By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
Dianne Chong is vice president of Assembly, Factory & Support Technology in the Boeing <!–more–>Engineering, Operations & Technology organization. Prior to this, she was director of Materials & Process Technology for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Chong was also director of Strategic Operations and Business for IDS Engineering. She has also been department head/team leader of MSE, liaison, and process control groups in Phantom Works and Integrated Defense Systems.
Chong earned her bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from the University of Illinois. She also earned master’s degrees in physiology and metallurgical engineering.
In 1986, Chong earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Illinois. She also completed the Executive Master of Manufacturing Management program at Washington University.<!–more–>
1. Why is it important to you to contribute to your community?
I think it’s always important for everyone to contribute to the community. When I look at any person, including myself, it’s a holistic look. … The world we live in can’t survive unless we look at the community.
2. What does the word diversity mean to you and how do you foster it in your work?
I think we need to embrace what people are. It’s more than gender, race, ethnicity. It’s about the stuff people bring to the table. Whether it’s in a team or in life, in different kinds of community service — it’s important to value what makes people unique and what they have to say.
3. What was one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work?
The biggest challenge for me, and it’s not one specific event, is actually when I go to work into an area or I have to lead an area, and I don’t have the background or experience. And no one knows who I am. It’s intimidating at first, but you get over that, dealing with things you’re not used to. But it’s a nice challenge. The word challenge doesn’t have to be negative.
4. What was one of the proudest moments in your work?
I feel proudest when people tell me that I do something to help them get their job done fast. Sometimes, you know you’re doing a good job when you see things running along well. I like the personal interactions, when people let me know what they need, and I can do things to make them do their jobs better.
5. Can you finish this sentence? “My work excites me because …”
I’m very excited about my work because I get to work on some of the most exciting products that exist in the world today. When you look at the kind of commercial plans that Boeing makes … this is one of the most exciting companies to work in.
Also, I’m able to work with some of the most exciting experts in the world, who know so much more than I do. It’s very exciting to learn from them.
And, I’m happy to be able to go out to talk to students, talk to them about going into the field of engineering, because of the exciting work that I do.
I think the best thing that female leaders can do is go out and talk to young women who haven’t made up their mind about what they want to do, pre-high school even. And it’s important to transmit that sense of passion and inspire others to do this as well. It can be fun.
6. If you could pick only one trait, what trait do you think is the most important for a leader?
Integrity. I think leaders have to be open and honest and always make solid decisions, but they have to have integrity while making these decisions and leading their workforce.
7. If you could compare your leadership style to that of a historical figure, who would that be?
I would say Joan of Arc. She had the courage and conviction to do what she felt was right. She cared, too. To me, that’s what she represents. To me, you have to go forward and do things, even against all odds.
8. If you weren’t doing what you’re doing today, what other job do you think you’d be good at?
I think I would probably be in community service. And it would be a more hands-on job, helping to train and helping others directly, not necessarily managing an organization.
9. Do you have a secret talent? What is it?
I do a lot of knitting and craft work for charity. I make prayer shawls for charity, chemo caps, baby blankets — at our church — and we do other special projects, using our knitting skills.
10. If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Caring. Courageous. Conviction. The three Cs. (end)
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.