Liz’s Story: How an Army Analyst transitioned to a Business Development Manager

Following a successful career in the US Army as an enlisted Intel Analyst and Linguist, Liz moved back to Arkansas where she started working on her bachelor’s degree thanks to the GI Bill. Shortly after that, Liz moved to Florida, where she saw a Northrop Grumman advertisement in the newspaper for a cleared administrative assistant. Three days after seeing the advertisement, Liz’s journey with Northrop Grumman began, and 18 years later, she’s here to tell her story.

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Over the course of your 18-year career with Northrop Grumman, what have you gotten to do?

Throughout my time here, I’ve obtained two degrees with the support of the company and moved up the ranks from an administrative assistant to a manager on the Business Development team. I moved from an admin to an engineering position, and then on to working domestic and international captures in business development over the last 15 years. I’m lucky, because I’ve gotten the chance to work almost every function within business development.

Many experiences must have happened over all these years. Can you talk more about one that stands out in particular?

The one business development role I hadn’t had the opportunity to serve in until last year, was as a business development lead. Typically, this role is heavily based on customer relationships and those that are experienced in the acquisition cycle. While never having this role myself, I supported and worked with people in this role over many years. An opportunity arose for a business development lead and I decided to take a chance and apply.

I was hired and it was a bit of a surprise to some that they hired a person without a direct prior connection to the customer. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be the right fit for the role and the learning curve would be too high between learning a new customer and system, but I spent a lot of time in the beginning with individuals that could educate me on programmatics and the technical aspects. I also did research on the customer structure and worked hard to integrate myself into the team. My diverse experience, different perspective and extensive internal network has helped me provide strategic guidance to the team. This same team consistently reminds me that I’ve changed the way we do and think about business development.

Have you had a lot of opportunities to learn and grow over the years, and try out new things?

Northrop Grumman is always looking to provide opportunities to people who want them. There are so many people here that want you to grow and will help you grow. Opportunities are all around here, and this is a fluid environment to move around and have a diverse career.

What would you tell someone considering a job at Northrop Grumman?

If you’re looking for adventure, discovery and something special, come to Northrop Grumman because we do it all.  If it involves technology, is really hard to do and it hasn’t been done before, chances are someone here is working on it. And it usually isn’t something you’d get in your typical life if you weren’t here and part of this.

If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it every time.

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