Name: Julie Vida
Military Branch/Rank: U.S. Navy/Commander
Job Title: Senior Executive Partner
Office Location: Arlington, VA
Describe your job in 25 words or less: A unicorn of jobs: Magical mix of executive advising, intellectual stimulation, relationship-building and flexible work-life balance. The most fun I’ve ever had out of the cockpit!
How has your military background helped you excel in your current career? My 24 years in the Navy solidified my passion for service at all levels, and built a solid foundation of collaboration and teamwork. These are critical tools I needed to face the challenges and dangers of driving combatant ships and flying helicopters, and that I rely on now to deliver exceptional value to Executive Programs public-sector clients. My ability to collaborate successfully with Gartner associates around the world is a direct by-product of the skills I learned and mastered while serving in the world’s greatest Navy. Though I’ve retired and hung up the flight suit, I have the privilege and honor to continue serving the public by empowering my clients, including federal government and Department of Defense CIOs and IT executives, to execute their missions in support of this great country.
What originally attracted you to Gartner? Before I became an associate, I was an Executive Programs client. I worked in a very high-stress position in the Pentagon. Though I loved the challenge and reward of serving the nation, the work was often frustrating and unsatisfying. I’m a people person, but I had little time to focus on people as I navigated bureaucracy and red tape most of the time. I recall always feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, inspired and just plain good after meeting with any of my Gartner team or other associates at Symposium and other local events. Gartner was the breath of fresh air that inspired me professionally and helped me stay current and relevant on technology innovations. My Gartner interactions helped me put aside the daily minutia of task lists and focus on strategic, long-range, impactful projects and ideas. I remember attending my first Symposium as a client and being amazed at how friendly and helpful everyone was, from the presenters to the people driving the golf carts. I thought “Wow, how did these people get so lucky to work for a company that gives them so much satisfaction?” Now I know, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this team.
What is your favorite part about working for Gartner? I love the challenge and excitement of getting to know my Executive Programs clients and finding creative and personalized ways to engage them and deliver value in a way that speaks to them as individuals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, which allows me to build and leverage personal relationships with clients. As an off-the-charts extrovert, this appeals to me on many levels.
What advice do you have for prospective Gartner candidates? Be yourself. Gartner is very particular about who they hire, and for good reason. Your resume may get you an interview, but your personal style and what you bring as a unique teammate are critical elements that will determine your success as you make it into and through the hiring process. Since the corporate culture is extremely open and collaborative, people will very quickly determine if you’re being genuine in your interactions. Whatever your personality type, background, experience, biases, etc., just be yourself.
What has been your proudest moment at Gartner? I ran the Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C., in October as part of the Gartner corporate team out of Arlington, VA. Admittedly, I was under-trained and not all that thrilled about the race when I got up at zero dark thirty to head to the start line at the Pentagon. It started out pretty cold and windy, so I ran the first 7 or 8 miles with a long-sleeve shirt covering up my Gartner tank. As it got warmer, though, I ran in just the tank top, Gartner blue with white lettering on the front. After I crossed the finish line, someone yelled from the sidelines “Hey, I love Gartner!” Representing Gartner in a race that exists to support military service members and their families, and getting a positive shout-out from a stranger about the company I work for, was a memorable and proud moment.
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most? I enjoy opening my clients’ eyes and minds to the nontechnical aspects of their jobs as CIOs and IT executives. Partnering with and coaching CIOs to be leaders first enables me to tap into all the wonderful leadership lessons I’ve learned over the years in the Navy, and apply them in unique ways with my clients. I love seeing their faces light up and wheels start spinning as we discuss topics such as shaping organizational culture and driving effective change. It’s not quite as exciting as flying at 50 feet above ground in the mountains on night-vision goggles, but it’s pretty close for the corporate world.
What advice would you give to recent new hires? Starting building solid relationships based on transparency and trust across business units in Gartner, right from your very first interactions with other associates. Gartner’s success is a product of the extremely collaborative culture all its leaders and associates have cultivated over the years. As you perfect the technical aspects of your particular role, spend at least the same amount of time meeting other associates and learning from them. You will be amazed at how open and available everyone is to share their experience and best practices. We are ONE GARTNER!
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it? “Rise Gracefully.” It’s half-written in my head already. Don’t steal my title! It would be about picking yourself up after making mistakes, taking responsibility for them without blaming others or playing a victim, learning and being better for it.
What are 3 words that best describe you? Considerate, enthusiastic, inquisitive.
What is one thing unique about you that people would be surprised if they knew? I won just under $100,000 on two national television games shows. I was the big winner on “Wheel of Fortune,” which aired on New Year’s Day 2004 and “The Weakest Link,” which I filmed in July 2001. I signed a contract not to tell anyone that I had won until it aired in April 2002. Airing was delayed due to the 9/11 terror attacks. I was deployed at sea at the time, and had to watch the show on a VCR tape that my dad sent to me. The ship’s TV station aired it too, so the 5,000 sailors and Marines could watch me, the only female pilot out of about 250 helicopter and Harrier pilots, be the last one standing and take home the winnings.
If you could switch your job with anyone else within Gartner, whose job would you want and why? Is that a real question? Gene Hall’s, of course! I would love to have the ability to impact so many people’s lives, both internally with associates and externally with our clients. To run a company with so many talented, passionate people across the globe would be such a joy, such a blessing and an incredible opportunity to help shape the world through IT innovations and developments.
Favorite Quote or Personal Mantra: People will not remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou