Meet Jullie Wogelius, Global Sales Enablement Director for Global Sales Operation in the Intelligent Devices Group in Lenovo. She has worked closely with the GEO teams, BG SME´s and the Channel partners to sunset the 4 GEOs old partner platforms delivering one new global Lenovo partner portal “the Lenovo Partner Hub”, she has won several times the award EMEA TOP 100 CLUB by Lenovo.
Who is Jullie Wogelius? Define yourself
I am a 47-year-old wife of 22 years, mother of two children ages 16 and 20. I am a very driven and ambitious person believing it is ok to try, fail and learn because that is what helps me develop both in my work life but also in my personal life. I often tell my children no one is perfect, but they should strive hard to improve a little every day because without effort nothing new and exciting will happen. I get energy from helping people, setting goals, and delivering results. And I take equal pleasure in leading my team to achieve their goals since my success only happens when the team is driven and inspired to deliver on their commitments.
I love spending time with family and friends, cooking dinners, dancing, fooling around laughing out loudly at myself and with others and engaging in the deep meaningful talks with my girlfriends. I love going for long walks, practicing yoga and I teach a gym class 3 times a week.
“Remember not knowing is not a weakness but an opportunity to learn. I cultured to relinquish some control, adapt quickly to changes and believe that I have choices in my career when I plan for myself and ask for new opportunities”
How were you as a kid?
My mom would tell you I was probably a bit of a wild child or more like one of the boys climbing in trees, biking around the neighborhood, tumbling around in snow fights, and climbing out of windows. I was willful and not afraid to speak up. But I was also an insecure teenager on the inside worrying about not being good enough. This in part is what drives me to always want to be a little better.
You have a master’s degree in English and Intercultural Business Communication at Copenhagen Business School, why did you choose that course of study?
Since I was a kid business and sales have interested me inspired by going to work with my father in his 2 hardware stores in the weekends during my childhood years servicing customers and understanding the trade. And in school I started learning English already in 2nd grade and since then I have loved language. Finally, I was eager to understand how to better communicate with consideration for different cultures in an ever more globalizing world. So, studying language and intercultural communication seemed like the perfect fit and it was. I wrote my Master thesis about Lenovo’s acquisition of IBMs PC division in 2005 and the challenges and actions taken merging 2 such culturally different companies. And this is how I got into IT.
You have worked for Lenovo for almost 14 years challenging yourself through 6 different roles in sales and business development spanning across SMB, Large Enterprise, and Consumer segments from local to GEO areas of responsibility before joining the global team, what are the biggest lessons you have learned over the years in this company?
Daring to think outside the box fostering an entrepreneurial spirit is a must to develop and perform. It is an integral part of our culture that it is ok to try and fail, because ultimately failing will help you learn and improve as part of development. Previously I used to think that failure was not an option which made it more difficult to succeed. I have learned that cross-team collaboration with different types of people of different backgrounds and beliefs builds strength in success as people inspire each other to think differently. I have learned not to be afraid of taking a calculated risk as long as I understand the data behind it. Rely on your teammates, no matter your level you can’t know it all, so make sure to ask explorative questions. Remember not knowing is not a weakness but an opportunity to learn. I cultured to relinquish some control, adapt quickly to changes and believe that I have choices in my career when I plan for myself and ask for new opportunities.
“I think one key ingredient is the way I engage with people. When engaging with customers of any kind I take a holistic approach to understanding the needs and addressing the pain points raised. Another is I listen, and I ask questions to learn”
You are the Global Sales Enablement Director for Lenovo for Global Sales Operation in the Intelligent Devices Group; can you describe in simple words what activities do you do?
A key area I am responsible for is our new global partner portal Lenovo Partner Hub which is a critical vehicle in enabling our channel partners to easily do business with us. To build and enhance the Lenovo Partner Hub I work with business transformation teams and delivery teams enabling new strategic designs for Lenovo Partner Hub. Key activities involve setting the strategy for my workstream and leading the prioritization of the roadmap for future enhancements. Furthermore, my key actions also drive improvements to internal processes and solutions to support our channel sales and channel partner community as part of Lenovo’s ever ongoing transformation. A transformation motivated by our desire to enable and empower our channel partners in our collaboration to grow our business. The workstream I lead is the Planning & Enablement workstream part of our global Channel Center of Excellence.
Because of Covid-19 I have not traveled for almost a year, but before I used to travel a lot to meet my stakeholders and delivery teams to effectively agree on processes and designs as well as strategic planning. Now I spend most of my day in calls working from home which is really a challenge for a social creature like me, but there are positive benefits in WLB if I make sure to plan them.
You have worked closely with the GEO teams, BG SMEs and the Channel partners to sunset the 4 GEOs old partner platforms delivering one new global Lenovo partner portal the Lenovo Partner Hub, you speak 3 languages and you have won several times the award EMEA TOP 100 CLUB by Lenovo, what´s the recipe for your success?
I think one key ingredient is the way I engage with people. When engaging with customers of any kind I take a holistic approach to understanding the needs and addressing the pain points raised. Another is I listen, and I ask questions to learn. There are no stupid questions. I constantly try to understand the GEOs businesses as they evolve and I stay up to date on the markets, tech trends and in general use data to make decisions.
I also make a great effort to build relations with the people I work with and I care about the people I engage trying to make sure they know how much I appreciate their efforts and aim to lead them to achieve their goals. I do also set high expectations to the people I collaborate with and myself aiming to lead by example. I am a planner, very organized and a bit of control freak and expect that deadlines and agreements are honored. And finally, I aim to have fun, joke around and no surprise hard work is involved.
“Technology must be designed for women, men, disabled users and specifically for purpose of use and based on relevant unbiased data. Enabling humans to save time with technology and have a better life quality”
You have mentioned that tech for users must be built with a focus on diversity and inclusion to consider all users equally, tech for humans should help save time, improve life quality, WLB and education, tell us more about your vision?
Technology for humans is about being connected using data to help your decision making down to the grocery shopping list. I envision the future of everything connected in smart homes, smart buildings and smart cities that will also help save resources benefitting the environment. I believe that technology can help save the world and improve the lives of humans if technology is always designed with humans at the heart of it. It is key that tech solutions are developed considering that all users are different and have different needs, so a wide series of solutions and devices are needed if you want to address the full specter of the needs for the users to truly help them. To achieve this technology must be designed for women, men, disabled users and specifically for purpose of use and based on relevant unbiased data. Enabling humans to save time with technology and have a better life quality is really all about how we can use technology with faster connectivity to help us manage our days, our tasks and even our health. WLB will also be improved by this. Education could also be made much exciting and interactive using AR/VR goggles imagine learning history and geography in VR as examples.
What are the things that make you prouder to be part of Lenovo?
Our brand and vision are cool; I love our products, the quality of our products and that our products are designed to make a difference for the users always with the differences of users taken into consideration whether it is for play, education, work and even now for users with disabilities. Our business is extremely customer centric like that. I am very proud that Lenovo is a corporation very invested in improving our carbon footprint in our solutions and in our workplace at the same time delivering solutions that will really help people whether it is to manage time, ease of doing business or in the health sector as example. Our strategy ‘Smarter technology for all’ really means that. Last year we launched a Product Diversity Office collecting data that will help us improve our products with thought for diversity and inclusivity like people with disabilities. Smart technology for all represents how we constantly change and develop new solutions for our customers to really help them from the usage of IoT devices, to PCs or data center products powering research. I am also immensely proud of the efforts of our diversity and inclusivity office to ensure a person of any culture, religion, gender, or sexuality can find a place in Lenovo because it is valued and understood that diversity and inclusivity is a must to succeed and deliver those customer centric smarter solutions. In numbers 36% of our employees WW are women and 21% are in exec roles. 5 of 14 in the Lenovo executive committee are unique nationalities.
“We do not have to be a perfect fit for a role in STEM to be good at it and we need to allow ourselves room to learn and to take chances. Businesses must invest in women’s’ education and career development, but women must also ask for it”
What is one strategy that has helped you grow in your professional ladder?
I ask for what I want. If you don’t ask for what you want, odds are you will not get it.
What situation marked your life in a way that prompted you to be who you are today?
When I was young only 16 my father died. My mother had been a stay-at-home mom and then in a short period of time she had to figure out how to manage his hardware stores and make ends meet financially which had never been her responsibility before. My father’s death made me grow up fast and toughen up, made me a survivor and a fighter. And my mother’s new situation taught me the importance of being self-sufficient and independent. Dealing with the grief later in my grown-up life also gave me a very deep understanding of myself and what drives me and makes me happy. Thinking about it I still have this desire to make him proud of me and the journey I have taken to become the woman I am today. So, I want to do well and apply myself for him. But ultimately the goal to be independent has fueled my ambitions.
Do you have any philosophy that guides your career decisions?
My philosophy is to be never afraid to try something new even if you can’t tick off all the skills required to do the job. Just do it! Believe in yourself!
I love trying out my skills and knowledge in new areas which is why I have deliberately worked in several of our segments within sales in Denmark. The same goes for my international roles focused on indirectly developing our business in channel development and managing alliance partners and now the Lenovo Partner Hub development again new areas of responsibilities. In every new role I have learned something new about our business, engaged with new people with different skills and backgrounds whom I could learn from …
“I think you can have it all career, family and fun if you do not set unrealistic expectations to yourself that you must be perfect while you do it. No one is perfect and no one can do everything equally well”
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women in STEM? What would you suggest addressing this?
Our surroundings and societies are still too often stuck in antiquated role models; women still feel left out of the boys’ club that unfortunately still exists and can be difficult to overcome. Women still need to be reminded that their unique qualities and differences from men are a benefit not a nuisance. And the paradigm of women vs men in the workplace and sexism is also hurtful in the way it can foster insecurity in both genders. There must be respect for each other. It is also an issue that many companies still do not have enough women in leadership as leaders tend to hire people like themselves if there is not a strong strategy in the company to drive diversity and inclusion.
Women need to trust they can do what they want and stop accepting the role models they are associated with. I am not necessarily a big fan of quotas because it will leave room for doubt, so it is critical that women adjust their own mindsets as well … we do not have to be a perfect fit for a role in STEM to be good at it and we need to allow ourselves room to learn and to take chances. Businesses must invest in women’s’ education and career development, but women must also ask for it. Don’t anticipate but do. I also think equal parental leave and a full acceptance of that is critical and must not impact the career/salary level of either parent on leave.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a woman in STEM?
That they can’t succeed in STEM because historically it has been a male dominated world! In Lenovo I have so many women colleagues working in all areas of business not only HR, Marketing, and comms, but in tech roles like tech sales, product development and BT/IT. And they are GREAT at it.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I am not an early bird. Normally I have ‘slow’ mornings only checking some email on the phone and catching up on news not getting in front of the PC until 9. Sometimes earlier of course sometimes even a little later. I prefer putting in extra hours after dinner time with the family. In turn I have late nights which suits me well. It is all about finding a rhythm that works for you since this will enhance your effectiveness. In a global role like mine someone is always on which means the world never sleeps I love that, but it also means long days usually +10 hours every day with 6-7 hours of Teams meetings in a day. Simultaneously I get many emails and often need to prepare presentations for reviews and other regular meetings with GEO leaders. I always make sure to plan time for working out which is critical for my wellbeing. I always have dinner and evenings with my family. And if I need to help my kids during the day, I plan that as well. This is the beauty about WLB which Lenovo has always supported. If you deliver on your commitments, you are free to design your day.
“Don’t get discouraged if you fail. Appreciate that the failure made you smarter and stronger and get back up on the horse and move forward”
What do you love most about your job as a global director? & what is the most difficult part?
I love working with people from all over the world and from so many different teams. I love that the work I do impacts our business globally which makes me feel like I am really making a difference as I am also part of driving the strategy of the global sales transformation. I feel very fortunate that I get to interact with great colleagues equally driven and dedicated to making that difference for our internal teams but also for our partners and customers. The most difficult part is time management.
As a member of the C-suite of Lenovo, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else does?
Tough to say one thing only. Hope you are ok with three! One thing is the importance of discussing what we learned and how we can improve. This is critical because we live in such dynamic times where we constantly need to adapt and overcome to transform our business in the right way to address the everchanging markets. Another thing is that time management is king. Plan and prioritize your time and control your schedule, make sure you can focus on your priorities, block your priorities in your schedule and block your spare time like workout which I think is critical for your performance. Help your colleagues and team mates to do the same to underline the need to respect each other’s time. Thirdly sharing is caring, be empathetic and appreciative this way you get the best of the people you cooperate with.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to spend time with friends and family for energy, but I also need to rest my head, so I do that by reading, but when I really need to shut down my brain, I love watching drama series. Finally, I love to exercise and cook healthy food.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life, and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, you have 2 children and you have been married for 22 years, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I think you can have it all career, family and fun if you do not set unrealistic expectations to yourself that you must be perfect while you do it. No one is perfect and no one can do everything equally well. It is critical that women decide that it is ok not to be perfect. Women must believe they are good enough even if they are not perfect or have a bad day. You can’t both have the perfect career, look perfect and be the perfect stay at home mom and wife. Find the balance and believe that your kids will love and learn from you and respect you for your efforts. Remember it is a MYTH that all women should be superwomen. Today often both parents must work to make ends meet so as a family you need to make sure all understand and appreciate that family life is a team effort and everyone must take part to make daily life work.
What are your plans for the future?
I admit I live and breathe for the next milestone … Career wise right now though I am focused on excelling and developing in my current role. This will enable me to elevate myself to the next level. Normally I do not stay in the same role more than 3 years then I will want to move on to a new challenge so I can keep on learning and evolving.
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
I have not deliberately thought of breaking through the glass ceiling as something I had to do or was trying to do. I have kept a focus on what I wanted to achieve as a person. In retrospect I have often been outnumbered by men in many different scenarios and felt like an outsider needing to establish myself not just as a woman but as an equal person. Men tend to use a different rhetoric than women and it has felt like a challenge to be accepted in earlier years, since I have tried to stay true to myself as a woman and not change myself to fit in. To overcome a challenge like the salary level my recommendation is to articulate your worth and why you deserve a raise, not just think about it which I believe women tend to do. Fight for it like a man a man would not be shy to do that. But I have also been fortunate to work for a company like Lenovo where there is a huge focus on managing and leading diversity and inclusion.
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to be like you?
Forget about role models, forget about accepting anyone telling you there is something you can’t do. If you dream of an education and a career within STEM pursue it. But get an education no matter what if you can. Use your education not as a value barometer, but as a tool. Forge your career around something you find fun and inspiring that meets your desires to add value. Then you can do what you want. Dare to dream big, take chances and formulate what you want and ask for it or go get it. Forget about perfection and being able to tick all the boxes! You don’t have to meet all criteria on a job application to apply. Believe you can do it. Don’t get discouraged if you fail. Appreciate that the failure made you smarter and stronger and get back up on the horse and move forward.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that has had a deep impact on your thinking?
I am very inspired by the newsletters from The Daily Stoic. Food for thought from the Stoics with advice on how to deal with adversary of life and all the stuff you can’t control. I love the book by Daniel H Pink ‘Drive’ about what motivates us appraising that knowledge and improved skills should be the ultimate reward for a job well done and meeting your KPIs instead of monetary rewards. Make sure what you do in life is something you are passionate about, something that brings you purpose and joy then you will succeed to achieve your goals.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Jullie and what´s not?
I am just Jullie and I try to stay the same whether at work or in personal life. I don’t believe in hiding yourself or your personality. But of course, I adapt to situations or people I work with. Managing versions of myself to a specific situation can be beneficial to achieve goals and get the best of the people you work with.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
Considering women like Michelle Obama, Christine Lagarde or Kamala Harris how can one choose. The world is full of gifted inspiring women. So, bringing it close to home I will say my mom. She has inspired me to face struggles with my head held high. Seeing her facing her challenges in life with a positive can-do attitude and a smile on her face has impacted me and prompted me to do the same. My mom has lived life showing me when the going gets tough get going and that adversity will not break you but make you stronger.
Name: Jullie Wogelius
Designation: Global Sales Enablement Director for Global Sales Operation in the Intelligent Devices Group.