Ex-Intel executive’s biggest career regret and best business advice

Diane Bryant has spent most of her career working for some of the best companies in the world – Intel and Google – often as one of the few women in attendance.

When she first joined Intel in 1985, Bryant, now 60, told CNBC Make It that she had to quickly adopt the same habits as her male colleagues, such as drinking Scotch and swearing. , to “integrate” into the office.

“I realized that the only way to get them to collaborate with me and be successful on this team is to make these men more comfortable by adopting their direct and aggressive style,” she says. “I was like, ‘You adapt or you die.'”

The California native spent 32 years at Intel in a variety of roles, including Chief Information Officer and President of Intel’s Data Center Group. After leaving Intel, Bryant spent a year as COO of Google Cloud and served as an advisor and board member to several small start-ups before joining NovaSignal, a medical device start-up, in as Chairman and CEO in 2020.

Many of those opportunities, she adds, came from mentors who encouraged her and invested in her success: A customer at the restaurant where Diane worked throughout college recommended her for her first internship at Aerojet, and when a colleague saw her struggle with a tough manager at Intel, he recruited her for a better role on another team.

Below, Bryant shares the best business advice she’s ever received and her biggest career regret.

“There is no emotion in business”

Loving what you do can help you be more productive and creative at work — but Bryant warns that letting your emotions guide your decision-making can quickly backfire.

Andy Bryant, the former chairman of Intel, passed on this advice to Bryant when she was still an executive at the tech company conducting high-stakes negotiations with customers.

“He told me, ‘there is no emotion in business,'” she said. “This applies to both positive and negative emotions: whether you are ecstatic or angry, they will lead you to make a bad decision.”

Bryant explains, “If you’re overcommitted or overexcited, you’re likely to compromise more, such as giving to the other party during a contract negotiation, and if you’re hostile, you might walk away from a good opportunity by spite.”

The next time you find yourself in a passionate and emotional situation at work – whether it’s a tense conversation with a manager or a passive-aggressive email chain with a client – Bryant recommends ” get up from your desk, leave the room, take a few deep breaths and regain your composure.”

Whether it’s just grabbing a glass of water in your kitchen or taking a 15-minute walk outside, taking a step back can help you clear your mind and better manage your emotions.

“You can’t convince everyone”

There’s not much you can do to cope with a job you can’t stand. However, a toxic work environment can be mentally and physically taxing, so don’t ignore the signs that it’s time to move on.

Bryant learned it the hard way: Her biggest career regret is not leaving soon enough when she found herself in an organization that “wasn’t woman-friendly” (she didn’t name the name). ‘company).

“The vast majority of my managers over the decades have been motivating and encouraging, but there have been a few who have clearly felt more comfortable working with people like them: men,” he says. she.

In this situation, Bryant’s courage hurt her success – she thought her passion and persistence would win over her manager, but he continued to offer better opportunities and higher pay to his male colleagues at the same level.

Looking back, Bryant wishes she “recognized that the barrier was impenetrable and left the organization sooner.”

The CEO, however, says her new role at the helm of NovaSignal is “extremely fulfilling”. NovaSignal uses artificial intelligence (AI), ultrasound and robotics to measure blood flow to the brain, which can help identify blood clots and other neurological abnormalities like stroke or dementia. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised over $120 million in funding.

“It’s great to have a job where you’re not just continually improving results and outcomes, but also doing something for the good of society,” she says. “It feels incredibly rewarding to me.”

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