SUNNYVALE, Calif. —Former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta addressed a crowd of approximately 400 Lockheed Martin employees April 29, offering information about his upbringing, working in the public and private sectors, and advice for people in leadership positions.
Mineta’s visit was part of an ongoing speaker series hosted by ALMA, Lockheed Martin’s Asian American affinity group. With more than 600 members, ALMA represents the largest such group within the company.
Mineta, a former Lockheed Martin employee, became the first Asian American mayor of a major U.S. city, and later served as the secretary of commerce under Bill Clinton and secretary of transportation under George W. Bush.
For almost an hour, Mineta discussed his life with moderator S.K. Gupta, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of operations. Beginning with his father’s immigration to the United States, Mineta spoke about his time in a World War II internment camp, his life in politics, and his actions during 9/11 as the secretary of transportation.
Having worked in both the private and public sectors, Mineta said the biggest difference in leadership is that he had to monetize his time and value. While private businesses had to minimize costs to increase the bottom line, he said costs were usually secondary in the public sector.
“I thought it was a really good opportunity to learn more about Norman Mineta’s life and some of the actions he took on 9/11, and how he formed some of the viewpoints he has,” said Kathryn Hsu, networking and communications co-chair of ALMA. On 9/11, Mineta gave the unprecedented order to the Federal Aviation Administration to ground all flights over the country.
Mineta also gave advice for leaders and those who aim to become future leaders.
“Always use some time to help in the community because no matter who we are, what we do, our job is to leave the place a little better then when we found it,” Mineta said. “As you climb up your own ladder of success, always reach down behind you and pull someone else up with you … Always do the right thing.”