Welcome Home is a recurring series highlighting employees who were hired by Northrop Grumman, left for another job opportunity and then returned. Angela Chandler, manager of organization effectiveness, shares her story about returning to Northrop Grumman because it felt like “home.”
Tuned In to the Value of Culture and Leadership Since the Beginning
Angela Chandler learned the importance of culture and leadership early in her career. After graduating from the University of Virginia, she joined Teach for America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to placing teachers in schools serving lower-income communities with significant teacher shortages.
Chandler was assigned to one of the lowest-performing schools in Baltimore City and saw firsthand the impact of the school's culture on student performance. Low teacher morale, poor teamwork and inadequate communication across the school community significantly hampered student success.
“The school was really struggling to create the right conditions — the right culture — to tackle the student achievement issues we needed to address,” Chandler said. “And it was impacting the teachers and our ability to work together, to collaborate and to share instructional practices that would help us all be more effective in the classroom.”
In Chandler's second year with the school, the environment changed drastically. “A new team of principals joined our school and started to turn the school around,” Chandler said. “They hired some really strong mentor teachers, promoted a positive work environment of open communication and collaboration, and focused on increasing teacher growth and development opportunities.”
Exploring New Opportunities in Organization Effectiveness
That's when Chandler realized she wanted to play a role in developing effective leaders, improving teams and building cultures that create better performance. She didn't know there was a job that focused on this kind of work.
“I later learned that was the field of organization effectiveness,” Chandler said.
After attending Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to gain a master's degree in human resources and organization development, Chandler joined Northrop Grumman in 2005, supporting learning and development, talent management, and employee engagement.
After eight years with Northrop Grumman, Chandler was offered a new opportunity outside the company following a former boss to work in their new organization. While having an insider at a new company made the career move a bit easier at first, Chandler missed Northrop Grumman soon after her transition.
“It was very early on in my tenure that I realized I wanted to come back,” Chandler said. “It just didn't ever feel quite like home.”
Chandler remained in touch with former coworkers through text messages and email. When there was an opportunity to return to support a new organization effectiveness team coming together to support the newly formed Mission Systems sector, Chandler jumped at the chance and was rehired at Northrop Grumman.
Returning to Northrop Grumman
“Our charter was very clear at that time,” Chandler said. “Our job was to support Mission Systems' integration and the kind of culture change and transformation that was needed to operate as one unified sector.”
Today, Chandler enjoys her job as a manager of organization effectiveness and is excited about the great work the company is doing to continually improve its culture and work environment for its employees.
“Our work is sometimes considered the softer side of business,” she said, “but the reason why I came back to Northrop Grumman is that we have leaders in our organization that genuinely understand the importance of the ‘soft stuff' to meet hard challenges for our customers.”
Northrop Grumman has a robust Human Resources team, including those who work in organizational effectiveness like Angela. Click here to search HR-related positions in a variety of locations.