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Executive Vice President and Chief Software Officer



How long have you been with Capgemini, and can you tell us more about your current role and responsibilities?

I am very happy to say that I just celebrated my one-year anniversary with Capgemini. I have a funky title as Chief Software Officer. The short of it is that I look after the software and the software transformation mission for Capgemini and Capgemini Engineering. If we think about it, software is everywhere in our everyday lives. Who doesn’t wake up picking up their iPhone or their smartphone? The backbone of it is that technology is software, and software is so pervasive and essential today. What we would like to do at Capgemini and Capgemini Engineering is really help our clients build that next-generation product, build the next smart car, smart plane, smart rocket, etc. My mission is to help drive the adoption of software technology to help bring value to our clients in software, whether that is building a new software product or seeing them through software transformation. Think about all the applications that you use in your daily lives; we help them with their entire software lifecycle journey. I mean, I am still waiting for the hover cars, they are still not here yet, but how cool would it be if we were able to build them with our clients for the next generation of transportation? That is the short of what I do.

What character traits do you think make a successful leader?

I like this quote, I think it was Confucius, “Love what you do, and it is really not work.” I think that must be the driving motto for everyone, because you must be passionate about your work. Every single person I talk to on my team – that is the first thing I ask them. “Are you happy?” That is a pretty telling question. “Do you like what you do?” I think that passion must be first and foremost if you want to be successful. Everyone has to deal with a lot of challenge and conflict through their work and job, and you have to balance your own personal life. It is not easy to discover, but it is well worth the effort to find out what you like and what you don’t like. The other thing I emphasize is integrity and respect. I think before being a good professional, you must be a good person. You have to uplift yourself and you have to ask, are you being truthful to yourself? Are you doing what you would be proud of? Are you treating yourself and others with respect? At the end of the day, we as leaders are first and foremost human beings, and we make decisions. You should make decisions that you are proud of and where you can respect yourself and believe in that. The third one, I think everyone knows, is hard work. There is no way around hard work, there are no short cuts. Fundamentally, you must put in the work. You put in the work, you understand the work, and you will do good work. So, fundamentally, I think passion, integrity, and hard work, you can’t get around that to be a good person and a good leader.

Is there a leadership motto that you lean on?

After covering what I’ve mentioned, I do think there is some fantastic literature out there. Personally, I am a fan of Brené Brown. I have found her books extremely motivational, and I really like this passage that she had about a leadership motto. It says: “What do leaders want, what do we live by? We want to show up, we want to learn, we want to inspire. We are hard-wired for connection, curiosity, and engagement. We crave for purpose, we want to create, contribute, and take risks, embrace our vulnerabilities and be courageous.” I think it is very well said and succinct, and really talks about the fact that we must be bold to take ownership, to take accountability, and we want to continue to learn and grow. That is important for all of us.

How do you support women at Capgemini in their career development?

I do mentor and I am an executive sponsor for some of these rising leaders in our company, and often it is a very difficult conversation starter. What do I talk about with you? What do you talk about with a mentor? I always tell them, it is whatever you want to talk about. It doesn’t have to be just on professional development, it can be about career, it can be about life, and I am as honest as I can be. There are a lot of considerations we take into our lives, not just professionally but also personally. Being able to face that really is a major challenge. You shouldn’t be afraid to tell your boss that you are expecting a child or that you need to take some time off or I need this amount of time because I need to do drop offs. I think we live in an environment where people in our company accept the fact that we are all individuals in a society, and we have lives outside of work. At the same time, we are responsible. We do what we need to do for work, and I think that women are very good at multitasking, and we check all the boxes. Having a frank conversation and being open to reach out is what I guide them on. The door is always open. It is so easy to send an email, there should never be any hesitation to say, “Hey, what do you think about this?” I don’t think of it as a bother; all of us are more than willing to help you think through the next steps.

Your favorite quote about leadership is from Steve Jobs, from his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech. It is “stay hungry, stay foolish.” Why does this quote resonate with you?

I’ve been privileged that Steve Job’s commencement speech coincided with my graduation, and it was extremely refreshing. Coming back to my 18-year-old self, you don’t have to figure everything out. Part of it is experimenting, trying, being foolish, thinking that you can change the world, believing that you can do other things, and all of us should have that fire inside of us to say “Let’s change the world.” In my case, use technology. In what other areas could we use tech for? That foolishness drives us to great inspiration and to great outcomes. The “stay hungry” comes back to that passion. You must love what you do. If you love what you do and you value the work and the time you put into it, you must want more and that is the hunger. Want to evolve and change, want to inspire, want to pursue new growth, new heights, and new mindsets. Drive is what really puts us apart, right, having drive for your own advancement, for your career advancement, your professional advancement, your personal advancement, and development makes us very human and want to grow. I think that there is always something to learn, and there is always something to grow. I really like that phrase, stay hungry, stay foolish.