Barbara Humpton, Siemens USA

Barbara Humpton

A Business-to-Society Company

Editors’ Note

Barbara Humpton guides the company’s strategy and engagement in serving its largest market in the world, with more than 50,000 employees and over $23 billion in revenues and $5 billion in annual exports. Most recently, Humpton served as President and CEO of Siemens Government Technologies, Inc. (SGT), a leading integrator of Siemens’ products and services for federal government agencies and departments. In this role, she also served as an officer/director member of the board of directors of SGT. Prior to joining Siemens in 2011, Humpton served as a Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton where she was responsible for program performance and new business development for technology consulting in the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. Earlier, Humpton was a Vice President at Lockheed Martin Corporation with responsibility for Biometrics Programs, Border and Transportation Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection, including such critical programs as the FBI’s Next Generation Identification and the TSA’s Transportation Workers’ Identification Credential. Humpton is Chairman of the Siemens Foundation and of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) and serves on the board of directors of MorganFranklin, the American Heart Association Greater Washington Region, the Northern Virginia Tech Council and the Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

Company Brief

Siemens (siemens.com) is a top-10 global software company and one of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies. With approximately 377,000 employees worldwide, the company is active around the globe, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. For more than 160 years, the company has innovated and invented technologies to support American industry spanning manufacturing, energy, healthcare and infrastructure. With more than 60 American manufacturing, digital and R&D sites, in fiscal 2018, Siemens USA reported revenue of $23.7 billion, including $5.0 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

What have been the keys to the strength and leadership of Siemens USA and how do you define the Siemens difference?

Think of Siemens as a large infrastructure company. Siemens has been in the United States for more than 160 years, and has a long history advancing the hardware and technology for the things that support modern life – everything from power plants to rail systems and factories. Today, we’re also a top-10 global software company; this gives us an array of new digital tools to drive forward our mission.

In terms of what really sets us apart, I’d say that it’s two things: One is our focus on the future. The second is how we view ourselves not as B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business); we’re a business-to-society company. We’ve put together a business strategy based on the inexorable forces moving world markets and shaping our world. These are global megatrends, from urbanization to climate change to, as I say, the digitalization of everything. We have strong capabilities in all of these areas. As we bring our technology and solutions to the marketplace, it’s consistently grounded in both creating value for customers and creating lasting value for society.


This is also critical to our culture
in that our employees feel inspired
to come to work every day.


How critical is purpose to Siemens USA’s culture and what makes Siemens a purpose-driven brand?

There’s the old Milton Friedman philosophy that the business of business is business. Our global leader, Joe Kaeser, has challenged us to see it very differently. Being a business-to-society company means that we exist to create value for society. If we aren’t doing that, why do we exist?

We’re lucky in that we get to do this every day through our core business. Electrification brings power to underserved regions and is integral to smart cities. Efficient, clean power generation helps societies meet their sustainability and security goals. Medical technology enables healthcare providers to respond to changing demographics. Automation and digitalization drive productivity and lead to value creation for cities, industries and utilities.

This is also critical to our culture in that our employees feel inspired to come to work every day. We’re competing fiercely to recruit and retain talent alongside major tech companies and what we see is that our employees thrive given the opportunity to use software smarts, artificial intelligence and machine learning not just to change the virtual world, but to improve the real one we live in.


Our global leader, Joe Kaeser, has challenged us
to see it very differently. Being a business-to-society company
means that we exist to create value for society.
If we aren’t doing that, why do we exist?


Will you discuss Siemens USA’s commitment to corporate responsibility and the areas that it supports?

We have four areas of focus: access to technology, access to education, sustaining communities, and diversity and inclusion. These emerged from our business strategy, our core competencies, our focus on megatrends, and our overarching goal to improve society. It’s also rooted in our business-to-society approach.

How important are metrics in order to track the impact of Siemens USA’s CSR programs?

There’s no doubting the value of metrics. We request consistent and accurate data from the non-profit partners we work with in our areas of focus, and we ourselves believe a company must measure value, impact and reach if it’s going to understand its own performance, benchmark itself and, most importantly, identify areas to improve. We were honored to be listed as one of the World’s Most Reputable Companies for Corporate Responsibility by Forbes in 2018.

That said, some elements of social responsibility can’t be measured. Certainly, our behaviors can, but there are intangible results – captured through storytelling – that simply can’t be translated into a data point.

How do you engage Siemens USA’s employees in the company’s corporate responsibility and community efforts?

It’s honestly not something that requires a big push from leadership. We find our people across Siemens USA are incredibly driven to give back and be involved in their communities. What’s interesting, too, is that they seem to naturally connect what they do at Siemens to what they do in their communities. As an example, the vast majority of jobs at Siemens require a background in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It’s clear to us that more must be done to inspire young people to pursue these fields in order to build a talent pipeline. In many cases, our employees are committing themselves to organizing youth STEM activities and mentoring the next generation of STEM leaders. This again strikes me as a natural extension of our business-to-society mindset.


We find our people across Siemens USA
are incredibly driven to give back and
be involved in their communities.


Siemens USA has placed a major focus on building a diverse and inclusive workforce. Will you highlight these efforts and the importance of having diverse thoughts and experiences when making business decisions?

Siemens’ efforts are drawing recognition. We’ve been named a top supporter of historically black colleges and universities for the last 15 years. We’ve appeared on Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity List in 2018 and 2019. We’ve also been named a “Best for Vets” Employer by Military Times.

But we need to do even better. This is about our business and our future. Right now, we have more than 1,500 open positions across the United States. The highly skilled nature of these jobs – they oftentimes combine STEM and digital knowledge with hands-on technical skills – makes it very difficult to find qualified candidates. The labor pool is just very small so we have to ask ourselves, “Where are we missing people? Where else do we need to be looking?”

That is really why diversity matters. To attract and retain the best talent in our business, we need to be tapping into the whole population. As an example, we have looked to the veteran community for advanced manufacturing skills. We are trying to forge closer ties with technical schools and industry associations. We have also been able to drive change in senior management through recruiting more diverse candidates into top positions, networking activities, training and mentoring.

Siemens USA has made a major impact with its CSR efforts and investments in the communities it serves. Are you able to take moments as a company to celebrate the wins or are you always focused on what is next?

We do celebrate special moments. A great example was when we recently found out that we led our industry category on FORTUNE magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list for the fourth year in a row. When we found out about the recognition from FORTUNE, sure, our team members in senior leadership and communications heard the news. But what about everyone else across our organization? We developed a communications strategy to ensure that this recognition – and what it meant in terms of our business-to-society agenda – reached everyone on our team.

That’s really how we celebrate – by sharing stories, because that’s what inspires others to take action. That’s what helps people see that they are part of a larger mission, and what propels our future.