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Grit & Grind: An Interview with C-Suite Executive Rhonda Vetere

Brooke German

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Rhonda Vetere, a seasoned C-Suite executive, is an incredible role model for women. Her repertoire of skills and hobbies exude a strong, focused, and well-rounded woman. She spoke about her career with me.

Brooke Lazar (BL): How did you become interested in technology?

Rhonda Vetere (RV): I became interested in technology accidentally. I was in a business role when someone saw potential in my leadership abilities, so I moved into a technology role; it was the best thing that happened. As a hiring manager, I find talent in similar ways, whether it be a few levels down, or from another business unit. If I see someone who has characteristics that would be a good fit, I often offer them an opportunity.

BL: What do enjoy most about your career?

RV: I enjoy being exposed to other cultures. People focus on their surroundings, and expanding those horizons is incredible. Working in a global capacity is thrilling, challenging, and evolving quickly. I like to learn different management styles in different cultures.

BL: What is most challenging about your career?

RV: How quickly things change. I thrive in a fast-paced environment, which is why technology is perfect for me, but one needs to be steadfast and ready for anything. Preparedness is key.

BL: You have lived and worked around the world. What was that like?

RV: It was incredible. It is something that I would suggest almost everyone do at some point. Being exposed to so many different cultures and people is eye-opening. Some of the most interesting memories took place through my travels. I recently took the time to reflect on many of these in my book, Grit & Grind.

BL: What are your future aspirations?

RV: To grow and evolve as a leader. I would love to spread my heart across the world and share my stories and methodology. I also would love the opportunity to be on boards to impact other businesses.

BL: What advice do you have for women/girls interested in STEM?

RV: I would tell women/girls a few pieces of advice. First, learn how to play golf. That has been huge for my career and something that I wish I learned earlier on. So many important conversations happen on the golf course. Second, know your elevator pitch. You may find yourself with the opportunity to connect with a senior executive in passing and having that information at the tip of your tongue is key to be able to impress. Finally, know that STEM is hip and cool.

BL: Over the course of your career, how have you seen opportunities for women in STEM expand or shrink, and why?

RV: I have seen opportunities expand. When I first moved into a technology role, I was the only woman in the room. That is not always the case. Diversity efforts, mentorship from successful executives, and talent that shows potential, maybe even from another line of business (like what happened to me), and bringing them over to technology has helped a great deal to increase this expansion.

Rhonda Vetere is a seasoned C-Suite technology executive and 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.

A passionate leader in technology across industries, Rhonda 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. She has lived and worked internationally—in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Mumbai, and across India—and has managed teams of more than 20,000 people.

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 United States Vice Presidential Candidate Debate. Rhonda has been recognized 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.

Brooke Lazar is WITI's content manager and digital editor. She has a BA in professional and technical writing from Youngstown State University.

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