Heritage Month Spotlight: Genevieve Bennally, Raytheon
November 27, 2019
Senior Systems Engineer
A Nation Rising
We know that Raytheon has some of the best engineers in our industry, but what makes them the best isn’t just their technical expertise. It’s their ability to embolden the next generation to rise to the challenges ahead. Senior Systems Engineer Genevieve Bennally has been helping young people rise throughout her career and even throughout her life, thanks to her culture.
Growing up in Page, Arizona, Genevieve was born and raised as Navajo. With her family currently residing on the reservation in Page, the connection to her culture remains strong. But it isn’t only visits to the reservation that reminds her who she is — she finds it when she helps others in her community.
“All of my community outreach comes from what my culture instills in me.”
While working as an engineer, Genevieve has consistently served in leadership roles within the Raytheon American Indian Network (RAIN) employee resource group, the Southwest Native American Foundation, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). As a member of the Navajo Nation, she is passionate about helping young Natives find and use their talents, which are strengthened by their cultural upbringing.
“It’s common among Natives to be community-centric because it is within us to want to help and be of service. It is because of the common thread–being human–that brings us together.”
By volunteering, Genevieve has had many opportunities to help young Natives find fulfilling careers, which has unique challenges.
“Because we are focused on helping our community, we’re taught not to boast or take credit for our accomplishments. This is challenging when you’re getting ready to start a career. We have to let them know it’s okay to be proud of their accomplishments and to share them.”
With a growing engineering career and an identity grounded in Navajo culture, Genevieve makes an incredible impact on young Natives throughout the Southwest. In fact, she inspired one student so much that she asked Genevieve to speak at her school’s engineering banquet just last month. Seeing this as an opportunity to “plant seeds” of encouragement, Genevieve spoke at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico, just last month.
At the banquet, she addressed engineering students who were recognized for their achievements during the academic year and those who were moving on to start their careers.
“You each have the opportunity to shape how the rest of your life will be,” she said to them. “You can put together a design for your life to help ensure success. Remember, a great design is valuable, but success is found in the execution of a great design. You must act to make it become reality. Yéego ánít’í!” (Navajo for “Work hard”)
Whether she’s speaking to young Natives, mentoring them one-on-one or encouraging them to see the value of their accomplishments, Genevieve is helping a community of young people rise to monumental challenges. And she knows that helping them meet the challenge isn’t just good for her or even just good for them. It’s good for all of us.
“I firmly believe that we all can rise, and we don’t rise alone. We rise by bringing others along, too.”
November is Native American Heritage Month, and Genevieve’s story exemplifies the unique skills and perspectives Native Americans bring to our work culture, our communities and our nation.