I very much appreciate the opportunity to serve as a inspiration to those who are at the onset or midst of their leadership careers. I hope that my professional journey would be an encouragement especially for the generations of women in reaching their full potential.”
The Journey of an Inspiring Business Leader
Meet Nita White-Ivy, a proficient HR Leader representing Blackberry on the global hi-tech vertical.
At a young age, Nita was a single parent to her son. At the time, she wanted to equip herself with a strong educational background to earn a good living, compete in the business world, and provide for both for her family.
The words “cannot” and “impossible” were erased from her mind, and her courageous-self replaced them with strong faith, determination, and perseverance, which helped her deal with fear, anxiety, and loneliness during those most difficult years.
Nita’s journey of entering the high technology industry and succeeding in it as a woman and a minority was most challenging. She worked around the clock, toiled for long hours, and put in extra efforts. She did her “homework” to be prepared and demonstrate proficiency and earned her professional respect along the way.
She took note of the qualifications, communication style, and professional traits of the people around her who were successful and respected, and had a few of them as mentors.
Later, being a corporate officer for three turn-around companies in the last 20+ years has its set of challenges, roadblocks, and setbacks. In Nita’s mind, these are inherent in leadership and are there to overcome and navigate with purpose and determination.
A Sneak Peek into Blackberry’s World
BlackBerry provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments. The company leverages AI/ML to deliver innovative solutions in the areas of cybersecurity, safety, and data privacy solutions and is a leader in the areas of endpoint security, endpoint management, encryption, and embedded systems.
The Core Competencies
the modern-day smartphone with advanced security and messaging capabilities. One of its mission statements was – “Always try to build something special. Build important things and have an impact on society.”
For over 35 years, the company has invented, created, and built security solutions to give people and businesses the ability to stay secure and productive.
Nita has always desired to be in a high-demand, energized, forward-looking industry, and work environment. She joined BlackBerry seven+ years ago to reshape the global HR function to support the company’s new business strategy for its turnaround. At that time, BlackBerry HR consisted of a good-sized team and had a lot of critical functions outsourced to third-party vendors. Today, it is an exceptional team of highly dedicated, collaborative, agile, get-it-done/make-it-happen global HR professionals, and doesn’t outsource any of its critical functions and programs.
A High Prolific Clientele
Blackberry’s customers include 7 of the G7 governments, 18 of the G20, 45 of the Fortune 100, 77% of Fortune 500 financial services companies, 9 of the 10 largest automakers, and 24 of the world’s top 25 EV OEMs. The company’s strategy is to connect, secure, and manage every endpoint in the Internet of Things. Beyond a secure enterprise or secure building, it thinks about building critical infrastructure, securing utilities, automotive safety, and securing the end consumer themselves.
The Turning Point of Nita’s Career
Nita was identified as a high-potential by her first high-technology employer. This gave her the inspiration and determination to push for achieving her full professional potential, which included relocating from California to the company’s world headquarters in Michigan. While the relocation was difficult in many ways, it was also the turning point in her professional journey in terms of understanding “Corporate America” and its dynamics.
Fulfilling the Role of the Chief Human Resources Officer
As BlackBerry’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Nita strongly believes in developing a strong team and being a working leader who equally carries the load of its mission and purpose with the rest of its members. She values the BlackBerry HR team, which is highly dedicated, collaborative, agile, responsive, and mission-focused with a “can-do/make-it-happen work and team attitude.” “We strive each day to walk the extra mile to support our internal customers and also make a difference by our civic involvement in the local communities where we live and work.”
Incorporating High Standards as a Chief Human Resources Officer
Have a clear and up-to-date view of the company’s business strategy, objectives, and competitive edge. Nita ensures that the organization and team that she leads are “actively in sync” with the requirements of the company and its employees to effectively support its executives, people leaders, employees, and the company’s success.
An Excerpt from Nita’s Exclusive Leadership Style
Nita describes that leaders are the critical “linchpins” and “anchors” for the execution of the company’s strategy, operations, and success. It is paramount to communicate and articulate the company’s culture, mission, and purpose, implement accountability and update performance expectations, and cultivate a positive work environment that includes a sense of belonging. Modelling the use of active listening, empathy, compassion, vulnerability, and humanity will go a long way in gaining the respect and trust of the team.
The Bitter-Sweet Taste of Success – From Nita’s Pen
Success is that good feeling in your heart after achieving what you set out to accomplish – whether big or small. It is one’s ability to navigate through life’s ups and downs, and to emerge stronger and wiser from challenges and setbacks.
I have gone through a lot in my career and learned much along the way. In passing each milestone, I treasured the good experiences, learned from the setbacks, and emerged wiser. I believe this is what life is all about.
Key Pointers of Industry and Business Leaderships
As a leader, Nita believes in developing and applying the following traits and skills to thrive in the industry:
- Strong purpose, determination, and focus
- Reflective, problem-solving, and analytical skills
- Emotional connection to one’s work and career
- Good understanding of and be up to date regarding the company’s business objectives and strategy
- Time and priority management
- Effective listening, team building, and collaboration skills.
Celebrating Triumphs and Teams
BlackBerry’s HR team’s determination is second to none. As an industry leader, she is most proud of various awards that the team has garnered with the support of multiple stakeholders, people leaders, and employees.
Companies do not undergo successful transformations without smart, dedicated, creative employees who are driven to succeed. That’s how we win numerous awards like these.
Prime Insights of 2021
In the calendar year 2021, Blackberry’s Cyber Security business unit delivered strong growth while its IoT business unit has performed well in the face of global chip shortages. Looking ahead never has the threat of cyberattacks been higher, nor more on the minds of management.
BlackBerry is prepared to meet the constantly evolving cybersecurity needs of companies everywhere. It is focused on making sure that its customers have the products and expertise to stay one step ahead of cyber and competitive threats.
A Take on the Current Cyber Security Industry Scenario
The exponential growth of device interconnectivity has created vulnerabilities at a rate few organizations can handle. Add state-sponsored cyberattacks and global remote work, and it is clear that today’s business environment is rife with cyber-chaos, forcing security teams to scramble to address an expanding attack surface in the face of an increasingly sophisticated threat landscape.
A Valuable Piece of Advice to Young Business Leaders
Nita quotes a few words of wisdom for young business minds, “Have a sense of purpose that is strong enough for you to not yield to challenges, roadblocks, and setbacks, each of which carries a lesson to be learned for future reflections and useful tools. Enhance your network to expand your professional horizon and find mentors to guide you. Get noticed by and connect with upper-level leaders who could champion your career advancement.”
A Heartfelt Message to the Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Strive to achieve a balance between your mind and your heart to attain a better understanding, appreciation, and consideration of multiple and generational perspectives. Applying emotional intelligence, especially during challenging times, will connect and bond you closely with your team, colleagues, and management.