I had the pleasure of interviewing Rhonda Vetere is a seasoned C-Suite technology executive and technology icon who has worked across industries in global technology. A change agent for digital transformation, she has led the way for growth with more than 23 mergers and acquisitions at companies.
As an industry expert and influencer, Vetere has been a keynote speaker and panelist at many conferences and events, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, WIT (Women in Technology) Connect, Microsoft Global CIO Summit, Dell EMC World, and the U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate Debate. Rhonda has been recognized with for her leadership and influence, notably with a 2017 Stevie Award for Excellence in Transforming Business and as a multi-year Top 100 CIO/CTO Executive Leader in STEM by STEMconnector.
Grit & Grind is Vetere’s second book — she is also the co-author of an HP special edition book, Enterprise Service Management for Dummies.
An avid sports fan and real-world corporate athlete, Rhonda stays focused and sharp by competing in marathons and triathlons on a regular basis — over 70 events thus far, including triathlons, half-marathons, marathons, and IRONMAN 70.3 mile triathlons. She recently ran 55 miles in the Serengeti as part of a girls and women’s empowerment fundraiser: the first women-only run of its kind.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thank you so much for asking. My backstory is probably much different than people expect. I grew up working for everything. Sports were a huge part of my life and I believe impacted my work ethic and focus as an adult. The cadence of training is something that I use today in my corporate life as well as for IRONMAN and other races.
I have traveled so much throughout my years in various positions and lived in other countries as well. I decided that it was time to share some of my experiences and lessons learned to help others.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started writing your book.
When deciding to name my book, Grit & Grind, we came up with the theme to use dirt in the photo shoot. It was definitely a funny process getting ready for the photoshoot and then being smeared with dirt. The images came out really incredible and I was able to showcase that I am not afraid of hard work and getting your hands dirty. That’s where the fun is!
What do you think makes your book stand out? Can you share a story?
This book is amazing. There is something in it for everyone. Whether you are in the corporate world, an entrepreneur, an athlete, a stay at home parent….or literally anyone, the principles can be applied. It takes grit to achieve your dreams and it was so special to be able to share some of my personal struggles, triumphs, and experiences to hopefully help make the path easier for others.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I would say one of my first mentors in the corporate world had a huge impact on me. They saw potential in me and would move me around to fix different departments. I cannot express more gratitude for the opportunity and the risk that he took. I did not come from a background in technology, but because I was able to leverage my change management skills, I have made a career in it. Some people would call me “Olivia Pope.”
Now that your book is launched what exciting projects are you working on now?
My book is available for pre-order now. It is officially launching on March 5th. I am going to be spending my time on a true passion of mine, STEM efforts. I will be speaking with women and girls globally around things like confidence, self-esteem, balance, mentorship, pivoting, leadership styles, etc.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I bring goodness to the World by giving back to the USA Olympic Team as a trustee and believe in helping place athletes in the business world after their career in the Olympics. I mentor folks around the world and industry to help them in their career. Along with adopting orphans in India — we as a global team go there twice a year and give money and make a day of donating our time to help out with the little ones. In addition, believe in helping College students make their curriculum choices and on two Advisory Boards for Colleges.
I also spend time mentoring women globally, and is passionate about women supporting other women and lifting them up. I want to encourage girls and women to find careers in this space because there is so much opportunity. Last Fall, I ran in the inaugural Serengeti Girls Run, a 55-mile women-only run in October through the Tanzanian bush to raise money for girls’ empowerment programs in local communities. I also spoke to some of the local girls there about self esteem. It was such a life changing experience, I have already committed to running again next year!
Do you have a favorite quote that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
A few quotes that have impacted my life include:
“You can climb any mountain as long as you keep going and not stop.”
“ Keep swimming” because I am a swimmer at heart and know what that cadence feels like.
“Treat others how you want to be treated” — something that was instilled in me at an early age and I live by it.
Many listeners have aspirations to write their own book, what 5 things do they need to know before beginning that process?
Carve out time. Writing a book is an extremely long process as you can image. Then comes the iterations of edits. You need to be able to set aside uninterrupted time to achieve this.
Have an outline for your book. Know what you want to talk about.
Know the audience you are targeting for your book. Who is going to be interested in your book?
Know what impact you want to make with the content. Why are you writing?
Write like your parents can understand it. Be clear and have the book be relevant to all different walks of life.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career?
Be mobile get out of the USA. This is huge and so important! There is so much to be experienced and learned from other countries.
Take the uncomfortable positions. This is the only way to grow. Take on opportunities that will challenge you and make you step outside of your comfort zone.
Fail hard and fail fast — pick up and go forward. You cannot learn and grow without making mistakes. The resiliency you learn and how you rebound is the most important thing.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
NFL commissioner. I am an avid sports fan and would love to one day have more involvement as a coach!
Please share how our listeners can get in touch with you?
Twitter — twitter.com/RhondaVetereH
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/rhondamvetere/
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhondavetere
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Jilea Hemmings is the CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on Leaders In The Cannabis Industry.J