Fireside Chat With Maryanne Lavan

Fireside Chat Discussion
Professor Karen Da Ponte Thornton (left) speaking to Maryanne Lavan (right).
March 18, 2019

The Government Procurement Law Program hosted a fireside chat with Maryanne Lavan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Lockheed Martin, for a discussion on her leadership style and corporate ethics. President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the term “fireside chat” to refer to the familiar tone of evening radio addresses he used to connect with the nation between 1933 and 1944.

Karen Da Ponte Thornton, Director of the Government Procurement Law Program, led the fireside chat discussion posing seven questions to Ms. Lavan. The event was live-streamed to accommodate the program’s unique distance education student population. “We never want students who can’t come to campus to feel left out from our professional development programs,” Professor Thornton explained.

During the discussion, Ms. Lavan spoke about her commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal field as well as recounted the ways reading and parenting have broadened her perspective and made her a better, more humble leader. She told stories of career triumphs earned through hard work, lessons learned from unexpected mentors, and the importance of being yourself. “As we talked I could see how authentic, and humble, Ms. Lavan is as a leader. She really listened and was fully engaged and shared experiences that were very relatable to our students,” Professor Thornton said. 

The discussion concluded with audience questions and was followed by the opportunity for attendees to network with Ms. Lavan. “She spent 30-40 minutes in one-on-one conversations with the students,” Professor Thornton shared. “She was so approachable and genuinely encouraged students to pursue their career goals in the defense and aerospace industry.”

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