Join Debra Dinnocenzo as she talks about her mission to help leaders navigate the world of remote leadership as working from anywhere becomes the new normal.
Hi, I'm Debra Dinnocenzo. And I really look forward to having you join me. For the remote leadership podcast, I wanted to tell you a little bit about me and why I'm doing this podcast and my journey to get to where I am. So I started my very first work from home full time work from home experience, when I was offered a job as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for a company located in Connecticut, and I am in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and have been here for over 30 some years, and was actually born here, but moved away for a while. And when I came back, I really didn't want to leave here. And so I turned the job down. It was a great job. But the CEO who wanted me to go and work for him had known me from an industry association group. And so he was familiar with my capabilities. And he said, Oh, wait, I really want you for this job. And we are rolling out this really cool thing called picture tell. And we're going to install these video conferencing computers in some of our field offices, and why don't we just put one in your Pittsburgh office and you can work from there and you know, fly to Connecticut every now and then. So I thought that sounded like a great idea. And so that's, that's what I did. And so that was pretty exciting. And went very well. And I had another experience as well, as a back then we called it telecommuting executive, although there were not a lot of us back then I have to say, and the you know, the picture tells system for anyone listening who happens to remember, picture tell.Debra Dinnocenzo:
Picture, tow was one of the early video conferencing systems if you will, and it required an entire desktop system, and which was shipped to my office, my home office, and then a an IT guy, got on an airplane and flew to Pittsburgh. To properly install it on my phone company had to install two ISDN lines to support the whole system. So I've come from, I would say the dark ages of remote work when we needed two ISDN lines to support video conferencing. And we did not have anywhere near the capabilities that we have now to work remotely and connect with each other remotely. And you're probably listening to this on a device that is maybe handheld. And you also make phone calls on it. And it has jamman memory compared to how things used to be. And so from those experiences we're on I worked for other organizations remotely, I then started my own business. And virtual works evolved to be a consulting and training company, where over the years, I've done a lot of work with a variety of organizations in different industries. And a lot of work for the federal government as the federal government, particularly after 911 rolled out many more what they called, again, back then telecommuting as opposed to well, now we talked about remote work and work from home initiatives. And so after 911, the federal government realized that they needed to have more the agencies need needed to have more capability for people to work from home, if there was a situation where access to the District of Columbia was not possible for any number of reasons. And so as I said, I've worked with a lot of organizations we've I've helped organizations implement a wide variety of leadership programs to help leaders understand what it means to successfully implement remote work, or telework. One organization that I worked with, which happened to be here in Pittsburgh, as a matter of fact, was an old line organization and when they were ramping up for some really new initiatives they needed to hire some new young graduate engineers, how many of home when they interviewed wanted to know how many days a week they could work from home? And the answer, the initial answer was, well, we don't do that here. And, and then they quickly discovered that they were going to have a huge talent problem, like no talent. So they recognized that they needed to make a change in that regard and be more open to new ways of working. It was very interesting, in that, in that program, because of the young people that retrained the new young engineers, kind of got it, they knew why they wanted to have some greater flexibility in their work. And the leaders, the managers, the supervisors, just couldn't get it didn't understand why anyone would really want to work from home. So we've helped organizations get people on board, give them the skills that they need, and help them structure that the systems and the processes that they need to make this work well. So I've been doing this in lots of organizations for a very long time. Again, for people who have been around for a while, you'll remember, back in 1999, when I published my first book, 101 tips for telecommuters how we had dial up modems, then and AOL for email, and we have very, very limited capabilities, certainly compared to what we have now. So my mission is to help organizations be successful. In their remote work initiatives, help leaders become more comfortable, and competent in leading remotely, and to lead in a way that they are not just comfortable, but helping their teams and helping themselves really be successful in achieving their objectives, and the goals of the organization.