EMBA 55 Gwen Doss wins affirmative action award

Gwendolyn Y. Doss, EMBA 55, received the Dave Barclay Affirmative Action Award at the 34th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards.

Doss is a software engineer manager at the Boeing Co. The  award recognizes efforts to promote affirmative action and diversity management in education, job promotion, small-business development and community activities.

“Gwendolyn Doss is a gifted, but more importantly, a giving leader,”  Boeing’s Rob Adkisson said, introducing her at the ceremony in February in Washington, DC.

St. Louis students can see Boeing from their bus stops, said Adkisson, vice president of SSM engineering and division chief engineer.

“What they don’t see is a pathway through our doors. Gwen shines a light on that path, guiding the underserved and underrepresented in our community. Throughout her 25-year Boeing career, Gwen has been a tireless advocate, volunteer and coach. Her passionate and unwavering leadership  has made our community and our industry stronger.”

Courage and determination

Doss’ acceptance speech was brief. “My mother would always tell me how smart I was, and I think that went to my head,” she said, making the audience laugh.

“I know it inspired me. Her affirmation gave me the courage and determination to go beyond high school.”

And go she did. She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Grambling State University and a master’s in computer resources and information management from Webster University. 

Doss’ journey has been difficult and at times. In September 2016, she lost her daughter, her only child, in a car accident.

“That broke my heart in ways I could never imagine,” Doss said at the awards ceremony. Her daughter, Marquia Lewis, aspired to become an engineer—and did. Doss started a nonprofit foundation in her daughter’s name to provide scholarships to students who want to pursue higher education. “It’s my heart’s desire to inspire future engineers,” Doss said.

In addition her foundation work, Doss volunteers with Delta Sigma Theta Inc.,  the Society of Women, the National Society of Black Engineers, Boeing Women in Leadership, the Boeing St. Louis Leadership Association and Boeing Believers in Christ.

Watch the awards ceremony here.

Pictured: Gwen Doss and Rob Adkisson

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