all engineers. I also mentor as part of the UCF Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program. In the latter program, I am paired with a female UCF student pursuing a STEM degree. Giving back extends into other areas as well, such as providing meals for my church’s Loaves and Dishes program and teaching Sunday School."
Susan's Parting Thoughts:
"Although I am a software engineer at my core, I still work to enjoy the world around me by visiting the vast acreage of U.S National Parks like Redwood and Yosemite in California, skiing the mountains of Colorado, diving the oceans off the coast of Florida, and walking as a spectator at my son’s golf tournaments around the Sunshine State. Balance helps us all understand ourselves and each other."