Ginni Rometty: IBM CEO on Leadership, Power, and Adversity | Lex Fridman Podcast #362

I have had to do plenty of unpopular Things I think anytime you have to run a Company that endures a century and has To endure another Century you will do Unpopular things you have no choice and I often felt I had to sacrifice things For the long term and whether that would Have been you know really difficult Things like you know job changes or Reductions or whether it would be things Like hey you know we're going to change The way we do our semiconductors and a Whole different philosophy You have no choice I mean and in times Of Crisis as well you got to be I wish That it's not a popularity contest The following is a conversation with Jeannie vermetti who was a longtime CEO President and chairman of IBM and for Many years she was widely considered to Be one of the most powerful women in the World She's the author of a new book on power Leadership and her life story called Good power coming out on March 7th She is an incredible leader and human Being both fearless and compassionate it Was a huge honor and pleasure for me to Sit down and have this chat with her This is the Lex Friedman podcast to Support it please check out our sponsors In the description and now dear friends Here's Jeannie rometty You worked at IBM for over 40 years

Starting as a systems engineer and you Ran the company as chairman president CEO from 2011 to 2020 IBM is one of the Largest tech companies in the world with Maybe you can correct me on this with With about 280 000 employees What are the biggest challenges running The company of that size let's start With us at a big overview question the Biggest challenges I think are not in Running them it's in changing them And that idea to know what you should Change and what you should not change Actually people don't always ask that Question what should endure even if it Has to be modernized but what should Endure and then I found the hardest part Was changing how work got done it's such A big company what was the parts that You thought should endure the core of The company that was beautiful and Powerful and could persist through time That it should persist through time I'd Be interested do you have a perception Of what you think it would be Do I have a perception well I'm a Romantic for a history of long-running Companies so there's kind of a a Tradition as a AI person to me IBM has Some epic sort of research Accomplishments yes where you show off You know uh deep blue and Watson just Impressive big moonshot challenges and Accomplishing those but that's I think

That's probably a small part of what IBM Is it's that's mostly like the the sexy Public facing part yeah no it is well Certainly the research part itself right Is over three thousand so it's not that Small that's a pretty big research yes But the part that should endure ends up Being you know company that does things That are essential to the world meaning Um The who you know think back you said You're romantic it was the 30s the Social security system it was putting The man on the moon it was you know to This day Banks don't run you know Railroads don't run uh That is at its core it's doing Mission Critical work and so that part I think Is at its core it's a business to Business company And at its course about doing things That are really important to the world Be coming running and being better Running the infrastructure of the world So doing it at scale doing it reliably Yes secure in this world that's like Everything and in fact when I started I Almost felt people were looking for what That was and together we sort of in a Word was to be essential and the reason I loved that word was I can't call Myself essential you have to determine I Am right so it was to be essential even Though some of what we did is exactly

What you said it's below the surface so Many people because people say to me What does IBM do now right and over the Years it's changed so much and today It's really a software and consulting Company consulting's a third of it and The software is all hybrid cloud and AI That would not have been true as you Well know back even two decades ago Right so Um it changes but I think at its core It's that be essential you said moonshot Can all be moonshots because moonshots Don't always work but Mission critical Work so so Given the size though When you started running it did you feel The sort of thing that people usually Associate with size which is bureaucracy And maybe the aspect of size a hinder Progress or hinder pivoting did you feel That you would Um for lots of reasons I think when You're a big company Sometimes people think of processes the Client themselves or the you know I Always say to people your process is not Your customer there is a real customer Here that you exist for and that's Really easy to fall into because they're You know people are a master or to this Process and that's not right and when You're big the other thing and boy There's a premium on it is speed right

That in our industry you got to be fast And go back like when I took over and it Was 2012. You know we had a lot of catching up to Do and a lot of things to do and it was Moving so fast and as you well know all Those Trends were happening at once Which made them go even faster and so Pretty unprecedented actually for that Many Trends to be at one time and I used To say to people go faster go faster go Faster and honestly I've tired them out I mean it kind of Dawned on me that when you're that big Yeah that's a really valuable lesson and It taught me like the house perhaps more Important than the what because If I didn't do something to change how Work was done like change those Processes or you know give them new Tools help them with skills They couldn't they're just like do the Same thing faster if someone tells you You know you've got hiking boots and They're like no go run a marathon you're Like I can't do it in those boots but so You've got to do something and at first I think the ways for big companies I Would call them like blunt clubs you do What everyone does you reduce layers Because if you reduce layers decisions Go faster there's just it's math if There's less decision points things go Faster

Um you do the blunt Club thing and then After that though it did lead me down a You know a long journey of they sound Like buzzwords but if you really do them At scale they're hard around things like Agile And um because you've really got to Change the way work gets done and we Ended up training God hundreds of Thousands of people on that stuff change It correctly on how to do it correctly That's right versus because everybody Talks about it but the idea that you Would really have small Multi-disciplinary teams work from the Outside in set those sort of interim Steps you know take the feedback pivot And then do it on not just products do It on lots of things was it's a hard to Do at scale Um people always say oh I got this agile Group over here 40 people but not when You're a couple hundred thousand people You gotta get a lot of people to work That way the blunt Club thing you're Talking about so flatten the Organization as much as possible yeah Yeah I probably reduce the layers of Management by half and so it that does That has lots of benefits right time to A decision Um more autonomy to people because and Then the idea of like faster Clarity of Of where you're going because you're not

Just filtered through so many different Layers and I think it's the kind of Thing a lot of companies if you're big Have to just keep going through it's Kind of like Grass Grows you know it Just comes back and you gotta go back Down and uh and work on it so it's a Natural thing Um but I hear so many people talk about It like this idea of like okay well who Makes a decision you've often heard Nobody can say yes and everybody can say No and that's actually what you're Trying to get out of a system like that So I mean your book in general the way you Lead is very much about we and us you Know the the power of we but is there Times when a leader has to step in and Be almost autocratic take control make Hard unpopular decisions oh I am sure You know the answer to that and and it Is of course yes Yeah you know because I actually Um a there's a leader for a time but Then there's a leader for a situation Right and so I've had to do plenty of Unpopular things I think anytime you Have to run a company that endures a Century and has to endure another Century you will do unpopular things you Have no choice and I often felt I had to Sacrifice things for the long term and Whether that would have been you know

Really difficult things like you know Job changes or reductions or whether it Would be things like hey you know we're Going to change the way we do our Semiconductors and a whole different Philosophy You have no choice I mean and in times Of Crisis as well you got to be I wish That it's not a popularity contest so That's none of these jobs or popularity Contests I don't care if your company's Got one person or half a million they're Not popularity contests but Psychologically is it difficult to to Just sort of step in as a new CEO and To do because you're fighting against Tradition against all these people that Act like Experts of their thing and they Are experts of their thing to step in And say we need to do differently when You had to change a company It's really tempting to say throw Everything else out back to that what Must endure right yeah but I know when I Took over to start I knew how much he Had to change more I got into it I could See Wow a lot more had to change right Because we needed a platform we'd always Done our best when we had a platform a Technology platform you will go back in Time and you'll think of the Mainframe Systems you'll think of the PC You'll Think of perhaps middleware you know you

Could even call services a platform we Needed a platform the next platform here To be there Um skills when I took over if I we Inventored who had modern skills for the Future it was two out of 10 people for The future not that they didn't have Relevant skills today but for the Future 2 out of ten yikes that's a big problem Right Um the the speed at which things were Getting done that has to so you got so Much to do and you say is that um is That a scary thing yes do you have to Sometimes dictate yes but I did find and It is worth it I know every big company I know my good friend that runs General Motors is she's had to change go back to What is Them them you know and when you do that That back to be essential we kind of Started with hey it's be essential then The next thing I did with the team was Say okay now this means New Era of Computing new buyers are out there and Eh we better have new skills okay now The next thing how do you operationalize It and it just takes some time but you Can engineer that and get get people to Build belief and for the skills though That means uh that means hiring and it Means training you yes yeah oh boy That's a long skills is a really long Topic in and of itself I try to put my

View in it I learned a lot and I changed My view on this a lot Um I'll go back at my very beginning say 40 Years ago I I would have said At that point okay I was always in a Hurry of I was interviewing to hire People I don't know how you hire people 40 years ago I'd be like okay I gotta Fit in these interviews I gotta hire Someone to get this done okay then time Would go on I'm like oh that's not very Good in fact someone once said to me hey Hire the best people to work for you and Your job gets a lot easier okay I should Spend more time on this topic I spend More time on it then it was like okay Hire experts okay okay I hired a lot of Experts over my life And then I was really like an epiphany And it really happened over my tenure Running the company and having to change Skills If someone's an expert at something and Has just done that for 30 years The ads that I'm really wanting to Change a lot are pretty low and when You're in a really Dynamic industry That's a problem and so okay that was Like kind of my first revelation on this And then when I looked to hiring I can remember when I started my job we Needed cyber people and I go out there And I look unemployment in the US was

Almost 10 can't find them okay it's ten Percent and I can't find the people okay What's the issue okay they're not Teaching the right things That led me down a path and it was Serendipity that I happened to do a Review of social Corporate social Responsibility we had this one little Fledgling School in a low-income area And high school with a community college We gave them internships Direction our Curriculum oh and behold we could hire These kids I said Hmm this is not CSR like I just Found a new talent pool which takes me To now what I'm doing in my post you Know post-retirement I'm like this idea That don't hire just for a college Degree we had 99 of our hires were College and phds and I'm all for it so You're very don't go I'm deeply offended No you should not be I and I you know I'm Vice chair at Northwestern one of The device here but but I said I just Really like aptitude does not equal Access these people didn't have access But they had aptitude it changed my Whole view to skills first and so now For hiring that's kind of a long story To tell you the number one thing I would Hire for now is somebody's willingness To learn you know and you can test you Can try different ways but their Curiosity and willingness to learn hands

Down I will take that trait over Anything else they have so the interview Process the question changed everything Changed the kind of things you talk to Them about is try to get at how curious They are about the world testing and I Mean there's we triangulated around it Lots of ways and now look they're at the Heart of it what it would do is change You don't think of buying skills you see You think of building skills and when You think that way with so many people And I think this country many developed Countries being disenfranchised You got to bring them back into the Workforce somehow and they got to get Some kind of contemporary skills and if You took that approach you can bring Them back into the workforce yeah I Think some interesting combination of Humility and passion because like you Said experts sometimes lack humility if They call themselves an expert for a few Too many years so you have to have that Beginner's mind and a passion to be able To uh aggressively constantly be a Beginner at everything and learn and Learn and learn you know I I saw it Firsthand when we were beginning this Path you know down the cloud and Ai and We said and people say oh IBM you know It's existential they got to change and All these things and and I did hire a Lot of people from outside very willing

To learn new things come on in come on In And I sometimes say shiny objects Trained in shiny objects come on in but I saw something it was another one of These you're not a shiny object I'm not Saying that it's uh but I learned Something okay some of them did Fantastic And others they're like well let me School you on everything but they didn't Realize like we did really Mission Critical work and then break a bank I Mean they would not understand the Certain kind of security and the Auditability and everything they had to Go on and then I watched IBM people say Oh I actually could learn something some Were like yeah okay I don't know how to Do that's a really good thing I could Learn and in the end there was not like One group was a winner one was a loser The winners were the people who were Willing to learn from each other I mean It was to me it was very Stark example Of that point and I and I saw it Firsthand so that's why I'm so committed To this idea about skills first and That's how people should be hired Promoted paid you name it yeah the AI in General it seems like nobody really Understand is now What the future will look like we're all Trying to figure it out so like what you

Know IBM will look like in 50 years uh In relation to the the software business To AI is unknown what Google will look Like what all these companies were Trying to figure it out out and that Means constantly learning Taking risks all of those things and Nobody's really skilled in AI It's like Because you're absolutely right that's Right I couldn't agree more with you on That you uh you wrote In the book uh Speaking of hiring quote my drive for Perfection often meant I only focused on What needed to change without Acknowledging the positive this could Keep people from trusting themselves it Could take me a while to learn that just Because I could point something out Didn't mean I should I still spotted errors but I became more Deliberate about what I mentioned and Sent back to get fixed I also tried to Curtail my tendency to micromanage and Let people execute I had to stop Assuming my way was the best or only way I was learning the giving other people Control builds their confidence and They're constantly trying to control People destroys it so what's the right Balance between showing the way and Helping people find the way That is a good question Because Like a really flip answer would be

As it gets bigger you have no choice but To just you know you can't do it you Have to You have to tell or show I mean You've got to let people find their way Because it's so big you can't right That's an obvious answer scope of work Bigger it gets okay I've gotta let more Stuff go But I have always believed that a a Leader's Job is to do as well And I think there's like a few areas That are really important that you Always do now it doesn't meaning you're Showing so like when it has to do with Values and value-based decisions like I Think it's really important to Constantly Show people that you you walk your talk On that kind of thing is super important And I actually think it's a struggle Young companies have because the values Aren't deeply rooted and when a storm Comes it's easy to uproot and Um so I always felt like when it was That time I showed it I got taught that So young as at IBM and even General Motors that Um In fact I write I do write about that in The book first time I was a manager I Had a gentleman telling dirty jokes and Not to me but to other people and it

Really offended people and some of the Women this is this is the very early 80s And They came said something I talked to my Boss I'm a first time manager and he was Unequivocal with what I should do he Said and this was a top performer it Stops immediately or you fire him So there are a few areas like that that I actually think you have to always Continue to role model and show right I That to me isn't the kind that like when Do you let go of stuff right so the Values and relationships with with Clients yeah whatever you're in service Of and and the other thing was I really Felt was really important to role model Learning right so You know I can remember when we started Down the journey And we went on to this thing called it Think Academy IBM's longtime motto have Been think and we said okay I'm gonna Make the first Friday of every month Compulsory education And okay I mean everybody like everybody I don't care what your job is okay when The whole company has to transform Everybody's got to get kind of have some Skin in this game and understand it I Taught the first hour of every month for Four years now nice okay I had to learn Something so But it made me but I've like okay if I

Can teach this you can do it right I Mean you know kind of thing so it was a Compulsory uh Thursday night education For you oh a little bit I'm a little Better prepared than that but yes you're So right yes so you you prepare yeah You like to prepare yeah but there's Roots in that go back deeply deeply Deeply deeply I and I think it's an Interesting reason so why do why are you You're preparer my friend yeah yes you Are you prepare for your interviews uh Sure the rest you Wing yeah I Wing but That's okay I mean you don't have to Prepare everything I don't prepare Everything either no but I I Unfortunately Wing stuff I save it to Last minute I I push everything I'm Always almost late and I don't know why That is I mean there's some deep Psychological thing we should probably Investigate but it's probably the Anxiety Brings out the performance that can be That's very true with some people I mean So I'm a programming engineer at heart And so so programmers famously Overestimate or underestimate sorry how Long that something's going to take and So I just everything always Underestimate and it's almost as if I Want to feel this chaos of anxiety of a Deadline or something like this Otherwise I'll be lazy sitting on a

Beach with a pina colada and relaxing Yeah I don't know so that we have to Know ourselves but for you for me you Like to prepare yeah it came from a few Different places I mean one would have Been as a as a kid I think Um I was not a memorizer and my brother is Brilliant he can he read it once boom Done and so I always wanted to Understand like how something happened It didn't matter what it was I was doing It whether it was algebra theorems I Always wanted don't give me the answer Don't give me the answer you know I want To figure it out figure out so I could Reproduce it again and didn't have to Memorize so it started with that and Then over time Okay so I was in university in the 70s When I was in engineering school I was The only woman you know I meet people Still to this day and they're like oh I Remember you I'm like yeah sorry I don't Remember you there were 30 of you wanted Me and I I think you already get that Feeling of okay I better really study Hard because whatever I say is going to Be remembered in this class good or bad And it started there so in some ways I did it for two reasons early on I Think it was a shield for confidence The more I studied the more prepared I Was the more confident that's probably

Still True to this day The the second reason I did it evolved Over time and became different to Prepare Um if I was really prepared Then when we're in the moment I can Really listen to you see because I don't Have to be doing all this stuff on the Fly in my head and I could actually take Things I know and maybe help the Situation so it really became a way that I could be present in in the moment and I think it's something a lot of people That in the moment I I learned it from My husband he doesn't prepare by the way At all so that's not it but but I Watched the in the moment the negative Example no no no and I'm not going to Change that as he says he's a type c I'm An A okay how love works yeah and I have Been married 43 years and that seems to Work so but that idea that you could be In the moment with people is a really Important thing yeah so the preparation Gives you the freedom to really be Present So just a linger on the uh you mentioned Your brother and uh it seems like in the Book that you really had to Uh work hard when you study to to sort Of Um given that you weren't good at Memorization you really truly deeply Wanted to understand the stuff and you

Put in the hard work and that seems to Persist throughout your career so Um you know hard work is often Associated with um Sort of has negative associations well Maybe with burnout with dissatisfaction Is there some aspect of hard work at the Core of who you are that led to Happiness for you Did you enjoy it I enjoyed it so I will Be the first and I'm I'm really careful To say that to people because I don't Think everyone should associate G to do What you did you have to there's only One route there right and that's just Not true and I I do it because I like it In fact I'm careful and as time goes on You have to be careful as more and more People watch you whether you like it You're a role model or not you are a Role model for people whether you know It like it want it does not matter I Learned that the hard way and I would Have to say people hey just because I do This does not mean I do it for these Reasons right this would be really Explicit and I'd come to believe usually When people say the word power I don't Know do you have a positive or negative Notion when I say the word power we just Do incredibly negative one yeah for some Stereotype or some view that that it Somebody's abused it in some way you can Read the newspaper somebody's doing

Something Um personal people like I'll ask people Do you want power and they're like oh no I'd rather do good yeah and I think the Irony is you need power to do good and So that sort of led me down to in It was I thought about my own life right Because it's it starts in a Like many of us you know you don't have A lot but you don't know that because You're like everybody else around you at That time and a one end tragedy right my Father leaves my mother uh homeless no Money no food nothing four kids she's Never worked a day in her life outside Of a home And I the irony that I hear I would end Up is the ninth CEO of one of America's Iconic companies And now I co-chair this group 110 and That journey I said the biggest thing I Learned was you could do really hard Meaningful things in a positive way so Now you asked me about why do I work so Hard I ended up writing the book in three Pieces For this reason when you really think of Your life in power I thought it kind of felt like a pebble In water like there's a ring about You really care about yourself and like The power of yourself power of me There's a time it transcends to that you

Are working with and for others and Another moment when it becomes like About Society so my hard work I'd ask you one day sit really hard and Think about when you close your eyes who Do you see from your early life right And what did you learn and maybe it's Not that hard for you I mean it was It's funny the things then If I really looked at it it's no Surprise what I do today and that hard Work part my great grandma as uh you and I were comparing notes on on Russia Right and never spoke English spoke Russian came here to this country was a Cleaning person at the Wrigley building In Chicago Yet if she hadn't saved every dime she Made My mother wouldn't have a home and Wouldn't have had car right what did I Learn from that hard work in fact Actually she when I went to college She's like you know you really should be On a farm you're so big and strong you Know that was her view and then my Grandmother Another tragic life what did she do Though and think how long that's in the 40s the 50s she made lampshades and she Taught me how to sew right so I could Sew clothes when we couldn't afford them But my my memory of my grandma is Working seven days a week sewing

Lampshades and then here comes my mom in Her situation who who climbs her way out Of it so I associate that with well Strong women by the way all strong women And I associate hard work with How you are sure you can always take Care of yourself and so I think that the Roots go way back there and they were Always teaching something right my great Grandma was teaching me how to cook how To work a farm even though I didn't need To be on a farm my grandma taught me you Know here's how to sew here's how to run A business and then my mother would Teach us that look but just a little bit Of Education look at the difference it Could make right so anyways that's a Long answer too I think that hard work Thing is really deeply rooted from that Background it gives you a way out from Hard Times yeah you know I think I've Seen you on other podcasts say I thought I did do you want to plan B Didn't you say no you would not like a Plan B yeah I don't know because you're Like I would prefer my back up against Am I remembering story like that You seem to like at least certain Moments in your life seem to uh do well In Desperate Times true enough I true Enough that's true I I learned that very Well but I also think Um that maybe this is the same kind of Plan B I think of it as like I was

Taught like always be able to take care Of yourself Don't have to rely on someone else sure And and I think that to me so so that's My plan B I can take care of myself and It's it's even after what I lived Through with my father I thought well This set of bar for bad after this Nothing's bad and and that does it's a Very freeing thought the being able to Take care of yourself is that you mean Practically or do you mean just the Self-belief that I'll figure it out I'll Figure it out and practically both right So you wrote quote I vividly remember The last two weeks of my freshman year When I only had 25 cents left I put the Quarter in a clear plastic box on my Desk and just stared at it this is it I Thought no more money So do you think there's some aspect of That Financial stress even desperation Just being hungry did that play a role In that drive that led to your success To be the the CEO you know one of the Great companies ever it's a really Interesting question because I was just Talking to another colleague who's CEO Of another great American company this Weekend and He mentioned to me about all this Adversity and he said I said to him I Said Do you think

Part of your success is because you had Bad stuff happen yeah And he said yes you know and so I I Guess I'd be Lying if I didn't say I don't think you Have to have tragedy but it does teach You like one really important thing is That there is always a way forward Always and it's in your control I think There's probably wisdom for mentorship There or whether you're a parent or a Mentor That uh easy times don't result in Growth yeah I've heard a lot of my Friends and they they worry they said Gee my kids have never had bad times Yeah and so what you know what happens Here so I don't know is it is it Required Um and why you end up not required but It sure doesn't hurt you had this good Line about an advice you were given that Growth and comfort never coexist growth And comfort never coexist and you have To get used to that thought if someone Said that they think of me like one of The more profound sort of lessons I had Um in the eyes it's from my husband and Uh which is even more you know funny Actually you could just steal it I mean You know I have shamelessly as he'll Tell you Um okay so the story behind growth and Comfort never coexist but honestly

I think it's been a really freeing Thought for me and it's helped me Immensely since Mid-career And um as I write about it in the book I Mid-career and I'd been running a pretty Big business actually and the fella I Work for is going to get a new job it's Going to get promoted he calls me and he Says hey you're gonna get my job I Really want you to have it and I said to Him no way I I said I'm not ready for That job I got a lot more things I got To learn that is like a huge job around The world every product line development You name it every function I can't do it It looked at me He says I think you should go to the Interview I went to interview the next day blah Blah blah guy says to me looks at me and He says I want to offer you that job And I said I would like to think about it I said I Want to go home and talk to my husband About it Kind of looked at me okay I went home my husband is sitting there And he says to me I went on and on about The story Etc and he says Do you think a man would have answered It that way and I said He says I know you he's like six months You're going to be bored and you all you

Can think of is what you don't know and He said I know these other people you Have way more skill than them and they Think they could do it and he's like why Why and and for me it internalized this Feeling that And it it I'm gonna I am gonna say Something it's a bit stereotype that it Resonates with many many women and I'll Ask you if it does after is that either The most harsh critic of themselves and So this idea that I Won't Grow unless I Can feel uncomfortable doesn't mean I Always have to show it by the way so That's why I meant growth and comfort Can never coexist so I got I was like He's exactly right now the end of that Story is I went in I took the job when I Went back to the man who was really my Mentor looking out for me and he he Looked at me and he said don't ever do That again and I said I understand Because it was okay to be uncomfortable I didn't have to use I mean Now I would take stack of the things I Can do right and really think or I look For times to be uncomfortable because I Know if I am nervous Like I don't know if you're nervous to Meet me we never met in real person I'm Still terrified no you're not but then It means you're learning something right Holding it together so well that to me Matters I think it's interesting the

Maybe you could speak to the the sort of The self-critical thing inside your Inside your brain because I think Sometimes Um is talked about that women have that Um but I have that definitely and I Think that's not just solely property in The workplace but I also want to sort of Push back on the idea that that's a bad Thing that you should silence because I Think that anxiety that leads to growth Also that's like this discomfort so There's this weird balance you have to Have between that self-critical engine And confidence yeah I think that's a Good point you have to kind of dance Because if you're super confident people Will value you higher that's important But if you're way too confident maybe in The short term you'll gain but in the Long term you won't grow very good point So I can't really disagree with that and And to me even when I took on jobs I always felt people say well is it you Know what point are you confident enough And I came to sort of believe again a Theme of my beliefs that If I was willing to ask lots of Questions and understood enough that's All I needed to know Let me ask you about your husband a Little bit So you write in the book you're you're Writing the book he's just like jumping

Around like I said I'm a bit of a Romantic so how did you meet your Husband so I met my husband when I was 19 years old so I was a young kid Um and I met him when I had a General Motors scholarship so I was at Northwestern University through my first Two years I had a lot of loans financial Aid and a professor said hey you should Sign up for this interview they're Looking to bring forward diverse Candidates through their management Track now these programs don't exist Anymore like that they will pay your Tuition your room and board your Expenses uh Northwestern other Ivy League school these very expensive Schools and um I think you'd be a good Fit I am eternally thankful for that advice I went and I interviewed I actually got The scholarship Um I mean without it I'd have graduated With hundreds of thousands of dollars of Debt Um so part of that was in the summer I Had to work in Detroit I lived a little Room by a cement plant uh not theirs but I mean that's all I could afford it's Very romantic very very romantic and the Person who owned the house said you know Hey I'm having a party you're not Invited I'm going to fix you up with Someone tonight

And that turned out to be my husband and So it was a blind date is uh is how we Very first and then it was over it was Story was written yep uh let's if it's Okay just zoom out to uh you mentioned Uh Power and good power a few times so If we can just even talk about it your Your book is called good power leading Positive change in our lives working World What is good Paul what's the essence of Good power so the essence of it would be Doing something hard or meaningful but In a positive way Um I would also tell you I hope one day I'm remembered for how I did things Not just for what I did I think that Could almost be more important and I Think it's a choice we can all make so The essence to me of good power if I had A contrast good to bad let's say would Be that first off You have to embrace and navigate tension This is the world we live in And by embracing tension not running From it you would Bridge divides that Unites people not divides them it's hard Thing to do but you can do it You do it with respect which is the Opposite of fear a lot of people think Way to get things done is fear and then The third thing would be you gotta Celebrate some progress versus Perfection

Because I also think that's what stops a Lot of things from happening because you Know if you go for whatever your Definition of perfect is it can it's Either polarization or parallelization I Mean if something happens in there Versus no no I can If don't worry about getting to that Actual exact end point if I keep taking A step forward of progress really tough Stuff can get done and so my view of That is like honestly I hope it can you Know I said it's like a memoir with Purpose I'm only doing it it was a Really hard thing for me to do because I Don't actually talk about all these Things and I had to nobody cares about Your like scientific description of this They want the stories in your life to Bring it alive so it's a memoir with Purpose and in the writing of it it Became the power of me the power of we And the power of us the idea that you Build a foundation when you're young Mostly from my work life the power of we Which says I kind of in retrospect could see five Principles on how to really Drive change Um that would be done in a good way and Then eventually you could scale that the Power really of us which is what I'm Doing about finding better jobs for more People now that I code this co-chair an Organization called 110. so that essence

Of Navigate tensions do it respectfully Celebrate progress And Give me indulge me one more minute these Sort of again it's retrospect that I I Didn't know this in the moment I had to Learn it I learned it I am blessed by a Lot of people I worked with and around And But some of the the principles like the First one is says If you're going to do something change Something do something you got to be in Service of something Being in service of is really different Than serving Super different And like I just had my knee replaced And I interviewed all these doctors you Can tell the difference of the guy who's Going to do a surgery hey my surgery is Fine I really don't care whether you can Walk and do the stuff you want to do Again but because my surgery is fine Your Hardware is good I actually had some trouble And I had a Doctor Who's like you know This doesn't sound right I'm coming to You like the surgery was fine it was me That was reacting wrong to it and he Didn't care until I could walk again Okay there's a big difference in those Two things and it's true in any business

You have Um a waiter serves you food okay serves His food he did his job or did he carry He had a good time so that thought to be In service of it took me a while to get That like to try to write it to get that Across because I think it's like so Fundamental If people were really in service of Something you got to believe that if I Fulfill your needs at the end of the day Mine will be fulfilled And and that is that Essence that makes It so different and then the second part Second principle is about building Belief which is I gotta hope you'll Voluntarily believe in a new future or Some alternate reality and you will use Your discretionary energy versus me Ordering you Y'all get so much more done then the Third change in endure we kind of talked About that earlier Focus more on the how and the skills And then the pardon good Tech and being Resilient so anyways I I just felt that Like good Tech everybody's a tech Company I don't care what you do today And there's some fundamental things you Got to do in fact pick up today's any Newspaper right chat GPT you're an AI Guy All right I I believe one of the tenants Of good Tech is

It's like responsibility for the long Term it says so if you're going to Invent something you better look at its Upside and its downside like we did Quantum computing Great a lot of great stuff right Materials development uh risk management Calculations endless lists one day on The other side it can break encryption That's bad thing so we worked equally Hard on all the algorithms that would Sustain quantum I I think with chat okay great There's equal in in there are people Working on it but like okay the things That say hey I can tell this was written with that Right because the implications on how People learn right if this is not a Great thing if all it does is do your Homework that is not the idea of Homework as someone who likes to studies Hard but anyways you get my point it's Just the upside the downside and that There could be much larger implications That are much more difficult to predict And that's our response absolutely to Really work hard to to to figure that I Was talking to AI ethics a decade ago And I'm like why Won't Anyone listen to Us you know I'm it's that's another one Of those values things that you realize Hey if I want to bring technology in the World I better bring it safely right and

That to me comes with when you're an Older company that's been around you Realize that Society gave you a license To operate and it can take it away and We see that happen to companies and Therefore you're like okay Like why I feel so strong about skills Hey if I'm going to bring in it's going To create all these new jobs job Dislocation then I should help on trying To help people get new skills anyways That's a long answer to what good Tech But the idea that there's kind of in Retrospect a set of principles you could Look at and maybe learn something from My sort of rocky road through there But it started with the power of we and There's that big leap I think that Propagates to the things you're saying Which is the leap from focusing on Yourself to the focusing on others so That having that empathy you've said at Some point in our lives and careers our Attention turns from ourselves to others We still have our own goals but we Recognize that our actions affect many And it is impossible to achieve anything Truly meaningful alone so it's do you I Think maybe you can correct me but Ultimate good power is about Collaboration and maybe in you know in a Large companies like delegation on on Great teams the ultimate good power is Actually doing something for society

That would be my ultimate definition Because about the results of the things Yeah but how it's done right the how It's done and so Um You know when you set a leap do you Think you people make a leap when they Go from thinking about themselves to Others do you think it's a leap or do You think it kind of just is a sort of Slow point I think the leap is in Deciding that this is uh oh it's like Deciding that you will Care about others that this is it's like It's like a leap of going to the gym for The first time it's yes it takes a long Time to develop that and to actually Care but the decision that I'm going to Actually care about other human beings Yeah yeah okay or at least like yeah it Just feels like a deliberate action you Take of empathy Yeah because sometimes I Think it happens a little it's maybe not As deliberate yeah it is a little bit More gradual because it might happen Because you realize that geez I can't Get this done alone so I gotta have Other people with me but how do I get Them to help me do something so I think It does help and happen a little bit More gradually and as you get more Confident you start to not think so much That it's about you and you start to Think about this other thing you're

Trying to accomplish and so that's why I Felt it was a little more uh gradual I Also felt like I can remember so well You know This idea that um again now we're in the 80s 90s I'm a woman I'm in technology And I was down in Australia at a Conference And I gave this great speech again me Power of me you know I'm thinking give This great speech financial services This guy man walks up to me after I Think he's gonna like ask me some great Question and he said to me I wish my Daughter could have been here And in that moment And I and at that point up to then I'd Always been about look please don't Notice I'm a woman do not notice that I Am I just want to be recognized for my Work Crossing over from me to we Like it or not I was a role model for Some number of people And Maybe I didn't want to be but that Didn't really matter So I could either accept that and Embrace it or not I think it's a good Example of that transition I did have a Little Epiphany with that happening and Then I'm like okay because I would Always be like no I won't go on a Women's Conference I won't talk here I

Won't you know no no no Um but then I sort of realized wait a Second you know that'll say you cannot Be what you cannot see And I I said to myself what oh wait a Second okay I am in these positions I have a Responsibility too and it's two others And that's what I meant I felt like it Can be somewhat gradual that you come And you may have these like pivotal Moments that you see it but then you Feel it and you sort of move over that Transom into the power of Lee you're one Of the most powerful Tech leaders ever And as you mentioned the word power you Know the old saying goes power corrupts And absolute power corrupts absolutely Was there an aspect of power that was Uh That you had to resist Its ability to corrupt your mind to um To sort of delete dilute you into Thinking you're smarter than you are That kind of all the ways that's very Dangerous I agree with I mean I think You got to be careful who you surround Yourself with that's how I would answer That question right and people who will Hold the mirror up to you can be done in A very positive way by the way it Doesn't mean you know but uh that we're Sycophants you cannot have that right I Mean it's like I always say to someone

Like um Hey listen to me tell me tell me What would make me better or do Something or I have a husband that'll do That for me quite easily by the way You'll always tell me he's the one okay I have been surrounded myself with a Number of people that will do that and I Think you have to have that I had a a Woman that worked with me for a very Long time and um at one time we were Competitors and then at some point she Started to work for me and stayed with Me for quite a while and she was one of The few people that would tell me the Truth in in you know sometimes that's Like enough already and and she'd be Like do not roll your eyes at this and You absolutely have got to have that and And I think it also comes it'll go back To my complete commit commitment to Inclusion and diversity because you've Got to have that variety around you You'll get a better product and a better Answer at the end of the day and so that To resist that Allure I think it's Around about who you surround yourself With current politics would say that too So you uh you write about in general you Value diversity a lot so can you speak To almost like philosophically what does Diversity mean to you Diversity to me means I'm gonna get a better product a better Answer

I value different views and so it's Inclusion so I was saying inclusion diversity is a Number inclusion is a choice And you can make that choice every Single day It's a good line I really believe and I've witnessed it That I've had when my teams are diverse I get a better answer my friends are Diverse I have a better life I mean all These kinds of things and so Um I also believe it's like no Silver Thread there's no easy way you have to Authentically believe it I mean do you Authentically believe that that Diversity is a good thing yeah but I I Believe the diversity it like broadly I Very broadly Define it yeah so like There's you know sometimes the way Diversities looked at with the the way Diversity is used today is like surface Level characteristics which are also Important um but they're usually Reflective of something else which is a Diversity of background A diversity of Thought A diversity of struggle uh some People that grow up middle class uh Versus poor different countries Different motivations all of that yeah It's beautiful and different people from Very different walks of life get Together yeah it's beautiful to see but Like sometimes it's very difficult to

Get At that on a sheet of paper of of the Characteristics that defines the Difference I know so it is it's just Like oh I can't hire exactly for or if I'm trying to and but I do know one Thing that when people say well I can't Find these kind of people I'm looking For I'm like you're just not looking in The right places right you have to open Them just you gotta really open up new Pools yeah right you have to think yeah Like everybody you don't have to have a PhD just like you said yeah sorry to say It you know I know I know it's very Valuable but you have trust me but well It could it just like you said it could Even be a a negative so you mentioned uh Like for good power you are a CEO of uh You are a CEO for a long time of a Public company were there times when There was pressure to sacrifice What is good for the world Um for the bottom line In order to do it because there were a Lot of times for that I mean I I think Every company faces that today and that Um I always felt like there's so much Discussion about stakeholder capitalism Right do you just serve a shareholder do You have multiple I have always found and I've been very Vocal about that topic that um when I Participated The Business Roundtable

Wrote up a new purpose statement that Had multiple stakeholders I think it's common sense like if you're Going to be 100 years old you only get There because you actually do at some Time balance all these different Stakeholders in what it is that you do And short term long term all these Trade-offs and I always say people who Write about it they write about it black And white but I have to live in a gray World it nothing I've ever done has been In a black and white World hardly maybe Things of values that I had to answer But most of it is great and so Um I think back lots of different Decisions Um I think back as you would well Remember you're a student of History IBM Was one of the really The Originators of The semiconductor industry and certainly Of commercializing the semiconductor Industry great r d and Manufacturing but It is a game of volume and so when I Came on we were still manufacturing r d And Manufacturing our own chips we were Losing a lot of money yet here we had to Fight a war on cloud and Ai and so okay Now shareholders would say fine shut it Down okay those chips also power some of The most important systems that power These the banks of today if I just shut It down what would that do and so okay The answer wasn't just stop it the

Answer wasn't just keep putting money Into it the answer was and we had to Kind of sit in an uncomfortable spot Till we found a way I mean it's going to Sound so basic but you as an engineer Understand it we had to separate it was A very integrated process of research Development and Manufacturing and you'd Also you'd be perfecting things in Manufacturing and bits these were very High performance chips We had to be able to separate those we Eventually found a way to do that so That we could Um take the manufacturing elsewhere and We would maintain the r d it's a I think It's a great example of the question you Just asked because There was people would have applaud it Others would have been this was horrible Or we had a financial roadmap that had Been put in place that said I'll make This amount EPS by this date there came A time we couldn't honor it because we Had to invest and so there's a million Of these decisions I think most people If they're run firms any size firm They're just one right after another Like that and you're always making that Short and long tension of what am I Giving up what is that partnership like With the with the class because you work With gigantic businesses and what what's It like

Sort of um Really forming a great relationship with Them understanding what their needs are Being service of their in terms of yeah Very simple Honor your promises And that happens over time I mean in Service of you know which is often why You could work with competitors because If you are really in service of you and You need something it takes two of us to Do it that becomes easier to do because I really we both care you get what you Needed and so I can remember Um During one of the times I was on a European trip and At the time a lot and this is still true About views about technology and National technology Giants and Global Ones and the pros and the cons and Countries want their own national Champions quite obvious I mean if I'm France or Germany and um there was a lot Of discussion about security and data And who was getting access to what and I Can remember being in one of the I was With Chancellor Merkel I had met her Many times she's very well prepared very Well prepared every time as you would Know and I started to explain all these things About why how you know how we don't Share data how who it belongs to our

Systems never had back doors and she Sort of stopped me Like you're one of the good guys like Stop now That wasn't about me personally she's She's talking about a company that's Acted consistent with values for decades Right so to me how you work with those Big kind of clients is you honor your Promises you you say what you do when You do what you say and you act with Values over a long period of time and That to me people say we're value it is Not a fluffy thing it is not a fluffy Thing it is a I I mean if I was starting a company now I'd spend a lot of time on that and You know why we do what we do and why Some things are tolerable and something You know what's your fundamental beliefs Are and uh and many people sort of Zoom Past that stage right it's okay for a While and never sacrifice that you would Never sacrifice that I don't think you Can so there is a lot of pressure when You took over as CEO and there was 22 Consecutive quarters of Revenue decline Between 2012 and the summer of 2017. so It was a stressful time Maybe not maybe You can correct me on that so uh as a CEO what was it like going through that Time the decisions the tensions in terms Of investing versus making a profit

I always felt that that sense of urgency Was so high and even if I was calm on The outside because you you have One of the world's largest pensions so So many people depend on you you have a Huge Workforce they're depending on you You have clients whose businesses don't Run if you don't perform Etc and shareholders of course right and So But I also am really clear this was Perhaps the largest reinvention IBM ever Had to undertake yes at a board that Understood that In fact some people some of the Headlines were like this is existential Right I mean nobody gives you a right to Exist forever and there aren't many Texts you're the student of it they are Gone they are all gone and so if we Didn't reinvent ourselves we were going To be extinct and so Now but you're big and it's like Changing what's that old saying can I Change Um the wheels while the Train's running Or something like that or the engines While the plane's flying exactly and That's what you have to do and that took Time and so you know Lex do I wish it Would have been faster absolutely but The team worked so hard and in my in That time frame 50 of the portfolio was Changed it's a very large company and

Um If you would I also divested 10 billion Dollars of businesses so if you would Look at that growth rate without Divestitures and currency which now Today everyone talks about currency back Then we were the only International guy Um net of divestitures and currency the Growth was flat it's flat great no but Flat for a big transformation I was Really proud of the team for what they Did that is actually pretty miraculous To have made it through that I have my Little nephew one day and you would see On TV occasionally when there would be Criticism and you'd say uh you know Auntie doesn't does that make you mad When they talk mean yeah and I just Looked at him and I said you know he Says how do you feel I said look I'm Doing what has to be done And I happen to be the one there And if you have great conviction and I Did A great conviction I knew it was the Right thing I knew it would be needed For IBM to live at second century and so And my successor they have picked up Gone for it I mean you go back we did The acquisition of red hat I mean we had To find our way on cloud right we were Late to it so we had to find our way and Eventually that led us to hybrid cloud We did a lot of work with red hat back

In 2017 oh we'd always done a lot of Work with them actually we're one of the First Investors when they were first Formed Um but that was 2018 you know it took Quite a hit for even you know oh it was The largest to then software acquisition Ever but it is the foundation right of What is our hybrid Cloud play today and Doing very very well so but I had to Take a short-term hit for that right Short-term hit for a very large 34 Billion dollar acquisition uh but it was For all of us it was the right thing to Do so I think when you get really Centered on you know it's the right Thing to do you just keep going right so The team had the vision they had the Belief and everything else so don't we Didn't always have exactly the right you Know this wasn't a Straight Arrow but Stay down you know you're right keep Going okay made a mistake you know There's no bad mistake as long as you Learn from it right and and keep moving So yes did it take longer but we are the Largest that was there could you maybe Just on a small tangent educate me a Little bit so red hat originally is Linux open source distribution of Linux But it's also Consulting well it's it's A little bit of Consulting but it's Mostly software District it was mostly Software yeah absolutely absolutely so

But today uh IBM is very much this you Know service most I.T services in the World has done by IBM there's so many so Many varied uh so basically if you have Issues problems to solve in in business Uh in the software space IBM can help Yes and so in in that my last year uh Our services business we broke it into Two pieces and one piece was spun off Into a company called kindral which is Managed Outsourcing Um keeping things running and they're Off creating their own company what IBM Then retained is really the part I built With pwcc the big Consulting arm and so Today the IBM of today in 2023 is you Know at least ending 2022 was 30 Consulting and the other 70 would be uh What would you consider software Cloud AI so hybrid cloud and AI is the other And some Hardware obviously still the Mainframe is modernized Alive and Kicking and still running some of the Most important things of every Bank you Can think of practically uh in the world And so that is the IBM of today versus Perhaps you know in red hat is a big Piece and an important part of that Software portfolio and they had some Services with them for implementation But it wasn't a very a very large part And it's it's grown by Leaps and Bounds You know because originally the belief Was everything was going to go to the

Public cloud and at least Many people thought that way We didn't and in fact we I mean we tried We cured a public Cloud company we Really tried to work it but what we Found was a lot of the mission critical Work It it was tuned for Consumer World it Wasn't tuned for the Enterprise so then Time is elapsing here though and you got To be upscale and we didn't have any Application remember we're not an Application company so it wasn't like we Had an office we didn't have anything That like pulled things out to the cloud And so as we looked for what our best What we really back to who you are we Really know Mission critical work we Know where it lives today and we know How to make it live on the cloud which Led us down hybrid Cloud you know that Belief that the real world would turn Into there'll be things on traditional That'll you'll never move because it Doesn't make sense they'll be private Clouds for you know have all the benefit Of the cloud but they just don't have You know infinite expansion and then They'll be public clouds and you're Gonna have to connect them and be secure And that's what took us down the path With red hat that belief the structure Of that is fundamentally different than Something that's consumer facing so the

The lesson you learn there is you can't Just reuse something that that's Optimized for consumers very interesting Point doesn't mean consumer companies Can't move up into the Enterprise Because obviously they have right but I Think it's very hard to take something From the Enterprise and come on down Because it got to be simple consumable All the things we talked about already Plus you have to have the relationships With Enterprise yeah very different yeah I mean you know our history right at one Time we had the PC business and you know The short answer to why would we would Not do that is it's a consumer-facing Business we were good at the Enterprise And that consumer business a highly Competitive got to be low cost all the Things that are not the same muscles Necessarily of being in an innovation Driven you know uh technology business Yeah but what is now Lenovo I guess That's what it's just been done we are Extremely good at that so but not as Good as you're saying is it at an Enterprise or it's not it was it was Almost very good at their PC World yes But I wouldn't and they can sell into The Enterprise yeah right but you as a Consumer can go buy a Lenovo too so look At look in China right look in other Places so Um that's what I mean consumer you know

An end device and that was a big Decision because it would have been one Of the last things that had our logo on It that sits in your hands right so when A new generation says what does IBM do Right was that a difficult decision This is a long time ago now it's like 2005. yeah so um they're all difficult Because it's not only things as people Um but it's back to knowing who you are Is how I would sum that up as right and We were never great at making a lot of Money at that and you can remember Original as IBM PC than there were IBM Clones or you they even called IBM Clones back then Um as the field became highly highly Competitive and as things commoditized We often as they commoditize we would Move them out and move on to the next Innovation level But because of that it's not as public Facing The logos ever yeah isn't it true that Is very true that is actually a very Important point and that is you know Branding as you say one of the most Recognizable in a in a very highly Ranked brand strength around the world And so That's a trade-off I mean I can't you Know it because there was a time you'd Have something of IBM in your home or Right or a cash register as an example

You'd walk into a store actually they're Still in places that went to Toshiba can You speak the Consulting a little bit What does that entail to train up to Hire a Workforce that can be of service To all kinds of different problems in The software space in the tech space Yeah what's entailed in that I mean you have to value a different set Of things right and so You've got to always stay ahead it's About hiring people who are willing to Learn it is about Um at the same time In my view It's what really drives you to be Customer-centric maybe you can educate Me I think Consulting is a kind of You roll in And you try to solve problems that Businesses have like with expertise Right okay is that is that the process Of Consulting somewhat right so there's That okay so fair enough when you say That we're Consulting it's a really Broad spectrum I mean I think people Could be sitting here thinking it does Any it could be I just give advice and I Leave to all the way to I run your Systems right and I think it's it's Generally people use the word to cover Everything in that in that space so we Sort of fit in the spot which is we

Would come in and live at that Intersection of business and technology So yeah we could give you Recommendations and then we'd Implement Them and see them through because we Have the technology to go to the Implementation and see them through and At the time back then that's what you Know there have been five of those that Have failed the companies that bought Other consulting firms and um so we were Okay that was the great thing about I Mean the harrowing thing about it was Here please go work on this none of the Others have ever succeeded before and um Yet on the other hand the great promise Was you could really clients were dying At that time when we were we're doing That just to get more value out of their Technology and have it really change the Way the business worked so I think of it As how to improve business and apply Technology and see it all the way Through that's what we do today still Yeah they see it all the way through Yeah yes uh so let me say almost like a Personal question so that was a big Thing you were a part of that you led uh In 2002 that you championed and helped I Should say negotiate the purchase of one Day the Consulting arm Um of pricewaterhousecoopers for 3.5 Billion dollars so what was what were Some of the challenges of that that you

Remember Personal and Business At that time PW had to die really had to Divest and so they were in parallel Going to IPO right so we sort of swept In at that point and said and we'd been Thinking about it a long time and uh Started to to work on that as an Acquisition so you know kind of Balancing which way would they go IPO or Acquisition and so the challenges are Obvious and part of it's why they went With us as an acquisition big difference To be a private firm than a public firm Very big I can remember one of the the Guys you know he asked somebody how long You've been with IBM and the person Answered 143 quarters okay that's a Little enlightening about a business Model right Um so we had the challenges of being Private versus public you have the Challenge of when you acquire something Like that as I say you acquire Hearts Not Parts Um they could leave I mean you could Destroy your value by them leaving they Can walk right out the door I mean yes You can put you know lots of restraints But still uh that you have there and Then we had to really build a new Business model that people and clients Would you know see is valuable and be

Willing to pay for and so we had to do Something that lived at that Intersection and say that how this was Unique is what we were doing so you had The people aspect you had that they were Going to be private and they had or Public and they had always been private Their whole life and and then you had The business model so and the others it All failed that had tried to do this so Yeah it was a it was it was a tough Thing to do what about the personal side Of that that was a big leap step up for You you've been in IBM for a long time Yeah this is this is a big sort of Leadership Uh like very impactful large-scale Leadership decisions yeah what was that Like So You know unlike in my career earlier Where I said I was changing jobs I said I wasn't comfortable Etc so now here Fast forward 10 years and I'm like okay Honestly how I felt inside on one hand I Did what I learned like inventory which You know how to do like you have some Good strengths that could work here The other part of me said boy this is Really high profile and I felt and I can Remember saying to someone like this is Gonna kill me Or catapult probably nothing in between And that wasn't terrifying to you that

Was okay you're okay I was okay with That because I I felt I knew enough you Know like these things I had and I'll Tell you the one thing I felt I knew the Best Um Consultants of any Worth their weight They really do care that they deliver For an end client And and I felt I understood service to a Client so well that what it meant to Really provide value so I knew we would Have like something that I knew the PWC People more than anything wanted to Deliver value to those clients they had Next to them developing their people That those were like the really two Things and that I could and I also knew They felt they could do better if they Had more technology and we did so so There really was a reason you know that I could really believe in so I Authentically believed back to that Point and I also felt I had built some Of those skills to be able to do that But I wouldn't call it terrifying but But make no mistake like It was very hard and it was it turned Out to be extremely successful by the Time we ended it was worth 19 one time I Stepped I ran it for oh goodness Gracious uh quite a long time I'm going To say seven or eight nine years and

Uber 19 and a half billion dollars it Made 2.7 billion in profit it was very Consequential to IBM but the fact that It was consequential is also very I mean There was a time as we moved through it I I I I can even remember it Um we just weren't meeting the goals as Fast as we should and some of it was Clients were like oh now you're IBM so I Mean some some things I knew would Happen but they happen so much faster it Would be things like clients would say Oh IBM cares about a quarter so let's Negotiate every quarter on these prices Right and you know when they were Private they didn't have these issues Well that had an impact on margins Really fast and and so that ability up a Lot of challenges you pick them up right Away and and and I thought oh boy I mean If I don't get this turned around this Is really a problem and and the team Learned a lot of lessons I mean I Learned people I had to move out that I Learned that when people don't believe They can do something they probably Won't do it so you know we wanted to run The business at a certain level I I Really did have some great leaders but They didn't really believe it could do That and I finally had to come to terms With if you don't really believe in Something you really aren't going to Probably make it happen at the end of

The day and so We would change that we would have to Actually get some more help to help us On doing so and but then it turned and I Can remember the day that we started Really getting the business to hum and Start to it was almost like finally and I gave the team this little plaque this Little I was kind of corny paperweight Thing and um I'm gonna believe it Remember if it was Thomas Edison and he Said many of life's greatest failures Are people who gave up right before they Were going to be successful yes and it's So true I mean there was also a governor Of Texas whose past but she had said Someone said what's the secret of your Success and and she said it's passion And perseverance when everyone else Would have given up yeah and and I and I Feel that's what that taught me that Taught me like you no no matter how bad This gets you are not giving up and this Now you can't keep doing the same thing Like the you know doctor this hurts oh Then stop doing it you know you can't Keep doing the same thing we had to keep Changing till we found our right way to Get the model to work right and uh Client work we never never had an issue And kept so many of the people and now We are 25 years almost later and uh a Number of them run parts of the IBM Business still today so it's it's it's

That old uh Maya Angelou saying when you Say what do I remember They'll say you won't remember the Specifics of this but you'll remember How you felt and that's kind of how I Feel and I think they do too the whole Team does of that like I'll get an Anniversary notes still on that on that You know when you've been through Something like that together with people So during the acquisition the the way You knew the people It's the right team are the ones that Could believe that this this uh Consulting yes my degree with the IBM And all that yeah I was lucky look I I Did things that helped that I mean I Knew that people joining us would feel More comfortable if they had people Leading it that they recognized Etc but Um Again I learned those that didn't then I Eventually had to take you know some Action out but but pwcc had a lot of Really dedicated leaders to it and uh I I give them a lot of credit well it's Amazing to see a thing that kind of Start at that that very stressful time And then it turns out to be a success Yeah that's that's just beautiful to see So uh what about the acquisition itself Is there something interesting to say About the like what you learn about Maybe negotiation because there's a lot

Of money involved too to me it was a Win-win and we both actually cared the Customers got value so there was this Like third thing that had a benefit not Them not a there was this third thing And then you think that People would have the wisdom of what What it takes to have great negotiation But yeah so it's a win-win is is one of The ways you can have this but it's like Obvious to even say that right I mean if You can back to being in service of Something we were both in service of Clients so in and then You know I always say When you have a negotiation with someone Um okay both parties always kind of walk Away a little bit okay that's good if They both walk away going God I should Have got a little bit more okay but it's Okay but I should have got okay they're Both a little a little fussy when one Walks away and thinks they did great and The other one did horrible they usually Is like born bad I mean because they Never work that way and I've always felt That way with negotiations that um You push too far down you will you Usually will be sorry you did that you Know so don't push too far I mean that's Ultimately what collaboration and Empathy means is you you're interested In in the long-term success of everybody Together versus like your short time and

Then you get the discretionary energy From them versus like okay you you Screwed me here I'm done right So let's even rewind even back uh no oh No so do you feel like this is a Nostalgia interview oh no let me just Ask the Romantic question what did you Love most about engineering computer Science electrical engineering so in Those early days from your degree to the To the earth I I love that logic part of It right and you do get a sense of Completion at some point when you reach Certain Milestones you know like yes it Worked or yes it you know that finite Answer to that so that's what I loved About it I loved the problem solving of It Computing what led you down that path What Computing in general what made you Fall in love with with Computing with Engineering It's probably that back to that desire Wanting to know how things work right And so that's like a natural thing you Know math I loved math for that reason I Always wanted to study how did that you Know how did it get that to work kind of Thing so it goes back in that time but I Did start when I went when I started I Wasn't I was already in the engineering School but my first thought was to be a Doctor that that was far more noble that I should be a medical doctor until I Could not pass human reproduction as a

Course and I thought the irony that I Could not I'm like I got all these Colored pencils I got these pictures This is not working I'm going to stick To math it was the only course in my Four-year college education I had to Take pass fail because otherwise I I Risked you know impairing my uh my my Grade point average engineering it is so But after about 10 years you jumped from The technical world of systems engineer To a management a leadership role did You miss at that time the sort of the Technical direct contribution versus Being a leader a manager that's an Interesting point like I like I say I've Always been sort of a do leader you know So she never lost it I never really did Even you know and I think this is like Really important for today the best way People learn is experientially I think Now you may there that's being a Generalization because their people can Learn all different ways right So I've done things like with my whole Team They all had to learn how to build Cloud Applications We called it codoff and so you know I Don't care what your job is write code You know and uh I remember when we were Trying to get the company to understand AI we did something called a cognitive Jam okay there's a reason we picked the

Word cognitive by the way instead of AI Today we use the word AI It was really symbolic it was to mean This is to help you think not replace Your thinking there was so much in the Zeitgeist about AI being a bad thing at That time so that was why we picked a Mouthful of a word like cognitive and it Was like no no this is to help you Actually so do what you know do what you Do better or do something you haven't Yet learned and uh we did something Called the cognitive Jam but the whole Point was everybody in the company could Volunteer get on a team you either had To build something that improved to one Of our products or did something for a Client or did a social Issue with AI And again this goes back now 10 years and people did things from Bullying applications to you know Railroad stuff to whatever it was but it Got like a hundred thousand people to Understand you know viscerally what is AI so that's a long answer to my belief Around experiential and so do you ever Give it up I I don't think so because I Actually think that's pretty good to get Your hands dirty in something you know You can't do it you know depending what You're doing your effort to do that will Be less but so even a CEO you tried to Always get your hands

I've played I mean still yeah I'm not Saying I'm any good at any of it you Know anymore but to build up intuition Yeah it's that really understand right And not be afraid of yeah Like we mentioned at the beginning uh IBM research has helped catalyze some of The biggest accomplishments in Computing And artificial intelligence history so Uh Deep Blue IBM D blue versus Kasparov chess match In 96 and 97. uh just just to ask kind Of like what your perception is what Your memory is of it what is what is That Moment Like This seminal moment I Believe probably one of the greatest Moments in AI history when the machine First beat a human at a thing that Humans you make a very interesting point Because it is like one of the first Demonstrations of using a game to like Bring something to people's Consciousness right and into this date People use games right to demonstrate Different things Um but at the time Funny and didn't necessarily think of it So much as Ai and I'll tell you why I Was and I'm not a chess player you might Be a chess player so I'm not expert at It but I think I understand properly of Chess that chess has got a finite number Of moves that can be made therefore if It's finite really what's a

Demonstration of a super Computing right It's about the amount of time and how Fast it can crunch through to find the Right move so in some ways I thought of It as almost a bigger demonstration of That but it is absolutely as you said it It is was a motivator one of the big Milestones of AI because it put in your Consciousness that it's man In this per in this other machine right Yeah I'm doing something so you saw it As just a challenging competition Problem and this is a way to demonstrate Hardware and software computation at its Best yes I did but the thing is there is A romantic notion that chess is the Embodiment of human intellect I mean Intelligence that you can't build a Machine that can beat a chess champion In chess and the the fact that blessed By not being a chess expert so it wasn't Like it's just a computation problem It's a computation problem to me well That's probably required to not be Paralyzed by the immensity of the task Yeah so that this is just solvable but It was a very very I think that was a Powerful moment so speaking just as an AI person that was uh That Reinvigorated the dream you were a Little kid back then though right at That at 95. you have to be like were you Uh you remember it actually at the

Moment yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah What did you think at the moment about It Uh It was Awe-inspiring because Um especially sort of growing up in the Soviet Union You think especially if Gary Kasparov And chess like your intuition is weak About those things I didn't see it as Computation I thought of it as um Uh intelligence because Chess for a human being doesn't feel Like computation yeah it it feels like Some complicated uh relationship between Memory and patterns and intuition and Guts and Instinct and all of those like So if you watch someone play that's what You have to conclude right and so to see A machine be able to uh be a human I Mean you get a little bit of that with Chagi PT now it's like language was to Us humans the thing that we kind of uh Surely the The Poetry of language is Something only humans can really have It's going to be very difficult to Replicate the magic of a natural Language without deeply understanding Language but it seems like Chad GPT is Can do some incredible things with Language and uh um in uh in natural Language dialogue so but that was the First moment in AI through all the AI

Winters from the 60s is the promise of The it was it was wow this this is Possible for um For for a simple set of algorithms to Accomplish something that we think of as Intelligence so that I that was truly Inspiring that maybe intelligence maybe The human mind is just algorithms that Was the thought at the at the time and Of course now what the the funny thing What happens is the moment you Accomplish it everyone says oh it's just Brute Force algorithms it's silly Um and this continues at every single Time you pass a benchmark a threshold to Win a game people say oh well it's just This it's just this it's just this and That that Um I think that's funny and there's Going to be a moment when we're gonna Going to have to contend with AI systems That Exhibit human-like emotions and feelings And you have to start to have some Difficult discussions about well how do We treat those beings and what role do They have in society what are the rules Around that you know and this is really Exciting because that also puts a mirror To ourselves to see okay what's the Right Way to to treat each other as human Beings because it's a it's a good test For that it is because I always say it's

A um a reflection of humanity what a I Mean it's taught by what man you know For bad stuff in the past you'll teach It bad stuff for the future and which is Why I think you know like efforts to Regulate it are a Fool's ear and you Need to regulate uses not you know Because it's not the technology itself Is not inherently good or bad but how It's used or taught can be good or bad For sure right and so um that's to me Will unveil now a whole different way of Having to look at technology uh what About another magical leap with the Early days of Watson with beating the Jeopardy challenge what was your Experience like with Watson what's your Vision for Watson in general yeah and it Was really inspired by first chess right And Casper off and then you come forward In time and you know I think what Watson Did because you used a really important Word AI had kind of waxed and waned in These winners right in and out in and Out popular not more money less money You know in and out confidence no Confidence and so I think that was one Of the first times it brought to the Forefront of people like oh I could Humanized it because here it is playing Against these two gentlemen and as you Did lose it first you know and then Finally finally one at the end of the Day and but what it was doing is making

You say hey natural language it's Actually understanding natural language It's one of the first demonstrations of Natural language support and bit of Reasoning over lots of data right and so That it could have access to a lot of Things come up with a conclusion on it And to me that was a a really big moment And I do think it brought to the Conscious of the public and in good ways And bad because it probably set Expectations very high of like whoa what This could be but and I still do believe That it has got the ability to change And help us man make better decisions That so many decisions are not optimal In this world you know even medical Decisions and it's right or wrong what Took us down a path of Health Care First With our Ai and and we took many pivots And I think there's a really valuable Lesson in what we learned one is that Actually I don't think the challenges Are the technology yes those are Challenges but the challenges are the People taking out are the people Challenges around this right so do People trust it How will they use it I mean I saw that Straight up with with doctors and like Meaning they're so busy in the way They've been taught to do something Do they really have time to learn Another way I saw it was a mistake when

You put it on top of processes it didn't Change kind of like Paving a cow path Didn't work I mean it was all human Change management around it that were Really its biggest challenges and Another valuable lesson we picked back To you said you think of IBM as Moonshops we picked really hard problems To start with I think you see a lot of Technology now starts with really simple Problems and and by that it probably Starts to build trust because I start Little it's like oh I'm not ready to you Know Outsource my diagnosis to you but I'll get some information here about a Test question so very different thinking So a lot of things to learn we were Making a market at the time and when you Make a market you know choice of problem You work on gets to be very important When you're catching up well then it's a Scale game so very different thing and So but Watson proved I think I mean I Hope I'm not being too Um I think Watson brought AI back out a Winner for the world and that since then There's just been you know one company After another in Innovations and people Working on it and I have no regrets of Anything that we did we learned so much And we probably rebuilt it many times Over it made it more modular And today tybm a Watson is more about AI

Inside of a lot of things if you think Of it that way which is more like an Ingredient versus it's a thing in and of Itself and I think that's how it'll Bring it to real value you know more as An ingredient and it's so badly needed And even back then the issue was so much Data like what do you ever do it you Can't get through it you can't use it For anything you know this well it's Your profession so Um We have to have it so that's a that's Going to propel it forward so it's part Of The Suite of tools that you you use When you go to Enterprise and you try to Solve yeah problems AI for security Ai And automated operations AI in your Robotics AI on your factory you know I Mean it's it's all part of and I think And that's why even to this day Thousands I mean thousands and thousands Of clients of IBM still have the Watson Components that it's the AI being used So it became a platform is how I would Say it right Um and an ingredient and that went Inside and Consultants like you said had To learn I had they had to learn Don't just put it on something you got To rethink how that thing should work Because with the AI it could work Entirely differently and so I also felt

It could open up and still will open up Jobs to a lot of people because more Like an assistant and it could help me Be qualified to do something and we we Even years ago saw this with the French Banks very unionized but that idea that You could In this case the unions voted for it Because it felt people did a better job And so And that's this part about being really Dedicated to help it help Humanity not Destroy it speaking of which a funny Side note uh so Kubrick's uh uh two Thousand dollar Space Odyssey uh what do You think about you know the fact that HAL 9000 was named after IBM I really Don't think it was I know there's I Really don't I thought it could be more Fake news it's more fake news I have Done I've like researched this tried to Find any evidence and people have talked To you know was it really you know one Letter it was one letter one letter also Right people don't know H is one letter Off of I a is one letter for Alpha B and Then L is one better off of that was the I think that's a solution found Afterwards you know but here's what I Think it more was I do think it's one of The early demonstrations of evil AI yeah Like can be taught bad I could push back On that because it's presented as evil In the movie because it hurts the AI

Hurts people but it's a really Interesting ethical question because the Role of Hal 9000 is Um to carry out a successful mission And so the question that is a human Question yeah it's not an AI question at What what price you humans wage war they There they pay very heavy costs for Um For for a vision for a goal of a future That creates a better world and so That's the question certainly in space Doctors ask that question all the time Under limited resources who do I Allocate my time and money and efforts I Agree I like I said I've spent a decade Talking about this question of AI ethics Right and that that it needs really Considerable not just attention because Otherwise it will mirror everything we Love and everything we don't love and Again and that's the beauty in the eye Of Beholder right depending your culture And everything else With what you're doing and what you're Gonna do how do you think about it do You think about the AI you're going to Develop as having guard rails dictated By some of your beliefs or uh yeah for Sure so there's there's so many Interesting ways to do this the right Way and I don't think anyone has an Answer my I tend to believe that Transparency is really important so I

Think some aspect of your work should be Open sourced Or at least have an open source Competitor that creates a kind of Forcing function for transparency of how You do things so Um the other is I tend to believe maybe It's because of the podcast and I've Just talked to a lot of people you Should know the people involved I agree 100 as opposed to hide behind a company Wall sometimes there's a pressure you Have a PR team you have to care for Investors and discussion and so on let's Protect let's surely not tweet not with Like and you form this bubble where you Have incredible Engineers doing Fascinating work and also doing work That's Uh difficult complex human questions Being answered and we don't know about Any of them as a society and so we can't Really have that conversation even Though that conversation would be great For hiring it would be great for Revealing the complexities of what the Company is facing so when the company Makes mistakes you understand that it Wasn't Malevolence or half-assedness and the Decision making is just a really hard Problem and so I think transparency is Just good for everybody Um and I mean in general just having a

Lot of public conversations about this Is serious stuff it's uh Um that AI will have a transformative Impact on our society and it might do so Very very quickly through all kinds of Ways we're not expecting which is social Media recommendation systems they They're at scale have impact on the way We think on the way we consume news and Um the the the our growth like the kind Of stuff we consume to grow and learn And become better human beings all of That that's all Ai and then obviously The the tools that run companies on Which we depend the infrastructure in Which we depend we need to know all About those AI decisions and it's not as Simple as well we don't want the AI to Say These specific set of bad things it's Unfortunately I don't believe it's Possible to it's not uh prevent Evil or uh bad things by creating a set Of cold mathematical rules yeah Unfortunately it's all fuzzy and gray Areas it's all giant mess it is I mean You think about it Like a Knife a knife Can do good and a knife can do bad okay You can't it's very hard it can't man Nice you can't ban knives and that this Is I think back it was probably 20 I Don't know 15 16. we did principles of Trust and transparency notice the word Transparency that belief that with AI it

Should be explainable you should know Who taught it you should know the data That went into training it you should Know who How It Was Written if it's Being used you have a right to know These things and I I think those are Pretty to this day really powerful Principles to be followed right and and Part of it we ended up writing because Here we were when we're working on Particularly Healthcare like okay you Care who trained it in what and and Where it and that's uh that's sort of Simple you know that comes to your mind You're like yeah that makes a lot of Sense for something important like that But it's just in General People won't trust the Technologies I Don't think unless they have Transparency into those things in the End they won't really trust it I think a Lot of people would like to know Sort of um because a lot a lot of us I Certainly do suffer from imposter Syndrome that self-critical brain so you Know taking that big step into Leadership did you did you at times Suffer from imposter syndrome like how Did I get here do I really belong here Or did you were you able to summon the Courage and sort of the confidence to Really Step Up It's very natural for someone like no Matter like the bigger the job gets

You turn and you look to the left and The right and you see people around you And you think what am I doing here right But then you remember what you do and There's no one else doing it and so you Get that confidence so I do hear a lot Of people talk about imposter syndrome Right and I kind of actually this past year I've Spent some time helping people on that Topic and Part of the story so you have to believe You you Have a right to be around like anyone Else does if you've prepared for that Moment you know and so It's a bit more of a I know it's hard to say it like a Confidence thing more than anything else So yes there are times I look around but Then I think wow I'm in a position to Make something change so I I can't say I Have ever really dwelled on that feeling For long okay so you just focused on the Work I have an opportunity you know it's Good or bad I just focus on the work Yeah good or bad yeah one important Lesson you said you've learned from your Mom is never let anyone else Define you Only you define who you are so what's The Trajectory let's say of your Self-definition journey of you Discovering Who You Are

From having that very difficult Upbringing You know they say pivotal moments happen And you don't realize it when they're Happening So most of my I feel like most of my Self-discovery it's been like something Happens in a year or two or some number Later I look back on it and say you know I learned this from that it's like not In the moment always with me that that Could just be how I am so I feel like It's been Um know yourself is a good thing right I've actually heard you say that on a Different podcasts when you ask people Questions you're like well it depends You know like know yourself a bit right And uh it's hard to know who you are Though there's a lot of things like you Said like uh like for me there's there's Moods when you're super soft critical Sometimes you're super confident and There's many sometimes you're emotional Sometimes you're cool under pressure and All those all those are the same human Beings yeah and I think that's fine Um self-awareness that's different Was there societal expectations and Norms regarding gender that you felt in Um in your career you've spoken to that A little bit but was there some aspect Of that that was constraining empowering Or both

You know I chose to never look at it Okay now whether that is right or wrong And again I'm a product of the 70s and 70s and the 80s where I think I was surrounded all the other Women around me viewed our way to get Ahead was just to work hard work hard Work hard and that was the way you Differentiated yourself and and that's Obvious it did help I mean there's no Doubt about it you're always for you Know you've learned a lot of things Which qualified opened up another door Opened up another door I'm very mindful that I have worked for Companies that are very steeped in those Values of equal opportunity and so Nothing remarkable about that and I mean When it was a wee kid I'm taught Hire a diverse team I get evaluated for It I get evaluated if if my team has Built up their skills so this is that You know when you're really formative You're in a culture that that's what It's valuing right so it becomes part of You so I say sometimes sister grinded did I Ever feel I was held back for that Reason no were there plenty of times When You know I read about a few stories in The book I'm laying cables at night and The guys are at the bar now I didn't Really want to go with them to the bar

Anyways they'd be like we'll be back to Get you you know bye and I'm like okay I mean I learned a lot so it didn't now All that said back to my earlier story About being a role model you know it Would be foolish to not believe that There were times that that mattered and I would say two things even not that Long ago You know a colleague called me and was Talking about media and about women CEOs And said do you notice that sometimes When it's a women's CEO they call the Person by name and when it's a man they Call the company out not the person's Name exactly associated with the issue And I said yeah well I think you have to Just understand much of what you do it Will be magnified because there are so Few of you and and sometimes it will be You know really can be blown out of Proportion right and so that can happen In You've got to learn which in which way Now all that said on gender it is an Interesting thing with the book as I've Talked to you know having a book It is one of my best friends or Frustrations I can't wait for my Daughter to read it I say Well that's interesting do you think you Could read it Huh yeah it's fascinating it's an

Interesting reaction and as here I am 40 Years later that's an interesting Reaction right I and I say no the book I Really worked hard to write it for Everyone I just happened to be a woman Right Um but there's still that that there and So look until I think people see and Never feel that they have a it doesn't Even matter whether there's a woman Could be another diverse group that Feels it it it's okay to ask those Questions and that's why actually I'm Okay talking about it because there were Times I felt it right there were times In my life on my looks or my weight or My clothing or endless numbers of things That people would comment on that they Would not have commented on uh if it was Someone else Um now on the other hand when there's so Few of you and you know in there's good And bad I mean there's benefit to that Too right you if you do good work you'll Be wrecking it's easier to be recognized And so a pronicon and I think um I've Just you know grown up believing like my Advice to young women go into Engineering not because you're gonna be An engineer it teaches you to style Problems and anything you job you do is Going to be solving problems things like That are what I take away from that in That Journey it is interesting that you

Know I hear from women That even on this podcast when I talk to Uh incredible women like yourself it is Inspiring to young women to hear it I Mean you like to see you talk to Somebody from turkey and then Turkish People all get excited this is so true So you get like somebody that looks like You somebody that Um and the category could be tiny it Could be it can be huge and that's just The reality of the world it is a reality World and I um the work I do now to put Um this group called 110 put 1 million Black employees into the middle class Without college degrees get them the Right skills upwardly mobile jobs So one of my last year's uh we had been Working on it just did Regular Leadership session at IBM and had our Black colleagues we're talking about What did it feel like to be a black Leader and here these are extremely Accomplished people and I can remember Very well one telling a story about look I felt If I failed or succeeded it's not just Me it came from a country in Africa I Feel like the whole country is on my Shoulder my success for failure that's a Burden I mean like I don't feel that Burden uh not true as a woman CEO I did Feel like it you know even the headlines When I was named said you know her

Appointment will either you know her Success or failure will be a statement For the whole gender kind of thing and I didn't dwell on it but I meant that's But I could see how people like you said It could be a small group could be Whatever and so that is a lot of Pressure on people and they need Role Models you're a role model for people Look at what you're able to do you do These podcasts you understand your Science very well you're very well Prepared your ability to translate it to People you know that's not an Insignificant thing and you may think oh You know is that about the power of me Not really right and you obviously Believe you don't do this because you Just like sitting at a microphone you do It because you think okay if I can get People to say things that are really Valuable to the people they're going to Learn something I assume that is I mean You never told me my interpretation is That's why you do this podcast that you Feel like in service of other people That you can bring them something unique By the way you do this now I should ask You why do you do it that's my Impression by the way can I just comment On the fact that you keep asking me Really hard questions and I really I Appreciate I appreciate it I'm really honored by it

As a fan of uh podcast myself What I hope is to talk to people like You and to show that you are a Fascinating and beautiful human being Outside of your actual accomplishments Also so sometimes people are very Focused on you know very specific things About like you said science like what What the actual work is whether it's Nuclear fusion or strategypt I just want to show that it's Um because I see it at MIT and Everywhere it's just human beings trying Their best they're flawed but Um just realizing that all of these very Well accomplished people are all the Same yeah Well said and then so then regular People and young people that they're Able to see you know I can do this too I Can have a very big impact right yeah Exactly it's like we're all kind of Imposters we're all like trying to Figure it out To a certain degree uh so let me just Ask you about family you wrote that my Family still jokes that the reason I Never had children on my own was because I had already raised my family they're Right so this is talking to you Upbringing but in general what was your You know leading a giant company what Was the right place to find uh work-life Balance for you to have have time for

Family yeah have time for away from work And be successful so I had to learn that And I might have said you know you're The only one that can determine your own Work-life balance companies are innate Things I mean they will take everything They can from you and it's not a bad Thing they just will as will bosses I Mean you give it they'll take it and When people ask for you know I need roof I'm like okay I had to come with terms With the criminal was me if I needed That balance I had to set those Boundaries and so when I comment about a Family because I am in extreme awe of People with children who work it it is a Extremely hard thing to do I watch my Siblings I love my nieces and nephews And Whoo you know a the emotional their pain Is your pain every minute of a day and Then you still have a job on top of it And so when my mom had to go back to School and had to work I was the one and So when she couldn't go to the teacher Meeting I went to the teacher meeting When and so in some ways and there's an Age gap between my brother and I and my Other two sisters and so I'm still they They still call me Mama Bear even I mean I'm extremely protective of all of them And it is as if I had raised them and my Mom did a great job raising them I Didn't I but I was there and so

When it came time to have children and My husband came from a family where his Father died and was raised by a single Mother very very similar endpoint Different reasons why he ended up you Know his father did not abandon them and I don't want people to believe to do my Job you can have no children that is not Right I know other great women CEOs uh Marilyn Houston who ran Lockheed Martin Extremely technical company maryborough Who runs General Motors Alan Coleman who Run Dupont these are all my friends to This day And they've been fantastic mothers and Husbands of good parents right and so I Talk about it because it was a choice we Made and so you know we both felt look We'd reached a point where for his Reasons what he had to do I'd already Felt that way and that we were Comfortable just being great aunts and Uncles and I'm a great aunt you know I Regret well I like to think that for my Little guys and all and they're older Now but lots of them and And there's no doubt though the choices We made Mark and I that that made it Easier for me to focus on work I mean It's just that's just math you know when You've got less people to have to take Care of and so I'm very considerate of That and I think much of it informed Many of the policies I put into because

I had such great empathy for those who Then still had these other Responsibilities and I desperately Wanted them all to stay in the workforce So I can remember and my siblings have Been more successful than I by the way I Mean to my mother's credit and my one Sister who uh you know went to Northwestern has an MBA built some of The most sophisticated systems uh she Spent her whole career at Accenture and Just recently retired as a chief Executive of all of Consulting but at One point she took off time to be to Spend with her family and then went back Go back to work she's talking to me and She's like I don't know if I should go Back to work you know maybe life's pay You know technology goes so fast it's Been a few years I'm sitting there like what are you Talking about I'm like you know look at Her credentials if far outstanding I'm Like And I thought to myself like ding one of Those moments if my own sister feels That way with all her credentials I'll Bet I went back to work the next day and I said hey pull for me all the people Who've left for Parental reasons and or Whatever family reasons and didn't come Back and it began a program of return Ships and I can't tell you how many in Men and women was because they didn't

Feel confident to come back they thought Technology passed them by okay we said It's three months you could stay one Month three months doesn't matter it was A lot of people like one day they're Like you're right not that much happened I mean well it happened but I caught up I actually know more than I think you Know and and I so With the long answer to your question About I didn't but I am so empathetic And I am in awe of what they are able to Do so uh and it made me then I think More empathetic to the policies and the Like Um around that topic so you could keep Great people in the workforce so you Mentioned your friends with mayabara uh The the CEO of GM Uh I didn't mean to name drop so don't I Love her she's amazing so I just wanted To I'm just curious she should do your Your podcast well we'll make it happen a Great leader I I always I tell Mary what I think of hers I think she's one of the Most authentic leaders out there most Authentic I mean he's just very Different companies huge challenges I Worked there first I remember right so I'm very you know in some ways I'm very Beholden right you know I'm very Appreciative of what they did I mean Mary and I are Circa the same well I'm a Bit older so but Circa that genre do

Exchange wisdoms oh yeah yeah when you Do anything hard it takes time and Perseverance like we talked about And you can get that Where do you get the fuel for it you can Either get it from your attitude or you Can get it from your network or your Relationships And I'm a firm believer relationships Are from what you give not what you get Meaning you give trust me they will come Back at the time they need to come back To you at these moments in life if you Focus on how can I bring Lex value There'll be a day I need Lex and he will Be back and so to those women to me Relationships are not transactional And it's a proof that to this day even Though I'm no longer still active as a CEO these are all still my friends and They are we are friends all of us and I Can remember some of them when I first Became a CEO calling me and saying hey It's a little lonely here so let me talk To you and then when they became I did The same for them and then they remember And they do for the next generation and So Um it's a very supportive almost to a t Any of the women you could name who have Been CEOs I would say almost to a t have All been very supportive in fact a Number of us work on a little another Non-for-profit right now called Journey

Um which some women who had started the Fortunes most powerful women it started Which was could we get more women Particularly diverse women but women in General just more quickly be into Positions of leadership and power and so Many of the women you named and more you Know we all dedicate time mentoring Um and kind of creating this little Group of fellows every year to do this Friendship and love is core to this Whole thing not just the success but Just the whole Human Condition let me Ask one last question advice for young People you've had a difficult upbringing A difficult life and you've become one Of the most successful human beings in History what advice would you give to Young people or just people in general Who are struggling a bit trying to Figure out how they can have a career They can be proud of or maybe a life They can be proud of I feel like a life you can be proud of Is just one if you leave something a Little bit better It doesn't have to be big you know That's a life well lived right it was Churchill who said we may it was how you Might remember better than I you make a Living by what you get And you live a life by what you give Something to that effect Um but my advice would probably when I'm

Asked this I would tell them to ask more questions And give answers Just just focus on being a sponge and It's funny I asked my husband the same Question the other day I said hey we're Talking to somebody and people were Asking this and Easter to pause for a while and he said I tell him patience That's what do you mean and he said I see so many young people like they're In such a hurry to somewhere I don't Know where and that if they just had Patience and let life unfold I think they may be surprised where they Ended up And actually I think that's a really Good answer to be honest along the way Keep asking questions keep that Childlike curiosity I know it sounds so Easy to say it's just so you know It's yeah like like you said the the Obvious things yeah I think they tend to Be the most profound you're an Incredible human being you're an Inspiration to so many thank you for Helping uh run and uh contribute to one Of the great companies that brings so Much good power to the world and thank You for putting in the hard work of uh Putting it all in the great book so and Thank you for talking to it this is a Huge honor thank you for doing it you

Did a lovely job Thanks for listening to this Conversation with Jeannie rometti to Support this podcast please check out Our sponsors in the description and now Let me leave you with some words from Eleanor Roosevelt Do what you feel in your heart to be Right For you'll be criticized either way Thank you for listening and hope to see You next time

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