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How 3 Boeing Women Took the Leap and Found Success

Boeing enables women across the company to take chances and make choices that develop their career on their own terms.

How 3 Boeing Women Took the Leap and Found Success

Boeing enables women across the company to take chances and make choices that develop their career on their own terms.

Published 04-18-22

Submitted by Boeing

profile pics of Kim Stollar, Great Lundeberg, and Miwa Kobayashi with "#breakthebias" across the front
Kim Stollar is managing director of EU and NATO Government Affairs and heads Boeing's office in Brussels. Miwa Kobayashi is acting president of Boeing Japan and acting vice president of Boeing International. Greta Lundeberg is vice president of International Operations and Policy. Their stories are part of a series celebrating Women’s History Month, sharing perspectives about women who are breaking biases and barriers to make valuable contributions to their communities and at Boeing.

Four years after starting with Boeing as an environmental lawyer, Kim Stollar had an unexpected opportunity: a rotation in Tokyo. She didn’t speak Japanese and had never been to Asia, but she took the leap and brought back three years’ worth of professional and personal growth.

“The company was willing to invest in my employee development even though I didn’t have an obvious résumé,” she said.

Since the first female employee Rosie Farrar, who stitched together linen wings for the early B & W seaplanes in 1916, Boeing has committed to giving women the opportunity to explore their passions and develop their careers. As the company continues to make progress towards achieving gender equity and inclusion for all, Stollar and other women across the company are breaking the bias by taking advantage of the right growth and development opportunities Boeing offers for their careers, and on their own terms.

Kim Stollar
Kim Stollar started as an environmental lawyer in Cleveland, Boston and Tennessee before joining Boeing and growing her experience through unexpected job opportunities, including one in Japan and her current role as managing director of EU and NATO Government Affairs and heads Boeing's office in Brussels. (Stollar photo) 

Stollar, the rotation in Japan gave her skills that she put to the test as general counsel during the creation of Global Services and several subsidiary integrations. It also gave her the confidence to transition from the Legal function into Boeing International, where she is now managing director of EU and NATO Government Affairs and leads Boeing's office in Brussels.

“If I’d applied for any of these international jobs outside of Boeing, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a second look,” Stollar said. “But that’s the fun of being here: you get to have these growth and development opportunities and experiences that diversify your expertise.”

Greta Lundeberg with her family
Greta Lundeberg (right), vice president of International Operations and Policy, stands with her family. “It’s important for women at all levels to see that you can be the best in your field and be promoted and rewarded,” Lundeberg said. “It’s been a joy to see the ranks of senior women in the company expand, including women of color. That’s something that has kept me at Boeing, because we are on a positive trajectory and becoming more diverse and more global.” (Lundeberg photo)

Greta Lundeberg, who is based in Arlington, Virginia and leads International Operations and Policy for Government Operations, also has served for the last several years as an executive champion for the Potomac chapter of Boeing Women Inspiring Leadership (BWIL). Greta came to Boeing in 2014 after working at the White House National Security Council and credits mentors at Boeing for helping her grow as a leader.

“I’ve become a better and more inclusive leader by getting comfortable with bringing my role as a mom and a caregiver into my work life and engaging with my teammates about their own triumphs and challenges to better understand what drives them,” Lundeberg said. “I’ve felt supported by my leadership in opening the aperture in driving that engagement and I think our company culture benefits from it.”

At her first Boeing Leadership Meeting, she said you could count on your hands how many women were in the room. “I was definitely the only pregnant executive there.” In just six years, she said that has changed demonstratively with broader diversity and representation at the company and she feels motivated by being part of that change.

Even still, entering the workforce continues to present unique challenges for women, especially if they feel pressure to stay at home to raise their families. According to a 2021 McKinsey study, women are even more burned out than they were a year ago, and burnout is escalating much faster among women than men. One in three women considered downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce.

Miwa Kobayashi standing on stage in front of a crowd
Miwa Kobayashi, director of Government and Corporate Affairs of Boeing Japan, presents at a STEM education event for students. Her role connects her with not just government officials and agencies, but also local schools and communities, giving her a chance to inspire children to learn more about engineering. (Kobayashi photo)

Miwa Kobayashi, currently director of Government and Corporate Affairs for Boeing in Japan, understands the challenges of balancing work and family commitments, explaining that if it hadn’t been for the example set by the woman who hired her in 2008, she might not have joined Boeing at all.

Wishing to start a family, Kobayashi knew it would be nearly impossible to fulfill the constant demands of her government job at the time while trying to raise children, so she quit.

Shortly after, Boeing Japan’s then-president, Nicole Piasecki, called her with a job offer as director of Government Operations.

Kobayashi said she wasn’t sure if she could do the job with a one-year-old son and no experience working for a U.S.-based company, but Piasecki — who had three boys, the youngest just six months older than Kobayashi’s son — assured her the company would support her in any way it could.

“I was surprised, and I couldn’t say no to her,” Kobayashi said, and she accepted the offer to join the team.

Today, Kobayashi’s role includes working with the Japanese government, the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau and Boeing’s Global Engagement team to build support for the company and strengthen ties to communities and institutions across Japan.

In 2019 she also acted as president of Boeing Japan for several months while changes were being made to in-country leadership.

“When appointed as acting president, I received so many messages from employees cheering me on and saying how great it was to see a female acting president. They came to me and said it was encouraging to see a mother as a female leader.”

By Kate Everson

For comments or additional questions, please email Global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.

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The Boeing Company Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Additionally, Boeing designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. As a major service provider to NASA, Boeing operates the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. The company also provides numerous military and commercial airline support services. Boeing has customers in more than 90 countries around the world and is one of the largest U.S. exporters in terms of sales. Boeing has a long tradition of aerospace leadership and innovation. We continue to expand our product line and services to meet emerging customer needs. Our broad range of capabilities includes creating new, more efficient members of our commercial airplane family; integrating military platforms, defense systems and the warfighter through network-centric operations; creating advanced technology solutions that reach across business units; e-enabling airplanes and providing connectivity on moving platforms; and arranging financing solutions for our customers. Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing employs more than 157,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries. This represents one of the most diverse, talented and innovative workforces anywhere. More than 90,000 of our people hold college degrees -- including nearly 29,000 advanced degrees -- in virtually every business and technical field from approximately 2,700 colleges and universities worldwide. Our enterprise also leverages the talents of hundreds of thousands more skilled people working for Boeing suppliers worldwide. Boeing is an equal opportunity employer supporting diversity in the workplace.

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