Empowerment by example: A look at our Black Excellence Network

Building a new generation of leaders through mentorship and community

He was a student at Northeastern University in Boston, milling about the conference center as it buzzed with music and the chatter of about 10,000 people.

Out of that crowd, he found members of the Black employee resource group at what was then the Raytheon Company. He got to talking with them and learned about a six-month co-op position.

The conversation put him on a path to a successful career in systems engineering. He’s now a senior manager of mission assurance at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, and a co-chair of the RTX Black Excellence Network, the company’s newly reorganized Black employee resource group.

And it’s in that role where he is making an impact beyond his day-to-day duties, serving as both an advocate for the employee resource group’s members and an ambassador for the company to a new generation of talent.

“They see someone who looks like them working for a Fortune 100 company, and they feel comfortable coming up to you,” Felix said. “We are there engaging and building relationships to help develop and strengthen the pipeline of future leaders to come.”

Making a difference

Raytheon Technologies’ Black Excellence Network, also called RTX BXN, is part of the company’s commitment to strengthening inclusion and creating equitable opportunities for employees. The group’s major objectives include:

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Promoting the contributions that members of all levels make across the company

Working with each Raytheon Technologies business to strengthen connections with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs

Matching group members with senior and executive leaders for mentorship and executive sponsorship

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Increasing the number of Black applicants to the company’s Technology Fellows program

The group has developed its approach strategically, addressing both near-term needs and long-term goals, said chair LaWanda Scott, an operations strategy and customer excellence manager for commercial engines at Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business.

“We’re setting it up for the next group of leaders so we can hand them the baton,” she said. “We can’t boil the ocean, so we have to be strategic about our priorities.”

That strategy includes showing colleagues the power of diversity, equity and inclusion – and, in particular, helping managers understand how diversity of thought and style can benefit their team’s performance.

“In order to perform effectively, DE&I has to be included in the equation. It cannot be an afterthought,” Felix said. “We need to ensure employees at all levels show up to work every day knowing that what they do matters.”

That’s where the companywide resource group is making a difference. While there have been individual Black employee resource groups throughout Raytheon Technologies businesses, Scott said the new enterprise community is about “understanding we’re all leaders to serve Black employees across the African diaspora under one framework that drives impactful change.”

“We have one voice, one direction and one purpose,” she said.

LaWanda Scott chair RTX Black Excellence Network

“We’re setting it up for the next group of leaders so we can hand them the baton.”

LaWanda Scott | Chair | RTX Black Excellence Network

Focused on the future

For Scott and Felix, the surest sign of an inclusive culture is when employees bring what’s known as their “whole selves” to work – to show up as they are, without fear or anxiety.

“The seeds are planted to be who you want to be,” said Scott. “I want people considering coming to work for Raytheon Technologies to say, ‘Wow, that is a company I want to be a part of – not only because of what they do but because of how they treat their employees.’”

That’s why Felix knows making those connections with students and professionals at conferences can bring in new employees who will increase the company’s diversity of thought – while sharing what the company, and the RTX Black Excellence Network, can offer them.

“Our goal is to empower Black talent at every level, support the communities where we live, work and serve, and foster a spirit of belonging,” said Felix. “Having that internal family as you navigate through corporate America is very important.”

For Felix, it’s also about “coming full circle,” he said.

“It gives me the chance to give back and help someone,” he said, “just as someone helped me get into this company and succeed.”

“Our goal is to empower Black talent at every level, support the communities where we live, work and serve, and foster a spirit of belonging.”

Luidgi Felix | Co-Chair | RTX Black Excellence Network