Faye Fields Blazes Trail for Women, Blacks
Stacy M. Brown | 3/12/2014, 3 p.m.
Faye Ford Fields counts as the very definition of a mogul.
Fields not only serves as president and CEO of Integrated Resource Technologies, Inc. (IRT), an Alexandria, Va.-based company that provides intelligence support solutions, operational support, security services and IT solutions primarily to the Department of Defense and other intelligence organizations, but she’s a rarity in major league sports.
She’s a minority owner of the Washington Nationals baseball team.
And, while her professional accomplishments deserve admiration, Fields prides herself on helping others to thrive in an often unforgiving corporate world.
“I don’t think that there’s one thing that drives me because I’ve been driven most of my life and I’ve put everything that I have into the things that I do,” said Fields, whose husband, William Fields works as her company’s chief operating officer.
Fields, 63, who founded IRT in 1986, not only stands out as a woman and a minority whose business has achieved success, but she has sought out and taken advantage of every opportunity to give back.
She and other company officials make a conscious effort to place African Americans in key positions, where they can assist IRT’s mission.
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Fields holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in adult psychiatric nursing and she’s completed course work for her Ph.D. in organizational behavior.
Previously, she’s worked for several small businesses in the Washington, D.C. area.
She began her management consultant career at Digital Equipment Corporation serving in several positions, including senior management development specialist and internal organizational consultant.
“I worked for a company that was started by a retired Air Force colonel and then worked for another retired colonel,” Fields said.
“One thing has always led to another and that’s been the story with me.”
However, as a woman, particularly a black woman, Fields had to work extra hard to achieve success.
“I’d get all of these accolades when I worked for a defense company, but when I started my business and showed up as a woman, the attitudes changed,” Fields said.
“A part of me bristled at that while another part of me said you have to adjust, do what you need to do to overcome that obstacle because there are always a way around barriers.”
She credits Neil Muldrow, the retired president and chief executive officer and director of the Development Credit Fund in Baltimore, with providing her one of her first breaks in corporate America.
“When I started, I couldn’t get any kind of financing despite already having two government contracts, one worth $7 million and the other worth $3 million,” Fields said.
“Banks just wouldn’t lend to women business owners, so I had to get a big corporate backer.”
Fields said she refused to be discouraged and Muldrow helped to secure some funding for her. “We were glad to help someone like her because you knew she was a fine young businesswoman who knew what she was doing,” Muldrow said.
“We worked with her closely for a little while but she took off, she had a plan and she went with it and, boy did it work out.”