Leading Leidos Women: They’re all around the world
Women’s History Month marks a celebration of the endeavors and triumphs of the great women of the world. We commemorate the strength of those who have broken stereotypes, societal norms, and glass ceilings, and rallied for a better future while honoring their past.
Women in the United States didn’t receive the right to vote until the 19th amendment was passed in 1920, and women in the UK weren’t able to vote until eight years thereafter in 1928. In fact, it wasn’t until 1929 that women in Canada were even considered ‘persons’ by the Privy Council. It’s because of these laws that we recognize the need to celebrate the freedom and accomplishments of women like Susan B. Anthony, Emmeline Pankhurst, Ida B. Wells, Margaret Thatcher, and the many other influential women that came before and will continue to forge paths forward in the future.
Countless women have also impacted the world through STEM, athletics, politics, the arts, and many other fields, and we have many groundbreakers here at Leidos.
So today, on International Women’s Day, join us in honoring all the impactful women of Leidos, while highlighting just a small sample from around the world, to explain the significance of Women’s History Month to them.
Rebecca Shoop – Palmer Station, Antarctica
Rebecca Shoop is the Station Manager of a remote research station at Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. She works in a very small community of diverse individuals, enabling the scientists and support staff to be successful in accomplishing scientific goals and ensuring the community stays healthy with proper station facilities. “In the end, I strive to create an environment where people are inspired to do their best and feel proud and appreciated for it,” Shoop says.
“International Women’s Day reminds me to reflect on and be grateful for all the women that came before me; the women that fought hard to open doors that awarded myself and other women the opportunities we have today.”
Debbie Bray – UK
Debbie Bray is an Executive Assistant reporting into the Chief Executive (CE) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Leidos UK and Europe. Behind every successful executive is a hardworking Executive Assistant, orchestrating integral roles and responsibilities for any business. She’s the first face or voice to the CE and COO, handling communications, preparing reports, scheduling meetings, and so much more. “The ability to provide strong administrative support to keep things moving along seems to be my niche. No two days are ever the same and every single day is a new adventure,” Bray says. “I love facing challenges and solving puzzles, helping others to be effective and working with a variety of people, both internally and externally.”
To Bray, International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
Danna Manganaro – Colorado, US
Director of Program Assurance and Standards Danna Manganaro has been with Leidos for 25 years and currently supports our Leidos UK team from Colorado. She assures that program teams understand their responsibilities and accountabilities, have the tools they need to execute well, and report transparently—in the UK and in the US—on their program status. “One of the most exciting parts of my work is the cross-functional collaboration and problem-solving I do, building up a program manager’s skillsets, connecting functions so they work more closely, and crystalizing needs and successes of our program execution for our leaders in ways that make the business more successful,” Manganaro says.
“International Women’s Day is a moment to pause and celebrate ourselves and appreciate our heroes; to take note of our ability to lead, breakthrough with great ideas, bridge divides, bring practicality and concrete solutions to the table, then roll up our sleeves and make it happen,” she continues. “We’ve come a long way but still have a ways to go – we are human and can err, misstep, fail to hold each other up, be too hard as we hold each other to account. International Women’s Day is a reminder of all the ways we need to keep going.”
Heidi Salow – Virginia, US
Heidi Salow is the Chief Privacy Officer, leading the Global Privacy Office function. She keeps up with new development in the field of data privacy, which intersect with new, cutting-edge Leidos projects and programs, such as new Leidos software and services related to public health and safety, new uses of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, new data analytics tools, and Leidos’ services supporting new types of biometric data usage by government customers.
“International Women’s Day recognizes the accomplishments of the many amazing women who have contributed to society—academically, professionally, ethically, and compassionately—on a global scale."
Manuela Doutel-Haghighi, UK
Manuela Doutel-Haghighi serves as the UK Project and Program Management Competency Lead, leading a central function that coordinates best practices across all UK portfolios and other functions to deliver the growth strategy. “It is with the genuine and passionate engagement of our people that we bring the best to our customers and the industry in a meaningful and sustainable manner,” she says. “People are what make our roles exciting; how diverse every person is and how enriching every conversation is.”
To Doutel-Haghighi, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognize all that women locally and around the world have achieved to date, “It’s to remember how much there is still to do so that one day every single girl and woman on this planet has equal status, rights, opportunities in life, work, and society, and really ensuring human rights for all women are achieved and that we don’t ever take them for granted.”
Mireya Norman – Hawaii, US
All the way in the Aloha State, Mireya Norman supports the Hawaii Energy Program as a Program Support Services Manager, where her purview encompasses several functional areas including finance, procurement, IT, human resources, and administration. The Hawaii Energy Program is an energy efficiency program, striving to help Hawaiian families and businesses make smart energy choices as they work towards achieving the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. “I think it’s exciting to be part of this landscape and carry out a mission that will play a pivotal role in shaping Hawaii’s future,” she says.
Norman finds inspiration from her mother, who immigrated to the US from Mexico at the age of 19 to seek a better life, though she had few resources and opportunities. She is one of the reasons that Norman sees International Women’s Day as “a day to celebrate the journeys and accomplishments of women around the world and inspire women to excel in their personal and professional lives,” the same way Norman’s mother did for her.
Debbie Opiekun – Virginia, US
Senior Vice President for Military and Veterans Health Solutions Debbie Opiekun is responsible for overall leadership, profit and loss, management, and new business growth for all Leidos business within the Defense Health Agency (DHA), Bio Behavioral Research, Military Personnel Readiness, the DHA Military Health System (MHS) Genesis program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. She says the most exciting part of her job is working with a team that is committed to improving the health of our service members, their families, and our veterans, and witnessing the positive impact our solutions have on this community.
“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the awesome achievements of so many great women,” Opiekun says. “It’s a day to share with children that great advancements in all fields have also been made by women, and it’s an opportunity to rally for women’s equality worldwide.”
Tanya Hanway – Texas, US
Tanya Hanway is the Research, Engineering, Mission Integration Services (REMIS) Program Manager, managing a NASA multi-award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. Every day is a new adventure for her, as she never knows what she’s going to learn that day, “One day I am establishing a contract with a private airline to fly NASA hardware from Florida to Virginia to launch on a Cygnus vehicle and the next day I’m working with my engineers to troubleshoot why we are getting choppy video signal from the International Space Station (ISS) in our Leidos Operations Center (LOC).”
Hanway says International Women’s Day serves as a reminder that social change takes a tremendous amount of work from every single one of us, every single day. “There are many women that have come before me, worked much harder than me, and changed much more than me, but I need to continue to carry the baton forward for those who will come after me.”
With many years of experience in their respective fields, all of these women have learned valuable lessons that they wish they could have told their younger selves. Rebecca Schoop and Debbie Bray both said they should have never been ashamed to ask questions and make mistakes, as they will only help you grow.
Heidi Salow encourages you to believe in yourself no matter what, because roadblocks and obstacles in life are simply temporary, and Mireya Norman adds that you shouldn’t be afraid to chase opportunities that are outside your comfort zone. Debbie Opiekun wishes she knew that being a working mom with career goals would have a positive impact on her children. And Danna Manganaro says you should savor your successes and perfection is not always the best rubric.
Finally, Tanya Hanway and Manuela Doutel-Haghighi urge you to remember to stay genuine to your thoughts and ignore those who criticize you for being different, because being different isn’t all bad—even if it sometimes may feel like it—and those differences will precisely be your strength in life.
Happy International Women’s Day from Leidos.