What young women in STEM should know – Lori Beer, CIO, JP Morgan

Julie Ann Chan
15. October 2020

Yesterday, DreiKreis joined Suw Charman-Anderson’s (Ada Lovelace Day founder), conversation with Lori Beer, Global Chief Information Officer for JP Morgan Chase & Co.

We found the many-faceted talk highly interesting and it covered a variety of topics from Lori’s approach to work life balance, keeping your knowledge up to date in the fast-paced IT world and how to cope with the COVID-crisis. Further, CIO Lori gave sound advice to aspiring young women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).  We have summarised for you what we found most inspiring:

Connecting the dots

How do you get to be as successful as CIO Lori? Women, who want to make it to the top, she explains, need to truly understand how their company operates. They need to know how processes work and where changes can make a business more efficient and successful. Besides excelling at assigned tasks, they need to comprehend the broader context into which these slot.

Openness, broad thinking and initiative.

To achieve this, a certain mindset, and openness and willingness to ask questions is necessary. And while deep thinking helps to successfully complete an individual job, broad thinking is needed to connect the dots. For this, women require initiative, she says and adds dont wait to be told, be active, grasp and create opportunities. Build your skills and your chance will come.”

Photo courtesy of Ada Lovelace Day

Feedback, feedback, feedback

Growing is a lifelong process, self-reflection certainly a cornerstone. But, says Lori, it is tremendously helpful to enlist the help of others. Mentors, coaches, bosses can all provide valuable feedback, necessary to get a clearer view of yourself and what is possible.

Find someone, she advises, who is not afraid to constructively criticise your work. Often seen as something negative and brushed off too quickly, criticism is a gift, given by someone, who had the courage and cared enough to help you learn, develop and grow.

Criticism is a gift – use it!

Much is won if we learn to listen and accept the message graciously, harness its value and benefit from it. It allows us to explore room for development and build our skills, the foundation of our achievements. “The more you improve, the more successful you will be further down the line,” explains Lori and adds “keep seeking feedback that pushes you forward, out of your comfort zone”.

Take risks, embrace failure

The willingness to take a risk rather than exercising caution, isnt a classically female trait. It is however, paramount to personal growth and professional success, for both men and women. And, as Lori points out, where you leave your comfort zone, risk, and embrace failure, you will find the best chances to grow.

Embracing failure is necessary and important!

“If you take risks,” she says, “you will fail. We all have! Use failures as learning experiences. Be open-minded about that and you will find over the course of your career that there is much more reception towards people who understand and are willing to point out the things that they didn’t do well and that they need to focus on.”

Skills of the future

In a world, increasingly determined by technology and ever more digital, there is great demand for people, who can connect the dots, bring together people, integrate solutions and fit everything into the broader ecosystem.

“But, in order to connect the dots, you need to hone your critical thinking skills,” says the CIO. “The world is getting more complicated, technology changing fast. Don’t stop at what you know, expand your mind, listen, be very conscious and honest about what you do not know.”

What you don’t know matters.

She continues: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, get comfortable operating without a sense of what the outcome is going to be. That way you will successfully navigate every challenge you will need in the future.”

Fruitful conflicts

Difficult for many, yet instrumental for success: a positive attitude towards conflict. This is Lori’s advice: “Conflicts happen all the time, especially when you have intelligent people working together, where everybody has strong ideas. You need to focus on the goal, don’t get wrapped up in a debate about opinions.”

Conflict leads to better results

“It is incredibly important to navigate discussions in a way that everybody feels heard. You need to pause and listen to peoples perspectives.” Alternative opinions should be matched against the prospective outcome, bearing in mind, who has the key authority and decision rights. At the end, she says, everyone will need to support the result. “Conflict,” she closes, “is not a bad thing. For the best result, everybody’s best thinking is needed, you don’t get that without dispute.”

Check out the whole conversation here:


Ada… who? A couple of days ago we have reported on Ada Lovelace Day, make sure to read it here.

Also watch out for more DreiKreis articles on women in IT and STEM! 💚


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