Working together to create career Karma

Shelagh Glaser (left) and Stephanie Hallford ran the Business Client Group together for six months while Stephanie moved from Hong Kong to Oregon. Photo credit @Tim Herman.

 

This is a story of two women who were brought together to work out a difficult situation, which ultimately led to a great career decision for both. Meet Stephanie Hallford and Shelagh Glaser co-general managers in Intel’s Client Computing Group (CCG), which is one of Intel’s most important client segments.

The two have had very different career paths. Hallford zigzagged across multiple business groups, including Intel Capital, Intel China strategy office, and the Sales and Marketing Group, while Glaser steadily built a successful career in the Finance organization.

When Hallford was tapped to lead the Business Client Group last September, she faced a conundrum. After 14 years based in Asia, she needed time to relocate her family from their newly built home in Hong Kong to Hillsboro, Oregon.

The solution? Glaser, who was (and still is) the chief financial officer for CCG, stepped in as a co-GM for six months while Hallford continued to work from Hong Kong and prepare for the move.

We asked them about the experiences that led to their creative partnership and their advice on building a successful career.

 

Stephanie with her husband and two kids.

Stephanie Hallford

Get out of your backyard: My father was in the Foreign Service, so I was raised all over Asia—Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Beijing. That experience taught me there’s never just one way to do things. It helped me realize the value of multiple paths, unique opinions, and different experiences.

Career karma is a thing: The people you worked with 20 years ago often show up again. So be a good colleague, a good mentor, a good boss, a good student—those things come back to you later in life.

Be maniacal about calendar control: I will block two hours in the middle of the day to take cupcakes to my child’s school. I also try to be patient and forgiving with myself when there are two- or three-week stretches that are not really balanced. Life isn’t going to be steady—you have to ride it out with a little bit of Zen.

On creative career moves: My situation was unusual and I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity. I think CCG is a special place with strong leadership—Shelagh is a fantastic example of this. CCG Staff really wanted to recognize that international assignments are important, that leaders are important. Sometimes you have to take a different, more patient and creative path to reach the end zone.

 

Shelagh with her grandmother, who has served as an inspiration.

Shelagh Glaser

Look for jobs around people you can learn from:  When you pick a job, think about the people you are going to be around, who you are going to be teaching, and who you are going to be learning from.

One of the most important things I said “yes” to was taking a corporate planning job in the 1990s. In the old days, no one wanted to work in corporate finance, but in that job I got to work with excellent leaders like Andy Grove (when he was CFO) and Gordon Moore.

From Andy, I learned that I should always be thinking like an owner. It is easy to offer critiques, but it is much harder to help remove barriers and build a business. I also learned to focus on the top five priorities with most impact. I make sure I’m getting those done before I work on things with lower priority.

Ask for help: You should be willing to ask people for coaching or help. There’s nobody at Intel who’s going to turn you down. That’s one of the great things about Intel. If you want to meet with anybody or have a one-on-one with anyone, you can. It’s also important to remember to pay it forward and offer help to people who need it from you.

Constantly invest in your network: Your network doesn’t appear overnight. You should constantly be investing in growing the network of people you work with.  Reach out to work on projects that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone. That’s what I did in the co-GM role with Stephanie.

With bonding leave and 4- and 8-week sabbaticals, there are always opportunities to work with new people. Also, one of the best networking tools we have in the U.S. is the air shuttle. Don’t think of the travel as drudgery—it’s an opportunity to connect with people and learn something new about the company.

Trust yourself: If I had to give my twenty-something-self advice, I’d tell her to relax. I remember being overly focused on my long-term goals without really enjoying the short-term. At that age, your career possibilities are endless—it’s really where you want to take them. Trust yourself and your capabilities.

Have perspective and be hungry: My grandmother became a single mom of two young boys in her early 20s. Talk about hungry—if she didn’t work no one ate. So she went to work for General Motors. She worked as a bookkeeper at GM for over 40 years with no advancement. She was tasked with training new plant executives so they could advance. I’ve been able to stand on her shoulders and do what I do because of her. I feel like I’ve gotten far as a woman in tech, but there is more to be done. My three daughters—and the women I mentor at Intel—can stand on my shoulders as we work together to advance women further in tech.

 

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