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InTechnology Podcast

Lessons from 30+ Years in Tech Leadership (192)

In this episode of InTechnology, Camille gets into lessons in tech leadership with Board Member, former Intel CVP, and podcaster Rose Schooler. The conversation covers Rose’s most important lessons in tech leadership, how she took a small initiative and grew it into a billion-dollar business while at Intel, and her family’s influence on her successful career.

Check out Rose’s The Maestro Mindset Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


To find the transcription of this podcast, scroll to the bottom of the page.

To find more episodes of InTechnology, visit our homepage. To read more about cybersecurity, sustainability, and technology topics, visit our blog.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the guests and author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Intel Corporation.

Follow our host Camille @morhardt.

Learn more about Intel Cybersecurity and the Intel Compute Life Cycle (CLA).

Important Lessons in Tech Leadership

Rose starts off by sharing her “teach and learn” approach to everything, especially when entering a new role. Her goal is to bring fifty percent of her own knowledge and value to a new experience while being open fifty percent to continuing to learn and grow. She also emphasizes developing the skill of simplifying communication through consistency and clarity, something she learned in a leadership class at the Darden School at the University of Virginia. Another key skill Rose highlights for tech leaders is really knowing your audience, both when presenting to others and when being presented to as a leader. She explains how knowing and engaging with your audience in meaningful ways will help you be seen as a prepared and competent presenter or will make presenters feel good about the information they’re sharing with you, the leader. Rose also extols the importance of leading with your head, heart, and hands, as well as having the courage to stand up for doing what’s right for the company and therefore the people who make up that company rather than focusing on yourself.

You can hear more of Rose’s insights on tech leadership in her podcast, The Maestro Mindset.

Growing a Billion-Dollar Business

Camille asks Rose to walk listeners through how she grew an initiative into a billion-dollar business during her time at Intel. The main factors driving that success, says Rose, were the intentionality of strategy, indicators to measure success, and intense focus. However, she does note that her team was also lucky to get the market timing right. They saw a need in the market environment, pivoted their strategy, and kept their focus to bring about great success. The strategy itself involved convincing higher leadership at Intel to focus more attention on Intel architecture instead of primarily network processors. Using external data and regularly meeting to work through problem statements, Rose and her team were able to propel what started as a small initiative into an industry-changing business.

Inspired by Family

Finally, Rose touches a bit on how her family and upbringing have inspired her throughout her career. She shares how her mother was able to work her way up to senior vice president of a bank despite not having a college education, while her father was a very hard-working steelworker in Western Pennsylvania. Because both of her parents did not attend college, they knew how much further a college degree would take Rose in life and strongly encouraged her to pursue higher education. While they faced periods of financial hardship, Rose says she was ultimately inspired by her family’s resiliency and determination, which she carries with her to this day.

RoseMary Schooler — Board Member, Former Intel CVP, Podcaster

Rose Schooler tech leadership women in tech maestro mindset

Rose Schooler is currently a Board Member at three companies: Densify, Arm, and Zurn Elkay Water Solutions Corporation. She was also previously a Board Member at Cloudera and Rexnord Corporation. Rose’s career at Intel spanned over 30 years, including roles such as Corporate Vice President of Global Data Center Sales and Corporate Vice President of IOTG Sales and Marketing, among other senior leadership positions. She is currently co-host of The Maestro Mindset Podcast with Dana Bos. Her education includes the Intel Executive Accelerator Program from the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education and a B.S. in Ceramic Science and Engineering from Penn State University.

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Rose Schooler  00:12

Know your audience, know the role you play, and know what you want people to feel like when you leave the room because then they’re going to want to come back and share more information with you.

Camille Morhardt  00:27

Hi, I’m host of InTechnology podcast. Happy to have with me today Rose Schooler. Welcome to the podcast Rose.

Rose Schooler  00:35

Thank you, Camille, it’s great to see you again. By the way, it’s been a few years.

Camille Morhardt  00:39

I know it’s been a while. I wanted to have Rose on this podcast because of how she is known and how she was known at Intel, where she was a Corporate Vice President when she retired.  Known as a straight communicator, known as a badass who started a business from scratch and took it to a billion dollars, known for working in a bunch of different divisions running a bunch of different divisions, including architecture, IT, PNL, product development. I think your last role when you retired was Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Data Center and Artificial Intelligence Sales for the company.

Rose Schooler  01:25

That’s correct.

Camille Morhardt  01:27

So a lot of different roles and a long career.

Rose Schooler  01:29

33 years by the time I left.  So I thought that was a good run in technology.

Camille Morhardt  01:34

That’s a pretty good run. Yeah. So, kind of, maybe an odd starting question. But I was thinking about, one of the things I remember about you, whenever I pictured you, I always remembered the cross that you wear. And it always kind of stood out to me. And I was just wondering if you could add some context to it.

Rose Schooler  01:58

Sure. It’s interesting, because this cross, I wear it, probably 98% of my life; I don’t take it off very often. The one time I did take it off, I almost lost it in China. So that was kind of like I have a little bit of PTSD of taking my cross off. But it stands for a couple of things. One, my faith. I wouldn’t say that I’m a devout practicing Catholic, but that was how I was raised. And some of the fundamental beliefs around kindness and how you treat others is still the fiber of my being. There’s some things you know, I guess I’d call myself a cafeteria Catholic, there’s some selections I wouldn’t make at the bar when I went up to get my food. It’s just a good reminder of how I want to treat people and how I want to be treated.

And then interestingly enough, it’s probably the biggest piece of jewelry, the most significant piece of jewelry I bought for myself. So it was at a point in my life where I had a little, little bit of savings that I had put aside. And it meant a lot to me to just buy the cross for me not have it for my parents, I’m married, and my husband’s given me jewelry. So it’s, you know, it was just nice to have the means to do it for myself.  It’s super important to me.

Camille Morhardt  03:20

I never asked you about it before, because it felt like a question you can’t ask in a work setting.

Rose Schooler  03:26

No, I had a lot of people ask me about it. So you should have felt free. I would have had no issue with it whatsoever.

Camille Morhardt  03:33

Okay. Well, the other thing I want to ask you is, you’ve obviously been very successful at work, but professionally, we’ll say. And so, you know, I’ve heard the phrase “the way people do one thing is the way they do everything.” And I was trying to think about, you know, a lot of the different qualities that you have and I was just wondering, is there something that you could identify as, like one approach that you take that goes across everything that’s allowed you to be successful in so many different roles?

Rose Schooler  04:09

Yeah, that’s a really good question. I would always say, if I’m going into a new role, I want to have 50% of something that I can know and leverage and add value and 50% that I could continue to learn and grow. And that turned into something that I would speak about when I would give leadership presentations around, teach and learn.

The job example that I would give you is you know, I spent many years in IoT I’ve never done sales. So I said, “How do I take my IoT experience and bridging into sales? I can bring that value to the organization and learn something new.” So I think through your career, there’s lots of opportunities to do that. But when you retire, you go “Wow. Now how do I find those opportunities to teach and learn?” A friend and former colleague, and I have started a podcast. We’re sharing management and leadership insights, our own personal ones and ones from guests. And let me just tell you, it was an opportunity initially to give back. And now I’m learning a lot.

Camille Morhardt  05:15

It’s a great podcast, by the way, I listened to it, and I love it.

Rose Schooler  05:20

Oh, thank you. I didn’t know you listened!  We’re rebranding, by the way. So we’re changing it to the Maestro Mindset, how to orchestrate your organization.

Camille Morhardt  05:28

That’s good. And I won’t even mention the old name.

Rose Schooler  05:32

Every year. I like to watch all the Oscar nominees and I was watching the Maestro, and I’m like, Oh, my God, there’s so many similar leadership principles, from you know, being a conductor, to being a manager and a leader in an organization. So we went with it.

Camille Morhardt  05:47

I like it. And one of the things I like that you guys do in the podcast is, at the end, you do like a wrap up kind of or takeaway? I can’t remember what you call it. Yeah, “Quick Takes,” yeah. And it’s really neat. And that’s actually one of the skills I guess maybe as an executive, it’s like, you’ve listened so carefully to the whole podcast, and then just summarize the most salient points, I don’t know, it’s pretty impressive.

Rose Schooler  06:15

It’s interesting that you tied it back to my career, because one of the things that I found incredibly powerful–and it’s something you’ve learned, it’s not something innate, if you focus on it, you can develop the skill set–and that’s truly an art of simplifying communication, and how repetitiveness visuals, which you can’t really use in a podcast, but we’re gonna try a little bit of that this year. But the simplification of your communication such that your point gets across, I found to be really critical.

I remember taking a class, Jack and Carol from the Darden School at University of Virginia, taught this leadership class. And they talked about once you like, have a direction or a theme for your organization. Don’t ever assume that that messaging gets old. And that it’s well understood. And when I was in a GM position, every time I would do an open forum, I would start with our strategy. So I would say, our strategy is the 4-to-1 strategy. What that means is irrelevant for this conversation. But how many people in the room know what that strategy is? And without fail, a third of the room would raise their hands. So they either had gone before, it hadn’t hit home, they were new to the organization. So that consistency, the clarity of communication, I think, is something really important. And whether you’re doing something personally or professionally.

Camille Morhardt  07:50

Well, and when you interviewed Tara Smith, who’s Head of Comms for all of Intel. Yeah, she’s, she said something that I really like too, she said, “by the time you’re sick of telling the message, that’s when it’s first starting to land with people.” So. (laughs)

Rose Schooler  08:07

I couldn’t believe she said that, and yeah, it’s really important to stay consistent and to stay clear. And when you get into different situations at work, or when you’re spinning off to do something new, you know, you learn that those things that you learned through your career, how applicability in different environments and different spaces.

Camille Morhardt  08:27

Yeah, the other thing that I’ve heard you say before is, “know your audience.” And I know that sounds trite or cliche, I don’t know, everybody says it, but, you are taking it down to the level in a prior conversation we had of like you’re sitting in a meeting. And in your case, you had often the C Suite was in the meeting with you, right? And you were, you know, interacting, maybe with one member on the side and another member this and you’re like paying attention to not just your presence in the room, but your interaction with every individual within that room. I wonder if you could give a little more insight there.

Rose Schooler  09:04

Yeah, it’s interesting, probably the first time I really, I would say, failed, it was like one of those situations in your career where you make a decision to do something, and you reflect on it and then you just beat yourself up. You’re like, “wow, that was such a bad call.” So I was, I would say maybe like at the first level manager place in the organization and myself and another person–actually, it was Sandra Rivera–we’re giving a presentation. And the room was in New Jersey. And this was before there was a lot of video content, right? So everything was over the bridge, right? So it’s not like I could see faces and feel perspectives and emotion, but I just feel like everything that I said in that meeting fell so flat. And I don’t know if it was from the lack of response. I don’t know if it was shuffling papers, I don’t recall why but I just was like,” oh my god I had I should have been in that room.” I couldn’t read anything about how the audience was taking the message. Right. So that was probably the first kind of splash of cold water in my face on how important that is.

So you know, whether it be throughout the next couple decades, whether it was, you know, being in a room in RNB– that’s the Robert Noyce building, for those of you that don’t live and breathe Intel.

Camille Morhardt  10:37


Rose Schooler  10:38

And there’s a couple rooms where the EVPs and the CEO hang out. And you walk in that room, and there’s probably, what do you think Camille 30 chairs around the table in a big U? And you really have to be cognizant of all of the people in that room; are they on their phones, you know, checking their email. They either don’t care about what you’re talking about, which isn’t necessarily good. Or you’re not engaging them, which is more likely. So I just learned to, I hate to say it, but you learn to work the room a little bit.

The other place that this would come to play is presenting at sales conferences. I think you’ve probably done that Camille. Everybody comes in the next day. And you know, the next morning after being out the night before you got people like half asleep, you got people hung over. And you just realize that you’ve got to find a way to get the information to stick. So whether it be in that executive presentation or at a sales conference, do a bunch of hungover folks, you learn to like walk up and talk to them personally. So they feel your attention on them. Like and you don’t even need to ask a question. I remember, like, if there would be somebody that was half asleep, because they were out too late, or an executive on their phone, I would just walk over and kind of stand right in front of them and talk. So that it just makes them feel that you know, their presence in the room. And what you’re sharing is important. And their participation is important. So it’s just little things like that. How do you kind of work a room? And that’s in a presentation situation.

But then the other thing that I would probably note is that when you’re the leader in a room, and you have a table of people that are presenting to you, you have to find ways to bring out all the voices and how to create a psychologically safe environment where people in their innate self are willing to bring that self into the workplace and feel comfortable sharing opinions and feedback, because then you’re creating an environment for a richer, more productive conversation.

Camille Morhardt  12:55

So, back to the boardroom, let’s say you’re presenting.  So, you know, scolding, let’s say, even a senior CEO or senior person kind of as “Hey, like, you know, I’m speaking right now get off your phone” versus, you know, I’m trying to engage, or do you do things also, now that everybody is kind of texting and IMing in the background? Like, is that also a tool that you use? Maybe not while you’re presenting? But how do you work? All those different kinds of things?

Rose Schooler  13:24

Yeah, so um, some of it is you just got to it goes back to knowing your audience, right? So we started this thread on how do you like, know and then engage your audience, I’m gonna give a really extreme example. If I’m talking about a sales strategy, and the person that runs manufacturing or architecture isn’t engaged on a portion of the conversation that I know they have no interest or ability to impact–you gotta get kind of give them, like, I give them some slack, right. But in a room of an executive staff, everybody should feel like they’re part owners. So everybody should kind of be leaning in. So what methods would I use? Like I said, I would never walk up to somebody and go, “excuse me, please get off your phone.” But just your presence in proximity, sometimes is enough to make someone go, it takes real boldness if Camille, you’re standing one, two feet from me, and I’m still kind of digging in my phone.

You can ask a question. Like just a simple question. Like, let’s go back to the example of the sales strategy. And if I would make a statement about an approach I was going to take, you know, it doesn’t hurt to walk up to someone in manufacturing and go, “Do you see any ways that this may impact your throughput? Is there anything that we’re proposing that creates an issue for you?” So I think there’s very, very productive, subtle ways to engage the audience. And then if I’m the instructor in a class, and I see someone’s lawn engaged, I just play it out, ask them a question.

Camille Morhardt  15:06

Right. Cold call.

Rose Schooler  13:24

I just cold call them and I’ll never forget, it’s so funny, you spend 33 years and then there’s probably less than twenty-five things that just are like emblazoned in your brain through your career. And I just remember I was a new hire. And I was a fab process engineer, and George Gimbleson, may he rest in peace, was teaching this class on Process 618, or 629, which was 100 years ago, let’s just say that’s about 35 years ago now. And there was no way you didn’t participate and engage in his class. And to this day, you know, you had to be on your toes, because you never knew when George was going to ask you a question about the material he just presented or the homework that he asked you to do. And I found him to be so impactful, that it was a methodology that I tried to adopt and use through the rest of my career.

Camille Morhardt  16:05

You’ve also said before that it’s “what happens when you leave the room.”

Rose Schooler  16:10

Yeah, the conversation that happens when you leave the room.

Camille Morhardt  16:12

You’ve probably been in a lot more of those rooms, when the rest of us have left the room, so…

Rose Schooler  16:18

Or I left the room and the room keeps talking; I think that shoe fits on each foot. It goes back to you know, your first question around awareness. If I walk into a room, and I’m the senior leader and I know there’s people in that room that have never presented to me or my staff before, and I create an environment that’s tense, scary–I don’t even know what other word to use. So people aren’t comfortable, I don’t think you’re gonna get the best in people. So then, if you come in to present, and I just hammer you–not in a way that I’m being inquisitive, but you know, one that makes you uncomfortable–and I leave that room, what are you going to say? You’re gonna say, “God. She’s awful. She, I think intentionally put me on the spot to make me feel uncomfortable. I got nervous, I wasn’t my best self. I didn’t get all the information across because of that environment.” Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t ever get upset or angry or have to take a little bit of a harder stance. But if it’s someone just sharing information, you want them to feel good about the information they’re sharing, you want to be engaged, you want them to say, “Oh, my God, she listened to everything I said, and it was a great environment. And I got all my key messages across and I learned something and they learned something.” So that’s going back to know your audience, know the role you play, and know what you want people to feel like when you leave the room, because then they’re going to want to come back and share more information with you. You don’t want them to go like “Oh, God, I’m not gonna go back and see her; she’s horrible.” So I think that’s just from a leadership perspective.

And then when you go in, and you’re the presenter, you want to be prepared. You want to know the roles of all the people in the room, you want to think through the questions that they may ask; you want to be prepared to answer them; and you want to then if you don’t know, there’s no way to prepare for every single question you might get. You want to have a confidence and be comfortable enough to say, “I don’t know, I will get back to you.” And then when you leave the room, you hopefully leave that room with people thinking, “Wow, she was prepared, knowledgeable, content capable, and competent.” Let’s use those words. And you know that hopefully you departed, and they learned something in the conversation.

Camille Morhardt  18:49

Are you more lead with the brain or lead with the heart?

Rose Schooler  18:52

I will tell you a story and then I will answer the question. I had a woman that worked for me, I will mention her name because she is a beautiful soul. Nishi Raman. She ran part of design engineering for me. And she grabbed me in the cafeteria one day and she said, “Rose, I really appreciate the way you lead the head and the heart.” And I went, I actually never even thought about it that way. Like those words had never crossed my mind. But it made me start thinking and she’s like, “There are people that need motivated emotionally and people that need motivated intellectually, and you can do both.” And I went, “Wow! Well it wasn’t conscious, so now I better be more intentional and purposeful about it.” So I started to be. And then I don’t really know if you remember, Camille, but when Bob Swann joined and was the CEO, he used that same philosophy like, you know, “I think it’s head, heart and hands.”  Which is the doing, right? And never being afraid to dig in and do.

So I think initially in my career, I probably lead with the head. I think as I grew as a leader, I tried to lead equally, being audience aware. Like, you don’t want to stand up in front of a bunch of architects and design engineers and have a strategy and a message that’s completely from the heart, you’re probably going to lose some of them. So you got to be aware of your audience. And then I think, Bob’s edition of the hands is something that I think later in my career was really impactful. So I like to think by the time I retired, I was a head, heart and hands person.

Camille Morhardt  20:41

Can we just spend a few minutes on growing an initiative into a billion-dollar business?

Rose Schooler  20:49

Yeah. I think my dad said one thing when I was young–I think he was trying to be funny–”sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.” And I think there was a bit of luck in my situation. And for context, for those of you that are listening, and maybe don’t know the context, at one point in my career, I ran the Storage and Networking business, it was called Storage and Comms at the time. It was probably over a decade in different ways and forms and shapes and organization, but it was still kind of the same focus of growing what was initially the networking business. We grew it to over a billion dollars. And now it’s far, far, far surpasses that. But having said that, I think it was a bit of intentionality around the strategy and the indicators that we’ve put in place to measure success.  We really, really got to go build our own products run our own business with not a lot of oversight. And when I say oversight, I don’t mean like I didn’t have a manager in the form of Doug Davis that wasn’t watching the PNL intently. But we didn’t have the burden of having to present to executive staff once a month on our progress. We just did what we thought was right to grow the business.

I think it was a bit lucky that we hit the market timing right. The current approach in the market wasn’t fitting the future need. So the environment, we got lucky. The intentionality was around realizing and identifying that and putting a strategy in place to take advantage of it. And then the biggest thing is that I was just surrounded and accompanied by incredibly amazing people–people that have gone on to far surpass the success that an opportunity that I had in my own career. Brilliant architects, that once you created focus around a problem statement could solve any problem that you put in front of them. And I think I would close by saying that the focus was, I think, a little bit of the magic and the secret sauce. We were a team, a small team of people with a very, I mean, outside of Intel, you would probably seem like a ginormous budget, inside of Intel it was a relatively small budget. But we had intense focus. And that clarity of focus allowed everyone to be working on the same problems every day. And it just created a huge accelerant.

Camille Morhardt  23:31

What was the focus?

Rose Schooler  23:32

Without getting super technical, everything in the network infrastructure was proprietary. The form factors of the boards were proprietary, the software was proprietary, the silicon was proprietary; it was just like completely built from each manufacturer, bottoms up. So you didn’t get a lot of scale. And what they were finding is that in the market, the average revenue per user like you with a cell phone bill, or you with a data plan, was starting to decline as a percentage of what they were spending to put that infrastructure in place. So they had to do something to continue to grow the revenue, but bring their cost down. It’s just, it was a simple business equation. And we said if we could get Intel architecture to support the majority of the work that’s done in that equipment, we can unlock a gigantic market opportunity. And that’s what we did.

We started looking at the various types of work that’s done in that equipment. We would call it workloads. You’ll hear workloads now when you talk about cloud infrastructure; we broke that down and we just maniacally went through the major workloads and said “how we make our product work better in that workload in that environment?”  And we just started from simple applications. And we worked all the way down to when we were like it they’re called packets like the way you send data across an internet packet. When we were able to do that, with great performance and efficiency on Intel architecture, they blew the market open. And it worked out really well. Now you’re seeing a little bit of a swing back, right, you’re seeing a lot more purpose-built silicon for the people like hyperscalers, because they have so much buying power in the market. But in telecommunications, there was a market environment, a need, we realized that we pivoted our strategy. And every day, everybody woke up trying to solve those same problems. So that’s where we created the focus.

Camille Morhardt  25:38

How long did it take you to come in and say, “Okay, this is what our one strategy is?”

Rose Schooler  25:44

Yeah, so that was hard. And at the time, I worked in an organization that had two architectures–there were network processors, and there was Intel architecture. And all of the money and attention was on the network processors. And here’s this little band of merry men and women, like five of us saying, “That’s the wrong way to do it.” You know, “That’s the wrong way to do it.” And as the story plays out, there was the super interesting group of like five of us, it was myself, it was an operations person, Steve Gordon, it was a guy by the name of Tim Cober, who ran, like, Architecture and was just really a smart dude. And then it was Parnav Mehta, who was an architect, like a real live architect, like the super smart guy in the room. And we just started kind of breaking down through the problem statement of the organizational issue of two different architectures.

And then I think the best thing that can ever happen in that situation is you get a couple external data points; you get a customer calls and says, “Hey, by the way, Rose, I’m trying to put down your network processor complex on the same board as your Intel architecture complex. And I’ve just run out of room. Plus, I’ve got redundancy in a lot of the components that I think can be shared and we can simplify the platform architecture.” And I go, “Oh, that’s a problem.” And I run to Doug and I’m like, “Hey, customer said, this is pretty interesting.” But he was like, getting measured–no fault of his own–he was getting measured on the network processor success. So we kind of took that little data point, and we started to kind of break it down and go, What could we do differently? And again, it was just like five people meeting randomly in a room once a week with a problem statement. And then we got some other data points that came in, other customers, not the people that were building the boards, but like the AT&Ts of the world, the NTT Docomos of the world we’re coming in and saying, “I need a common architectural approach.” We took those two market signals and we literally drew it out on PowerPoint. And we took it to Doug’s staff and we said, “We are doing and approaching this market completely incorrectly. We need a single architectural approach. And here’s why.” And I don’t know if you know, Jonathan Walsh, but he walked up to us after the meeting, he said, “for the very first time, I realize that I work at Intel,” meaning, the amount of developer support, the amount of architectural support, the amount of software support that you can leverage on this common approach, once you get the architecture up to snuff, could be super powerful, and we’re not leveraging that.

And from that point on, it was a big pivot for Doug’s organization. And again, one of those moments where I remember walking in the hallway–and I think, funny enough, we just go to the restroom. And we decided to make a strategic decision to discontinue the network processor portfolio, and focus everything on Intel, which was giant. And I remember walking up to him and like grabbing him by his jacket and going, “We’re going to do this right, this could be really hard. And we’re gonna do this.” And he said, “Yeah, we’re gonna. We’re gonna do it.” And we did. And I got thrown out of a lot of customers for about six months after that people that had vested a lot of money in network processors. And then after that, you know, we were able to create the focus that we were talking about.

Camille Morhardt  29:11

That’s a good story. So sometimes you do actually grab somebody by the lapels.

Rose Schooler  29:16

I did grab a little. I’m gonna see him Saturday. I’m going to ask him if he remembers that.  He was such an amazing leader. I loved working for him so much.

Camille Morhardt  29:27

Is there anything that like when you were growing up you think kind of influenced how you ended up leading? I don’t want to leave out your background.

Rose Schooler  29:37

Yeah. Oh, yeah. So um, neither my parents have college education. My uncles had gone to college, but my grandfather wouldn’t send my mom to college. You know, she was a woman had to get it. She actually got a job, which was pushing the boundaries enough, you know, back when she was working. My mom’s 77-78.  So my mom then continued on to build a career to become senior vice president of a bank. So I had an incredibly strong female role model in my life. My father was a steelworker. And, oddly enough, was incredibly supportive of a working wife, at the time. So he was a bit of a renaissance man in his day.

Camille Morhardt  30:21

And you were in Pennsylvania, right?

Rose Schooler  30:23

Western Pennsylvania. Yeah, so my dad worked in a mill. My dad would always tell me, “I don’t care if you get a degree in basket weaving, you’re gonna go to college. Your mother and I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I don’t care what you major in, you’re gonna go.” So I have this really great set of influencers, role models in my life that my mom who had broken through so many different barriers as an executive woman in the region, and my dad, who if you ever have watched a video or a YouTube video on working in a steel mill–if you haven’t, I suggest you do–he was just an incredibly hard worker. So I had both the support infrastructure, I had the role model, and both having success as well as working hard.

And, you know, they went through some tough times. So I saw what it was like. Even when you work hard, and you have a good job, it’s still my dad, when I was, I want to say getting ready to go to college, lost his job, because the steel industry was migrating overseas. And my mom was the breadwinner. And, you know, they were trying to figure out how to pay for my education. We weren’t homeless, you know, I wouldn’t go that far. We weren’t living on the street or anything. But there were tough times, you know, my dad was starting new businesses, cleaning floors just to make ends meet. His career then swung back around, and he ended up with a great job. And my mom’s career went really, really well. So I was proud of my 33 years, she worked 51 and a half years at the same place. And you know, they’re still both, thank God, both alive and doing well and living a really good life, but their influence was huge.

Camille Morhardt  32:08

So one other thing I remember about you is, you really stand up for people and ideas.  But ideas are easier to stand up for, I think sometimes.  There were a few times there was a group setting and you know, you shot your hand up or jumped up out of your seat and sort of asked an important question. And by that I mean, a question that’s a bit awkward, but on everybody’s mind, in the entire room. I would say giving voice to many of the people in the room who had the question, but felt like it was inappropriate, or they weren’t, you know, they didn’t have the seniority to ask it. And I guess, when did you pivot to being able to ask that? And like, how did you first do that? And did it always take courage? Or was it the first time?

Rose Schooler  33:03

It always takes courage. I didn’t always have it. It came later in my career. And I would say a couple things unlocked it. One, enough experience to feel enough self-confidence to ask the question. I had a coach Barbara Curry, she’s still a dear friend of mine, that helped me kind of unlock that in myself, I was lacking. I was general manager and completely didn’t have any self-confidence. So she helped me unlock that.

The second thing, I don’t know if how this will come off. But when you get to a point in your career, where you know, a) I’m not going to starve if I lose my job, my me and my husband, at one point, I think my daughter, our daughter was 10, he lost his job. So I was the sole breadwinner, right? So for that, like, we’ll just say for, I don’t know, five, six years, you feel the burden of being the person that sustaining and keeping the family together, right–both emotionally as the mother and financially now, which was a shared partnership, and that came with a lot of stress. So I found myself not taking any action that would put risk in that scenario. And then you get to a point you go like, “Well, number one, we’re not going to starve if I lose my job. You know, we’ve saved money and we can make it work for a little while. So you get a little financial freedom, I guess you would call it, to accompany that self-confidence. So between the two self-confidence. And I, you know, we were by no means rich, you know, we put we knew we wouldn’t starve. And I think those two scenarios.

And then the probably the third one is at some point in your career this this switch like flips that you just are wholly focused on doing what’s right for the company and not right for you. And you know, the company is nothing without its people. So you take a more active role. Probably the biggest example of that is I, oh my gosh, I was probably in my 40s, before I supported any employee resource group. The other big factor is you get to a point in your career where you realize that people are looking at you, as a future them. When people start looking at you and saying, “She’s a leader, I can be a leader. She reached this point in her career, I can reach that point in my career,” it comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. And that responsibility is to be the best role model and leader that you can be for the people that are looking at you, as their inspiration, sounds so I don’t know cliche or something, but as what their future selves could be.

So, probably the three-legged stool of self-confidence, a little bit of financial freedom, and then the responsibility that you have to serve the up-and-coming folks in the organization. And I mean, any resource group, whether it be, you know, when I left, I was executive sponsor for BNEW, which is the Black Network of Executive Women. I did a lot of work with the LGBTQ+ community. I did a lot of work with women’s groups just to make sure that you are the representative that they need you to be.

Camille Morhardt  36:48

Thank you Rose Schooler for joining me today.

Rose Schooler  36:49

Thank you! So good to see you.

Camille Morhardt 36:55

It’s good to see you, and we’ll put the link to your podcast below.

Rose Schooler  37:19

Thank you. Have a great day!

Camille Morhardt  37:02

You, too.


The views and opinions expressed are those of the guests and author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Intel Corporation.

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