Leadership Is About Mentorship


By: Jorge Gómez, Director of Business Management


Being a leader isn’t about managing others, but instead, it’s about helping our employees be the best version of themselves – being a servant leader. We can do this by facilitating our employees’ career paths and creating an open environment for them to showcase the value they provide to Jabil.

In other words, we as leaders should be mentors for our employees, which in turn, gives us this important but rewarding responsibility to promote their achievements and abilities to grow within in the company.

Listening is the first step in understanding what the people on your team need and is the only way to identify common interests the employee has with Jabil. From there, I find the next step is to determine the best projects and scenarios where that employee will be exposed to opportunities to gain new skills and expertise.

I like to sit with my team and understand their larger goals, working with them to brainstorm creative ways to achieve those. Together, we discover what competencies they have in their current role, create a succession plan to master those competencies and define a personal development plan to round out their profile, skills and experience. This is how we can practice servant leadership, a topic also mentioned by Ying Guo in her Joules article.

“I’m grateful to watch her grow and succeed, as I am with my employees, and it’s why I find mentoring to be rewarding.”

In the end, this is what opens new career possibilities for the employees and add value to Jabil. One example of mentoring I’m proud of is the opportunity I had to help Paloma Barazza, Controller at Guadalajara and 2018 STEP Ahead Honoree. We had met when she joined Jabil Chihuahua as a cost accountant, and through projects together, we developed this reciprocal relationship where we mutually coached each other through our various roles over the years. While Paloma was deciding on some professional growth opportunities, I encouraged her to face the new challenge confidently, and now, she’s the Plant Controller at Guadalajara. I’m grateful to watch her grow and succeed, as I am with my employees, and it’s why I find mentoring to be rewarding.

Personally, I’ve had many mentors, including my number one: my dad. I still go to him for advice and to gain his wisdom. Professionally, my mentors have been diverse and from many disciplines, including Anthropology, Business and Finance. Each of their contributions have enriched my career development more than I could have ever imagined. It’s important for people to have a variety of mentors who help create well-rounded experiences, so their skills and competencies can continue to grow diversely, as well. This practice has served me well in my career, and I hope to continue to share that with those around me.

Intertwining Engineering and Manufacturing


By: April Butterfield, Vice President of Technology


Going into college, I knew I wanted to pursue an engineering degree, and from there, I went into the area of mobility – mobile phones and the infrastructures that support those devices. When you look at this industry, and the millions of products made each year, I found that engineering and manufacturing are very tightly wound together. If just one thing isn’t dialed in correctly, so to speak, then the waste is significant, and quality is negatively impacted with every passing hour before the issue is corrected. It shows how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and manufacturing truly go hand in hand.

Seeing the technologies being utilized and understanding the criticality of the production process, my interest was peaked, and I knew I wanted to join the manufacturing world. If you look at the industry and the technology used, it’s cool stuff, and it’s very exciting to be a part of those advancements.

It’s what attracted me to Jabil – we get the chance to partner with many different companies that work in diverse markets and have unique products. Because of that, we have the opportunity to constantly learn new things and have a very wide breadth of exposure to new technologies. There’s nothing more exciting to an engineer!

April presenting for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida

In this field, you’re able to dream up the possible and then figure out how to make it practical. This makes the engineering and manufacturing partnership challenging, dynamic and interesting. It’s one of the selling points for STEM students to join the production world – there’s infinite possibilities to create, innovate and improve.

I feel passionate about sharing the wonders of STEM and manufacturing with the future workforce and take any chance I can to help youth in the community. Recently in St. Petersburg, I worked with my team to create some fun and exciting curriculum for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s “POWER IT UP” Powered by Jabil” summer camp. We showed girls between the ages 9 and 13, the creative side of STEM through 3D printing activities, solar power, windmill projects and coding.

I also had the privilege of mentoring at the American Heart Association’s Girls Go Red for STEM event last year, where 100 middle school-aged girls from underserved neighborhoods were invited to a one-day education event to get hands-on exposure to STEM. I was honored to have the chance to talk with these bright, young women about the career possibilities out there waiting for them.

The manufacturing industry is strong right now and continues to grow, so it’s crucial that we as leaders in STEM and manufacturing use our experiences and knowledge to help impact the future generation of employees. Technology will continue to create new paths, and a career in engineering is a great opportunity to be on the forefront of those advancements.

April (far right) as a panelist at Jabil’s Guadalajara Regional Power Forum in May


April was recently interviewed by Women In Manufacturing in an episode titled, “Living on the Leading Edge of Technology,” where she discusses her path to Jabil, her experiences mentoring and the positive impact of Jabil Joules. Listen here!

Two Unique Careers Bridged by the “M” in STEM


By: Stephanie Barker, Director of Information Technology


Much like what Ali Ishaq spoke to last week on the blog, my career path to Jabil also was not direct, as my previous work life was in Tampa’s public school system. How did I find my way to Jabil’s Information Technology department then? Surprisingly, I found there to be a lot of overlap in the skills needed in both the Education and Manufacturing industries.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is applicable to many career fields, and it’s often not an immediate connection in people’s minds. For example, I started my career as a teacher for students with learning disabilities because I always had an interest in the psychology of behaviors and understanding how people learn. Then, I progressed to the role of vice principal where I led an elementary school through change based on data-driven decision making and financial management.

After 17 years in the school system, a close friend and Jabil proponent sensed I was ready for change and helped me realize my skills and knack for data-driven changes would serve me well as a project manager. I was always proficient with technology, having an innate passion for innovation, and that’s when I came to Jabil and saw firsthand how STEM is truly everywhere, especially in manufacturing.

I transitioned my project management skills and simply switched my focus from organizing school directives for students to driving progressive, futuristic organizational change through IT and operations for employees. The commonality is using data to make decisions, drive tasks and processes around the change, and manage the human behavior around those changes.

In other words, the similarity between my careers was the ‘math’ portion of STEM.

In education, we used data and scientific methods to solve issues like raising the bottom quartile of reading scores and understanding what programs or tests were successful in schools; whereas at Jabil, we use data to correct quality and efficiency problems on the manufacturing floor and with products we produce. Data is something that can be found in almost any profession, and STEM can’t exist without data and analytical skills.

Stephanie Barker, Table Leader at the St. Petersburg Power Forum

Math tends to be the forgotten STEM subject, and I think it’s important schools and companies alike focus efforts on supporting the field because big data, statistics and understanding trends are crucial to every industry, every company and almost every job.

In my experience, I’ve noticed that often times students don’t get to see the connection between math and how it’s used in the ‘real world.’ It’s great that Jabil supports local high school robotics teams across the country and organizes Tech Tuesdays at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to teach the young patients to the wonders STEM.

We all need to work together to continue to uncover the fascinating aspects of math, so students can see all the possibilities out there waiting for them in the workforce, whether it’s in education, manufacturing or something else entirely different!


Using Personal Experience to Encourage Diverse Future Leaders

By Ali Ishaq, Business Unit Manager


The story of my career doesn’t involve a single calling that I’ve worked toward, but instead, I’ve gained a relatively unique set of experiences on my path to Jabil. My family immigrated from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Boise, Idaho, where my parents started a small fast food restaurant that I grew up working at, and to this day, whenever I visit, you’ll find me waiting tables in the evenings. I graduated with a degree in political science from Boise State with dreams of becoming a diplomat, had a brief career in finance and traveled to the country of Jordan on a State Department Fulbright Fellowship to work on democracy promotion projects with the Project on Middle East Democracy and the United Nations University

When I returned to the States, I moved to Washington, D.C. and began work at a consulting firm where I advised senior leaders across the federal government on strategy development and execution, but I had an inkling to move my career into the private sector. To make the transition, I enrolled at Duke University to complete my Master of Business Administration (MBA). In 2014 while approaching graduation, I sought out roles that would satisfy my global interests and that could relate to my experiences in strategy, business and leadership, while also looking at companies that have a rich and robust Social & Environmental Responsibility framework – that’s when I discovered Jabil.

From left to right: Avinash Deori, Franz Bdoyan, Rachel Lewinsohn, Ali, Dana Noh and Sergio Davalos

… that’s when I discovered Jabil

After researching more about the company, I realized it manufactured tech products that I had read about, loved to use and ones that enriched so many lives, so I moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, to work in a position that aligned to my strategy-focused experience and for a global company that satisfied my tech-savvy mind. I joined Jabil as Strategy Manager for the Engineered Solutions Group (ESG) and Chief of Staff for Mike Loparco, Jabil’s executive vice president and chief executive officer of ESG, and who tasked me with a great project: create a competitive and prestigious internship program for ESG.

Reflecting on my experiences at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in the MBA program, I noticed cultural similarities between Jabil and Fuqua, from our global influence to our commitment to ingenuity and innovation. That’s why I decided to partner with the university and its highly sought-after students who were often recruited by prominent companies, such as Amazon, Google, McKinsey, Facebook and Apple. We constructed our internship program to not only focus on developing talent for Jabil but also highlight how much we benefit from fostering diversity and inclusivity in our organization.

Diversity is an essential focus of the program, and as one of the world’s largest manufacturers, Jabil takes pride in its global reach. One of our goals with this program is to bring in strong international and U.S. candidates who have a mix of experience so that we can help incubate them into a leadership track at Jabil. Currently in our third year of the program, we’ve hosted students from seven different countries, including China, Nigeria and the Ukraine.

It’s our hope that by focusing our efforts on diversity and inclusion, we can welcome these students over the summer, plug them into high-visibility strategic projects and for those who prove their spirit and impact, we extend offers to join Jabil full-time upon graduation.

One measure of success is that every year we’ve had at least one intern come back as a full-time employee.

Ali and Kene Okoli with the 2017 interns: Avinash Deori (far left) and Dana Noh (far right)

The first year we welcomed back Kene Okoli who prior to Jabil was a fast-rising auditor at one of the big four international accounting firms. After the second year, Dana Noh joined us as a marketing expert and thought-leader at one of the world’s largest mobile phone and industrial companies. The interns and those who come back full-time, are making essential contributions to help us creatively grow our business.

While our teams at Jabil learn a lot from working with the interns, the interns also benefit from having a chance to apply their experiences and academic training at Jabil. Through this internship program, we work together to uncover what makes each intern tick and help align their work with that area of interest. Ironically, it’s also what I like best about Jabil: the entrepreneurial spirit of being able to always take risks and test out new ideas. We remain dedicated to ensuring an open environment for the students to grow professionally and demonstrate how their diversity brings value to the company.

My experiences at Jabil so far have given me a playground from which I’ve continued pursuing a fun, interesting and intellectually engaging variety of projects. This internship program and the seeds of leaders it is helping plant has been among my most rewarding experiences so far.

St. Petersburg’s Power Forum: Aligning Your Goals

Last week at the USA Regional Power Forum in St. Petersburg, Jabil Joules had the opportunity to learn how to best align their goals with Jabil’s overarching strategy. More than 130 corporate employees, from all levels and departments, came together to grow professionally and connect with their peers during a half-day development conference.

Rita Craig, vice chair of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, began the morning by sharing her decades of experience creating impactful business solutions, initiating the conversation around goal-setting. She focused on the importance of creating measurable goals in order to demonstrate achievements and build a successful career. Rita emphasized taking risks and learning from those outcomes is one of the best ways to develop: “Own your lane on the road to success – own it, be passionate about it and become that go-to person, the subject matter expert,” Rita shared. 

After her insights, Jabil leadership brought the conversation to how those larger goal-alignment strategies are used at Jabil. Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, Courtney Ryan, and Vice President of Strategic Planning, Dave Miller, spoke to the process of how Jabil’s strategy was created. Then Senior Director of Communications, Michelle Smith, reviewed specific departments’ strategies to help bring insight to the diverse attendees of what their peers are working to achieve.

Diving deeper into the topic, the next portion of the event centered around connecting attendees with Jabil leaders to discuss current strategies for their specific departments and talk through goals for the upcoming fiscal year. Employees were able to interact with leadership and gain invaluable insights. As Rob Baker, purchasing manager, said, “This event was an excellent way to gain exposure to other peers and leaders you otherwise wouldn’t on a daily basis.”

After a chance to network during lunch, Chief Executive Officer, Mark Mondello, shared his thoughts and answered questions from the audience about his mentors, goals and experiences of taking risks. “Be proactive in managing your own career,” Mark shared. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve made more mistakes than any of you in this room, for sure. But, if we’re not making mistakes and we’re not taking risks, then we’re not pushing hard enough.”

Created in 2013, the Jabil Joules initiative was begun to open the dialogue about diversity in the manufacturing workplace. “The plan for 2018 was for us to add regional meetings to our Jabil Joules program. We’ve now hosted great sessions in Guadalajara and St. Petersburg, so we’ve really set the standard for finishing out the year with forums in Europe and Asia,” explained Senior Vice President, Beth Walters. “Momentum continues to build and the enthusiasm is simply amazing!”

St. Petersburg attendees left feeling empowered, energized and inspired, as they were able to connect with each other under a shared experience and see firsthand how everyone plays an important part in Jabil’s success. As Michelle Donato, risk management associate, said, “This Power Forum really brought all the employees together, so we can all work to create a better Jabil.”

The 2018 Regional Power Forums continue: Stay tuned for events in Europe and Asia coming soon!