Alicia M Morgan is a GenX executive leader, advocate for STEM/STEAM education, and a mentor to women in leadership.
She is an HBCU graduate of Tuskegee University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering. She has always enjoyed volunteering. Then she went on to graduate from New Mexico State University with a Masters of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering while continuing her philanthropic efforts in the community.
Her portfolio of work includes Fortune 500 companies such as The Boeing Company, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin. Additionally. engineering leadership opportunities have been in propulsion engineering, manufacturing engineering, and capital asset management.
Finally, this led her to the opportunity to manage over thirty Capital Investment Projects worth $4.3 million for a manufacturing facility at Raytheon.
After being laid off in the engineering field in 2013 and deciding to transition into the nonprofit sector, she became certified in nonprofit management from CNM Connect. Drawing from her professional experiences, she helps bridge communication gaps across cultures and generations. She frequently speaks about navigating through failures, performance management evaluations, and leading with influence.
A crucial part of her role as an advocate is providing an empowering voice as an ally for underrepresented voices at tables of influence. At the same time, she chooses to advocate for equity in education to help better prepare students and professionals for navigating through the failures and challenges of diversity in STEM fields.
In her 2017 TEDxPlano talk, “Get Over It and Get on With It,” she addresses overcoming failure with a growth mindset and recovering from unfavorable performance evaluations. Her story provides insight into reinventing your failures with strategic insight and career development training for making successful transitions into different sectors.
The first step of her career transformation was letting go of the idea that following a checklist of standards for guaranteeing professional career wins. Moreover, it is important that formal and information education discussions provide insight on recovering from failure without fearing it.
The fear of failure begins in how education is often centered in a step by step approach for learning while leaving little room for understanding how career paths can diverge. Consequently, without mentors to students and professionals can internalize failure as career-ending.
A mentor can help a mentee to outline a path forward for bouncing back from failure. Mentors provide tools and resources for professional development and career transitions.
Mentors have positively impacted Alicia’s career development as a leader. As a mid-career engineer, receiving an unfavorable performance rating was devastating. She survived the unfavorable performance review, but three years later, she was a part of a layoff.
The first lesson Alicia share’s after experiencing a layoff is that social capital building is vital at all times in your career.
“I wish I had been a better advocate in speaking up for myself and keeping a portfolio of my work. I was mid-career and essentially had to start over. I believed that if I just worked hard, I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. I didn’t build social capital all of the time, so I had to network with a sense of urgency, which is not the best approach.I worked part-time for almost five years as I transitioned into the nonprofit sector, and had to rebuild my finances and self-confidence to advocate my unique value as a leader in the workplace. Now, I work full-time and encourage career professionals to consistently build relationships of value and empower others to succeed through sharing your personal story.”
Alicia M Morgan
Secondly, the lay off turned into an opportunity to shift her career to working full time as an advocate through nonprofit organizations. Her mentors, who are a part of her personal board of directors, helped her develop a career development plan that continues to shape her as a leader and mentor.
She has worked in for-profit organizations, the nonprofit sector, and in schools, she can communicate from a student, individual contributor, executive leader, and stakeholders’ perspective. Every day, she advocates for an inclusive environment where diverse voices drive the mission to educate, motivate, and inspire others to improve their communities.
Her first nonprofit leadership role was at Heart House, an after school program serving over 150 students in K-8th grade.
Students arrive at their Heart House site directly from the school. They receive a nutritious meal, homework assistance, a structured curriculum, supervised outdoor playtime, and computer literacy activities.
In her role as Program Leader at Heart House in Dallas, she managed the K-2nd grade program. The students in the program were from various backgrounds and ethnicities that genuinely reflects the diverse Vickery Meadow community in which the program operates. Currently, 18 languages and dialects represent the students in the program.
The experience at Heart House broadened her perspective as an advocate in understanding that unconscious biases can alter one’s view of how students learn when language is a barrier to learning. Social and emotional learning is an integral part of program development while focusing on learning strategies for curriculum development in which students can see themselves.
As the Vice President of Education and Programs at the Frontiers of Flight Museum she utilized her engineering skills to reach over 40,000 students annually. Dallas Business Journal recognized her as an advocate at the 2019 Women in Technology Awards.
Alicia continues developing her training skills as an executive leader through program management, organizing or volunteering at STEM Outreach events, Employee Resource Groups and other partnering organizations. Her strategy for successful collaboration is always consistent – make the material relevant and keep audiences engaged through interaction.
“I have been so grateful to have Alicia’s involvement on the Scholarship Advisory Committee for the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation. The scholarship committee has the crucial responsibility of selecting recipients for the 20-plus scholarships bestowed annually by the Foundation. Last year, Alicia reviewed close to 60 applications, helping choose 21 Woodrow seniors to receive $40,750 in scholarships. Her contributions to this volunteer committee are making a difference for young people in our community.”
– Leigh Straughn
Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation
“I met Alicia when I was an executive officer for the SMU collegiate chapter of National Society of Black Engineers. She regularly supported our chapter from 2015-2017 through public speaking, hosting professional workshops, mentorship, and behind-the-scenes support for the SMU NSBE executive board. Along with SMU NSBE, Alicia also personally supported me and advocated for my success. Thanks to her nomination, I was selected as a finalist for The City Influencer’s 2016 College Influencer of the Year Search. This distinguished honor opened doors for me and allowed me to network with other influential people throughout the country. On multiple occasions Alicia acknowledged my often-unseen efforts as a student and a leader. I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.S. in Software Engineering thanks to women like her, who paved the way academically and positively impacted me.”
– Nariana Sands