As a tech organisation in charge of delivering advanced capabilities for Singapore’s defence, we’ve worked with many international partners over the years. On 18 May 2022, we welcomed Ms Heidi Grant – who is president of business development at Boeing – to DSTA, where she shared her expertise at a DSTA Lecture.
Ms Grant is no stranger to Singapore and DSTA, owing to her various leadership appointments with the US Department of Defense before her current role with Boeing. These included Director of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration, and Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs.
Through her lecture, Ms Grant shared more about her professional journey, as well as the experiences that have shaped her values as a leader. After more than three decades in government service, global security and defence roles, she revealed that her strong motivation to serve stems from first understanding why she is doing what she does.
“Far more than about a pay check, it’s about ensuring security, both that of your nation… and even for global security and stability,” she explained. Like many Americans, September 11 attacks in 2001 had a huge impact on her. She was inside the Pentagon on the day of the attacks, and the encounter strengthened her resolve to use her expertise to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.
Although she has since moved to the commercial sector, Ms Grant stays true to her passion: to provide safety and security for people and nations. To achieve that goal, she highlighted the importance of taking the time to understand the other party’s needs and going the extra mile to help. She also shared several values that has helped her over the years, which include respecting differences and being transparent with the other party as much as possible, among others. She encouraged her audience to think further about the values that they find important which will guide them in their work.
Concluding her lecture, Ms Grant reiterated the strong collaboration between Boeing and Singapore which stretches back to the 1940s, as well as Boeing’s commitment to helping Singapore achieve its defence and security goals. She also shared her positive experience working with DSTA and commended staff for the professionalism and effort displayed in their work.
Those who attended the lecture shared that it was very insightful with many useful takeaways.
“It was really inspiring to hear about Ms Grant’s passion. It spurred me to think more deeply about the greater meaning behind my work. I will also strive to apply the leadership lessons she shared, such as going beyond my comfort zone in order to grow,” said Senior Engineer (Building and Infrastructure) Aline Guo.