Hannah Hanson

Sr. Solutions Architect/Business Development

Lockheed Martin

What led you to your career, or what inspired you to build a career in national security?

As a naturalized citizen, I felt a profound need to give back to the country that granted me citizenship. Right after college in 2002, I decided to join the United States Naval Reserves and become an Imagery Analyst, supporting the Office of Naval Intelligence. While not in uniform, I worked a typical 9-5 job, leveraging my college degree in Geography, and engaged in cartographic mapping for various private industry partners.

The 2002 Washington DC Area sniper shootings fueled my desire to continue focusing on GEOINT, marking the first time in my short career post-college that I realized how GEOINT could contribute in various aspects. I continued leveraging my Imagery Analyst expertise and began my career in 2003, supporting the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in both government and the private sector. I had the opportunity to contribute to Humanitarian and Disaster Response efforts, including the Ebola outbreak, Afghanistan withdrawal, Hurricane Katrina, and the Deep-Water Horizon oil spill.

After seven years of performing imagery exploitation, I accepted a Joint Duty Assignment (JDA) serving as a Presidential Support Analyst. During my JDA, I truly grasped the complexity of decision-making on a national and even global scale. Recognizing an opportunity to provide capabilities for timely, well-informed, and coordinated national-security decisions, I expanded my career in both government and private sectors. Today, I support Lockheed Martin’s Space business, focusing on developing new GEOINT capabilities to bolster national security.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

There are so many to choose from! One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working with some of the brightest and most talented folks in the industry. I get to interact with a lot of people, in both industry and government, and I learn something new every day. I thrive in an environment where I can use my skills and experiences to tackle challenges day-in and day-out and I can go to bed every night knowing I made an impact. Another key component is the ability to strike a good work-life balance. It’s such an important aspect for me as I navigate the challenges of being a full-time working mother of three kids. Lockheed Martin is the epitome of providing their employees the ability to strike that balance. Having that flexibility and autonomy to pivot my work to address personal needs when they arise during the workday has been critical to my performance both at home and in the workplace.

What is the best career advice you have received?

Probably the best advice I’ve received is to take risks and venture outside of your comfort zone. While you might not have the talent and expertise in a potential job offering if you are tenacious and persistent you will learn the skill and expertise and eventually master that skill. Seize the opportunities as they are presented to you because someone believes “you can do it” and we need to believe in ourselves.

What’s one piece of advice you are still trying to master?

I think having the ability to say “no” without feeling like you are letting anyone down. There’s something powerful about being able to say no without feeling guilty. I’ve always been a people pleaser/team player and it’s hard to say “no” to an action, task, or event without having the guilt weigh on you. It’s an essential and critical skill that everyone should master to set boundaries, establish priorities, and increase productivity in life. I’m learning to slow down, pause before saying “yes” and allow myself the time necessary to digest the information before answering the request. 

What is your favorite movie, book, TV Show, or podcast? Why?

I absolutely love self-help books. One of my favorite books is “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. First off, it’s super digestible and easy to read in small doses. I’m not the kind of person who can sit for long periods of time and read for hours. Secondly, I felt like the book really helped me align my goals and desires with my attitude and actions. I pick the book up often and revisit the content because Jen has a candid way of being frank, funny (I laughed a lot), outrageous and to the point.

I thrive in an environment where I can use my skills and experiences to tackle challenges day-in and day-out and I can go to bed every night knowing I made an impact.

Hannah Hanson