Intel’s chief D&I officer on learning to ‘lead from any seat’
In 1997, Dawn Jones began a full-time job at Intel as an administrative assistant in the finance department supporting the controller. Fast forward to April 2021, Jones was appointed chief diversity and inclusion officer and vice president of social impact at the tech giant. She leads the company’s global D&I strategy as well as Intel’s investments and programs aimed towards positive global impact.
Over 24 years, Jones has built a career at the company that boasts a worldwide workforce of north of 100,000 employees. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jones and talk about her fascinating journey. In starting at Intel, “My main goal was twofold,” she told me. “It was to work for a company where I had health insurance benefits for my kids. And to work for a company that eventually would afford me the opportunity to send both of my kids to college. Because I was single, I had to find something that [generated enough income] to be able to do that.”
Next week, you’ll hear more from me in detail about Jones’ fascinating journey to the C-suite, including earning her degrees, her time in South Africa, and how to build diverse talent pipelines. But in the meantime, for this week’s executive Q&A, I wanted to share what inspires Jones to do her job each day along with some career advice.
How has your life experience contributed to executing your role?
Jones: I grew up in a single parent home, so my brother and I had to become self-sufficient early in life. I watched my mother work really hard to provide for us. Watching her taught me the importance of self-sufficiency. My mother’s hard work stuck with me. She was always focused on doing the best job she could. I take that with me into this role. You have to handle so many different situations, and it’s critical to be able to assess and make a decision quickly. I focus on how I can be the best team member, leader, partner and create the best outcomes.
Lastly, my mother also instilled in me what it means to lead from any seat. I have a voice and I use it in any room I am in. In this role, you can’t shy away from the tough topics, you have to be able to navigate many perspectives, and partner across the enterprise. Leading from my seat means I have a responsibility to respect, listen and interact with all types of people.
Did you have mentors and sponsors at Intel?
Jones: Yes, I have had at least 10 mentors and sponsors throughout my career. My first sponsor was the leader who supported me returning to school to finish my bachelor’s degree. Throughout my 24 years, I have connected with people who have advised, coached, corrected and supported me on my journey.
Surprisingly, I didn’t have any women of color as my mentor or sponsor until later in my career. In this space, it’s critically important to align yourself with people who share your work ethic, see and respect your work and advocate for you, especially when you are not in the room.
What advice do you have for those aspiring to reach the C-suite?
Jones: I have always asked myself: how can I do the best job I can do at whatever job I’m doing? I recommend keeping that in mind at any level. The best and brightest talent are the ones who ask tough questions, are passionate about the work, and share creative insights and solutions to some of the biggest challenges. My current role really forced me to listen more intentionally and listen for understanding, because we can’t create solutions in a vacuum. That mindset can help you grow throughout your career.
At the same time, work environments and business trends will constantly evolve. Ensure you have a sense of belonging and purpose attached to your work and show up as your authentic self every day. My final piece of advice is that setting boundaries is also really important by not working after hours and reserving weekends for weekend time, even if it’s just binge watching something on TV or reading a book. It can be difficult to do this but will help you do the best work possible in the long run.
Have a good weekend. See you on Monday.
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How purpose delivers value, a new report by Deloitte, examines how companies are reevaluating their purpose, which is "the North Star that drives strategy and impact in the eyes of stakeholders." The C-suite leaders surveyed noted the importance of a clear purpose that employees understand and can see reflected in their work, according to Deloitte. About 64% said their company has a clear and defined purpose strategy. Half of the respondents said purpose strategy is integrated with core enterprise strategy. Leaders were asked, what advice do you have for C-suite leaders seeking to drive purpose at their organization? "Own it, don’t look at purpose as someone else’s responsibility, and drive it with your team," Chris Kuehn, CFO at Trane Technologies, told Deloitte. "It starts with how you create your team and how you partner with your other C-suite executives and leaders across the organization to make sure you know what they’re doing to advance your purpose, and vice versa."
Courtesy of Deloitte
In case you missed it, here’s what was featured in CFO Daily this week:
Here are notable moves:
Morgan Brown was named CFO at Clene Inc. (Nasdaq: CLNN), a biopharmaceutical company, effective Feb. 1. Since 2013, Brown has been EVP and CFO of Lipocine, Inc. Previously, he served as EVP and CFO at Innovus Pharmaceuticals and World Heart Corporation. He served as CFO and senior VP at Lifetree Clinical Research; and VP, finance and treasurer at NPS Pharmaceuticals. He began his career at KPMG LLP, where he rose to senior audit manager.
John Janedis was named CFO at fuboTV Inc. (NYSE: FUBO), a sports-first live TV streaming platform, effective Feb. 7. Prior to joining fuboTV, Janedis was managing director, senior equity research analyst at Wolfe Research. From 2018-2020, Janedis was SVP, capital markets, treasurer and investor relations at TEGNA Inc. From 2014-2018 at Jefferies, he was managing director, senior equity research analyst.
Nicole LaBrosse was promoted to SVP and CFO at Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: HALO), effective immediately. LaBrosse will succeed Elaine Sun, who is stepping down to pursue another opportunity. LaBrosse joined Halozyme in 2015. Most recently, she served as Halozyme’s VP of finance and accounting since 2020. Previously, LaBrosse held the role of executive director, controller since 2017. Prior to joining Halozyme, she was with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP for over 10 years.
Jesus “Jay” Malave was named CFO at Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), effective immediately. Malave most recently held the positions of SVP and CFO for L3Harris. Prior to that, he served as vice president and CFO of Carrier Corporation, an operating unit of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). During his more than 20 years at UTC, Malave also served as VP and CFO of UTC Aerospace Systems and head of Investor Relations.
Carolyn Nash was promoted to SVP and CFO at Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), effective on April 1. Laurie Krebs, currently CFO and SVP, will retire after five years with the company. Nash currently serves as VP of global finance, transformations and operations. Prior to this role, she collaborated with Red Hat’s products and technology and marketing organizations, helping align financial investments to business objectives. Nash is the executive sponsor for the Red Hat Pride ERG. Before joining the company in 2016, she spent 16 years at Cisco.
Chris Suh was named CFO at Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: EA), effective March 1. He will replace Blake Jorgensen, who previously announced he is stepping down. Suh joins the company from Microsoft, where he currently serves as corporate vice president and CFO of the Cloud + AI group. He has more than 25 years of experience at Microsoft. Previously, he was general manager of investor relations, and also served in a wide variety of finance leadership roles.
"The leader plays a disproportionately large role: Culture starts at the top, where it is created and shaped. Given all we’ve been through over the past few years, leading is all about grace."
—Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, writes in a Fortune opinion piece.
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