Jessica Nielsen: 40 Under 40 2013

VP, Communications, Information Systems and Global Solutions, Lockheed Martin

Jessica Nielsen’s star continues to rise in a career characterized by numerous communications firsts in the defense and IT industries. In June, she was appointed VP of communications for Lockheed Martin’s information systems and global solutions division. Before that she was executive director for global communications and influencer relations at Dell, where she was responsible for all facets of communications for the company’s $8 billion services solutions group.

In one of many impressive career achievements to date, she built a communications team from scratch in under a year. Under her leadership, the department launched the business unit’s first internal three-year strategy and held its first two cloud computing social media think tanks, generating more than 7 million discussions. Other successes included increasing media coverage by 15% year on year.

Before that, she was chief of staff to the group communications director at BAE Systems in London, where she was responsible for strategy, recruitment, retention, and learning and development for more than 350 professionals worldwide. Previously at BAE, she was director of media relations, leading a team of 45. She spearheaded all media relations activities, including internal restructurings, product recalls, product launches, events, budgetary challenges, activist response, legal proceedings, and manufacturing plant accidents.

Nielsen has also held key communications and PR roles at CropLife America, General Dynamics, Oracle, and Ruder Finn. While at General Dynamics, she developed the first community affairs program for its advanced information systems unit and led all marketing efforts for its space systems division. At CropLife America, she put together the company’s initial media strategy and association employee engagement plan.

"Jessica has been a masterful proponent of the importance of communications within corporate structures not given to deep understanding of the softer sciences," says Kelly McGinnis, former CCO at Dell.

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