Life at Avery Dennison

Wendy Esposito, Global IT Sourcing Director, USA

5
Years with AD
Traveler
Passion
Advocate
Personality
Sports
Interest

What attracted you to your chosen work? 
In IT sourcing, I get to use my legal background on a global scale to build productive, long-term partnerships and help find IT solutions to business problems. I also enjoy the IT aspects of my role because I’m constantly learning about emerging technologies as the technology landscape evolves at a record pace. 

What skills did you develop early that are still useful today?
Critical thinking skills are key to my success. I try not to make assumptions and I ask a lot of questions to understand the priorities and perspectives of the people with whom I am working. This helps me focus on what matters when I’m aligning with internal stakeholders and navigating difficult negotiations.

Life at Avery Dennison

How have you grown in your career at Avery Dennison?
Five years ago, I was hired to manage the SaaS and professional services categories for Avery Dennison. Today, I’m responsible for the global IT sourcing function. My team has also expanded into new areas such as non-IT professional services for the corporate business unit and has taken on significant responsibility for the negotiation of legal terms and conditions.   

I also have opportunities to work on broader, strategic IT projects outside of the sourcing context. In 2020 I planned the 2020 Worldwide IT Leadership Summit and this year I managed  the development process for IT’s 2022-2025 strategic plan. 

What's the biggest stretch opportunity you've taken on?
In 2020, I was asked to create a program for the Worldwide IT Leadership Summit, which is an annual event sponsored by Nick Colisto, our CIO. Instead of using the structure of prior summits, I proposed an immersive, virtual event where our IT leaders would gain hands-on experience with modern innovation techniques, such as design thinking and Agile mindset. 

Nick agreed and trusted me to make it a success. The project challenged me on a number of fronts - I do not have a learning and development background, nor do I have a technical background in innovation, design thinking, or Agile. Plus, the success or failure of the program would reflect directly on Nick.  COVID complicated matters further as we had to deliver the content to over 50 IT leaders across the world using new online collaboration tools.   

I set out to learn as much as I could in a short period of time and used my network to connect with subject matter experts I could rely on to create a comprehensive program. In the end, the summit was a success; the participants provided positive feedback and our IT leaders came away with new tools to approach business problems through innovation. 

Life at Avery Dennison

What role has mentorship played in your career?
Mentorship has played an important role in my career. In my first IT sourcing role, I worked with an attorney who chose to be invested in my success from the very beginning. He spent time helping me figure out the dynamics of a large global consulting firm environment and shared his subject matter expertise. Ultimately, he advocated for me to be the sourcing lead for the largest cloud migration contract negotiation in the firm’s history. The experience I gained from that negotiation and the connections I made with executive leadership changed the course of my career.

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
Transitioning from being a trial attorney to an IT sourcing professional. If you told me law school would lead to a career negotiating IT contracts, I would have run in the other direction!  But it turns out, it’s a great fit for my interests and strengths.  As an attorney, each day was a battle. Now, I get to help build relationships and put protections in place so we don’t end up in a courtroom.

The project challenged me on a number of fronts - I do not have a learning and development background, nor do I have a technical background in innovation, design thinking...I set out to learn as much as I could in a short period of time...In the end, the summit was a success.

As you think about the next steps in your career, what are the most important actions you plan to take?
My focus is to continue to develop as an IT and digital leader and innovator. I was recently selected to participate in the third cohort of Avery Dennison’s Digital Leadership Acceleration Program (DLAP), which is a custom, 6-month executive education program provided by the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education and the Digital Innovation Center of Excellence (DICE). This program will prepare me and other participants to:

  • Drive a cultural shift at Avery Dennison by enabling leaders to think about digital as a source of continuous, customer-focused innovation and experience

  • Build fluency, dexterity, and functional knowledge of current and emerging digital technologies

  • Develop digital business cases and implement digital projects at scale in the organization

I’m excited for this opportunity and to contribute to Avery Dennison’s digital journey.

Life at Avery Dennison

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Technology and business needs are constantly evolving. Each day brings new opportunities and new challenges.

 

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