Q: What is the general scope of your role?
A: I’m Chief of Staff for the Content and Technology team at Dun & Bradstreet. I work with our Chief Content & Technology Officer, Curtis Brown, to propel the overall execution of his office, the development of our strategy and our organizational design and models.
Q: You've worn a number of hats at Dun & Bradstreet - and before. Tell us.
A: I began my career in the U.S. Air Force as an officer stationed in Colorado, California and Wyoming. After I transitioned to civilian life, I started in technology consulting, and worked in a variety of industries. After that, I did a targeted search and found Dun & Bradstreet. The mission of the company really spoke to me, so I interviewed for a stimulating role and joined the company. That was ten years ago. Over the years, I’ve worked primarily in the technology team. I started doing technology controls and compliance; I then worked in infrastructure and operations; and also lead the program management office.
Q: What do you think makes working at Dun & Bradstreet different from other companies?
A: At Dun & Bradstreet, I think what really separates us from any of the other companies I’ve worked at before is the sense of empowerment each of us feels. We are held to a standard where we’re empowered to lead our area and become real agents of change inside the company. At the core of Dun & Bradstreet, we treat people like adults. We’re here to do really great work, and not to be micromanaged. We’re hired for our skills, expertise, and our ability to collaborate. We’re empowered to do just that!
Q: What characteristics do you look for when interviewing candidates for new roles on your team?
A: I’m looking for team members who have a variety of values and skills, but most important is a person’s ability to collaborate and work well with teams, as a team member, and as a team leader. We want people who will take the initiative to lead by example, and we want folks who are always willing to learn, develop and be agents of change.
Q: How is the lean/agile transformation affecting your team and your work?
A: The way I think about lean principles at Dun & Bradstreet is looking at our process chains inside the company, and nearly applying a manufacturing lens to them: how do we break down a process, look for inefficiencies, and raise the alarm when they’re not working well? We couple that with agile practices: by taking the same problems and looking at them in a series of sprints – 2 to 3 weeks at a time – making incremental improvements, and then sitting down to talk about the learnings so we can incorporate them into the next planning cycle of 2 to 3 weeks.
Q: There's a lot of talk about how the culture at Dun & Bradstreet is becoming more modern. Can you give us an example? What does that mean to you?
A: Something I really respect about the company is how we handle performance management. We took a process that really wasn’t working well, that took a tremendous amount of time for little payback, and said, “This doesn’t make sense. We’re not going to do it anymore.” And instead, we agreed we should be giving feedback real time so people should never be surprised about what they need to improve upon. Feedback should be incorporated into our day-to-day dialogue.
Q: What has kept you here for over a decade?
A: I come to work every day because the way the company has grown and evolved over time has become a perfect fit for me. We spend a tremendous about of time with colleagues and our customers, so there has to be a sense that this time is well spent. For me, fundamentally how we work and operate day-to-day at Dun & Bradstreet fits how I like to work with others. Also, what really gets me excited is being heavily involved into the future of the company, and working with a variety of teams to help them achieve their mission. A lot of times I get brought in to help with different escalations, and resolving risks and issues on big programs, and to help teams hit their objectives and meet their goals. That’s all really invigorating to me.