Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mrs. Nan Mattai: More Than A Parking Spot (Part II)

    In 1993, Mattai and her family moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where Mattai accepted a position as a software engineer at Rockwell Collins in a newly developed department, Data Links. Mattai continued to stretch herself and traveled frequently throughout the world meeting customers and discussing innovative solutions to business problems. In 2001, Mattai was promoted to Vice President of Engineering for one of the company's business segments. This role required Mattai to assume leadership of 1,500 engineers. In recognition of her ongoing excellence in both the technical and leadership areas, in 2004, Mattai was promoted to her current position, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology, reporting to Chairman, President, and CEO Clay Jones. Mattai now manages the company's engineering workforce, which is one-third of the company's 20,000 employees. Mattai's role requires significant external interface and public speaking on the importance of STEM education and innovation. Mattai's advice to those interested in pursuing a career in mathematics is "to take on challenging assignments and stretch beyond your comfort zone, deliver results that exceed expectations, and seek out mentors in the field."

    Mattai loves to travel and cook. Though she has visited much of the world, Mattai is still mesmerized by the beauty of other countries. Although Mattai failed to mention her numerous awards for leadership, technical excellence, and innovation, she continues to be an inspiration for others. Named as the 2010 Women of Innovation, Mattai is clearly more interested in making a difference than winning awards.

    Mattai's focus on hard work, excellence, and innovation has helped her succeed in numerous positions, while her leadership skills and accomplishments have gained her respect, and an elite parking spot. Mattai's philosophy of "if you keep at your goals you will get what you want" has brought her to remarkable heights. The lesson her parents instilled in her – "there are no boundaries to what one can accomplish" – is now being nurtured and instilled in others, as Mattai continues to educate and encourage, specifically young women, to follow their dreams, break down barriers, and join the workforce in math and science related fields.

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