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#OpenUpTheWorkforce With Heather Laychak, VP & Chief People Officer at Aerospace

Written by Nasim Ranjbari on February 20, 2024
3 min read

Presented by Symba, #OpenUpTheWorkforce interviews feature executives advancing inclusion, diversity, and equity for the future of work. In these short audio-only episodes, host Ahva Sadeghi speaks with top leaders about what it takes to develop and implement inclusive processes. 

In this episode of #OpenUpTheWorkforce, Ahva sits down with Heather Laychak, VP & Chief People Officer at Aerospace. Heather shares her journey from counseling psychology to HR leadership and discusses Aerospace's commitment to diversity in the space industry. Highlighting the company's involvement in the Space Workforce 2030 pledge, Heather emphasizes initiatives to inspire students, increase diversity in aerospace engineering programs, and provide paid internships across partner companies. Through collaborative efforts, Aerospace aims to cultivate a diverse and talented workforce, driving success in their first year of the program. Listen to the entire episode here!

How to Open Up the Workforce

In tackling the challenge of opening up the workforce, Heather lays out two key strategies. Firstly, she stresses the need for transparency. Heather believes that without clear and accessible rules for everyone, achieving equality in job access and wealth generation becomes a daunting task. Hence, organizations must prioritize providing individuals with straightforward information to help them make informed decisions about their careers. Secondly, Heather emphasizes the importance of data and its aggregation. She argues that without a thorough understanding of data, true equity remains out of reach. Heather suggests going beyond surface-level analysis and delving into disaggregated data to uncover disparities within various groups. By doing so, organizations can pinpoint areas requiring targeted interventions, thus fostering a more equitable environment in terms of job opportunities and wealth creation.

Heather’s Career Journey

Heather R. Laychak has more than 20 years of experience in human resources (HR) in both for-profit and nonprofit companies across multiple industries, including aerospace and defense, academia, retail, and entertainment. She is currently the vice president and chief people officer at The Aerospace Corporation, an independent, nonprofit corporation based in El Segundo, California. The only federally funded research and development center for national security space, Aerospace performs objective technical analyses and assessments for a variety of

U.S. government, civil, and commercial customers.

As a strategic advisor to the chief executive officer and executive leadership team, Laychak is responsible for developing and executing the corporation’s HR strategy to achieve business, people, and organizational objectives. She has oversight for all areas of human resources, including talent acquisition; diversity, equity, and inclusion; people learning and development; employee and labor relations; workforce planning and analytics; total rewards; people strategy and management; and organizational development. Laychak also serves as the management liaison for the Compensation and Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees, responsible for trustee, corporate officer, and company-wide compensation and benefits, executive incentive plan management, officer succession planning, workforce engagement, and cultural climate.

Prior to joining Aerospace, Laychak served as the senior director of talent management at Mattel, Inc., where she was responsible for talent acquisition, talent management, and diversity and inclusion after supporting the global transformation of the company’s finance and strategic planning functions.

Before joining Mattel, she held a number of strategic HR leadership positions at Northrop Grumman, including director of human resources for the Space Systems Division; director of organizational effectiveness for the Aerospace Systems Sector; and corporate director of talent acquisition with accountability for the corporate headquarters move from Century City, California, to Falls Church, Virginia. During her tenure at Northrop Grumman, Laychak was a key contributor to business unit, sector, and company strategic planning, with significant involvement in business realignment, organization restructuring, and mergers.

Before Northrop Grumman, she was the vice president of human resources and academic dean for the School of Health Studies at Robert Morris University.

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Nasim Ranjbari

Nasim Ranjbari is the Design and Marketing Coordinator at Symba, where she brings her passion for design and marketing to the forefront. With a degree in Digital Marketing from Arizona State University, Nasim is dedicated to driving innovative marketing strategies and creative design solutions.

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