Carol Fawcett

For Carol Fawcett, CIO of Golden State Foods, it is all about understanding what problem you are trying to solve and why.

Carol wanted a career in an area that would always be advancing. After starting her career in nursing, this desire ultimately led her to the technology realm, where she has been happily "changing the game" for over 35 years. As for Carol's biggest piece of advice? Sanity check yourself that you are treating others like you want to be treated.

About the Guest

For over 35 years, Carol has spent much of her career in the technology industry with Western Digital, Quest, and Dell Technologies. With each, her goal was always the same: before jumping to a solution, understand what it is you are trying to solve and why.

Understanding the customer’s need, perceived problem, and potential impact on the business will help define a strategy and allow you to set priorities to enable the timely development of the best products for all. It begins with people, focuses on process, may lead to technology, and relies on understanding the data, past, present, and potential future!

Today, Carol serves as the Chief Information Officer for one of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries, Golden State Foods (GSF). Through its manufacturing and distribution divisions, GSF feeds 5 billion people per day worldwide in over 125,000 stores/restaurants in more than 40 countries, with 50+ locations on five continents. GSF’s values-driven culture reflects Carol's beliefs, as written in the company’s Creed: “…our success is dependent upon the success of our customers, and that only by working together can the ultimate success of all partners be assured.”

  Follow on LinkedIn


Alison Dean (00:08):

This is The Breakthrough podcast, an ongoing series where we interview game-changing leaders in technology, business, government, and entertainment about their experiences and perspectives in life and leadership. Learn about their latest breakthroughs and hopefully inspire you to have some of your own. Welcome to The Breakthrough. I'm Alison Dean, and today we are talking with Carol Fawcett, currently Chief Information Officer at Golden State Foods, one of the largest diversified suppliers to the food service and retail industries. Through its manufacturing and distribution divisions, Golden State Foods feeds 5 billion people per day worldwide in over 125,000 stores and restaurants in more than 40 countries. Whoa. Carol sent me this quote from Confucius, "Love what you do and do what you love." Hi, Carol.

Carol Fawcett (01:08):

Hello, Alison. How are you?

Alison Dean (01:10):

I'm good. I'm good. Excited to have you on, finally. I want to know what that quote means to you.

Carol Fawcett (01:17):

When you think about just the quote itself, "Loving what you do and do what you love," it makes it so every day is exciting to do what you're doing. Every day, you enjoy what you're doing, which makes it not so much work and more fun, and it's something that to me, applies to all ages. I used to tell this to my kids in school, and I would tell that to anyone I mentor, "Find your passion, because if you find your passion, you'll want to learn it to its fullest and you'll enjoy doing it every single day." And I feel like that's what I was lucky enough to do in my lifetime and hope that everyone is lucky enough to do that.

Alison Dean (01:57):

It's a good segue actually because this is The Breakthrough, and out of all my guests, I think it's so apparent with you that very early on, you knew you wanted a career in technology based on what you went to college for. So is there a first breakthrough that you can think back on before college, or whatever that looked like that really set you on your IT path?

Carol Fawcett (02:20):

Actually, I started off wanting to be a nurse but because I was a transplant from Illinois out to California, I was paying out-of-state rates, which was really expensive, even for a [inaudible 00:02:32], right?

Alison Dean (02:31):

Okay, yep.

Carol Fawcett (02:33):

So I got a midnight operator's job, helping others with programming and things like that. I just loved the whole concept of constantly learning, so it was just exciting to me to always be in that space of learning and seeking answers. And I just thought if ever there was a career where you would always get to learn, it would probably be something that's always going to advance, [inaudible 00:03:00] technology has always advanced. I had a very curious nature. I love doing experiments so I thought, wow, this is something for me. I love to learn about business processes. I love technology. I love how the two of them come together. This is something I want to do.

Alison Dean (03:17):

Awesome. Curious if you have a morning routine, and can you walk us through what a typical day for you looks like at Golden State Foods?

Carol Fawcett (03:25):

Probably very similar to most people, not even just in the CIO role, but everywhere. We start with picking up our phone, we scroll through email, see if there's anything urgent going on, ensuring operations are working, that no one has sent you an email that says the world is blowing up while you were sleeping, how dare you sleep? And then once I feel comfortable with what has the last eight to 16 hours held for the business, I move on to the industry. What's going on in the industry, any breaking news there? Be it in the industry, we have distribution and our manufacturing. Were there any regulation changes? Anybody pass a law that we should know about? Recent cyber attacks, announcements, technology news, so on and so forth, companies merging. That pretty much starts my day before I even really get out of bed. The first thing I do is just check in with the world.

Carol Fawcett (04:15):

When you think about the rest of the day and really the rest of the week, especially for a CIO, there's three things that we are always concerned about and that's strategy, structure, and people. When you think about strategy and where does that come from, that really comes from spending time with the executive team, the business unit presidents, regional directors, GMs, any of those key positions within the business units, discussing what their priorities are. Understanding their needs builds the IT roadmap in essence and sets our strategic direction, so communication, relationship building and alignment with the business yields business success. And once I can understand where the business is going and understand that strategy, then I can go to my own IT leadership team and talk about structure, because that's really now ensuring that the leadership team inside of IT has what they need in order to help meet those business demands, to support it, operational and strategic projects that everything can be achieved and meet the expectations that the business has.

Carol Fawcett (05:20):

It's the team's goal to ensure they have the right skillsets and that their team and their structure meet that demand, both, as I said, in operational excellence as well as innovation, which will take us forward. And then finally, the people, the team themselves. Now more than ever, our strength as a company and IT comes from the strength of the three most important resources any company has, and as our CEO always says, "It's people, people and people." From recruiting to onboarding, career pathing to training, goal setting, to succession planning, we need to ensure our team has what they need to understand what the expectations are to succeed in the short-term as well as in their long-term career goals, and that's what really keeps a team together, that's what keeps people wanting to stay with the company.

Alison Dean (06:13):

Sounds like a good CEO to me. Previously, you have held roles at Dell Technologies, don't know who they are, Quest and Western Digital. So based on your tenure in tech, I'm very curious what you think the most crucial aspect of a company's IT strategy is. And you may have just touched on it a little bit, but we can elaborate.

Carol Fawcett (06:34):

I think it is all about communication. It's all about understanding those business needs and then setting the strategy, not the tactical, that comes later, but setting that strategy of where we need to go in order to help the business be a success. And once you understand that strategy, then you can start building those roadmaps. And what's so key in those roadmaps is making sure, especially for a company like GSF where we have several business divisions, that we set those up in such a way that we can articulate what projects are key to them, both operationally and strategic in nature, how they will lay out through the year, and this is really key, the constant and consistent feedback throughout the year. Because if anybody looks at a roadmap or a strategy, you pretty much know that the next three months, solid as a rock, because you're already working on those projects for the next three months, a little softer, but you have all agreed these are the priorities.

Carol Fawcett (07:37):

You start buying for those priorities, you start working up the resourcing, understanding how you will fulfill those commitments. Anything after that is like throwing the cards up in the air, because in all of our industry, things change so quickly and to try to commit from six months to now, it's kind of setting a 10-year strategy. I just love when people say that. It's like, how do you even know what your business is going to look like in 10 years? Because if they're not moving and evolving, they're becoming stagnant and they will be history before long.

Alison Dean (08:09):

So true. Okay, this is a controversial question these days, but what does digital transformation mean to you? And I'm actually curious, has it meant different things to you at different points in your career?

Carol Fawcett (08:22):

Digital transformation, the most overused two words that we hear on an everyday basis. More like just transformation, right?

Alison Dean (08:31):


Carol Fawcett (08:31):

Transformation is just like an umbrella term used to describe what happens when a company makes that fundamental change to how it's going to operate [inaudible 00:08:42] manual, lots of paper, excel, to automation. In most cases, the goal of a transformation exercise is to enhance both operational and financial performance, so it isn't just about technology, it includes people, processes, and technology, which has kind of been the IT theme song as long as I've been in it-

Carol Fawcett (09:03):

Just been the IT theme song as long as I've been in it, way back when. So, well-designed plan transformation can help organizations compete more effectively and become more efficient. But as I said, it's not just about technology. Too many people start with that. They hear one thing, "Hey, let's go find the technology, a solution to make that happen." They don't even understand the why. They don't understand the impacts of people. In fact, they haven't even put the two together, understanding the processes of today and what needs to change to be more efficient. Many cases, yes, it will involve technology at the end of the day. However, before you understand that why, picking up solution may have just the reverse effect of what you're shooting for. As with all changes, they need to be mindful and mirror the desired processes for the future of how a company will do business, to remain competitive in their industry.

Alison Dean (10:01):

Do you think those two words, digital transformation, will be unspoken in the near future? I think we're actually reaching the point right now where it's just transformation. We can just say that, right? Because everything is so digital. But I am curious, if there's going to be some obvious punctuation at the time of like, and it's over.

Carol Fawcett (10:20):

We've moved on to something else, right?

Alison Dean (10:22):

Yeah. I am curious. Okay. Given again, you've been in this industry for a while, and you've certainly been at some compelling companies, curious what comes to mind as the most memorable project that you've been part of and why?

Carol Fawcett (10:37):

So many great projects, but coming to GSF has been really challenging for me, because obviously I've always been in the technology field, so I've always been on the other side. To come to a food distribution and manufacturing company was completely out of my wheelhouse, which I believe that's what everybody should do. Don't stay somewhere just because you're comfortable. Go try new things. When I came here, one of the biggest challenges was all around digital transformation, and our efforts have been very challenging, but most rewarding. I can honestly say that. As we continue to move more of our environment to the Cloud and to true Cloud applications, which I think is very different than just, I'm going to move something to somebody else's data center. We've moved to the true Cloud applications and simplified and standardized the processes across all the business, at least per business unit. We've completed the journey, for example, of replacing a 25 year old manufacturing system, which at first everybody wanted to replace it, and of course when we replaced it, everybody loved.

Carol Fawcett (11:43):

But we've moved them from that 25 year old system over to Microsoft Dynamics 365, in our liquids manufacturing plants. That's been going on for the last three years. We're all done now, and now people, especially the newer generations coming in, loved it. They loved the point and click. They love the screens, they love how everything is working. They're used to that. We've also done projects where we've stood up Oracle's demand, planning Cloud solution for our logistics business. Again, what a great tool. That takes in all of the signals and says, this is what you should be buying for each one of the 26 distribution centers across the United States. I mean, how powerful is that? All of this has improved the internal customer experience, giving them access to data when, where and how they need it. Which they'd never had before. It was always in silos, on somebody's laptop, in an Excel spreadsheet, in a secret access database, no one knows where it is. In today's environment, it's all about making decisions based on data.

Alison Dean (12:49):

So true. Okay. Is there a project that comes to mind for you as the most difficult that you've been part of?

Carol Fawcett (12:56):

Probably the same exact project I just talked about. Anytime you move end users to a new system, changing management effort is key.

Alison Dean (13:06):

Oh, yeah.

Carol Fawcett (13:06):

Without it and understanding the training that's going to be involved in it, you're going to have a lot of misses. We're a 75 year old company, so we have a ton of knowledge from the past that people relied on. So, moving to these new systems and this new way of doing business, that's been a challenge because we underestimated how much training would actually be involved. Not only on the system side, but even on the business process side, because we were changing the way people did business and how they would work with those processes going forward. So, a huge change management effort, not only today, but think about going through the pandemic.


Where as we all know and think about plants and distribution centers, it's not an option on whether people are going to work remote or not. People must be at those locations in order to watch machines, in order to watch what's going on in a warehouse, in order to watch what's going on with the PLCs that are manufacturing these products. So, that alone of the retraining and the insurance that people knew what to do as they came in, and started adopting to these new systems, was key, and continues to be a challenge for us even to this day. We want to make sure that they have the training they need to be a success, because just like anyone. If you don't feel like you're a success, then you're going to move on to someplace else.

Alison Dean (14:35):

So true. Is there a failure that you recall that ultimately led to a transformation?

Carol Fawcett (14:42):

Absolutely. The D365 project for example. Again, we underestimated the training. We also underestimated how training would be delivered. Now, we're working in a new world, people are into the TikTok world. Give me training, it can't be longer than three minutes, and if it's longer than three minutes, I'm checking out. That's the attention span that we're dealing with today. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course, it's just you have to deliver training the way people want it to be delivered. That now has caused GSF to look at its overall training and the way that we do training, and how we're going to be marrying SOPs, Standard Operating Procedures, with technical training, in order to roll that out in a very mindful manner, in order to make sure that its associates have what they need to be a success. So, that is a transformation that's going on right now today. Very exciting.

Alison Dean (15:38):

That's actually really interesting. I think in general, for so many companies that are embarking on transformative endeavors internally, how much the training piece may be overlooked, and actually how vital it is to invest in that, and understand that from a change management perspective, the training is key for the adoption and everything else, right?

Carol Fawcett (15:58):


Alison Dean (15:59):

Are there projects that are especially interesting to you as you continue on in your career?

Carol Fawcett (16:04):

Absolutely. When you think about innovation. AI, IOT, RFID, blockchain, the way that we're handling EHS, right?

Alison Dean (16:14):

Yep. Yep.

Carol Fawcett (16:14):

All in our futures, and not just manufacturing and logistics. I mean, in everybody's future. We've talked about making data driven decisions, and how that will be key for everybody. But when you think about AI and machine learning, and providing that information to our end users, that's very exciting. Because again, the whole area of predictive analytics, that's looking into the future to make decisions of today. Think about having traceability from farm to fork, that's the foundation to healthy and safe living. In time, all of these things will become table stakes, until the next big technology wave begins to appear on the horizon. Full circle too. Think about it. It's always evolving for the betterment of the way we do business today. Enter EHS and the story of how we are not only helping our customers, but also the environment they live in, with sustainability efforts. The government regulations, almost shameful that government had to step in with new regulatory requirements for all of us. But good thing that they did, and now that they have, that's going to accelerate our journeys across all industries. Very exciting as you look to the future.

Alison Dean (17:32):

Yeah. Okay. So, you mentioned in your morning routine that you generally check in with Tech News and trends and things going on before you get into the day. You're going to be speaking on behalf of all CIOs, but what are CIOs thinking about and investing in as we enter 2023?

Carol Fawcett (17:50):

That's interesting when you think about what 2023 is going to hold for all of us. There's going to definitely be some challenges out there. So, stability is a huge one, to make sure that every solution that we have put in place-

Carol Fawcett (18:03):

... is a huge one, to make sure that every solution that we have put in place is stable, is running, is operationally sound.

Alison Dean (18:08):


Carol Fawcett (18:08):

Security, especially cybersecurity, will be another huge one for us. Making sure that our environments are locked down, keeping the bad actors out, for the safety of everyone. Because when you think about it, if one of us gets hit, we all get hit.

Alison Dean (18:22):


Carol Fawcett (18:22):

We're all sharing data. I often say that, "It's not about your data or my data, it's about the data that we're sharing with each other, and the potential of having a virus live in one of our environments that we don't know about."

Alison Dean (18:34):


Carol Fawcett (18:34):

"And we're pushing data to you, and oh by the way, here comes a virus along with it," right? So cybersecurity will be a huge thing. And then working on how to apply these newer technologies in order to advance our companies, that's another big focus point that we're all going to have with each other.

Alison Dean (18:53):

Mm-hmm. I'm excited to see it. Okay, so we're going to do our quick fire round, that I like to call Break on Through, because we're breaking on through to the second half. So first thing that comes to mind, hopefully nothing that's too much of a challenging think on your feet question, but here we go. Favorite fast food brand?

Carol Fawcett (19:21):

Okay, that's unfair. I would have to go between Chick-fil-A and Chipotle, of course, and Starbucks.

Alison Dean (19:29):

That's fine, that's fair. Okay, that's good. I should have been like what's your children's favorite fast food brand? Maybe that would have been more neutral, right? Because they don't work for the company. Okay, coffee or tea?

Carol Fawcett (19:40):


Alison Dean (19:41):

Okay. AM or PM?

Carol Fawcett (19:43):


Alison Dean (19:44):

That's good. Favorite cuisine?

Carol Fawcett (19:48):

See, that's a tough one, because I love food. I don't think I really have a favorite. I love variety.

Alison Dean (19:55):

You're equal opportunity.

Carol Fawcett (19:56):

Good, I really am.

Alison Dean (19:58):

California is a good place to be equal opportunity with cuisine. You're in a good spot. Favorite place to travel?

Carol Fawcett (20:05):

Anywhere with my family.

Alison Dean (20:06):

Oh, I like that. Historical figure you'd like to have dinner with?

Carol Fawcett (20:10):

That would be a tough one. I think like an Abraham Lincoln.

Alison Dean (20:14):

I thought you were going to say Confucius, but okay, we'll go with Abraham Lincoln. Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok?

Carol Fawcett (20:20):

Probably one of the first two.

Alison Dean (20:22):

Favorite book?

Carol Fawcett (20:24):

A favorite book. The one that comes to mind is the one I just got done reading, which is the Trust and Inspire, written by Steven Covey.

Alison Dean (20:32):


Carol Fawcett (20:33):

Phenomenal book, I can't recommend it enough. Goes from shifting your mindset as a leader from command and control, which by the way never worked.

Alison Dean (20:41):


Carol Fawcett (20:42):

To trust and inspire, and just a wonderful book, easy read. You almost can't put it down. It's just a great book.

Alison Dean (20:48):

I see a new segment coming in, where we can just tag all of the guest's favorite books as well. Last TV show that you binged?

Carol Fawcett (20:57):

There's a real new one out called Mammals.

Alison Dean (21:00):


Carol Fawcett (21:00):

It's on Netflix, and only because I love the actors in it. It's a little bit dark, darker than I thought it was going to be, but for some reason this past week, since you said the last one, I ran through all six of the episodes in no time flat.

Alison Dean (21:15):

Okay, all right. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Carol Fawcett (21:20):

This is like a Miss America kind of question. Solve world hunger, cure for cancer. One superpower would be to look into the future.

Alison Dean (21:33):

Heavy. Favorite holiday?

Carol Fawcett (21:36):


Alison Dean (21:37):

Favorite podcast?

Carol Fawcett (21:39):

Of course, this one.

Alison Dean (21:40):

I mean I don't do it to get that answer, but it's funny how many people say that, and I'm like, "You're adorable. That's really cute. That's really cute. I appreciate you." Okay, so some people may assume that a CIO has a very connected home environment, maybe like an IOT wonderland, with motion sensors that set lighting schemes, and multiple AI bots, and maybe drone based security. So curious how your passion for tech translates into personal life?

Carol Fawcett (22:14):

I don't think there's a line. I think it all blurs together these days. I mean you have Ring at home.

Alison Dean (22:22):

That's true.

Carol Fawcett (22:22):

And that is constantly recording. There's technology everywhere. We've got the big network that has the umbrella around the house. There's security. I think it all blends together right now. I mean as you can see, I'm in the office. We never really went home, being an essential business. On the other hand, our IT Department is a remote and a hybrid. We do it by role, so many of them are out of the office, just for pure safety, as well as just flexibility. It's a whole new day. I think a lot of those asks have to be met in order to attract the most talented of the talent.

Alison Dean (22:59):

Oh yeah. No, I totally agree with that. Okay, continuing our tradition of past guest questions, this week's Breakthrough Club question is from Avis E. Steele, who is Head of Consumer at Luxe Asia, which is the largest retail and e-commerce network in APAC. She asks you, "What advice do you wish that you'd been given?"

Carol Fawcett (23:29):

I think that the advice I wish I would have been given way back in my 20s, when this all began, is to sanity check yourself that you are treating others like you ought to be treated. It happens to be one of the GSF values as well. I think it's the most important thing, because you're not told to focus on the customer aspect early on in careers, and I think that's the most important thing. You don't do work for yourself, you do work for others. If you can have that focus in mind when you're first starting out, that would be one, and the only other one I would say would be a very close second runner up is to be the best you can possibly be in the role you hold today. Become the expert, because immersing yourself in both business and technology allows you one day to be the leader that you want to be, because you have walked in their shoes. You've walked in the shoes of a developer, or a BSA, or a project manager, and so you become a partner with your team, not a said manager, or director. You don't become the title.

Alison Dean (24:44):


Carol Fawcett (24:44):

You only are doing those things because of your past, so learn every day, and embrace that learning, and embrace those challenges, because to me, you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes.

Alison Dean (24:58):

Yeah, it's true. Okay, what are some of the biggest leadership lessons that you've learned, and how has your leadership style evolved through the years, perhaps some of what you just said?

Carol Fawcett (25:12):

Yeah, it's one and the same, but for sure being present in the moment. That's one of the big leadership lessons I think that we all have to have, and there's so much that's trying to get your attention over here and over here. You have your cellphone that's trying to get your attention, you have alerts going on, you have things going on, which means that you're not present.

Alison Dean (25:35):


Carol Fawcett (25:36):

There are times when I sit in a meeting and there's a lot of people on the call, or a lot of people in the meeting, and you can tell they're not in the meeting. They're not paying attention to what's going on.

Alison Dean (25:48):


Carol Fawcett (25:49):

Allison, you know me, right off I'm throwing out questions every now and then, "Hey, what do you think about this, Tom?" "I'm not sure. I mean can you repeat that question." "No, I can't." And I understand why I have to, right? So it really is about being in the moment, being in the present, because this moment will only take place once. It will not come around again. So if you're writing up notes for the previous meeting in the current meeting, you're missing the current meeting.

Alison Dean (26:16):


Carol Fawcett (26:16):

If you're thinking about a conversation that took place yesterday, well then you're not in the current meeting. So the biggest leadership lesson I can say is be in the moment, and remain in that moment with everybody in the room. Encourage questions, encourage eye contact, encourage people to be present with you, because that's [inaudible 00:26:39] where you're really going to grow.

Alison Dean (26:40):

Such a good tip, Carol. Such a good one. What do you want your direct reports to remember you for?

Carol Fawcett (26:46):

Wow, that's a good question. I would say that I would love if they would remember me as someone who was authentic, a partner to them, versus a manager or anything else. Someone who was just fair, had walked in their shoes, lived their challenges-

Carol Fawcett (27:03):

Someone who was just fair, had walked in their shoes, lived their challenges, and was someone who was there to help solve the challenges with them, just generally a team member that was there thinking of them.

Alison Dean (27:15):

Are there future innovations that you're really, really excited about, like when you think of the next frontier and you've mentioned a lot of things already, but is there one thing in particular that you're just super curious about? And it could be personally or professionally, but the direction that we're all headed basically.

Carol Fawcett (27:36):

I think the future of RFID is huge.

Alison Dean (27:40):

Oh yeah.

Carol Fawcett (27:40):

Right. I think especially in the food industry, being able to tag everything inside of a warehouse and being able to light it up and know instantly what your inventory looks like, where it's located, the age of it, everything's surrounding it. Right. I think it's just going to be so powerful because it's going to take out a lot of the things we have to do manually today, like cycle counting and physical inventories that just literally take down a plant or a distribution center in order to stop everything from moving so you can see where everything is placed.

Alison Dean (28:15):


Carol Fawcett (28:18):

I think RFID is going to be huge going forward, and that's exciting. I think the sharing of data, I don't know if it's going to be blockchain or not, but the sharing of data is just going to continue to expand in everybody's world. And so I think that's going to be interesting. How we share that data? Where does it reside? There's just so much potential and possibility out there,

Alison Dean (28:41):


Carol Fawcett (28:42):

That it's very exciting to think about it.

Alison Dean (28:44):

Yes, I would agree with you on all of that. I was thinking to myself yes. And with the sharing of data comes the greater need for security protocols and those things go together. Okay. We talked about an early breakthrough that you had. What about the most recent breakthrough that you've had?

Carol Fawcett (29:05):

I think I'm always learning, and I think that that alone is a breakthrough to remember that you should always be in that learning mode, whether you're on a stationary bike at home, throw up a podcast, learn something that's out of your wheelhouse. And I am reminded of that every single day.

Alison Dean (29:24):

Is there anything recent that you've learned, or first thing that comes to mind is something new and exciting that you're just so happy to now know?

Carol Fawcett (29:35):

Yeah. I've been watching different kind of classes. Everything from learning guitar to the data analytics world and the AI space, and I mean just all kinds of different things. It's a matter of keeping your mind constantly active.

Alison Dean (29:49):

Yep. I am aligned with you on that one given how many Instagram rabbit holes I go down every day. So yes. I,

Carol Fawcett (29:56):

Yeah. You can get a lot from social media. Right.

Alison Dean (29:59):

You can definitely just question how did I end up here? What? When did that happen? Okay. Is there anything that I didn't ask you, Carol, that I should have?

Carol Fawcett (30:09):

I don't think so. I would love to shoot some of those questions back to you, like coffee or tea…

Alison Dean (30:15):

Hey, you can do all that. No one's ever done that to me. Totally fair game. Coffee or tea? I mean, generally, I would say I start with coffee, but I usually end my day with tea. I think I'm equal opportunity, depending on the time of day.

Carol Fawcett (30:29):

And AM or PM?

Alison Dean (30:31):

I'm definitely a PM person, but I long to be an AM person, so this is one of those things where I am thinking about this on a daily basis of how I'm going become an AM person, because I know it's much healthier for me to be an AM person than PM person. So there's that answer.

Carol Fawcett (30:49):

And you have a very large job where you are now, and you have many functions around you.

Alison Dean (30:54):


Carol Fawcett (30:55):

Do you have a favorite?

Alison Dean (30:56):

That's a really good question. I think for me, I like when I can create synergies between them all. So I like where I can find the connection points between IT and HR and facilities and equipment and all these different layers with how it affects ultimately the people experience. So as you talked about how it all comes back to people, people, people, right, and really having that understanding, I definitely think I love it when I can see the effects of an initiative and all the different groups have to come together to make it happen. And I also like it just in general because you hear so much about silos in other companies with the IT department and with HR. And so I think for me, anytime I can really bring these groups together and they can show each other just how much they're both very, very symbiotic with how things need to work together. I think that's one of my favorite parts, making that kind of an impact. Right.

Carol Fawcett (31:55):

Yeah, I totally agree. It's always exciting when they have that aha moment.

Alison Dean (31:59):


Carol Fawcett (32:00):

Certainly in IT, we're always striving to be viewed as a partner, as part of the business, not as just a service provider.

Alison Dean (32:08):


Carol Fawcett (32:09):

And one last question. Favorite movie?

Alison Dean (32:11):

I mean, here's what's going to come to mind, Shawshank Redemption. Only because I realize that I can watch it whenever it's on. You know what I mean? It's one of those movies where you can just watch it, but maybe it's kind of tied with Princess Bride. But I think in general, my mind always defaults to Shawshank Redemption.

Carol Fawcett (32:27):

Great choice. Great choice.

Alison Dean (32:28):

I appreciate that you were asking me questions. That was fantastic, Carol. I appreciate you so much. That was amazing. Anything else that we need to leave for this episode of The Breakthrough?

Carol Fawcett (32:39):

No. Just to be the best person that you can possibly be. Right. There's only one of you. So,

Alison Dean (32:44):


Carol Fawcett (32:45):

Be the best you can be.

Alison Dean (32:45):

And be in the moment. Be in the moment.

Carol Fawcett (32:47):

Be in the moment. That really is key.

Alison Dean (32:50):

All right.

Carol Fawcett (32:50):

Whether it's with your family, people talk about quality time. Why do we have to talk about quality time? Why isn't it just when you're with your family, you're with your family? When you're on vacation, I'm guilty of it myself, right?

Alison Dean (33:01):


Carol Fawcett (33:02):

I don't think there's a video out there that doesn't have me at some point looking at my phone with one of the kids saying, mom, look over here. I'm videoing you.

Alison Dean (33:10):

I fall victim to this too. But I like that. I think be in the moment. That's a powerful one that we all can be taking a closer watch on. So I thank you Carol so much for finally being on The Breakthrough since we've been trying since season one so. So happy to have you, and I want to thank all of you for tuning into this episode of The Breakthrough. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at Breakthrough Pod. I'm your host, Alison Dean. Until next time. Thank you for tuning into this episode of The Breakthrough. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at Breakthrough Pod. I'm your host, Alison Dean. Until next time.

Breakthrough Podcast

View All
We outsmart old ways of working.
Are you okay with optional cookies?
By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.