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Ep. 90: Jen Crozier, VP of IBM Corporate Citizenship, On Living With Intention

“I think that the places where I’ve had the most both success and contentment have been the things that are most authentic to who I am and what I really wanted to do rather than what I think people expected me to do.”​

In this episode, Jen Crozier, President of the IBM Foundation and Vice President of IBM Corporate Citizenship, shares the importance of following your path and living with intention.

“Choose. Live with intention. Make intentional choices about where you want to spend your life energy. And so the things you say yes to really say yes and lean into them, and the rest you have to say no to to free things up for that.”

In college, Jen planned on becoming a professor of linguistics. But she worked at IBM for a summer gig and fell in love with all the amazing people and the important inventing, building, and designing work they were doing.

Her path to VP of Corporate Citizenship wasn’t linear, though. She moved through different parts of marketing to corporate communications, then to public policy, and then took a short sabbatical for a few months after working with the company for 10 years. When she came back, she was thrown into corporate citizenship.

“You have to kind of build it yourself and everyone’s path is different and they zig and zag, they don’t just go straight up and down so as you’re moving along really grabbing opportunities that speak to you and to your passion place and just moving forward with them regardless of whether you think they’re the cookie cutter guide to success.”

There, she developed IBM’s version of the Peace Corps, a program where employees receive full pay and benefits for 4 weeks while they go do important work in the developing world.

“With the problems that our planet is facing today, the solutions have to come from multiple sources.”

In this episode, Jen shares why people pleasing is a real derailment to success, the importance of putting energy into bigger, higher-level things, and the best advice one of her mentors gave her.