Posted at 10:24 AM
On Tuesday, December 8, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented Marillyn Hewson with the 2015 Eisenhower Global Innovation Award at the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) 31st Annual Eisenhower Leadership Awards Gala.
The Secretary recognized Ms. Hewson for her efforts in promoting international trade and diplomacy as Chairman, President, and CEO of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, and as a member of the President’s Export Council.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Ahmet, for that introduction. Few companies are more symbolic of the American spirit, have demonstrated greater ingenuity, and are more emblematic of American commerce than Coca-Cola.
Tonight, I come to recognize someone whose spirit and long list of achievements could never be bottled: Marillyn Hewson, to whom I have the honor and pleasure of presenting the Eisenhower Global Innovation Award.
Let me also take a moment to recognize Masama Iijima, Chairman of Mitsui of Japan, who will also be honored later tonight.
I have enormous respect for Marillyn. I have watched and admired her leadership of a company that is critically important to our nation. She operates with strength and grace – and definitely in that order. In many ways, she embodies every successful business leader – unwavering in purpose and always aware of the human factor.
When Marillyn asked me to introduce her, I was not only honored but delighted to complete what has become a friendly exchange between us. Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss the principles of commercial diplomacy at a Foreign Policy Magazine awards dinner. I felt strongly that I should have a fellow commercial diplomat at my side. Marillyn was gracious enough to introduce me and I could not be more pleased and honored to return the favor.
Most people recognize Marillyn as the Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin. However, I have been fortunate enough to know her in many different roles. She has been a trusted adviser to our Department on many issues, ranging from building a more transparent and efficient export control system to securing Trade Promotion Authority. She has also been a leading voice in the President’s Export Council where we have worked together on numerous issues centered on trade and investment.
Last fall, when we traveled to Turkey and Poland for an economic fact-finding mission, Marillyn was one of four women business leaders in the American delegation. One of my favorite moments took place in Turkey, when all these extraordinary women – heads of Fortune 500 companies – walked into a meeting room filled with male political and business leaders. I don’t know the Turkish word for “awkward” but it caused quite a stir. It also sent a powerful message about businesswomen in the United States.
I have also come to know Marillyn as one of her customers. Lockheed Martin is an important supplier to the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. We work together to develop and build the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – the nation’s next generation of weather monitoring and forecasting satellites.
This is a complex project. It is critical for our national weather service. Lives depend upon it. Our nation depends on it. Marillyn recognized the importance of this endeavor and gave it her personal attention – on behalf of all of us. As a customer, I was impressed. As an American, I am very grateful.
Marillyn understands the customer always comes first. As someone who has run businesses for more than 27 years that sentiment certainly resonates with me.
Marillyn’s mother taught her that: “Great leaders are driven by purpose and the impact they leave must be larger than their own footprints.” It is clear to me that Marillyn Hewson has not only lived by this principle, she has followed the one golden rule adopted by all successful business executives: listen to your mother.
Ladies and gentleman, it is my distinct honor to call Marillyn Hewson to the stage to accept the Eisenhower Global Innovation Award.