The 3-minute interview with Carly Fiorina

The CEO of computer hardware firm Hewlett-Packard Co. from 1999 through 2005 was ousted three years after the company’s controversial merger with Compaq. Repeatedly named No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s list of the most powerful women in business, she is now author of a memoir, “Tough Choices.” Fiorina will speak at a Women’s Leadership Exchange conference Thursday at the Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara.

You have questioned Fortune magazine’s list of the most powerful female executives. Why? It’s a terrific thing to highlight women leaders … [but] the list sends the wrong message. The list says women have to compete against each other one to 50, because they can’t play with the big boys. It’s not the fact that they’re highlighted that’s the problem. … I think part of the reason we haven’t made as much progress as we should is that women leaders are thought of as different somehow. There is no men’s list.

What is your advice for women in business? I think women need to be both realistic and optimistic. … Realistically, it’s harder still. Optimistically, the 21st century is the most competitive century for business. Bias is becoming an unaffordable luxury. Women should be themselves, bring all of themselves to their work and not carry other people’s prejudices as their burden.

Your life has had many interesting turns. How do you deal with times of great change? First, I think, adaptability is a habit one can learn. I think adaptability is a key skill for people now. We live in rapidly changing times, no matter what profession you’re in. The 21st century is all about change.

kwilliamson@examiner.com


Check out more 3-minute interviews from our San Francisco newsroom.

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The admissions process at the academically competitive Lowell High School is set to change this year due to coronavirus restritions. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Lowell’s selective admissions process put on hold this year — and more changes may be in the works

School board votes unanimously to use normal student assignment lottery for competitive school

Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, said Tuesday that student would not be back in school before the end of this calendar year. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Superintendent: City schools will not reopen before the end of the year

San Francisco public schools won’t reopen to students for the rest of… Continue reading

San Francisco has failed to reduce traffic deaths enough to meet its Vision Zero goal. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco not on track to meet Vision Zero goals by 2024

Hamstrung by state laws, dwindling budget and limited resources, SFMTA tries to chart path forward

San Francisco will allow bars selling drinks, and not food, to begin serving customers outdoors under health guidelines going into effect next month. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF becomes first Bay Area County to move to least restrictive COVID-19 category

Change to ‘yellow’ will allow more indoor dining and fitness, reopening non-essential offices

City officials want to install more red light cameras but the process is costly and time consuming. (Shutterstock)
Transit officials push for more red light cameras

SFMTA says ‘capital crunch’ and dragging timelines make expanding the program cumbersome

Most Read