“Our employees are human beings first,” Amanda Sanders immediately emphasizes during her conversation with Profile. “We never underestimate that human factor.” As the vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at Chromalloy, Sanders oversees all the legal functions of the industry-leading company and plays a key role in the development of both business and company culture.
Chromalloy provides maintenance, manufacturing, and repair services for commercial airlines, MROs, militaries, and oil, gas, and power companies to reduce manufacturing and operating expenses and extend the life of gas turbine engines.
The company’s clientele extends to a vast global community with customers in nearly every country in the world. Chromalloy develops FAA-approved repairs and solutions for engines and is the only independent company in the world with the ability to cast, coat, and machine an engine part completely in-house in its advanced facilities.
“We’re very passionate about making flight and power generation safer and more economical. That is the cornerstone of our business,” Sanders explains. “We do that with these highly innovative technological solutions for the engines that power aircraft and the engines that support power generation.”
Sanders earned her bachelor’s degree at Boston College in 1997 and then went on to law school at Quinnipiac University. She says that although she did not grow up with the ambition to be an attorney, once she discovered her path towards law school, she knew that she wanted to work in-house to help drive the business side of a company. She found that Quinnipiac’s joint law and MBA program best suited her goals.
“I don’t think anybody ever tells [you] that law school doesn’t train you to be a lawyer,” she says. “Law school teaches you how to think and write, but it says nothing about what it’s like to be a lawyer. Working in a law firm for a few years in general corporate practice really solidified the fact that I wanted to be in-house—in the middle of things.”
Sanders was working as assistant general counsel at Terex Corporation when she was approached by a recruiter to join Chromalloy in 2009 shortly after the company was acquired by the Carlyle Group. She has been with Chromalloy ever since, and has witnessed and contributed to the growth, development, and management changes over the years.
“Our business, in general, is very exciting because there’s so much technology and innovation involved in what we do,” says Sanders, who oversees all of the development and implantation of the organization’s legal function. “We have such a diverse global footprint, which provides a more unique perspective and dynamic that you wouldn’t get in many companies.”
As a leader at Chromalloy, she plays a key role in cultivating and promoting the company culture which prizes flexibility without sacrificing high achievement. “Your employees have lives outside of work. They have friends, they have family, they might have children, they might have pets that they consider their children. They may have a variety of personal issues that you just don’t know,” Sanders affirms. “We emphasize our values around what it means to be a human being: pride, passion in what you do, working, and acting with integrity.”
Sanders stresses that flexibility is the central factor that allows the company to put its employees first. Like many other organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic proved to Chromalloy that the traditional nine-to-five workday is not the only formula for a successful business.
Sanders, who is a mother of young children, highlights the need for transparency and how mentorship fosters open lines of communication between employees and higher ups. Chromalloy has a dedicated initiative that pairs senior employees with new employees that serve as advisors, including when it comes to navigating a work/life balance.
“You have to learn to prioritize at work, you also have to prioritize at home, and then you have to prioritize the two against each other which is perhaps what is most difficult and important,” she points out. “You have to be upfront about setting realistic deadlines and managing expectations. That’s how you can avoid office toxicity and that dreaded passive aggressive behavior.”
In addition to this people-first culture shift, which was boldly launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chromalloy keeps its sights set on further development as a company. As the only company in the world that offers FAA-approved parts manufacturer approval hot section engine components, it has plenty to be proud of already. However, it refuses to be complacent which is why the employee-voted internal catchphrase of the year is “beyond.”
“We’re looking at ways we can go beyond good.” Sanders says. “We’re the only ones in the world that can do what we do, but that’s not enough. We must continuously improve and innovate—our employees and our customers wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Crowell & Moring LLP congratulates Amanda Sanders and Chromalloy Gas Turbine LLC on this well-deserved honor. We value our partnership and applaud your commitment to delivering solutions that make a measurable difference for aviation, energy, and military customers around the world.