At Southwest Airlines, we believe that empowering local professionals in the communities we serve is an important step in helping those communities thrive. We take great pride in supporting with business professional that support this goal, including San Diego-based A-List Customer Linda Sierra who shares our values of giving back to community. Linda displays her leadership through different ways just like SWA, Linda’s investment in local nonprofit organizations in the San Diego region is keeping our community thriving and is preparing the next generation of leaders.
Linda Sierra is the Managing Director for McDermott + Bull within the Life Sciences practice. As Managing Director, she is responsible for attracting and securing game-changing leadership talent for executive teams for her clients in the medical device, pharmaceuticals, biotech and diagnostics industries in the San Francisco and San Diego markets. Above and beyond her professional accolades, Linda is also a long-time San Diegan with a deep sense of community pride and commitment to helping provide opportunities to others. Recently, GB Magazine sat down with Linda to learn more about her achievements and passions:
GB: Where are you from and how did you get started?
LS: My family is from Sanger, California, near Fresno. However, I was born in Heidelberg, Germany, while my father was on active duty with the U.S. Airforce. Eventually, I started my career as a legal secretary in biotechnology in San Diego, where I quickly realized I enjoy people. Then, a former colleague reached out for help with an AIDS research start-up in San Francisco. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I packed my bags and family and headed north to begin working in the field of my choice.
GB: Who inspired you to do what you do?
LS: I was fortunate to work with Patty Wray at ViroLogic/Monogram Biosciences who taught me most of what I know about human resources and setting a company culture. While working with her, I helped recruit our first 200 employees. Audrey Warfield-Graham at Ligand Pharmaceuticals was also instrumental in my career development. I had found my calling in recruiting having spent 14 years in biotechnology HR, prior to moving into executive search where I have spent nearly a decade.
GB: What is it that you do?
LS: I develop relationships and bring in new clients within the life sciences industry for McDermott + Bull. Companies hire us to find exceptional leaders to help them build their executive team and board. I have been developing relationships in biotech since 1992. Part of what I enjoy doing most is opening new markets and building a pipeline of clients to propel growth. Because of my involvement with STEAM, I enjoy introducing the idea of STEAM careers into my community and to younger generations.
GB: What is your key to success?
LS: Building genuine, deep, trusted relationships and friendships, while being passionate about the quality of work I do. I have a constant hunger to learn and I am curious about everything. Equally as important, I have informal mentors like Lidia Martinez and Linda Katz who have unknowingly guided me since I first met them and have helped me grow and challenge myself in ways I didn’t know I could.
GB: As a respected leader who is always asked to support various needs in the community, where do you choose to invest your Time, Treasure and Talent?
LS: I am involved in several local organizations, including MANA de San Diego, Women Give San Diego, Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk and Chicano Federation of San Diego County.
GB: How has Southwest Airlines allowed you to achieve success?
LS: Since I work in the San Diego and San Francisco markets, my office in the sky is Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines accommodates my ever-changing schedule without charging extra fees. This is exactly what I need to be able to serve my clients. Southwest Airlines also supports many of the non-profits with which I’m involved; we refer to them as our “Hometown Airline.” It is because of Southwest Airline’s support for our non-profits and their exceptional customer service that I fly to Seattle for the 3-Day Walk, to DC with our Hermanitas, to San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland for work, and to vacation destinations with my family.