I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara Fisher who most recently served as the Vice President, of Talent Management at Intel Corporation. Barbara believes a good leader truly understands the importance of a team, values real inclusion, takes action and enables accountability while inspiring the people around her to be their best. A leader should be actively involved in their employee’s ideas, knowledge, perspectives, approaches, and styles to maximize the business success and unleash the full potential of an employee. Most importantly, successful leaders focus on execution, focusing on what to do and what not to do! Strategy gives you a platform, but it’s the executive and follow-through that leads to results.
Tell your story
I spent over 20 years with Intel and had many great mentors throughout my career, but my first mentor at the company had the biggest impact on me and my career. She strongly encouraged me to be curious, move around to different areas and learn as much as you can to help you be the best you can be for you, your team, your partners and the company. I probably did not fully appreciate the advice at that moment, but it stuck with me and fueled me and my career path and for that I will always be grateful to her.
As I grew in my career, I moved across three functions from a discipline standpoint, from finance to Business Development to HR, and worked in almost every area of the company at some point, from Manufacturing to Design Architecture to Sales & Marketing to Software & Services to M&A to Foundry to Talent and Operations.
By moving around, it enabled me to build my knowledge and skills while also learning how to better influence decisions and understand where the different leaders were coming from at the decision table. This helped drive faster and more informed execution which was really important in the fast-paced technology world. Her advice was very appreciated and prepared me so well for the future. It reminded me that we all need to continue learning as we grow and build our careers.
Barbara also shared, she felt strongly by taking these opportunities, putting in the time to continuously learn and focusing on people made her a better manager, leader and person.
What are the “5 things I wish someone told me” before becoming the VP of Talent at Intel?
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to the C-level?
The first piece of advice I would give is to make sure you ask yourself why, why do you aspire to be in the C-Suite? It goes back to the concept of following your own path and finding your joy! Do you aspire to the C-level because it’s the right thing to do, or because you really want to do that kind of work? I am not going to say it is easy, it is hard, a lot of work and will cause you to miss some personal events you did not want to miss. It will be stressful and challenging along the way. My advise is to take care of you and set limits. If you don’t set limits, no-one will. Pick your thing… exercise at lunch, take kids to school, be home for dinner, etc. whatever it is — set your boundaries. And, always stay true to yourself and continuously learn.
I would also make sure that you build a really strong network along with building your brand, credibility and capabilities. Your network can be your greatest asset and remember to nurture it along the way.
Is there anything you would like to share?
Make sure you are doing something you love and stay true to your voice. Be proud, be confident and remember that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. Make sure you take care of you! It is great to take risks, challenge and push yourself out of your comfort zone, but always take care of you because it will show in how you show up in life!