- Programme studied: Executive Global Master's in Management
- Year of Graduation: 2014
- LinkedIn profile
Alum of the Month for December is Jeanette. With a background in operational and human resource executive roles, she is known best for her accomplishments in growth accelaration, operational innovation and all aspects of human capital management.
What was your background before joining the Executive Global Master’s in Management (EGMiM) programme?
Before joining the EGMiM programme, I held executive roles in operations and human resources. While my career had been incredibly satisfying, I wanted to do a deeper study of strategy and management, and take on greater leadership challenges in C-Suite roles in growing companies.
Tell us about your recent role as Chief Strategy Officer at Grant Thornton:
As Chief Strategy Officer, I led a team of 65 people in a range of key functions including strategic planning, mergers & acquisitions, knowledge management technology, change management and corporate social responsibility. I also played a lead role in developing and launching the firm’s innovation platform.
Corporate social responsibility was a part of your role at Grant Thornton. Why was this so important to you?
Corporate social responsibility, or ESG (environmental, social and governance), is an essential part of any strategy. My view has always been that an executive’s duty to shareholders and the broader group of stakeholders, is to maximize sustainable returns. Sustainable means year-after-year, in any market cycle – managing risk while maximizing positive impact to our clients, our communities and our people.
As an experienced female leader yourself, how do you inspire and support other women to get into senior leadership positions?
Every woman that is promoted, elected or appointed into the role she deserves is a ‘win’. Diverse backgrounds, experiences and thinking are essential to create, learn and govern effectively. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a network of talented, intellectually-curious, hard-working, diverse women and men that inspire and support me. I work hard to do the same for them, so that we can all achieve our personal goals.
It took substantial effort and time to build this virtuous network, but it is a key to my success. We coach and make introductions for each other, refer each other for job and board opportunities – and sometimes just brainstorm ideas. One of the most rewarding networking experiences I have had is as an inaugural member of Women Execs on Boards (womenexecsonboards.com). We all trained together at Harvard Business School for board service, and some of the accomplished women in that network have become my closest advisors and friends. Through them, I’ve met other talented, inspiring women and men. This network has been invaluable to me.
How has studying at LSE’s Department of Management allowed you to make an impact?
I was always able to see how things come together – to ‘connect the dots’, and understand how to manage opportunity and risk, to prioritize and sequence. However, LSE taught me the different frameworks to evaluate opportunity, and expanded my way of thinking to consider a broader set of solution options. As a result of my time at LSE, I’m now able to be more analytical and more creative – in combination – which allows me to have a larger impact in the workplace and beyond. For example, I’ve felt the positive impact of my learnings at LSE in my non-profit work also. I volunteer with Youth INC, an incredible non-profit that transforms the lives of New York City kids by empowering the (non-profit) organizations that serve them. As I work with the Youth INC team and their Board of Directors on their next strategic plan, I use much of what I learned at LSE.
You recently joined Valor Equity Partners, could you tell us a bit more about what you will be doing there?
Valor invests in technology and technology-enabled companies that innovate and disrupt existing industries. More than 20 years ago, the founder of Valor and a small team pioneered the idea of operational growth by tech-enabling industrial companies. Since then, the firm has served some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and companies, and still stays true to its founding principles – including a commitment to work shoulder-to-shoulder with companies that are solving the world's biggest problems.
Valor’s people are at the core of this approach to creating value. My role is to spearhead the Human Capital team and enable Valor to identify, recruit, engage, develop and retain the firm’s most valuable asset, its people.
What plans and aspirations do you have for the future?
I also recently joined the board of directors of a financial services and technology (SaaS) company. Joining the board of a growing company is incredibly rewarding, because you see the direct impact your experience and know-how have in creating value for stakeholders – by supporting talented leaders who are solving problems, creating jobs, etc. Board members in the modern, complex environment in which we operate, need to be both deep and broad, enabling us to “see around corners”. I was precluded from joining any for-profit board at my prior firm, and I’m delighted to now be serving on boards.