Loree Draude was one of the first pioneering women to fly combat jets off an aircraft carrier. Loree’s expertise in developing leaders and teams has been honed over many years of serving in the Navy as a division officer, as well as leading teams in Silicon Valley at start-ups and large technology companies, including Google and Facebook.
She knows the challenges companies face in creating peak performance cultures and retaining top talent. Loree can inspire and motivate audiences as well as offer practical tips for conquering fear and learning to soar.
Loree grew up around the world as the daughter of a career Marine Corps officer and a mother who also served as a Marine during Vietnam. Her military upbringing instilled a sense of duty and devotion to service that led to an NROTC scholarship at the University of San Diego. During her freshman year of college, Loree went on a field trip that changed her life – visiting the military air stations in San Diego and Orange County. There, she met naval aviators who flew all types of aircraft and loved their jobs. She decided that was what she wanted to do, so when she returned to the University of San Diego, she changed her major to mathematics and took a couple of flying lessons to make sure she wouldn’t get airsick. On the contrary, she absolutely loved it.
Loree graduated cum laude and proceeded to flight school, where she excelled in primary flight training and was selected for jet training, which she completed in Kingsville, TX. She began her naval flying career as a support pilot, flying F/A – 18 Hornets at NAS Lemoore, CA, where she’d pretend to be a missile, flying fast and low, so other aircraft and ships could practice tracking her. When the Combat Exclusion law for women was lifted, Loree transitioned to a combat aviation squadron, flying the S-3B Viking, and completed two six-month deployments to the Persian Gulf on the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Kitty Hawk. During her second deployment, she became the first woman Air Wing- qualified Landing Signal Officer (LSO), a role awarded to a small percentage of naval aviators for the responsibility of helping fixed-wing pilots land safely on the carrier.
Loree wrote a book about her first deployment with co-author Dave Hirschman. In it, she describes what it was like to live on board and fly on and off of an aircraft carrier. She completed her sea duty and was selected to become a S-3B flight instructor, a sought-after role where she was responsible for instructing new naval aviators on how to land on aircraft carriers. She completed her naval service with over 1600 flight hours and 300 carrier landings–99 of them at night. She earned her MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and began a career in the tech industry in Silicon Valley. Over the past twenty years, she’s led teams at companies including Facebook and Google, as well as tech startups, including one she founded. She’s spoken frequently about leadership and team-building in front of audiences, from more intimate fireside chats of 50 up to 1,000 attendees at a tech conference.