Northrop Grumman Employees Reflect on Their Relocation Experiences
By Caroline Mroz
For many Northrop Grumman employees, one of the most exciting things about a career at the company is that you never know where it will take you — but you do know that your team will be there every step of the way.
Read on for the stories of four employees who took on new challenges in new locations.
Finding Community: Mary’s Story
“I can’t tell you the details, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.”
Communicator Mary kept these words from her director in the back of her mind as she made the decision to move across the country to Palmdale, California.
Having spent most of her life in Melbourne, Florida — where she was born, attended college, and interned with Northrop Grumman before joining the company full-time in 2018 — Mary took a true leap of faith in packing her bags for the West Coast. At the time, she didn’t know the full details of her new role because she wasn’t yet cleared.
But Mary, who had previously expressed interest in relocation to her leaders, was ready for a change.
Now, one year after Mary’s relocation, she said moving to Palmdale was one of the best decisions she’s ever made, and that she feels settled in her new community on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Not only was her director right about Mary loving the role, but Mary has made social connections inside and outside of work, including through Palmdale’s employee jiu-jitsu club.
“I have my community here: my work, my gym, my friends, my coworkers, my church,” said Mary. “You get into a routine and make a place your home.”
Although she’d been nervous for her move, Mary said she now encourages others to step outside their comfort zones and voice their interests to their leaders, who may be able to connect you with opportunities you weren’t aware of.
“It’s okay to not feel like you’re 100% ready for something,” said Mary. “It might be a little bit of a stretch from what you’re comfortable with or what you have experience in, but managers give you opportunities for a reason. Fully lean in and own that opportunity because you never know what it might lead to.”
New Cities, New Experiences: Mallory’s Story
For Systems Engineer Mallory, who joined Northrop Grumman through the Future Technical Leaders (FTL) program in 2021, the promise of new experiences — and new cities — is part of what drew her to the company.
“After graduate school, where you’re so focused on one specific project, I thought it would be a really cool experience to come to a company that does a little bit of everything,” said Mallory, who focused on experimental hypersonics at Caltech.
As part of the FTL program, Mallory has rotated into — and relocated for — three roles in three years, starting in Houston, Texas, where she had family.
Her second rotation, to Baltimore, Maryland, was a bigger leap: her first time living on the East Coast. She leaned into the Baltimore-Washington Northrop Grumman community, attending pizza nights with others in her program and participating in a summer games field day event with the Connect1NG employee resource group.
Mallory recently relocated to Chicago, Illinois, for her last FTL rotation prior to graduation (after graduating from the program, Northrop Grumman will identify final placement opportunities that align with Mallory’s interests). She said the company’s support — which included pre-move house-hunting trips, moving services and temporary accommodations — has made her relocations logistically smooth, but it’s her Northrop Grumman colleagues who have been the biggest support when settling into new cities.
“I’ve not met anyone at Northrop Grumman who wasn’t happy to give you advice or tell you their experience, which speaks to the people we have here,” said Mallory.
An Outback Adventure: Latesha’s Story
On a blazing hot Thanksgiving Day in 2011, Director Latesha landed in Australia, the country she’d call home for the next four years.
Recently married, Latesha — who, at the time, had been with Northrop Grumman for over a decade — and her husband, also a Northrop Grumman employee, had both accepted offers for roles in Australia.
“I saw it as this incredible adventure,” said Latesha.
Growing up in a military family, Latesha was no stranger to moving, but she’d never been to Australia.
“One of the things that I struggled with as a young engineer was when people said, ‘Take risks.’ I didn’t know what that meant,” said Latesha. “I felt like that move to Australia was the ultimate risk — freshly married, moving not only to a country that I’ve never been to, sight unseen, but also a new climate and culture.”
Latesha and her husband were picked up at the airport by their host family, Northrop Grumman colleagues who had been living in Australia for a year. The host family had Latesha’s rental car, apartment keys and groceries waiting for them — as well as an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.
“They said, ‘We already have Thanksgiving dinner for you; don’t worry about anything,’” said Latesha. “From day one, you have this instant, built-in family.”
Latesha said she and her husband took away so much from their time in Australia — from learning about Indigenous Australian culture while volunteering at Indigenous schools, to stargazing and seeing the local wildlife. Her time in the country also gave her “the perspective of how Northrop Grumman fits in a larger mission,” said Latesha, and shaped her career trajectory.
Halfway into their tour, Latesha and her husband welcomed their first child, a daughter.
“Prior to the move, I didn’t do a lot of research on the maternity care, but it turned out that it was amazing, truly amazing. My entire birth experience and starting a family in Australia was incredible,” said Latesha. “I’m so glad that we, as a company, have thought through every little thing so that you feel taken care of when you’re overseas.”