Corporate Director, Socio Economic Business Programs/Government Relations, Northrop Grumman Corp., Arlington, Va.
As corporate director of the Socio-Eco-nomic Business Pro-gram, Integrated Systems, for Northrop Grumman Corp., Gloria D. Pualani is responsible for the direction and implementation of all program issues, from policies related to small-business enterprises to representing Northrop at both congressional African-American and Hispanic caucuses. During her 25-year tenure at Northrop, she has substantially increased business development opportunities for minority-owned firms in the aerospace industry.
“I lead my life with integrity and principles,” says Pualani. She learned these traits from her aunt, Mary Lee Phelps, who, along with her husband, raised Pualani since she was eight months old. “Aunt Mary had an eighth-grade education but was extremely wise, with a gentle spirit, who understood the true meaning of integrity … I learned many practical things from her wisdom,” Pualani says.
Pualani received a bachelor’s degree from California State University and a master’s in business administration from National University. She found tremendous support from Jim Edwards, a company senior vice president, in her ascent at Northrop Grumman, she says. “He gave me assignments that were increasingly difficult, without hesitation, [and] never wavered in his support of my ability to succeed,” Pualani says.
“Never wavering in support” is a philosophy that Pualani carries into her involvement with community organizations, such as the NAACP, Association of Black Women Entrepreneurs and the National Association of Women Business Owners. She spearheaded the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions program at Northrop.
In addition to being named one of TNJ’s 2006 “25 Influential Black Women in Business,” she also has been named one of the “100 Most Promising Black Women in Corporate America” by Ebony magazine and one of “America’s Best and Brightest” by Dollars & Sense magazine. It may well be that her belief in a higher power and in a higher purpose in life enabled her to excel. “I’m God-centered. If you put God first, you’ll never finish second.”
Pualani is a mother and grandmother. “God blessed me with a son, who has now given me a wonderful grandson. He warms my spirit,” she says.