Veteran Profile: Christine O’Donnell

November 4, 2014

Current Honeywell title and location: Clearwater Space Material Cost Estimator in Clearwater, Fla.

Position in the military: Audio Visual Communications Specialist

Length of military service: Six years

Length of time at Honeywell: Nine years

What did you learn from your years in the service that helps you perform your job today?

The military instills both a reliance on and trust in your teammates. One must quickly learn how to interact and communicate within a group of very different personalities in order to succeed. Self-discipline and dedication to completing the mission are also core requirements for doing well within the service as well as here at Honeywell.

In the late 1980s and early 90s when I served, I was the only enlisted female from my state for most of my military career. And often I was the only female within my work group. I was one of very few military computer graphics artists worldwide that worked very closely with upper brass and foreign officers to create classified audio visual presentations for the United Nations, NATO, Parliamentary and Congressional bodies, as well as for world leaders. I learned quickly that in order to earn the respect of my fellow male soldiers and foreign forces, I needed to work harder and smarter to prove my worth. This was especially true when I was assigned to a NATO Headquarters, stationed alongside other nations’ forces that either did not permit women to serve at all, or as national policy, paid them ½ the salary of a male soldier who did the same job. Rather than see that as demoralizing, I saw it as an opportunity and challenge to prove that all people should be judged based on their job performance rather than any other preconceived notions regarding ability. Upon my station departure, those originally skeptical forces that I served with from other countries, even from the Middle East, admitted that they now had a much different view regarding serving with women, and believed that they could serve alongside men, and should be paid equally as well. Although I received numerous performance and service awards throughout my military career, I feel that earning their newfound respect for women as equals was my personal greatest military achievement.