Community//

“How to write a book that sparks a movement”, With Author Rhonda Vetere

Be provocative. No one will pay attention to your book unless you are bold and go after something that not everyone is going to agree with. Be genuine. People can smell when you are fake from a mile away. Be real with people, share honest experiences, simply be you and everyone will love you for who […]


Be provocative. No one will pay attention to your book unless you are bold and go after something that not everyone is going to agree with.

Be genuine. People can smell when you are fake from a mile away. Be real with people, share honest experiences, simply be you and everyone will love you for who you are. You also must be true and honest. Be true to yourself and those around you.

Be relevant. The world is constantly changing, so write about something relevant to this day and age.

Listen to your readers. Determine who you are writing the book for and write as if you are speaking to them. This personal touch goes a long way.

Have a strong desire to inspire others. Once you do, it will become your passion and people love writers who are passionate about what they are writing about.


I had the pleasure to interview Rhonda Vetere. Rhonda is a seasoned C-Suite technology icon, two-time author, mentor, speaker, and corporate athlete. A passionate leader in technology across industries, Rhonda has lived and worked internationally — in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Mumbai, and across India — and managed teams of more than 20,000 people and managed teams in over 162 countries. Rhonda is a change agent for digital transformation who has led the way for growth with more than 23 mergers and acquisitions at companies. She has worked in global executive positions at Estée Lauder Companies, AIG, HP Enterprise Services, Barclays / Lehman, Bank One / JPMorgan Chase, CompuServe, UUNET, MCI, and Worldcom. 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 for her leadership and influence, notably with the 2019 Human Forward Award, in 2018 being the first female to run 55 miles through the Serengeti, and as a multi-year Top 100 CIO/CTO Executive Leader in STEM by STEMconnector. Rhonda was recently named “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology,” “Top 50 Tech Visionaries” and nominated “CIO of the Year” Award. Rhonda recently joined ITPeopleNetwork’s CIO Advisory Board to help C-Suite executives through change management, digital transformation, and to create a high performance culture. 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 joining us Rhonda! When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story?

When I was younger, I was very inspired by “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Doctor Seuss. It taught me that I could do anything I wanted to do in life. If I wanted to go to Europe, I could make it happen. If I wanted to write a moving best seller book, I could do it. I could go and do anything I ever wanted to achieve if I worked for it. I had to put forth the effort, not someone else; however, I could not do it alone, I needed help to make it there.

What was the moment or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?

I think it all started when I realized so many people were asking me about my experiences. Lots of people were asking, and not just family and friends, there were quite a few very well respected people in the business world, many CEOs and prominent people would often inquire. Someone once told me that I bridge the generation gap, because I can relate to both the older and younger generations and should thus share my story and I think that was what really hit me and motivated me to open up and share my story with the world.

What impact did you hope to make when you wrote this book?

My main hope was to make a difference in the lives of others. If I was able to help one person, my mission would be complete. I wanted to give back to the world because I have been blessed and helped along my journey in life and wanted others to know that there is hope out there for them. I wanted to inspire people to keep pushing through the challenges they will face in their life. I know it is hard because I have been there. So if I was able to help someone by simply letting them know they are not alone and there is hope, I would feel very accomplished.

Did the actual results align with your expectations? Can you explain?

I decided to change the photo on the book not just because of all of the feedback, however wanted to represent how you have to get dirty into the details to make a different and get your hands into everything.

I am so glad that we decided to change it, it really helps bring the book into perspective and draws it all together very nicely.

What moment let you know that your book had started a movement? Please share a story.

I didn’t really realize the impact my book had on others until I was on social media and saw pictures from all over the world popping up of the book! People were holding my book in various iconic locations all around the world. Some people were even doing the pose of my face on there too it was so inspiring and uplifting that I was making an impact and that my book started a movement, it was incredible.

What kinds of things did you hear right away from readers? What are the most frequent things you hear from readers about your book now? Are they the same? Different?

I mainly got people saying, “Oh Rhonda, I never knew this about you” or “Thank you for making it common sense!” Others told me that my book had substance which really made me feel good. I received a lot of feedback about how the principles in the book are very applicable and relevant to everyone. One of my favorites was when someone told me that I shared my soul with my book, because I literally did. I poured my heart, soul, and everything I had into that book and so someone telling me that made me feel accomplished and like I got my point across.

What is the most moving or fulfilling experience you’ve had as a result of writing this book? Can you share a story?

The most fulfilling thing has been getting messages from people around the world that this book has inspired them to run, workout and putting these principles into action. I just had someone say to me last week that they ran the Paris marathon because of my book and that they are more conscientious about being on time and what that means. Seeing my book being used by people and making a difference is the most fulfilling!

Have you experienced anything negative? Do you feel there are drawbacks to writing a book that starts such colossal conversation and change?

The main thing is you have to get out of your own comfort zone. You need to lean out and that can be very scary and frightening. When you do that, you can make anything happen. You also have to be very metrics driven which can be difficult at times, but it is definitely something that is needed to succeed and hold yourself accountable.

Can you articulate why you think books in particular have the power to create movements, revolutions, and true change?

So many people are completely tied to social media that they need to take the time to read.

Books have the power to release people from the focus and bind social media has on them. There are so many books applicable to anyone and everyone.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

I would say discipline. Training for marathons and other races helped keep me very disciplined. I had a goal to work towards and steps to achieve that goal, which enabled me to stay focused. Communication was also a key habit I was able to become good at early on in life. Without communication, no relationship can succeed. Once you can communicate effectively, you have the power to change others and help them in ways no one else can.

What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career? Can you share the lesson(s) that you learned?

I love the phrase that you simply don’t know what you don’t know. It is so important to have people help you through the process. You cannot do it on your own. You have to rely on the experiences of others that you lack to help you with whatever you are going through.

Many aspiring authors would love to make an impact similar to what you have done. What are the 5 things writers needs to know if they want to spark a movement with a book?

Be provocative. No one will pay attention to your book unless you are bold and go after something that not everyone is going to agree with.

Be genuine. People can smell when you are fake from a mile away. Be real with people, share honest experiences, simply be you and everyone will love you for who you are. You also must be true and honest. Be true to yourself and those around you.

Be relevant. The world is constantly changing, so write about something relevant to this day and age.

Listen to your readers. Determine who you are writing the book for and write as if you are speaking to them. This personal touch goes a long way.

Have a strong desire to inspire others. Once you do, it will become your passion and people love writers who are passionate about what they are writing about.

The world, of course, needs progress in many areas. What movement do you hope someone (or you!) starts next? Can you explain why that is so important?

A big message I want to get out and to have a changing effect on the world is the importance of leaning out. We need to share the message that it is important to be metrics driven. I also would like to see more help with STEM and teach the younger generations to know that breaking through barriers and challenges in life will happen. It is how you respond to challenges that will affect the outcome.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.instagram.com/rhondamvetere/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhondavetere/

Thank you so much for these insights. It was a true pleasure to do this with you.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Get Your Hands Dirty, That’s Where The Fun Begins

by Jilea Hemmings
Community//

Female Disruptors: Rhonda Vetere is changing the face of leadership in business

by Erika Couto
Community//

Grinding It Out: The Dirt is in the Details

by Rachel Dunbar, Ph.D.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.