WinECE welcomes Jane Rudolph as the Spring Dinner Keynote Speaker


February 9, 2015

WinECE is an organization encompassing all female undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty within the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. This dinner traditionally brings in an illustrious scholar as a representative from academia. It’s a forum to address and interact with student members with keen interest in pursuing a career in engineering. The keynote speaker has the chance to share her own experiences with students and offer advice that they wish they would have had as a student.

This year's keynote speaker is ECE Alumni Council member Jane Rudolph. ECE caught up with Jane to talk about her successful career and the impact Carnegie Mellon has had on her.

Why did you choose to attend CMU?
I chose CMU because of its excellent reputation as an engineering school, as well as its size. I thought that its size would allow me to have a much more personal and individualized experience versus a larger university.  

How has an ECE degree from CMU prepared you for a successful career?
My ECE degree prepared me for a successful career by providing me the fundamental background in engineering; giving me the confidence in my technical ability; and providing me the foundation that encouraged continual learning throughout my career. Another aspect of my CMU experience that helped me in my career was the collaboration across disciplines which were highlighted in the project courses  from my double major in Engineering and Public Policy.

Who have been your role models, and why?
My role models have evolved through out my career. When I started as an engineer, my role models were some of the senior engineers at the company. As I moved into management and then into executive management, my role models changed to some of the senior leaders in the company. Over the last 15+ years, I was most influenced by Bob Stevens, who became CEO of Lockheed Martin. His leadership style and commitment to customers, employees, and shareholders were incredible. The best way to summarize his philosophy is in a very early speech he gave where he introduced the concept that "leadership is a verb".

What attributes are important for women engineers to have in the work force?
I believe that both male and female engineers need the same attributes to be successful in the work force. I also believe that those attributes will vary dependent on your position and type of company. The attributes of a successful technical expert are different than a successful business leader, just like those of a successful start up entrepreneur are different than a successful executive of an established company. If I were to generalize, the common attributes that contribute to success are dedication, self awareness, and environmental awareness. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses and what other employees are contributing and what product or service your company is producing and how this fits into the market place are all valuable insights that will help maximize productivity and overall success.

What words of wisdom do you have for our women engineers? Especially those who are about to graduate?
First, I'd like to congratulate them on achieving their degree. My first words of wisdom would be to encourage them to be flexible and open to what the future will give them. When I graduated, I never would have guessed that my career would have gone in the direction it did. By being open to different opportunities, I could explore different areas, which gave me a broader perspective and allowed me to contribute more to the success of my employer. I'd also encourage them to not be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and share their thoughts and opinions. Women engineers can provide a diverse perspective that may be the key to a project's success. 

What is your favorite CMU tradition?
My favorite CMU tradition is Spring Carnival and buggy. This is definitely uniquely CMU.

Do you have a favorite spot in Pittsburgh?
My favorite spot is Pittsburgh is Mount Washington. The view of the city is spectacular!

Ms. Rudolph is a Principal with Rudolph Consulting Services LLC, which provides strategy and business development professional services to the defense and government IT industries. Prior to her current role, Jane retired as a senior executive from Lockheed Martin in 2011 with over 30 years of service, including with the predecessor companies of IBM and Loral. Throughout her career with Lockheed Martin, Jane held various business and technical leadership roles including: Vice President of Lockheed Martin Corporate Strategic Planning, Vice President of Business Development for Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, Vice President of Homeland Security Systems, and Vice President of FAA Programs at Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management. These positions provided her extensive experience in P&L management, strategic planning, competitive business capture, mergers and acquisitions, and technical project management in both the US and Internationally. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy. She received her Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia. Lockheed Martin selected Jane to attend the Sloan Fellows Program at the School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she received her Masters in Business Administration. Jane served as the Lockheed Martin University Executive for Carnegie Mellon from 2001 through 2011. She also represented Lockheed Martin on the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education starting in 2002 and was the chair person of their Board of Directors from 2004 to 2007.