This profile is part of a weekly series highlighting participants from Lenovo’s Global Future Leaders Program (GFLP). Founded in 2017, the program immerses high-achieving college graduates into a five-year job rotation program in a fast-track to corporate leadership. Global future leaders hail from top universities across Asia-Pacific, China, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Latin America and North America.
Christina Frederick is no shrinking violet. Standing at an imposing 5’11,” she has a distinct ability to command a room. And command she does, when it’s called for — a trait that is serving her well at Lenovo.
Frederick, an HR Partner in WW Marketing, joined the company through the Global Future Leaders Program (GFLP) in 2017 after earning her masters in counseling and career development from North Carolina State University.
She completed the two-year rotation portion of the GFLP program following her final temporary stint as the HR Partner for the WW Legal department, and she will continue to receive developmental opportunities through GFLP for the next three years.
Learn more about Frederick’s journey here:
How did you come to learn about GFLP?
“I learned about GFLP while working as a contractor with Cisco Systems as a program manager for inclusion and collaboration. I knew I could be converted (to full time) or my contract could end, so I used graduation as an opportunity to potentially change my career.”
“I knew from my HR and career development experience that there may be programs for new graduates, and the future leaders program sounded like one where I could really be a rockstar. Especially since I would come in with eight years of work experience in corporate. I thought ‘All I need is to get in front of people’ and I will do well.” Fortunately, Frederick’s instincts were right, and she survived a robust and lengthy interview process leading her to be hired into the program.
How did the rotations help you to learn and grow?
“I didn’t really enter the rotations with preconceived notions. A lot of it had to do with my strong intent to make the best out of any situation.” One thing I always make sure to do is have a voice about where I want to go in my career. You have to manage your own career. You can’t look to others.
One thing I always make sure to do is have a voice about where I want to go in my career. You have to manage your own career. You can’t look to others.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this experience?
“Relationship management is key and being aware of how much you are willing to put in to making something happen. I made sure to engage future and potential managers, to make sure they knew who I was and the value I hoped to bring to their team. I would meet with them and take them through a presentation deck, almost like a digital portfolio with past experiences and career goals, to help them get to know me better.”
Any influential leaders you worked with who really helped you zone in to your career path?
“I spent my first rotation in talent acquisition for North America which I really enjoyed and felt grateful for having such a wonderful manager, Lisa Miller. I admired Lisa’s ability to balance managing, mentoring and advocating, which not everyone can do. She definitely played a big part in my successes when it came to my rotation, or me wanting to grow. She listened, understood and assisted me in making things happen that would benefit my growth. She spent time getting to know me in a way where when I’m not in the room, she can still mention my name and push my name forward.”
“Supporting legal quickly became my pinnacle point. My first time being an HR Partner came with, “You’re going to be supporting Laura Quatela, who is Lenovo’s Chief Legal Officer, SVP and a board member. Laura is a highly respected attorney and leader. Supporting her taught me more about the business of Lenovo than I could have ever imagined.”
“With Yolanda Conyers, I have a unique experience with her because she wears three major hats for the company – VP, Chief Diversity Officer and President of the Lenovo Foundation. She took time to support me to make sure I could support my client. She took on a managerial role where she didn’t have to. She stands out. She really stepped in to make sure I succeeded.”
All three of these female leaders have made a tremendous impact on my growth and time in Lenovo.
What does “Global Leadership” mean to you on an individual level? Corporate level? What makes a good global leader?
“A good global leader is one who understands and appreciates how their decisions impact multiple people, multiple cultures, in every aspect of the business. Understanding their impact in terms of their engagement, their decisions, and their role.
“Not that you just have ownership and oversight outside of your own country. But the leader piece is that because of that role you understand the impact you have on a global level. Being sensitive to that.”
Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?
“I will have a fully-fledged consulting firm as it relates to talent development for companies. Leveraging my masters in counseling and business background, my goal is to help executives and companies unlock the development in their talent as we move through this transformational digital age, because there’s an impact, both physical and mental, on our employees. They can be overworked and stressed and I want to assist leaders and employees in cultivating a healthy working environment for all while pushing our innovative barriers, but not at the expense of personal health.”
“I am currently a provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor with the state of North Carolina and I’m in the process of becoming fully licensed. In the end, my passion is to help clients harmonize career and life goals for sustained success.”
What advice would you give to recent college graduates who may be interested in the program?
“The GFLP program is very similar to our company. People who succeed really show an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s structured but not so much that you can’t make your own path. Be prepared to take initiative. Don’t get your feelings hurt and don’t forget to take ownership of your own career. Be a real entrepreneur of your career when you come into the program.”
The GFLP program is very similar to our company. People who succeed really show an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s structured but not so much that you can’t make your own path. Be prepared to take initiative. Don’t get your feelings hurt and don’t forget to take ownership of your own career. Be a real entrepreneur of your career when you come into the program.
Want to be our next Global Future Leader? Learn more about program openings and opportunities near you by visiting our talent page at lenovocareers.com and search for “University” under the Departments tab.