Walk us through your CIO path. How did you decide to pursue a career in technology, and how did you progress to your current organization?
My journey is a bit different than many of my technology peers in that I did not seek out a tech career immediately following my undergrad. I did however learn very quickly that technology was key to contributing to success in my early roles, so I was intrigued and excited when I was first approached about a technology role with Capital One. During my time at Capital One, I learned so much about both technology and how to be a good team member and leader. I was lucky to form very strong relationships during my time there, and through those connections found new and exciting leadership opportunities at other companies. I feel extremely fortunate to now be at Clayton, where I first led the Financial Services Technology organization, then moving into the CIO role in 2018. I have enjoyed continuing to grow and expand my experience through many technology roles, geographies and industries. The key to my success has been to build and maintain strong relationships, never be afraid to try new things and always continue to learn and push myself to be better.
Tell us about your company. Speak to the industry, size of the company, and the services provided to your customers.
As a diverse builder committed to quality and durability, Clayton Homes offers traditional site-built homes and off-site built housing – such as modular homes, manufactured homes and CrossMod™ homes.
It is our mission to help provide attainable homeownership for families across America. Through innovative building processes and our indoor building facilities, we are able to pass along cost-savings to our customers.
Clayton has about 20,000 team members across the country and built 56,240 homes for people across the U.S. in 2020.
What are your top 3 – 5 (ongoing) main priorities as a CIO in your organization?
Continuing to enhance and build upon our people-first culture: Recognize that all our efforts begin and end with keeping customer and team member experience at the forefront of our decisions and actions.
Staying innovation minded: Understand that success requires being empowered to try a lot of things without fear of failure, learning as a team, and keeping what works.
Promoting data intelligence: Embrace data as an asset and strategic driver of business advantage through a strategic roadmap for advancing data literacy, practices and expertise.
Modernization of technology: Deliver secure, reliable and resilient solutions that are future-focused and leverage standards to simplify our strategic and architectural footprint.
How do you decompress from your role as a technology executive? What do you do for fun?
My family and I love to travel. We have enjoyed living in many areas of the country and never turn down an opportunity to visit or meet up with the many friends we have met along the way. Tennessee is truly an outdoor lover’s dream, so we also find ourselves boating or hiking whenever possible.
Can you list your top 1 – 3 books that you would recommend for a technology leader to have on their bookshelf/Kindle?
- Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni. In this book, Lencioni identifies the 3 essential virtues of the ideal team player. We use these 3 characteristics extensively through our interview and talent management processes.
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Through this book, I learned about the importance of showing vulnerability to live life to the fullest and develop real, honest and loving relationships.
- The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book teaches us about the importance of creating powerful moments that will ultimately create extraordinary experiences in the lives of our team members and customers.
Can you share a specific quote that is a source of inspiration for you as a leader?
A dear friend and mentor of mine used to always tell me, “They can’t eat you.” That has helped me in so many circumstances to overcome a fear in speaking up or sharing my thoughts or ideas.
When I first joined Clayton, a Berkshire Hathaway company, I found this gem by Mr. Warren Buffett that has stuck with me as a reminder that if we plan for the future, good things can happen:
Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.Warren Buffett
Please share a recommendation or testimonial on the benefit that you see as a member of this CIO Professional Network.
Staying connected to other leaders and learning through their experiences has been extremely helpful in continuing to evolve and grow as an individual and organization. The CIO Professional Network has been extremely useful to learn about current industry trends through articles and research briefs, while also staying connected to seasoned technology leaders through the CIO Exchange. This has been a great network to learn more about my specific concern areas or learn in general how other leaders are addressing problem areas that are impacting many of us.