Shawn Purvis Speaks to the Women of ACES

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On October 6th, 2015, Shawn Purvis, Sector Vice President and General Manager of the Cyber Division of Northrop Grumman, spoke to all ACES students in the Stamp Grand Ballroom Lounge.

During the event Shawn Purvis shared her career experiences as an engineer and as a cyber business leader in the intelligence and defense industry.

Following her presentation Purvis met exclusively with the women of ACES. After a personal introduction, Purvis led a question and answer session that provided the women of ACES the opportunity to learn more about Shawn’s journey as a woman in a male dominated industry.

Purvis discussed the stereotype threat that women face within the work force and how she overcame being viewed differently than men within her profession. She also provided the women of ACES with advice on “when to act” and find different possibilities within the professional world if they                                                                                are facing barriers within their current position.

ACES freshman Faith Breads who attended the talk said, “The session with Shawn was very influential towards my overall awareness of being a woman in society. She made it clear that sometimes unavoidable barriers, such as gender or race, can create potential problems in a group and work environment. However, her poise, confidence, and assurance was very comforting. Seeing her strength as a leader in a primarily male dominated field was inspiring.”

Purvis further spoke about her experience within multiple companies and how she learned to perform in diverse working environments.

“Your leadership style depends on your environment. The successful leader can modulate to be in different environments.”

She also stressed the importance of finding an advocate, or mentor throughout your professional career. Advocates who can relate to being a woman in the field can provide meaningful support and experience to them as they navigate through the challenges and successes of their careers.

Through exposure to other women in the field and powerful role models like Shawn Purvis, the women of ACES will be further inspired to surpass any limits.

“Don’t let fear prevent you from trying. Even if you fail, you’ll learn something.” 

Published October 26, 2015