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Experience Strategy Podcast with Stone Mantel

Aug 25, 2021

Covid-19 fundamentally shifted the way most people work. For many companies it’s meant newly distributed workforces, and prompted a need to find innovative ways to create meaningful employee experiences. In this episode of The Experience Strategy Podcast, we are joined by Valarie Udeh, from one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies,  BAE Systems, to explore powerful strategies for engaging a remote workforce, managing diverse employees, and cultivating company culture, no matter where your employees do their work.



  • [03:00] Valarie discusses her team at BAE Systems and her responsibilities. She explains the big shifts in her department as most employees moved into remote work this last year.
  • [06:00] The challenges presented to Valarie in order to keep employees coming back to the office safe, as well as staying connected with those who continue to work from home. 
  • [11:00] Valarie explains her main goals of employee engagement and what she hopes to achieve from creating a workplace environment that feels authentic.
  • [14:30] Dave explains the concept of “modes” and how people have to flip between different modes, ie, parent mode, work mode, crisis mode...etc. and find a balance between them all.
  • [19:00] Valarie talks about how to position the experience for her employees based on their situations.
  • [26:00] Valarie discusses how important the manager role plays when connecting and engaging with their team and recognizing which modes their employees might be functioning in.
  • [33:00] Valarie shares her biggest takeaways and perspectives she has gained over the past year and how she hopes to integrate and embrace new best practices into her multi-generational organization.



  • Employees need to feel the appreciation and effort put in by their managers and supervisors to connect with their individual preferences. If the effort is put in by employers- the retention rate and loyalty among employees is much higher. 
  • Working during Covid-19 has given employers and employees the chance to evaluate workplace culture and create new best practices based on what works now. Employees have more freedom and autonomy to define their work lives in a way that fits their unique needs. 
  • Cultivating a positive, secure work environment requires a deeper look at the organization and different ways to connect with employees. Management is key in evaluating best practices and implementing them for their employees. Constantly working in crisis mode or cleanup mode is stressful for everyone. Being proactive can prevent employee stress and burnout, keeping them productive and energized in their work. 

Links Mentioned:

BAE Systems -

Valarie Udeh - LinkedIn



Valarie Udeh joined BAE Systems, Inc. in April of 2013 as Director of Communications for Enterprise Shared Services. She is responsible for Shared Services Finance and Human Resources as well as ESS-IT communications for the organization. Her team is also responsible for ESS communications, employee engagement, and community service.


Prior to joining BAE Systems, Valarie worked for Delhaize America as Director of Internal Communications for the grocery chain Food Lion. She was responsible for employee communications reaching associates from across 11 states. She also worked for Wachovia, now Wells Fargo, as Senior Vice President, Director of Brand Management and Multicultural Marketing. Valarie has extensive advertising and public relations agency experience representing clients in the finance, restaurant, healthcare, and education sectors.


Valarie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Arts degree in strategic communications from Queens University of Charlotte.  She is also a certified executive coach.