Q: Tell us about your current position:
A: At Raytheon, I advise on a wide variety of intellectual property issues and handle intellectual property licensing, software licensing, trademark, domain and branding issues, as well as intellectual property concerns in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Government contracting is a large part of our business and the intersection of IP law and government contracts law is multidimensional. Developing strategies to protect and license our intellectual property in that space is both fascinating and challenging.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
A: There have been several. Early in my career, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the first patent I allowed at the US Patent & Trademark Office issue with my name on it as the patent examiner who granted it. As an associate at the law firm, I loved drafting and obtaining patents for clients in the late 1990s as the internet was first coming to life, as all of those patents were truly pioneering patents. And at Raytheon, because of my passion for mentoring younger professionals, the continuing highlight has been giving training sessions to each new leadership development program class. Each year there is a new crop, smarter and more eager to learn than the last group!
Q: How did your Villanova education contribute to your success?
A: Villanova's wonderful engineering professors taught me the importance of being fearless and diving in, no matter how intimidating the subject matter was—and much of it was highly complex and intimidating! In the years since, I have applied that to everything in my career, and found that the bigger the challenge intellectually, the greater the opportunity for growth.
Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew then (as a college student or new graduate)?
A: Be comfortable in your own skin. Although as an engineering student I was required to take a course on public speaking, I was a horrible at it, largely due to stage fright. I only overcame that fear after being out in the working world. I wish I knew back then that it can be so much fun to speak in front of an audience as you have this wonderful opportunity to impart knowledge and connect with lots of new colleagues and friends.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to the next generation of female engineers?
A: I would tell them what I tell my daughter Keira (who is probably tired of hearing this)! Be a forward looking thinker and create a life road map. Plan your career while taking into account all the stages of your life, particularly what you'd like to accomplish both personally and professionally along the way. By doing so, you can ensure that you have balance while enjoying your career and achieving your personal aspirations.