40 Under 40 2018 | Caroline Hutcheson

From the decks of an aircraft carrier to directing media relations at the world's largest aerospace company, Caroline Hutcheson’s formidable intellect, leadership skills, high energy, and political smarts have helped her address some of the toughest PR and communications challenges.

A digital pioneer, Hutcheson began using short video and social media in 2011 as a deployed-at-sea Navy public affairs officer, fielding new communications channels for 5,000 embarked sailors and their families at home.

An ace at handling crisis communications, she took journalists to Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake to document U.S. response and dealt with multiple shipboard and aircraft incidents requiring immediate release and response. She was also part of the team that handled crisis communications following the Navy Yard shooting.

At the Pentagon, she served as spokeswoman for the budget, turning a complex military budget into an understandable story for both congressional and internal audiences.

At Boeing, Hutcheson worked on high-profile programs including fighter aircraft and Air Force One in Washington, DC, then quickly advanced to a senior role at Chicago HQ. She's a key practitioner of a more agile communications posture, helping drive a digital-first mindset and leveraging new platforms to showcase Boeing. At the same time, she has the respect of media as a trusted, informed, and responsive professional.

Hutcheson's colleagues say she has an "all-in attitude" that "gets results where it counts." Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, credits Hutcheson with advancing business objectives, engaging employees, and developing new leaders. Caret says Hutcheson's coaching has helped shape her explanation of Boeing’s strategic reorganization and helped polish her TV appearances early in her leadership tenure.

- Hutcheson helped train a generation of naval leaders to communicate more effectively through involvement in media training and evaluation.

- She served as the primary spokeswoman for Boeing’s $30 billion defense business acquisition programs and campaigns across the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force portfolio.

- An active leader in the Navy reserves, Hutcheson is a drilling reservist mentor.

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