Re.engineer Magazine - Fall 2021

S T E M + D I V E R S I T Y + C O L L A B O R A T I O N | F A L L 2 0 2 1

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INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP

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Leaders Who Inf luence Change by Us ing the Pr inc iples that Matter

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The efforts to increase the percentage of Black STEM professionals in industry have been outstanding, however since the start of the new millennium the number of students that actually graduate with STEM degrees have been declining. We hope to solve this problem by inspiring minority students to pursue STEM careers and by providing resources to those who have already begun their journey. See Possible.

INFLUENTIAL LEADERS

KEY TO OWNERSHIP

CAREER HACKS

Sometimes all we need are examples of the possibilities. Re.engineer is an inclusive community of STEM (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) professionals that collaborate and share solutions. Our mission is to bridge the skills gap between professionals at all levels, and our professional development opportunities help our community members to achieve success in their careers. We were created to serve as a platform for all STEM professionals to share and leverage value.

PIVOT TO DESTINY

Anyone can research our database of professional stories and connect with other people in hopes of developing collaborative relationships. We want to take the stress out of professional development by providing a bridge between developing and senior level professionals.

HBCU SPOTLIGHT

Enjoy and continue living like there is [no box]!

WEBINARS

Editor-in-Chief SHADRACH S T EPHENS

D O N ' T @ M E

INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP The 3 Pillars of Leadership

Safiya Johnson

D O N ' T @ M E

Now that we know what Leadership is NOT, let's delve straight into what defines leadership. There are three foundational pillars to understand. I N C L U S I O N The 3 Pillars of Leadership PILLAR 1: LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT INFLUENCE

Leaders persuade others to take action. There is a saying that I absolutely love; "Managers get people to do what they want, but leaders get people to want what they want." People are willingly convicted to follow good leaders based on their approach. It is about influence! If there is no influence toward action, leadership is ineffective. PILLAR 2: LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT TRUST People must trust a leader's competence and character. If a leader cannot do the work nor give useful advice on how to produce results, people will not follow the leader no matter how pleasant they find them. The other aspect of trust is that of character. People must know that leaders won't throw them under the bus. They must know that their leader has their best interest at heart. That is so important! The leader may be considered a genius or a guru, but if their character is not trustworthy, people will not follow. Leadership is about responsibility for and to the people being led. This is incredibly important! PILLAR 3: LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY First, a leader has to take the responsibility for the results that the team produces. The quickest way to lose respect as a leader is to blame others for negative outcomes instead of taking full accountability for the team. Secondly, leaders should be transparent with their teams and explain why certain decisions were made if at liberty to do so. you have to give an account to your team. Embrace opportunities to share inner thoughts about how an action plan was developed. This gains leaders buy in from their team members and motivates the team to follow the leader even when the road is not smooth. I encourage all leaders to do some introspection in their own lives, measuring yourself against the 3 foundational pillars. Also, take a look at other leaders and rate them as well. ▪

Safiya Johnson

Leadership is the single most influential factor in any environment whether a business, a family, a team or even a nation. The entity will rise and fall depending on who the leader is. A prime example is when I was promoted years ago from Chief Accountant to Chief Financial Officer (CFO). I got the job based on my accounting qualifications and my accounting experience but, when I became the CFO, only 10% of my time was actually spent doing accounting. For the vast majority of the time, I was leading people (or trying to). Leadership is one of the most underrated, underestimated, and misunderstood factors. So, let's explore this topic of leadership a little bit more. But before I tell you what it is, I want to tell you what it is not.

LE A DERSHIP IS NOT M A N A GEMENT

Management has to do with planning and organizing the work. Leadership focuses more on the people. It is possible to be a fantastic manager and a poor leader.

LE A DERSHIP IS NOT A POSITION TITLE

It is entirely possible for a person to have a position title, but not be the leader in that environment. It actually occurs more frequently than you think. Position titles ought to tell us who the leader is but it doesn't mean that that person is a fantastic leader.

LE A DERSHIP IS NOT BOSSING PEOPLE A ROUND

You may have the responsibility to give people instructions or even to direct their work, but that doesn't mean that you are their leader! They may hear you but are they following you?

PRESS pla y

EBONY COVERING BLACK AMERICA : PODCAST NETWORK

The Ebony Covering Black America Podcast Network (EPN) is a thoughtfully curated group of Black centric weekly and bi-weekly podcasts covering a broad spectrum of demographics, featuring entertaining, informative, inspirational, socially relevant, and educational topics. On all major podcast platforms (Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, Deezer, iHeart, etc.) Ebony Magazine Publishing and ReachTV have partnered to bring the Ebony Podcast Network to the only airport television network, with 2,500+ screens in 90 commercial airports and 58 private/FBO airports across North America. There is an incredible line up of outstanding STEM professionals telling their stories and providing perspectives on how to not only have successful careers but to also have fulfilling lives. Join them for weekly discussions on interesting, inspirational, and creative ideas in STEM. Make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! CHECK OUT THEIR LATEST EPISO D ES BELOW

P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T

Personal

Branding I S H A C O G B O R N

EPIPHANYINSTITUTE

PERSONAL BRANDING: THE FORMULA TO UNLEASH YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

TALENT, ABILITIES, PASSIONS & EXPERIENCES

By Isha Cogborn Have you ever watched a boxing match? If so, you’ve likely seen a segment called “The Tale of the Tape” where the commentators compare the fighters, analyzing data points such as their height, weight, age, reach, and even the circumference of their wrists. The point of this exercise is to provide insight as to which competitor might have an advantage over the other. When you’ve grown up as a high achiever, your grade point average, intellect or work ethic often gave you an advantage over other

students. But as a professional, you’ve likely found yourself thrust into an organization full of exceptional people. How do you differentiate yourself or feel like you have an edge when you don’t have the benefit of institutional knowledge or a track record of results to lean on? As the Tale of the Tape often demonstrates, it isn’t necessarily the fighter with the most advantages who wins; it’s a matter of knowing how to use what you have to your greatest advantage.

Whether you’re an intern, a new professional or even someone who feels stal led out in your current role, you have a unique contr ibut ion to offer wherever you show up.

To f igure that out , let ’s look at your Tale of the TAPE: talents, abi l i t ies, passions, and exper iences.

Talents

Passions What gets you extremely excited, or extremely angry? What would you be willing to do for 40 hours a week without collecting a paycheck? Where is your heart? By letting others in the organization know what you’re passionate about, you could find yourself on a special project or volunteer assignment that’s a perfect fit for you. Your obscure hobby or devotion to dissecting the latest episode of a popular TV show or podcast might even be the bridge to more productive working relationships with colleagues. Experiences Perhaps the most valuable component of your TAPE is your experiences. What has happened in your life — good or bad — to shape who you are, how you see the world and the way you relate to people? To benefit from this element of your TAPE, you have to be willing to acknowledge some of the not-so-pleasant things that have happened in your life if they’ve had a profound impact on the person you are today. You’ll be amazed at how life experiences can allow you to connect with a customer or co-worker in a way that no one else can, or define the problem in a way that others don’t have the perspective to see. If nothing else, your experiences can remind you just how resilient you are when you’re ready to throw in the towel. Don’t hide from your experiences. They just may be the key to your next level of success.

What are you naturally gifted at that might not come so easily to other people? What activities put you into a zone where achievement feels effortless? It can be challenging to identify our talents because we wrongly assume the things that come easy to us are simple for other people, too. Your talent may even be a source of frustration to others. For instance, you may be the person who can easily pick apart the flaws in someone’s great idea. If you can demonstrate how that adds value to the organization and become known for that talent, instead of being vilified, you can be brought into the decision-making process earlier to prevent costly mistakes. Abilities The difference between talents and abilities is that talents come naturally, while abilities are things you’ve learned to be good at. This could be anything from technical certifications to being fluent in a foreign language. Although your abilities may not be aligned to your current job responsibilities, keep your eyes open for opportunities to put them to use.

Use Your T.A.P.E. to Make an Impact

As you approach each new project or challenge, ask yourself, how can your talents, abilities, passions or experiences be used to make a positive impact? Don’t allow your job description or limited tenure to box you in. Remember, it’s all about knowing how to use what you have to your greatest advantage.

5 Rules to Win Being You and the On Purpose: 12 Strategies to Reclaim Your Power and Change Your Life. Learn more about products and services, or how to bring Isha to speak for your group at IshaCogborn.com .

Isha Cogborn is the founder of Epiphany Institute, a personal development company that allows people to connect their purpose and passion with their profession. She’s also the host of the podcast, On Purpose with Isha Cogborn and author of several publications, including

Click above to follow Isha on social media!

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EARL SHI PP

I N S P I R E T H E P E O P L E Y O U I N F L U E N C E B Y M O D E L I N G G R E A T N E S S

Earl Shipp

I N F L U E N T I A L L E A D E R S

Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

Imagine a company faced with an opportunity of a lifetime to make a multi-billion investment that would capitalize on competitive feed stocks to deliver unprecedented growth for its operations. Also imagine that they would look towards the leadership of an influential, charismatic, and proven leader. A leader who had a track record for delivering value, driving innovation, and for relentlessly pursuing opportunities to create an equal playing field for professionals of all backgrounds. Earl Shipp

Now imagine that this leader was also a person of color.

Earl Shipp, a chemical engineering graduate from Wayne State University in Michigan, is most recently know for his leadership of Dow Inc.'s U.S. Gulf Coast Operations and for the start of the $7 Billion investment program across the Gulf Coast region, which enabled tremendous growth for the communities in Texas and Louisiana. Many know him for his passionate curiosity, fearlessness and battle- tested confidence but my most memorable interaction with him was when he said, "I pay it forward because I can't pay it back." Shipp is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Olin Corporation, the world’s largest producer of Chlorine, Caustic soda, and Epoxy Resins. Olin’s Winchester's division produces ammunition for law enforcement and the US military. He is also a Non-Executive Director of London based National Grid plc., which is the 3rd largest utility in the world and provides power and gas to the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and in the U.S. states of New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut, and a member of the Board of Directors of Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corp., which is North America’s largest provider of marine dredging and coastal restoration and replenishment projects following storms. The company owns and operates a diverse fleet comprised of numerous specialized maritime vessels. In additional to working on three professional public company boards, Shipp is also a member of the Board of Directors of CHI St Luke’s Heath System in Texas, and the Economic Development Alliance of Brazoria County Texas. These volunteer activities in the local community are a way to use knowledge and leadership experience gained during a professional career to help the local community. Shipp is the retired Vice President for Dow Chemical’s US Gulf Coast Operations. He was responsible for nine manufacturing sites including Texas Operations - the largest integrated chemical manufacturing complex in the world. These sites represented 30% of Dow Chemical’s global manufacturing capability, employed more than 15,000 people and produce a range of products that are used in agricultural, automotive, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition, building & construction, electronics, and bioscience applications and markets. He has played an active leadership role in numerous civic and professional organizations in Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Africa, and in the Middle East. Shipp and his wife Zenia reside outside Houston Texas, where he enjoys sailing, music, and travel.

A S A PERSON OF COLOR , YOU KNOW TH A T YOU WILL GET A TTENTION . IT ’ S UP TO YOU TO M A KE TH A T A TTENTION A GOOD THING .

EARL ' S

Joined Dow in 1981 and from '81-'00, held several manufacturing engineering positions, including an assignment in Japan.

From 2000 to 2006, he held several global business leadership roles with P&L responsibilities.

In 2006, he moved to Dubai, U.A.E. to launch the India, Middle East and Africa Region for Dow and was named President - India, Middle East & Africa.

In 2008, he was named Business Group President for Basic Chemicals, with responsibility for oversight of six basic chemical businesses.

In 2011, he assumed leadership of US Gulf Coast Operations for the start of Dow’s $7 Billion major investment program across the Gulf Coast region.

He also holds a U.S. Coast Guard rating is a licensed boat captain.

I N F L U E N T I A L L E A D E R S

Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

LET'S CHOP IT UP!

I would like to think that I’m not a unicorn. I see others matching and exceeding what I did during my Dow career. That’s very satisfying for me, because I tried to help guide and mentor as many people as I could. To reach a senior leadership role in any company requires two primary factors – Desire and Support. First, you have to want to be there because there is a cost you must pay. You must go the extra mile on the quality of your personal work product. You must show that you are consistently as good as everyone around you, and that you can excel beyond the others at some things. As a person of color, you know that you will get attention. It’s up to you to make that attention a good thing. The hard work is one cost you must pay. When I led Dow’s Middle East, India, and Africa region, I averaged 15,000 miles of business travel a month, for 5 years. That’s what it took to cover a region with over 70 countries. When you start your career, there is a clear split between your work life and your personal life. As your career progresses to larger and more complex roles, what you find is that your personal and professional lives merge and it’s not always clear where one part of your life starts and the other ends. This is another example of the cost of a senior leadership role. In some companies, location matters for senior leaders. The places you need visit or live may not be places you’d otherwise be interested in. Dow was that way. To get beyond a certain level in the company, it really helped to spend time at company HQ. BY M A NY ST A ND A RDS , YOU A RE A UNICORN . VERY FEW BL A CK PROFESSION A LS A CHIEVE WH A T YOU H A VE IN INDUSTRY . WH A T F A CTORS DO YOU A TTRIBUTE TO YOUR RISE TO VICE PRESIDENT LEVEL A T DOW INC .?

Otherwise, there were people and information about the company that you just would not know, and lack of knowledge can hurt you career wise. In some organizations, location flexibility is a necessary cost for a senior leadership role. Then, there’s family. Dual careers are not impossible for a senior leadership role, but there are certainly challenges. This gets into the other factor – Support. My wife and I relocated 11 times during my career. For some families, that’s not an option or desirable. While in the Middle East my wife could not work (she didn’t have a work visa, she had a family visa), so it paused her career. Some dual career couples decide to live apart for a period of time, to address issues like that, but that was not something we were willing to consider. Without family support, I would have had a very different career. You must have the desire to achieve a senior leadership role, or you’ll never get comfortable with the costs to obtain it. These are the intentional actions that I had to manage during my career. Equally important is coaching, mentoring, and sponsorship. You never know what you don’t know until someone tells you. I was blessed with many people who helped mentor and coach me. Sometimes it was tough love, because they had to tell me when I wasn’t measuring up and when I was wrong. Its critical to seek out people who care enough to tell you what you NEED to know and not just what you want to hear. Sponsors are different from mentors. You pick your mentors and coaches, but your sponsors pick you. I had a few and in each case, I got the sponsor thru my work product. What I learned later was that sponsors are seldom altruistic. They are looking for good people on their teams who are reliable, deliver great and consistent results, and who will work well with the rest of their team. They are helping themselves by helping you!! This is one reason why a consistent, reliable, high quality personal work product is so vital. Mentoring, Coaching, and Sponsoring are the interventions by others. I benefited from all of these at various time in my career. WITHOUT FAMILY SUPPORT, I WOULD HAVE HAD A VERY DIFFERENT CAREER.

EARL SHIPP

I N F L U E N T I A L L E A D E R S

Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

The tried-and-true approach is to keep a focus on positive role models. It’s hard to imagine something you’ve never seen or heard of. The sooner we can plant the STEM seed the better. We know this works. There are many efforts (including Re.engineer) aimed at this and we need to keep supporting them. There is a broader issue that we don’t talk enough about and that’s the quality of education in our communities. I’ve heard it said that today, a child’s zip code is an indicator of life success. If that’s true, then we must think about ways to make our schools better platforms, so that kids who are interested in STEM fields will be able to get the grounding needed to pursue careers in STEM. This issue also exists at the university level. Over 80% of African Americans freshmen who begin college with declared STEM majors do not graduate after six years. Organizations like NSBE have done some really good work to understand and address the attrition issue, but there is more to be done. I’m on an advisory committee at my alma mater, and we are constantly discussing this topic with the Dean of the College of Engineering. The college has taken some critical steps to address attrition. We must keep talking about the attrition issue and raise awareness. WH A T A RE SOME W A YS WE C A N A TTR A CT A ND PROMOTE MINORITY STUDENTS INTO STEM POSITIONS ?

left into the atmosphere. We are going to need many more creative scientist and engineers to address the impact of climate change. Whether its producing cleaner energy, more sustainable foods, addressing transportation, or building to withstand a more severe climate, there are tremendous opportunities and STEM fields will be in the lead. It’s also going to make some people very, very wealthy!

We are headed for an interesting shift in technology. People are beginning to understand that climate change is real, and that society will need to adapt. Reducing manmade effects will require technologies and inventions that we have yet to develop. It’ll have to happen fast and will impact every facet of people’s lives. If you want to be on the cutting edge of the next big tech transformation, then look at climate science. Huge career opportunities await in this area. There is no part of modern society that doesn’t need energy to function. Today, that energy is mostly produced by taking hydrocarbons out of the ground extracting the energy, and putting what’s WH A T A DVICE DO YOU H A VE FOR THE NEXT GENER A TION OF LE A DERS WITH RESPECT TO TECHNOLOGY ?

WH A T H A S BEEN YOUR GRE A TEST REGRET ?

I wish I had taken the time to learn a second language. I wish I hadn’t missed so many of my wife’s birthdays while I was traveling.

I N F L U E N T I A L L E A D E R S

Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

I never thought of it that way. I enjoyed my career and the work. I didn’t mind the costs I spoke of earlier because there were positives tradeoffs also. I’ve always separate what I do from who I am. I’m still an African American who grew up in Detroit at a time when a good public- school education was possible. I know others who have matched and exceeded my career success and I’m always happy to see them. WHEN DID YOU KNOW TH A T YOU WOULD BE " GRE A T "? TH A T YOU COULD M A KE HISTORY , BE DIFFERENT A ND TH A T YOU COULD GO FOR IT . WH A T W A S YOUR MOST DIFFICULT CH A LLENGE A S A VICE PRESIDENT ? The hard part of any senior leadership role is managing uncertainty and a trying to see the future. In the US Gulf Coast Vice President role, I didn’t have to worry every minute if the chemical plants were running. I had to think about how to keep the plants running. Laws and regulations were changing, hiring needs were changing, business and customer expectations were changing, company costs and profitability were constant pressures, etc... these were just some of the things where I had to use my judgement and experience to try and stay ahead of the changes, because there was no “one right” solution. H A VE YOU EVER EXPERIENCE “ IMPOSTER SYNDROME ”

OR ENCOUNTER PEOPLE WHO M A DE YOU FEEL UNWORTHY . IF SO HOW DID YOU H A NDLE IT ?

Yes, I’ve experienced it. It’s not an uncommon feeling nor one to be ashamed of. The first time was when I moved into a business leadership role. There was a lot that I had to learn very fast. It was totally different from all my past engineering and operations focused roles. To start, I quickly sought out a new set of mentors and coaches who could guide me in this new area. I also was very open with my team, and I didn’t try to pretend that I knew everything. Where they had better knowledge, I let them take the lead and at the same time teach me. I also studied – looked at what other business leaders were doing, read every Harvard Business Review case study I could, and listened very closely to our customers. After a while the syndrome passes because you start doing to job with some level of competence. WH A T KEEPS YOU UP A T NIGHT ? Today, I’m on the Board of Directors of 3 companies and it’s a very different space. As a Vice President you work for a CEO. As a Director, the CEO works for you. Your job is to advise the CEO to help them be successful, and in doing so you are representing the shareholders. You also evaluate the CEO’s performance against goals and set their compensation. However, there are other stakeholders that you must be mindful of, including employees, customers, regulators, and the communities where the company does business. Governance work is rewarding but also challenging and it can keep you up some nights. ▪

merch + mag

George Parada

I N F L U E N T I A L L E A D E R S

Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

George Parada

George is currently responsible for leading the Global Asset Management, Quality & Reliability programs for Meta's data center operations. Outside of work, George loves traveling around the world with his wife Daysi and is a San Francisco Bay Area sports fanatic. George received his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from SF State University and a double Masters degree in Engineering and Business from San Jose State University.

It is no mistake that with nearly 3 billion monthly active users, Meta (formally know as Facebook) is the most popular social network worldwide. The king of social media generates billions of dollars in revenue every year. When you consider the various STEM disciplines that are involved to power Meta, does asset management and equipment reliability come to mind? It's obvious that software engineers, data scientists, and computer technologists are critical to the success of Meta but there is also a team of specialists working behind the scenes to ensure that its assets are running safely and reliably. Re.engineer is so fortunate to have an opportunity to interview George Parada, Meta's Global Asset Management and Ops Readiness Manager, to learn more about how influential leadership drives the performance of Facebook's data center operations. George is an Asset Management & Reliability leader who discovered his passion when he wanted to discover a better way to improve overall operations as a new production supervisor right out of college. Since then he has spent a good portion of his career working for a few large food and beverage organizations where he has driven fundamental improvement in foundational maintenance and reliability practices through connecting people and processes. With a strong passion to always excel with cross functional teams, George has strived to challenge the status quo to help the organization address gaps using a strategic and organized approach. George realized early in his career that genuine leadership allows us all to be successful in the day to day work and empowers all employees to achieve the goals of the organization. From implementing computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) to developing technical training programs for new engineers and working with senior leaders in developing reliability strategy, George loves working with people and leading strategic change.

Businesses, on average, spend 80% of their time reacting to maintenance issues that arise rather than preventing them, even though reactive maintenance is more expensive than proactive maintenance. Asset Management refers to the fundamental concepts, principles, guidance and processes for managing and maintaining assets throughout their full lifecycle. Whether we are talking about a data center, refinery, bottle plan or even your vehicle, asset management is the comprehensive program that enables safe, reliable and efficient operations of your asset(s).

I N F L U E N T I A L L E A D E R S

Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

LET'S CHOP IT UP!

Building Collaborative Relationships Throughout my career I've focused on always building relationships at all levels within my organizations that I have been a part of. Influential leadership is all about influencing peers around you (lateral), those above you (up), and aspiring to grow to your level (down), a full 360! Through building relationships, I have always focused on building trust with my connections to ensure they see me as a reliable co-worker, partner, leader, and collaborative individual. I see this as a key principle of influential leadership. Understanding Their World Establishing those connections at all levels allows us to understand what those individuals (their world) really need. I have focused on understanding their world, their concerns and objectives via the power of listening and spending time with them. I have been a big proponent in my role at Meta of building joint roadmaps and goals with cross functional teams. Because there are so many dependencies, this has been key in understanding and working in sync with other teams. Self-awareness Emotional Intelligence was a term that resonated with me once I heard it and I have never looked back. Leadership is very much an emotional process as it is important to understand the state of others. Leaders evoke emotions in others through elements such as inspiration and motivation. In order for me to understand others, I have focused on understanding myself as well as how I am perceived when I communicate, listen and engage. Self-awareness can be simply a self- reflection of how I managed a crucial conversation, a weekly 1:1 or a strategic presentation to a group of senior leaders in a meeting. HOW H A VE YOUR INFLUENTI A L LE A DERSHIP SKILLS HELPED YOU TO A DV A NCE SO QUICKLY ?

Strategy Whether you are setting general direction for a team, large organization or kicking off a transformational effort, you must have strategic direction and develop a plan of action for what you desire. Strategy is comprised of key elements to achieve the desired state of your team, organization or transformation. Strategy is not something that is completed through a single design session workshop. Strategy involves iterations and changes that align with the current vision as well as future improvements. This takes us to the next foundational pillar, change management. Change Management This is the heart of the foundational pillars which helps connect all the pieces. Successful improvement strategies are centered around the need for change. Leading change is perhaps one of the most difficult things a leader faces because they are typically focused on minimizing the resistance and implementing the change. I have found success in leading and managing change by always communicating the reason for the change. The reason typically stems from dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. What was the dissatisfaction with state of the last change you implemented? Was it documented and clearly communicated? What problem were you trying to solve? What is the vision or future state to accomplish? Is it clear to all stakeholders? People need to understand the vision. Now that vision can be where we will be 3, 5, 10, maybe 15 years from now but first it's important to understand the first critical steps to evolving to a new state. Mitigating change resistance starts by appropriately engaging all stakeholders, communicating the change, and ensuring they understand the plan. A S A GLOB A L LE A DER , WH A T A RE THE KEY FOUND A TION A L PILL A RS TO DEVELOPING A VISION TH A T LE A DS TO SUCCESSFUL IMPROVEMENT STR A TEGIES ?

I N F L U E N T I A L L E A D E R S

Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

Governance Change management is not as easy as simply gaining consensus and alignment through effective engagement with stakeholders. Governance is the set of controls, standards, metrics and even policies around the strategy being managed. Think of change management as focusing on the how and who , and governance focusing on the what and the why . Governance connects the strategy along with your stakeholders and is essentially managed by processes and key performance indicators in a centralized fashion. typically by a core team and many times an executive board. Governance processes serve as the bumpers in the bowling alley to keep the strategic plan fresh through minor adjustments to the plan. This reinforces change management, keeping your vision on track towards success.

WH A T A RE SOME OF THE INT A NGIBLE THINGS YOU H A VE LE A RNED A BOUT LE A DING PEOPLE ? Listen. The intangibles have certainly allowed me to effectively lead teams ever since my first role out of college where I got the awesome opportunity to lead a small department. I was a fresh engineer right out of school and I had never managed people before so I took the time to just listen to the challenges and pain points that my new team had experienced over the years. I quickly built rapport with them but more importantly, I spent time with them understanding how they could effectively perform their responsibilities. They shared the what and the why with me. As I took the time to listen and understand the challenges they faced, I also reflected as a brand new supervisor on what was the role I needed to play and how we could collectively as a team, fulfill the function of our department. It was as simple as using their feedback to build collective process improvements and justify slight changes in a process, changing a parameter on the flow of the product stream and simply just understanding why we had not worked these suggestions in the past. We broke production records months later. They continued to feed me their suggestions and ideas. I kept listening and removing barriers for them. Just listen to your team, the answers may have been there all along.

I kept listening and removing barriers for them. Just listen to your team, the answers may have been there all along.

WH A T IS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION YOU ’ VE H A D TO M A KE A S A LE A DER ? I've dealt with difficult decisions of who to hire and who to promote numerous times when I've had lots of great candidates (what a good problem to have), but the most difficult decision by far has been making a carer change after dedicating 15 years to an industry I knew well. I was surrounded by the best team, making positive impacts within our organization and the leadership team was helping me soar to greater heights. Despite all of this, I realized that change was needed not because I was comfortable and doing well, but because I had maxed out on learning new things and having new experiences. Most thought I was taking a step back, a demotion (if you will) and someone specifically told me, "once you remove yourself from the food and beverage industry, you are removing yourself from what you have grown to know so well." I remember thinking, "wow! what should I do?" It certainly was not a decision I came to on my own. Through prayer and great support from my wife and mentors, I weighed my options and made what many called a risky decision to pivot into a new industry and I am so happy that I seized the opportunity. WH A T ’ S MORE IMPORT A NT , STR A TEGY OR EXECUTION ? As a leader who has spent a significant amount of time in the maintenance realm, the following quote resonates well with me, "plan the work and work the plan!" Personally, I have always felt that strategy is just as important as execution. Without strategy, the vision or effort we are attempting to execute is unclear. Now, effective execution is just as important when implementing that new technology or going through the organizational change you were asked to roll out. As I shared earlier in the article that strategy is a key foundational pillar to successful improvement and that an effective plan must be in place for those who will execute. But what if the strategy is flawed? I have seen great execution of a plan that wasn't fully baked. In this situation the people were resilient and great at getting things done despite the flaws in the plan. The initial objective may now not be fully met due to lack of an effective strategy. This is what makes strategy difficult and why every improvement attempt is not successful.

improvement initiatives. With that said, I would always focus on building out the strategy with elements around people, process and technology to make it clear. The execution piece should always involve the end user and tactical elements that can be sustained. And remember to introduce governance to measure how the strategy and execution can be iterated!

WH A T KEEPS YOU UP A T NIGHT ?

Nothing.

Now if you asked me this question two plus years ago, it would certainly have been a different answer. I have made it my personal objective to disconnect and shut down at the end of the day no matter what. The challenges and chaos, if you will, is something that we as leaders and members of the team, but I do not need to allow those things to mentally and physically drain me by keeping me up at night. Working from home or remotely has made it challenging as it has been difficult to find the best way to unplug and switch to "I am at home now and I should focus my attention on my family. I do not want those challenges and emails to keep me up at night and therefore I have done my best to shut down and go to sleep. I will work through that after some great shut eye and work alongside my team in the morning. ▪

LEARN LISTEN

ALWAYS LISTEN! Listen to your teams! Listen to what they are saying as well as what they are not saying. Get a pulse check of what they struggle with but also what motivates and energizes them. This will help uncover ideas of hidden innovation that may help meet objectives. It may also help them discover a career path in which they can maximize their impact.

Technology and business is always evolving as well as the work environment

around us. We have seen this over the last year when many of us have had to lead remote teams which challenged many leaders how to effectively lead our teams. This last year and half was challenging but I also saw it as an opportunity to adapt and better yet, learn. I cannot state enough of the importance of always "sharpening the saw" like Stephen Covey said before. Whether you are a new leader or CEO of your organization, if you are not learning, you will be missing a tremendous opportunity to develop yourself and drive success throughout your organization or teams. Learning can be through even as simple as learning from other leaders, mentoring, attending conferences, reading a book. Take the time for yourself and keep on LEARNING!

Traditionally we hear this term regarding seizing opportunities without hesitation.I typically ask this

of others during dialogue when I notice they aren't contributing. As leaders, we are in the discussions, because we are meant to contribute. The expertise, the knowledge, the perspective that we have is power so we absolutely need to lean in and not leave the conversation thinking, "could of, should of, would of." LEAN IN!

Martika Jones

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Inspire the people you influence by modeling greatness

Martika Jones

University of Tampa where she received a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. Midway through, she founded and launched her first tech venture and spent the next year learning the ins and outs of the startup world. This ultimately led to her launching tech startup, BŪP. WHAT IS BŪP?

Martika's story started in Mississippi. She grew up in a small town, but had big dreams. She wanted to be different. She wanted to be her own boss and accomplish what others considered impossible. At the age of 12, Martika set out on a 13-year long journey as a classically trained trombonist. She won several awards and was one of the top musicians in her state. As part of her good fortune, she has had many mentors in her life and earned the opportunity to study under world- renowned musicians at Montclair State University outside New York City. She practically received the Juilliard experience without the Juilliard tuition! Even though music was her life, Martika wanted to channel her focus and discipline into other passions as she also had a love for content creation and technology. In 2015, she started a beauty blog called “Peace Love Chic”, which launched her influencer career. She spent the next three years working with 100+ companies and building lasting relationships with brands. After relocating to Tampa, Martika identified opportunities in the industry and wanted to help innovate. She decided to start her entrepreneurial journey by quitting her 9 to 5 job and attending The

BŪP is more than just a bio link tool . We not only provide a hub for all of your links , music , photos , videos , streams , and media content ; we provide a nifty device you can put on the back of your phone ( or anywhere ) to connect with others in a single BŪP !

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LET'S CHOP IT UP!

Another thing I learned is to surround myself with people who are smarter than me and support what I am doing. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the people I surrounded myself with, I wouldn’t know where I’d be right now. It’s an amazing feeling to know that when I’m stuck on something, I can just pick up my phone and text that person and get the answers and guidance I need to help run my company properly. The most important thing I learned is my product will never be 100% perfect! This is a big one for me as I am a perfectionist, but I have had to resolve that, with tech, there will always be bugs and we will always need to tweak things. Nothing is perfect, and that’s just the way it is.

BŪP was inspired by my husband and I wanting to evolve how we network. We found business cards to be so ineffective and expensive because you have to constantly remember to bring them with you and purchase more once they run out. Most of the time our cards are just getting thrown away, so there had to be a better way to network. That’s when we created the platform and added physical products like BŪP Tag & BŪP Band that attach to your profile card. With BŪP, you just Wake Up and GO, which helps you stay ready AT ALL TIMES. All you have to do is tap someone’s smartphone with your BŪP device and Boom! Your information pops up! WH A T W A S THE INSPIR A TION BEHIND BŪP ?

I had to make the decision to leave everything I knew behind.

WH A T IS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION

Our users:

• Save Time • Save Money • Make lasting impressions • NEVER get caught off guard and NEVER miss a connection again WH A T A RE SOME OF THE INT A NGIBLE THINGS YOU H A VE LE A RNED A BOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR ? One thing I've learned is it's not easy being a non-technical CEO in a tech startup world. While I consider myself a techie and futurist with a great understanding of technology, I am not a developer. This made building a team that I can trust and depend on very difficult in the beginning; but with enough networking, trial and error, and a lot of patience, I was able to overcome this obstacle.

YOU ’ VE H A D TO M A KE TO PURSUE YOUR DESTINY ? I had to make the decision to leave everything I knew behind. Sometimes certain opportunities do not exist where we would love to stay, so I had to make a choice to leave family behind in my home state of Mississippi to pursue my education out-of-state for my undergrad, which ultimately led to me pursuing a higher education for my Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. I knew then that my destiny was to become a successful entrepreneur.

YOU RECENTLY SH A RED HOW IMPORT A NT RESILIENCY IS A S IT REL A TES TO TE A MWORK . WH A T DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN BUILDING A HIGH PERFORMING TE A M ?

I would say, if you're wanting to travel the road of an entrepreneur, really give some thought to what it is you want to do and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in that niche. Hone in on what you’re really good at, and surround yourself with the people that can do what you’re not good at. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. What keeps me up is seeing great potential go to waste. I cannot tell you how many people I see with amazing ideas and potential who do not see it in themselves, or are not taking “ action ” (due to fear of judgement, idea theft, etc.), and all of that talent is just wasted. Too many people are worried about “getting it perfect the first time” or “100% secure” that they cripple themselves and miss out on their own blessing. Stop waiting around for the right moment to start up. If you have a great idea, surround yourself with people who can help it be realized and scaled quickly. Now is the time to take action. ▪ I look for people who are dedicated to their craft. My team happens to be made up of people whose backgrounds are in the arts (whether in music or traditional art) and have started utilizing their skills in the technology sector. I have found that this type of team has a diverse background and understands what it means to be truly committed to something as they’ve been dedicated to their craft from childhood to adulthood. They also are very creative and bring many ideas to the table to help the company grow. Another important quality I look for is the ability to be multifaceted and highly resilient. A lot of startups fail or need to restructure. I need a team that can handle the volatile ups and downs of being involved with a tech startup.

WH A T A DVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG PROFESSION A LS OR STUDENTS ?

WH A T KEEPS YOU UP A T NIGHT ?

John Tsaras

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John Tsaras Artificial Intelligence

ar·ti·fi·cial in·tel·li·gence /,ärdə’fiSHəl in’teləjəns/

noun

The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Originally from Ghana, John moved to the US after high school to pursue further education and has spent the rest of his adulthood living in the US. As the eldest of his 3 kids likes to remind him, he can never be a US President, but she can! He’s had the honor of working for multiple organizations and leveraging his learnings to make each opportunity much more impactful than the last. John currently works at the Coca-Cola Company and has global responsibility as a Senior Director, he has global responsibility for Customer & Commercial, Offline to Online (O2O) and The McDonalds Division’s analytical capabilities. He also has Product Management responsibility for a system that provides the company’s volume and sales revenue across the system. Prior to joining the Coca-Cola company in May 2021, he spent almost 8 years at Dow Inc. in increasing roles of leadership responsibility. He was responsible for the advanced analytics team of data scientists' engagement with Dow's broader analytic community. He was also responsible for the customer interface team focused on driving adoption of analytic capabilities to improve Dow's financial outcomes. Those teams leveraged best practice tools and solutions across the enterprise to drive strategic development and key initiatives that supported margin expansion and growth. He similarly held roles at Goldman Sachs, GM and other tech companies focused on Business Intelligence, Advanced Analytics, Marketing, Consulting, Software Development & Business Management. With a passion for technology and mind for business , John holds a master of business administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, a M.Sc. in Data Science (Predictive Analytics) from Northwestern University and a dual B.Sc. in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from Northern Illinois University, where he sits on the Alumni Board of Directors. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, music, traveling and sports.

Type 1 Goal Oriented Intelligence Eg: Smart Assistants like Siri, Alexa etc; image/ facial recognition

Type 2

Type 3

Replicates Humans

Beyond Human Intelligence Eg: Fully automated self driving cars, Humanoid robots

Eg: Spam filters on email, Drone robots, Supercomputers

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Growing up in Ghana, my choices of a career were limited as you’re guided at an early age to the STEM fields. My late father was a medical doctor and would have wanted me to pursue the same but my squeamishness around blood ruled that occupation out for me. Instead, I figured I would study engineering or other alternatives. In high school my electives were Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, leading me to build on those foundations later in life. When I came to the United States after high school , my intent was to pursue Marine Engineering, having been accepted to Cal State Maritime Academy. Computer Science and Data Science were not in my vision. However, between the time I was waiting to start the fall semester, I fell in love with HTML coding and building websites for fun. This changed my professional trajectory. Candidly speaking, the future is now. AI is at work in everything we do. How we get search results, online matching platforms and online shopping, has significantly increased since COVID and are all applications of AI. If you think about how the internet changed our lives in instant, machine learning and artificial intelligence are doing the same. People that are not in the field always ask about the difference. AI is really a concept of machines being able to perform tasks the way we would consider a simplified problem-solving process for humans. It enables software to perform tasks without being explicitly programmed. On the other hand, ML is an application of AI that enables machines to access data, learn, and then perform tasks by using algorithms that allow systems to find hidden insights without being programmed. The opportunities to apply AI & ML are boundless, as companies look for profitable opportunities to grow their business WH A T FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES DO WE H A VE REL A TED TO A RTIFICI A L INTELLIGENCE A ND M A CHINE LE A RNING ? LET'S CHOP IT UP! WH A T INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A STEM PROFESSION A L ?

using the tremendous amounts of data currently available to us as a society. From Sales & Marketing, Financial Trading, Online Searches, Healthcare, etc., there are multiple applications that can be used to solve the challenges we face. Finally, to calm fears, which I know sometimes is the biggest barrier to adoption in most companies, AI will not make workers obsolete, at least not for a long time. It is true some tasks become automated but what AI will do is bring about tremendous innovation leading to growth in industries and hence more jobs. The element of human judgment will still be needed to act. Look to AI becoming a standard in all businesses, not just for those in technology.

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