Whether managing London’s 999 emergency call center or overseeing programs that provide allied forces with critical security capabilities, Carol Hunter wants to be where the action is. It’s one of her defining traits — and why she works for Northrop Grumman.
“When the chips are down, human behavior is to respond. I love watching a team come together,” says Hunter, director of Programs & Operations for Mission Systems Europe.
“It suits me because I like to make quick decisions. What I mean by that is reacting to the information you have in front of you and making the best decision you can.” (During her previous career, the time she was managing the London Metropolitan Police Department’s command and control center amid city riots comes to mind.)
Working on What Matters
Hunter, who studied economics and sociology, had reached as high as she could as a civilian with the police service, so her ambitions led her to Northrop Grumman where she saw a new opportunity to make a difference.
“For me, it’s about having a purpose. I want to be part of something that’s doing good and making a difference,” says Hunter, who added a master’s degree in strategic management to her repertoire last year. “I get a kick out of what we do — because we do so much at this company — from bomb disposal robots to cyber intelligence to national security.”
Hunter’s team has grown substantially over the past year, supporting all of the sector’s divisions and programs in the U.K. She’s proud of her team. She’s got high expectations for them, along with a lot of confidence.
“I’ve got some amazing talented people on the team,” she says. “Effectively, there are two parts to my role. I provide leadership, management and career development support to my teams, and I work to bring effectiveness and consistency across the organization.”
Leading complex growth in a global organization
As one of the international leaders at a recent Northrop Grumman Leadership Conference, Hunter participated in two days of conversations about the sector’s strategic priority to grow globally. Those discussions nearly always acknowledged how complex international operations are — from matters of exportability to forging partnerships with local suppliers and building a local presence. But from Hunter’s vantage point in London, she sees real progress.
“Global growth is going to take time. In my six years, I’ve seen our U.K. and European offices, teams and capabilities grow. Relationships with our U.S. counterparts are significantly stronger,” she says. “It is getting better. It really is growing. We keep saying how difficult it is, but we are getting there.”
“We’ve gotten the awareness. Next, it’s about getting to really trust each other — to work together. It’s been a huge shift,” says Hunter, who participated in the sector’s Strategic Program Leaders Course in 2017 — the first time it was available to those outside the U.S.
Outside the office, you might find Hunter at her favorite pastime — walks in the park with Ashton, her beloved chocolate Labrador.
Her advice to colleagues: “Don’t be afraid to be heard. Be strong enough to be vulnerable and ask for help. Be strong enough to go get what you want. Here in the U.K. we are at the tipping point of major change. There are so many opportunities for an incredible career — just go for it and enjoy being part of something amazing.”
Northrop Grumman has career opportunities in the U.K., including many positions in cyber, software engineering, project management and business management.