Recently, engineer Stephanie Yount traded the familiarity of propulsion design for an immersive assignment working as chief of staff to a Boeing Commercial Airplanes executive. In that role, she coordinated large-scale events and led projects critical to 787 operations—activities that strengthened her leadership experience and understanding of how to run a business.

“Propulsion engineering is where I’m most comfortable and where I know what I’m doing,” Stephanie said. “But when the chief of staff role came up, I took it. Although it was chaotic for a bit, I learned that I enjoy the challenge of being uncomfortable.”

The short-term assignment was part of our company’s Leadership Next (LX) program—a two-year experience that exposes participants to mentorship, community service, and high-impact projects that refine their abilities to inspire excellence in others. Employees across the company with a desire to hone their leadership potential are able to self-nominate during the annual application period.

Stephanie said LX provided a safe space to practice her leadership abilities and a test bed to sharpen skills like delegation. She learned what worked and where she could improve.

“The program provided me a more structured way to develop my leadership style at a very high pace and in a high exposure manner,” Stephanie said. “Through training, lectures, and workshops, I learned more formally about the competencies and philosophies of good leadership.”

One of the best parts of the LX program, Stephanie said, was developing a network of supportive teammates across the company. “I gained a Boeing family of leaders that I will leverage throughout the rest of my career.”

Her advice to employees pondering their career development?

“I’ve been really fortunate to be in the right places, but it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities out there and be proactive,” she said. “Don’t wait for other people to bring opportunities to you—seek them out yourself.”

We Never Stop Learning

Developing our people is as important to us as delivering quality products and services to our customers. See more of the ways we invest in our employees’ learning and development to help them have a great career.