Then a quiet man spoke up. He’d grown up on a farm in Latin America, and he suggested an obscure device known as a hydraulic ram pump – a simple but elegant machine that uses the energy of the stream to push water to a higher elevation. No one else on the team was familiar with it.
“The development experiences in his childhood were different from ours, and so he brought a knowledge base that complemented ours,” said Juan de Bedout, vice president of Aerospace Technology at Raytheon Technologies. “And we ended up going this way. We built a solution that was more reliable and was much more cost-effective than what we would have done without this individual on our team.”
That story from early in de Bedout’s career shows the value of diversity in innovation, and that value is among the many reasons he and his colleagues at Raytheon Technologies are striving to build a more diverse and inclusive culture – both for Hispanic employees and for those of many ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
“When you’ve got a broader set of experiences, it allows you to develop richer solutions and to get better outcomes,” said de Bedout, who was born in Colombia to a Colombian father and an American mother. “That’s the power of diversity.”
In recognition of the company’s efforts, Raytheon Technologies has earned a five-star rating from the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility in two of the four major categories on the organization’s Corporate Inclusion Index. Specifically, the company was recognized for its employment practices and governance, including:
- A recruitment strategy that includes focus schools such as the University of Puerto Rico to help hire early-career employees and enable them to develop professionally.
- Having a Hispanic employee population of 11.5%, compared to a benchmark of 8%, and having a low rate of attrition among Hispanic employees.
- The inclusion of diversity in the company’s shareholder proxy statement.
- Taking action to ensure diverse slates of candidates for board and executive positions.
- The presence of a full-time diversity and inclusion team, with a chief diversity officer who reports directly to the CEO.
“I see proof every day that our leadership is striving for a diverse workforce, and their commitment flows through the whole organization,” said Barbara Borgonovi, vice president of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, and a member of the company’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Board. “On my own teams, I share my own story about starting out in the aerospace and defense industry as a woman in the engineering field because speaking up, sharing our stories and allowing room for diverse voices are all part of being stronger together.”
Raytheon Technologies has also taken steps to promote STEM education in Hispanic communities and encourage a new generation of engineers. Those actions include:
- Building a program called Equipando Padres in partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. That program seeks to strengthen the STEM talent pipeline by giving parents the resources to support their children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
- The creation of NAF Academies of Engineering at two high schools in Puerto Rico, where two Raytheon Technologies businesses – Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney – have a significant presence. Those academies also seek to inspire students to pursue STEM careers, and they offer Raytheon Technologies an opportunity to support those students through work experience programs and volunteer teaching and mentorship.
“We are doing our part to close the diversity gaps in the STEM field, and the Hispanic community is an underrepresented group that has a lot to offer our industry,” Borgonovi said. “The more we demonstrate inclusion in technology and engineering, the more talent we can attract and the more innovative we become.”