Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger on company culture


While Gelsinger has had ample opportunity to discuss his plans to bring Intel back to glory, he hasn’t spoken as much about the people who will help execute his strategy. In honor of International Women’s Month, I invited Gelsinger — who worked at Intel from 1979-2009, then returned as CEO in February 2021 — to join me on LinkedIn Live to talk about Intel’s culture and the role of diversity and inclusion in innovation to discuss.

Intel has gone to great lengths to support the advancement of women in tech. More than 30% of Intel’s leadership team are women. As part of his Corporate Responsibility Goals 2030the company has committed to doubling the number of women and underrepresented minorities in senior management positions, in addition to reaching 40% women in technical positions.

Intel is also part of the Alliance for Global Inclusiona coalition launched in 2021 that aims to improve diversity and inclusion practices and promote transparent reporting in four critical areas: leadership representation, inclusive language, inclusive product development, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) readiness. underserved communities.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Carolina Milanese: Let’s start your Intel journey – not from a technical perspective, which you’ve plenty to discuss, but from a human and cultural perspective.

Pat Gelsinger: Let me start by beginning my journey with women in technology. I remember taking over the Intel Fellows program around 2000 and at that time we had zero female Fellows. I worked super hard and we got one. And then she left the company. I was devastated when this happened.

Apparently I’ve been working on it more, and the work has continued in my absence. But today we have made great progress in this regard. We can look back to where we were from zero and now we have sizable representation at most of the higher tiers, but we still have a long way to go. Also, the cultural expectations of a company like ours are very different today than they are in this “rack ’em up, eat ’em up” world. Of course, we still want to be that data-driven, challenging culture, but we want to do it in a much more human, engaging, and inclusive way. And so it’s a completely different company that I took over today.

Let’s talk about the changes we’ve seen during COVID-19. Across the business world, the idea of ​​culture and the importance of talent has really grown during the pandemic, and now many organizations are starting to get back to work and consider hybrid work. How do you keep people engaged?

It’s not like we’re going to go back to pre-COVID.”

There is no turning back. It’s not like we’re going to go back to the pre-COVID state. This idea of ​​hybrid work, of distributed work, is here to stay. And in a way, there is goodness here. We’ve had a lot of people say, ‘If I can work from anywhere, then I prefer to be closer to my family. I’d rather commute less. I have a sick parent and . . . I could get more involved with her life. I have small children at home, maybe I can stay in the workforce. Maybe I can share jobs that maybe I couldn’t before.”

I just think there are a lot of good aspects of what we’ve been through and I don’t want to lose them. But at the same time, people long to be together. I think of the big three: culture building, celebration and vision or strategic planning. We have to be together to do these things. So how can I say, “I don’t care where you live right now, but if we’re going to do these three things, I need you here?”

We are accommodating and build the relationships that make that possible [distributed work], and we’re trying to build a culture that’s on a mission. I want a team of 121,000 rabid “I am Intel” [employees] who are on missions. Because we will rebuild this iconic company, we will be that foundation for the technology industry, and we will be a force that shapes technology for good and in powerful ways to improve the lives of everyone on the planet. If you want to be a part of it, you want to be on this team. And I think that the combination of making it easier for people to work in this environment, catering to their needs, but then unleashing their passion for the incredible mission that we’re on, that’s pretty powerful.

“I’m still not satisfied”

Her leadership team is so strong from a women-led perspective: Sandra Rivera, Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Christy Pambianchi, Anne Keller, Dawn Jones, Tara Smith, Karen Walker, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. For a job seeker, there’s nothing more appealing than seeing yourself represented in the C-suite. What does diversity mean to you in terms of thought leadership and innovation?

I’m proud of where we are right now. My two largest businesses are run by women. My biggest technological leadership role, technology development, is led by a woman. This is simply unknown in the tech industry. Also, four of my nine board members are women and two of these very experienced tech women who Dean of Engineering at Berkeley and the Dean of Engineering at Princeton.

So at the moment we’re pretty good overall. But I’m still not satisfied. It has to get better. There are still areas where we have representation gaps. Our African American community, we’re not where we’re supposed to be. We need to continue working on these areas.

I get emails from grandmothers saying, ‘I’m glad you’re in the heartland so my kids can come home.'”

But for me, this idea that we can come together and bring our whole selves into the workplace releases energy, it releases creativity. It creates more passion and [communicates that] “I can be anything I am at work.” And then we unleash it too [employees] into their communities, this cycle begins to turn positive for the company, which just creates an almost unstoppable force.

Tell us more about what you do to drive your middle management forward, where you typically feel that power of allies from an employee perspective, and then what you do externally for the benefit of the wider society and community that you do. pure.

[There’s] that’s all we could say about it. Today’s announcements in Ohio: $100 million, and part of that is what we call “Silicon Heartland.” . . make them technology leaders. We have introduced this program engagement not only at the major universities in the area, but also at the community colleges in the area.

[Here’s a] funny little story: when President Biden walked into the greenroom ahead of us our joint announcement in Ohio at the White House press conferencehe came up to me and the first thing he said was, “My wife [Jill Biden] loves you. She asked what I was doing tomorrow and I told her about Ohio and I told her your story after going through the community college system.” And right now I’m a legendary CEO of a company. So this idea of ​​being able to reach a deeper community: You don’t have to have a degree from an Ivy League school to make a dramatic difference in a company like ours.

That goes down well in the community. It also resonates with more diversity. Because you can say, “I want to run and achieve unique programs in historically Black communities or in communities that may be underrepresented in the workforce.” When we think about that aspect of the allies, we really want our people in the communities too unleash in which they participate. “Hey, I want my kids to work at Intel.”

I get emails from grandmothers saying, “I’m glad you’re in the heartland so my kids can come home.” You know, they’re wonderful. We’re working on that. I want to enable people to have that kind of expression in their communities, in their colleges and even in the K-to-12 community so that we develop that love and passion for technology from the earliest stages of their lives. And if I can build that into my leadership team at all levels, they become great ambassadors as we go into our communities and organizations.

“I call it my five L’s”

You have chosen to live your faith publicly in a way that I find both subtle and powerful at the same time Sharing Bible passages and Bible passages on a Sunday. Everything is always so amazingly connected to what is going on in the world at that point in time. Why did you choose to be vulnerable and share that?

There are three different aspects that are very important to me. When I say to my people, “I want you to bring your whole self into the workplace,” it can be in terms of gender identity, it can also be in terms of your personal passions, or maybe your ethnic communities. It turns out that religion and belief are considered one of the most important things for over half of humanity. Different studies show somewhere between 60% and 70% that it is one of our highest and most passionate things for them. And it is for me as a very visible Christian. So how do I ask people to bring their whole selves into the workplace, but that any belief perspective needs to be kept out of the workplace?

We celebrate the Jewish holiday because we have a large Jewish community that we celebrate, not because we are Jews, but because we want them to feel that we are all with them and their celebration. So it is crucial for me to say that you will bring your whole self into the workplace. To be truly diverse and inclusive, you also need to bring a faith perspective. And that’s me, that’s me. But then I also have to make it great for other perspectives of belief at the same time, including non-belief. So I need to be able to say what is this Diwali holiday? How would an Islamic person think about these holidays? I want to get to know these perspectives. And the more I seek these perspectives, the more I can talk about my perspectives on things. For me, that’s where the magic is unleashed.

I have received so many good comments over the years on my scripture verses and the other talks I have given on the subject over the years. But for me the idea is, and I call it my five Ls, leaders need to listen, they need to learn, they need to connect, they need to fight back, but fundamentally they need to love their organizations and what they do. I just love Intel. I love my leaders, my 121,000 employees and most of all the mission we are on together.

Carolina Milanesi is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies and Founder of the heart of technology, a technology consultancy focused on education and diversity. She has been involved with consumer tech for more than 15 years. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger on company culture


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