CIO , Data
Looking back on your amazing career, what inspired you to become a technology leader?
I became interested in technology accidentally. I was in a business role when someone in senior leadership saw my potential in my leadership abilities, so I moved into a technology role; it was the best thing that happened. As a hiring manager, I find talent in similar ways, whether it be a few levels down, or from another business unit. If I see someone who has characteristics that would be a good fit, I often offer them an opportunity and find myself at times having skip levels with all levels within the organization to find out if people are in the right job fit and happy what they are doing.
From your all your experiences as a leading Technology Executive, your expertise in technology and data runs deep. Reflecting on your rich experiences, what is one experience that you lean on in 2019 to help guide your teams?
The experience that I will lead on in 2019 is change management with the aspect of human touch. The world is rapidly changing all around us and leading a global team through changing technology, people and process are key. Staying relevant means adopting change management within the fabric of your Team.
You have led global technology infrastructure at many of the world’s biggest companies, from finance to insurance to retail, what lessons have you learned from all your experiences that can help executives lead their businesses in the ever-changing digital era?
I have learned that technology doesn’t stop. I have also learned how important it is to travel globally and embrace other cultures. I have also learned that you need to be business focused and results-oriented. Transformation needs to drive value back to the business— often Leaders forget in the heat of the battle the business outcome that you are driving for overall. As an executive, you need to measure the pace, risk management and stakeholder engagement on the outcome that you are driving.
Since the world is changing more rapidly than ever before, the challenge now for companies is keeping up with that change. What are the most important things companies should remember in the digital era?
Think globally. Read the news. Know your audience. Innovate and know the end to end consumer journey. Map out the end to end process of your Companies consumer journey. Each Industry has different aspects of high touch, identify those and focus.
What inspires you to shake things up when establishing security or technology practices and what gave you the confidence to move forward with an idea that was out of the ordinary?
What always inspires me is doing the right thing to drive results. Confidence is gained by doing this several times across multiple Industry’s, leaving a legacy and having to come back time and time again to the Board to report out on items.
What advice would you offer to Global Technology Leaders leaders as more and more people, especially attackers, become more connected and digitally fluent?
Be in tune to phishing and strange email links and actors in the environment. I have seen many executives click on links that they shouldn’t even though they know better.
In your opinion, what makes a great excellent leader across all sectors?
Someone who leads by example. This is so key for all leaders. Employees want to feel valued and supported. They want to know that you have their backs. People will be more loyal to you if you treat them fairly and show appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
Some defining attributes for a leader include resiliency, work ethic, the ability to prioritize and say no. Aspiring leaders and leaders can take their skills to the next level by finding a mentor they trust and working with them to improve different skills. They can also be sure to lead by example. That is something that I feel so strongly about.
You are a very successful woman in the tech industry, and unfortunately, there are not as many women in positions such as yours. To what do you owe your success and how would you encourage other young women who are pursuing a career in tech to succeed?
As I mentioned before, I did not start out in a technology role. I was selected by a mentor because of some of the traits that I possessed and my work ethic. My advice is to younger women is to also get over that STEM is fun and slick! There has been a cloud over the topic and it is a hot market to be in and technology is where you want to be!
Always have your 30-second elevator speech to answer two questions; How are you and what are you working on? This is important so he or she leaves the elevator knowing who you are. Lastly, utilize sports acumen in business conversations. It is very relatable and gets people engaged.
Even though you have already had an immensely successful career, where do you see yourself or your career heading towards in 2019 and beyond?
Thanks for saying that. I plan to spend time speaking globally to girls and women about STEM. Being a mentor and a role model is such an important part of my leadership style.
What do you think are the benefits are for a C-Level executive in attending a small, intimate assembly such as ours?
There are so many benefits to attending an event like yours. Firstly, making connections with others. Often folks become so focused on what they are doing within their organization that they do not stop and think about how they can leverage others and that there may be more innovative ideas out there. Coming to a conference like this and seeing what others are doing can help you apply some of these ideas to your current position.
We are very excited you are attending and keynoting our DET and FSI Transformation Assemblies next month in Charlotte, NC. Can you give us a sneak preview as to what you will be speaking on?
I will be speaking on my journey as a leader. I always want to encourage others to reach their full potential. Mentorship will be another topic that is covered. I also will be talking about some of the principles in my upcoming book. Grit and Grind.
Congratulations on your new book Grit & Grind, Can you share with us and our readers a teaser and what stands out to you from this experience?
This was an incredible experience. The purpose of this book was two-fold. One was to help people to learn, no matter what their background is. The other is to leave behind a legacy. I am at a point in my life and in my career where I just want to teach people along their path and make a difference. So the purpose of this is to help folks in their lives daily, their work life, and show them real examples of what it takes to maneuver and navigate through tough situations with real substance behind it.
There are lots of surprising situations that I highlight in the book, everything from being a part of worldly events around the world—- 911 to the DMZ in Korea and the stories all tie back to lessons learned and ways that others can apply these to their lives. Most importantly no matter what gender, age or where you are in your life you will learn something reading this book.
Thank you Rhonda, we are looking forward to your keynote in a few weeks!
Thanks to the success of our Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly series, in 2019 The Millennium Alliance in partnership with our Advisory Board, we are adding more events to the list! This exclusive Assembly will bring industry experts and the best solution providers to our Senior Members based on the East Coast.
As more and more businesses look to digital technology and strategies to transform their business, CIOs know that data and information technology have never been more important. Understanding the convergence of mobile, social, and cloud is the first critical step for organizations looking to create opportunities and stay ahead of the competition
Jenny Schecher is a Client Services Director & Social Media Manager at The Millennium Alliance. Jenny is an avid contributor to our blog, Digital Diary, as well as all social media platforms. When she is not writing about digital transformation and technology, she is working with her team to make visions come to life at our events. (and eating all of NYC's best food.) Follow her on Instagram: @jennyschecs or find her on LinkedIn!
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