"The program gave me a close-up view of political, business and social issues and trends, information that is invaluable to me as an entrepreneur and active participant in the success of our great state. The speakers were incredible� they inspired us and stretched our minds. The opportunity to connect with successful and dynamic California women leaders was a main highlight. Being part of Leadership California is like being part of a powerful sisterhood."

—Ursula C. Mentjes, M.S., ACC
President and Certified Business Coach
Potential Quest, Inc.
"I have enjoyed my involvement with Leadership California. Our trip to the state capitol was most enlightening. As a result I have gotten involved with the Los Angeles African American Women's Political Action Committee. Thank you, Leadership California, for sparking a genuine interest in the political process."

—Shawn Farrar
Director Corporate Diversity
Sempra Energy
"The CIT program brings together successful women from all over California, and gives them the opportunity to build a network with other successful women. It's a way to learn about the important issues in our state, and to get ready to take the next step in your professional life."

—Isela Vilchis Hoenigmann
"Leadership California has provided me a panoramic view of issues, challenges and opportunities for this lovely state that I live in. The program was my introduction to women of unbelievable talent, experience and passion who are set to make a difference. The feeling to want to be more, to accomplish more, is simply contagious. I hope to know these women for the rest of my life."

—Rosario Montes-Arena
Manager, IBM Software Executive Briefing Program
Silicon Valley & Worldwide Briefing Program
"As a young immigrant woman working in the nonprofit sector, it was inspiring to see women leaders in action, to be able to network with them, and talk about the issues that are relevant to our communities and our state. I feel honored and privileged for the opportunity to participate in such an awesome program that weaves women leaders from different sectors and geographies of California to engage in a conversation about the social, political, and economic fabric of California."

—Winnie Hui-Min Yu
Development Associate
Asian Law Caucus
San Francisco
"I've spent half of my work life in the corporate world, and the past ten years in the nonprofit world, but neither taught me how to be who I am at work�the whole pastiche of talent and spirit. I found role models who excited me, the true state of our state of California (which frustrated me), work partners continually learning like me, and friends."

—Peta G. Penson, Ed. D.
Oakland Unified School District
"Leadership California sessions feature influential speakers and lively discussion on timely issues shaping the economy and workforce. The session on work-life balance struck a chord with me, where key leaders advised us to map out a personal career plan. Networking with other women was invaluable. Leadership California is an engaging and downright fun experience."

—Roberta Tinajero-Frankel
Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Dept.
Healthy Eating, Active Living Project Manager
"Simply put, Leadership California is time well spent that will benefit me personally and professionally for years to come. I've not only kept in contact with my fellow classmates on a social level, but have had opportunities to work with some of them on business projects as our professional paths crossed. The sessions gave in-depth looks at the critical social issues that many Californians face, inspiring me to get more involved in my community�s outreach programs."

—Teena Massingill
Manager of Corporate Public Affairs
Safeway Inc.








Monday, May 2, 2016
2016 Legacy of Leadership
Corporate Leader Award

TECH LEADERSHIP SHEILA JORDAN is the chief information officer at Symantec Corporation. She will accept a Corporate Leader Award on behalf of Symantec at Leadership California's Legacy of Leadership celebration on May 2, 2016 in San Francisco.

SHEILA JORDAN has been the chief information officer of Symantec Corporation since February, 2014 and serves as its senior vice president. Under her leadership, the company has insourced most IT functions from an outside vendor, and has moved to adopt a bold cloud model for all major applications. Through her efforts, Symantec has dramatically improved the company’s security posture, using the company’s own security products.

Her goal is to help move Symantec into position as the number one security software business. Contributing to that effort from the IT side means improving systems such as quote-to-cash and customer data; improving the IT service experience for customers, partners and employees; and focusing on transformation and innovation.

Symantec Corporation provides security, storage and systems management solutions to help its customers— from consumers and small businesses to the largest global organizations— to secure and manage their information-driven world against risks. Symantec’s unique focus is to eliminate risks to information, technology and processes independent of the device, platform, interaction or location.


CIO, Symantec Corporation

Symantec’s Sheila Jordan: Leading Transformational Change in Tech Sphere

by Carol Caley
February 19, 2016

Q: Diversity and inclusion are key at Symantec, a company that understands the value of women’s leadership. Can you give us a little history on what it took to spike interest in diversity and inclusion at the company, then take action to move the needle? What efforts are currently in play toward making Symantec the kind of workplace we all want to work in?

A: DIVERSITY CAME UP WHEN I INTERVIEWED for my job at Symantec, so it’s clearly part of Symantec’s culture. It’s one of the company’s core values, and we focus on diversity in all aspects of the company—it helps us to think differently and to aggressively innovate. Our diverse talent pool helps us innovate at all levels—product development, IT, finance, and marketing.

WE'VE SYSTEMATICALLY WORKED to get women into leadership roles and have succeeded—that’s exciting. Our board is 30% women which we love. We have our internal Symantec Women’s Action Network (SWAN) that’s been part of the company for years. We have demonstrated how important gender equality is for our company culture and our practices.

EXTERNALLY, WE PARTICIPATE in Leadership California, and also in Anita Borg, a nonprofit organization that encourages recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in technology. We sent over 200 women to the Anita Borg conference last year. We source interns, we sponsor development programs, and we learn from the speakers. Our women are exposed to best practices, make connections, network, and gain tools on career development. We want to make sure we’re developing our women, and that we’ll have a talent pipeline and role models. We also want to stay connected with Leadership California and with STEM activities for young girls.

Q: Symantec has been a longtime supporter of Leadership California—more than a decade—and has sent seventeen executive women through our program. This is a big year for us: We’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the California Issues & Trends program. What got Symantec company leaders to embrace Leadership California?

A: PARTNERING WITH LEADERSHIP CALIFORNIA showed us a way to invest in our women and work to enhance their career paths. Back in 2008, the then-Chief of Staff of the Legal Department, Christine Coats, saw the opportunity for us to merge forces. Several women in our legal department had been through the Issues & Trends program, and we started financially supporting the organization and sending women to the program each year. Our Chief Diversity Officer, Cecily Joseph, who graduated with the class of 2008, is now vice president of the board of Leadership California.

LEADERSHIP CALIFORNIA EXPOSED OUR WOMEN LEADERS to a new way of thinking. The course content is an avenue to help grow our most senior women professionals, and the network has been particularly valuable to women leaders here at Symantec.

Q: There’s value in those unexpected connections with women in other industries.

A: I WOULD NEVER MINIMIZE those unexpected connections. Here is something I often tell people that I coach:  women have so many goals and ideas on what they want to do with their time. But often, reality—kids, parents, husbands, life—takes over. One thing I learned early on is don’t de-prioritize “networking.” It’s about who you meet that can help you, but also, who you meet that you can help. Effective networking is unpredictable and sustainable – that’s the value.

  I’ve always had an affinity to drive transformation.

Q:  Can you reflect on how the Leadership California program has made a difference to women leaders at the company—increased opportunities for advancement, participation in key assignments and the like?

A: THE NETWORKING, THE EXPERIENCES THEY HAD, and the content they covered exposed our women to different aspects of leadership and new ways of thinking – so much so that many of them have taken on a broader community role outside of their current job. Even in civic roles they have also continued to hone those leadership skills.

Q: You’re a tech company, and you’re in Silicon Valley, a home of companies with difficulties in hiring and retaining women. The male-dominated workplace is still the norm there. What have the challenges been, and how has Symantec worked to overcome them?

A: TO WORK ON AND TRY TO CHANGE THE NORM of Silicon Valley—now that’s a challenge! But I think you have to attack it like you would any other business problem or opportunity. There isn’t a silver-bullet answer. It really is a combination of things that help to move the needle. One is having women in senior positions as role models. Second, our head of HR, Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, and our Chief Diversity Officer, Cecily Joseph, work to see that diversity is embedded in the culture: it’s not a separate thing that is somehow outside what we do—it really is part of our leadership blueprint.

WE DO WANT DIVERSE THINKING, to make our products and services, our go to market strategy, and our sales strategy—everything—better. It requires that we set goals around diversity. We think a lot about the pipeline, knowing that you have to start early with STEM in seventh and eighth grade girls. We look at internships: half the interns I hired last year were women. We support our women with SWAN. It’s the leaders’ responsibility to create a culture and environment that lets diverse thinking flourish. And then we hire people to make that happen. It’s a combination of many initiatives that moves us forward.

The real sweet spot is when you can actually use technology to help drive different business results.  

Q: Do you see this idea of embedding women’s leadership in core company values occurring more widely in Silicon Valley as a whole? Is that concept coming forward and slowly turning the ship, as it were?

A: I SEE CEOS MENTIONING DIVERSITY as a critical factor to successful results. It’s being talked about more, and that’s exciting. Senior male leaders are seeing the value and encouraging diversity to be a focus of their companies. If you start to put some traction around measurement and goals around diversity, then you’re going to end up in a better place than it being just talk or wishful thinking. It really has to be the focus of the organization, as much as any business challenge or opportunity. It’s that level of sponsorship, communication, buy-in, and alignment inside a company that makes it really work.

Q: Tell us about your own leadership journey. You’ve been in the technology world for a long time. What originally drew you to this business, and ultimately to Symantec?

A: I LOVE BEING THE CIO of a high-tech organization. I love that I’m involved in company strategy. I love that I can help guide our product development. I love that I can participate and really think about technology in a different world, in an environment that allows me to be innovative, think of things differently, and be disruptive. I’ve always had an affinity to drive transformation.

YEARS AGO WHEN I WORKED AT DISNEY, we had to solve a really complex problem: how do we make marketing spend more effective? At that point, Disney didn’t have a centralized database of our guests at the theme parks. So I started thinking about how we could be more sophisticated in understanding our guests’ behaviors—who came once a year, who came 20 times a year? At the time, customer relationship management (CRM) was becoming a key to knowing your customer. I got interested and excited to learn more about it. It really does change the entire conversation you have with your guest.

TODAY WE'RE IN ANOTHER EVOLUTION with mobile, social and on-demand. As a consumer, you have all these relationships with your apps, which are really “tasks” within companies. You want to interact – on demand – with an airline or retail store. You use these apps to drive mobile moments of productivity. To me it shows the value of technology. The right use of technology inside a company can improve how you run, change, and grow the company, grow revenue. Progressive CEOs now see technology as a growth lever, equal to marketing and sales.

THE REAL SWEET SPOT is when you can actually use the technology to help drive different business results. My experience at Disney was the catalyst that got me to understand how companies can view and use technology. Advances and the opportunities continue to explode. It’s all about on-demand services, 24-7, globally.

  Figuring out the right cadence for communications is really critical at a time of transformation.

Q: How have your thoughts on leadership evolved in your career? What do you do now that you might not have done earlier in your career, or vice-versa? Any hard lessons?

A: AS YOU PROGRESS IN YOUR LEADERSHIP CAREER, you’ve got these seminal moments. They’re a learning experience where you don’t do—you guide. You don’t tell—you coach. You set the framework, then let the team execute—even though the team isn’t going to do everything exactly like you would have. You’ve got to let go and let them do their job.

ALSO, THE MORE SEASONED YOU GET, you learn to be patient around day-to-day challenges. What’s going to reach my desk are the escalations, problems that really smart people haven’t solved. You’re building the team’s competency to deal with that. You use those problems as teaching moments—ok, let’s talk through it and see what we can do together—but also, you’re not afraid to make a decision. I’m a huge fan of shared thinking—let’s get everyone’s ideas on the table, and let’s have everyone’s input. But at some point, someone has to make a decision.

THE FINAL FACTOR IN LEADERSHIP is the importance of clear communication. There’s so much noise in an organization, we’re all so busy and working so fast, that people can be distracted. Having laser-focused communication clearly stating what we are doing and not doing is essential.

Q: You mentioned teachable moments. Do you have a specific example of how you applied one of the values that you learned through experience?

A: I WAS HIRED BY SYMANTEC two years ago to insource IT. A decision had been made seven or eight years before to outsource IT. I’m not opposed to outsourcing, but IT was not being effectively managed at that time.  Being able to communicate to the whole organization that Symantec had made a big decision to insource was key. The message was yes - we are insourcing, yes - we really are insourcing, yes we really, really, really are insourcing! For me to effectively communicate that across the company was quite a challenge, and we had to move really fast.

THERE WAS INTEREST AND CURIOSITY around what this meant, how we were going to do this, what it means to IT employees and their jobs—all those questions that come up when people are making a transformational change. Figuring out the right cadence for communications is really critical at a time of transformation.

Q: If you had a chance to talk with any woman leader, living or dead, who would it be, and what would you ask her?

A: I'M A HUGE FAN OF CONDOLEEZZA RICE. She’s a most interesting woman. She’s had such an incredible life. I’m in envy of her knowledge of world politics and world leaders, and her experience as Secretary of State. She is someone I would love to spend time with, to understand how she was so successful in that role, how she understood global relationships, how she used that knowledge to help drive certain agendas. How did she gain that level of influence and leadership? And now that she’s no longer in that role, what does she do with that knowledge in her day-to-day life?



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