Leveraging the strengths of others

Sep 30, 2005

Xerox executive Aqua Porter '84 hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders.

Porter focuses on the strengths of others

Aqua Y. Porter '84 lives in the shadow of two of her heroes.

The Rochester, N.Y., woman is inspired by the distinguished contributions of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, who both made their mark nationally from their homes in western New York.

Porter's inspiration serves us all. She is a strong advocate for increasing the participation of women in Corporate America, serving as an adviser to organizations including Xerox's Black Women's Leadership Council and The Women's Alliance. "I hope to inspire a new generation of leaders by working on initiatives that enable children and women of color to grow and develop into leaders who will influence our society," she said.

Alumni Bio:
Aqua Y. Porter
Vice President,
Xerox Corp.
Rochester, N.Y.
One son, Jordan, 8
B.S., 1984
M.B.A., R.I.T., 1996

She is on the board of trustees for the Susan B. Anthony House and N.Y.'s Keuka College, noted for its hands-on learning programs. She has remained an active member of her national sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and is a member of Jack and Jill of America.

Porter has worked for Xerox for more than 20 years, which is one of the country's Top 30 companies for supporting diversity in the workplace. She is vice president for Production Systems Manufacturing Resource Team, Worldwide Production Systems Manufacturing, and is responsible for introducing new and highly complex products into the supply chain at Xerox. "My career has come full circle," she explained. "I am now back in a manufacturing engineering role, which is kind of amazing since initially I didn't see myself staying in engineering."

She credits her student co-op job for helping her convert academics into hands-on skills in flexible manufacturing. "My co-op experiences allowed me to understand how my skills could be applied practically," she said. "Ultimately, it provided me with full confidence in manufacturing well ahead of graduation. The combination of co-op and the thesis project enabled me to speak the language and focus on my career. One week after graduation, I was hired by Xerox."

Porter expects to visit Kettering's Flint campus within the year to discuss with students the importance of building and managing relationships, leveraging the strength of others, and offering insights on being a leader.

Written by Patricia Mroczek
(810) 762-9533