2014 Commercial Programs Conference Highlights - Part 3: Through the Eyes of An ECLP Summer Associate
(By Taelor Leinss, Summer Associate)
For the past six days, I have lived and breathed the vast and exciting world of General Electric during our bi-annual ECLP conference in Greenwich, CT. 215 people flew in from around the world united by a common bond- the desire to learn and develop our skills to become a commercial leader at General Electric.
Every day we spent the mornings listening to intriguing and enthusiastic speakers share their career journeys as well as life lessons they have picked up along the way. From Jeff Immelt, our CEO and Chairman, who explained the importance of incorporating the industrial internet into all of our divisions to remain competitive to Deb Frodl, our Global Executive Director of Ecomagination, who shared her experience of balancing a family life while climbing the corporate ladder. Coming from a tech background, I found it very exciting to hear from Beth Comstock, our CMO, who discussed GE’s venture into startups through taking outside entrepreneurial ideas and using GE resources to develop products.
Overall, my favorite speaker of the week was Kate Johnson. A recent transplant from Oracle, Kate is now our VP, Chief Commercial Officer, which is now my new dream job. She provides the organization great insight into how we can utilize software solutions in our products to help our customers decrease downtime and predict future problems. Kate is brains behind GE’s superpowers. After speeches, we would have networking lunches where we were able to meet full time ECLPs to learn more about their rotations and experiences.
The afternoon was filled with summer project pitchouts and personal development classes. Now, I know that sounds boring, but it was actually very interesting and fun to get to know the interns from other office locations and businesses on a deeper level. You can see a picture of my new work family, the GE Capital ECLP interns. My favorite was the Influencing Skills session. We learned not only about our own personality type, but also how to work with and flex to different personality types to improve team dynamics.
Think of Your Career As a Product
(By Amol Kapur, ECLP Class 2016, Capital)
The ECLPs from both the class of 2015 & 2016 had the pleasure of listening to Clarence Nunn, President and CEO of GE Capital Franchise Finance speak with us about his commercial career at GE.
Clarence spoke about being reflective with respect to your skill set. He does this exercise every year and is sure to not only address areas for development, but also design a course of actions to improve in those areas.
Skills matter, titles don’t…
It is easy to get lost in the day dream of C-level job titles especially if you have been spoiled with speeches from GE officers praising ECLPs. However, Clarence had a firm stance that early on in our careers, the first 3 to 5 years, we should be focused on skill development and building domain knowledge. The patience to grow and learn while stretching yourself professionally will pay off in the long run with the coveted job title.
Think of your career as a product…
Don’t get stale. Read, be curious, embrace and seek out change, be active in your community and get involved in activities outside of your rotations and day to day assignments. The curiosity to learn and grow will help you to evolve your ‘product’.
Learnt from his days of playing football in college and the pros, Clarence said that mental toughness has helped him excel as a commercial leader. You have to be prepared to sell customers on value, and not on the lowest price. Hence marketing plays a critical role in helping the sales organization by determining the value proposition. With domain knowledge, long term relationships, and Access GE, GE Capital has been successful in establishing their value rather than competing on price.
Over 200 ECLPs and Summer Associates from around the world have gathered in Greenwich, Connecticut, for the 12th annual Commercial Leadership Conference. It has been a packed and valuable experience so far to network with senior and new colleagues and friends from all major regions of the world and all 9 businesses of GE.
We started the week by giving back to the community through various community service activities, ranging from cleaning the Mill River in Stamford to spending a day at the Maritime Aquarium with mentally challenged adolescents and adults from the Stars Behavioral Health Group (press release here)
Day 2 we had a star-studded agenda with keynote speeches from CEO Jeff Immelt, Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock and Chief Commercial Officer Kate Johnson.
We officially welcomed the new Capital ECLP Class of 2016!
This week more than 40 Capital ECLPs from both class of 2015 and 2016 gathered in Norwalk CT for the semi-annual Capital business training week. For 2015s, the packed training agenda includes commerical excellence and digital marketing, loan and transaction structuring, and mindset of CEO sessions; For 2016s, their week is full of business introductions from senior Capital leaders, orientation, and other team building sessions. The two classes mingled and shared fun time together.
GE has been hosting City Swings for nearly a decade now. Most recently, it was held in Rye Brook, NY just outside of New York City. This event brings together GE’s field service employees and key customers for a day of learning and networking. More than 350 GE customers and employees attended the Rye Brook event.
During the City Swing, the Commercial Women organization held a breakfast session, hosted by GE Capital Sponsor Finance Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Madden. Commercial Women is part of the broader GE Women’s Network and works to foster the development, promotion and retention of women in commercial roles through a variety of mentoring, training, visibility and networking events. The breakfast session was well-attended with over 30 women from various GE businesses. Three local ECLPs helped set up the session, including Monee Jackson, ECLP 2014, Qing Cao and Susan Roberts, ECLP 2015.
Monee introduced the key speakers: Lee Cooper, GE Commercial Officer, and Stuart Aronson, President and CEO of GE Capital Sponsor Finance. Both Lee and Stuart gave a brief overview of their careers and recommendations for advancing one’s commercial career at GE. Stuart said, “If you know where you want to go, you should be willing to take risks to get there.” Lee recommended gaining mentors and sponsors. He said that you should be transparent, sincere and genuine when developing such relationships. Stuart suggested not to over reach for very senior level sponsors and to look for mentors one or two levels above you who will be in a position to help you over a longer period of time. They both suggested that you meet people outside of your current sphere and develop cross-functional relationships.
Who: Christina Waters, ECLP Class of 2015, Power & Water, Canada
School: Queen’s School of Business, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, MBA 2012
Current assignment and location: Strategic Marketing Leader, Power & Water HQ, Schenectady, NY, US
What have you been involved in lately?
You may have heard about FastWorks and how GE is using this process not only to accelerate and transform manufacturing, but also to transform GE. The idea behind FastWorks is to create internal entrepreneurial teams who act as ‘start-ups’ and work to develop new opportunities for GE. I was fortunate to be selected as a team member for a FastWorks project looking at our nuclear business, and it has been an incredible experience. Effectively, you are part of a team that is building a new opportunity from the ground up, and because of that, you experience all of the same things that someone in a start-up would – like using your seed money to its best potential. This intrapreneurship model is changing how GE approaches new opportunities.
In addition to the FastWorks project, I also just recently relocated my family from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Schenectady, NY, USA, for my second rotation in the Power & Water Strategic Marketing group, located at the Power & Water HQ. It has been a huge learning curve for this rotation because I now need to know the products, markets, competitors and customers for all of Power & Water’s P&L’s, rather than just where I started, which was in our Water business. A huge emphasis of the ECLP program is looking for and setting stretch goals and, most definitely, this rotation as a Strategic Marketing Leader is one of them.
(By Lisa Flacke, ECLP 2015, GE Aviation)
Rule number one in any marketing assignment is ‘know your customer’, and rule number two is ‘know your product’. As part of my ECLP rotation in MSO Marketing, I recently had the opportunity to cover both of these rules in one fruitful trip.
Our product is the GE3000 engine, which is intended to compete as the next generation engine for the U.S. Army’s Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. Each year the Army Aviation Association of America, known as “quad-A”, hosts a convention for its members and representatives from the industry. I had the opportunity to attend this year’s convention at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. All of the major industry players were in attendance, as well as the impressive Black Hawk and Apache helicopters themselves.
During the event, I fielded questions at our GE booth, met with Army officials, interacted with other suppliers in the industry, and talked with the individuals that operate the very helicopters our engines supply.
After the convention, I headed to the nearby Army base at Ft. Campbell to talk with the maintainers of the T700 engines, which power the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters today. I learned the priorities and concerns about everyday operations directly from the mouth of the customer and left with a reinvigorated passion for our products and what we do at GE.
As for marketing rule number one and rule number two, the trip to Nashville has launched me well on the path of continuous learning about our product and the customer.
Who: Rahul Menon, ECLP Class of 2015, Oil &Gas
Alma Mater: INSEAD France/Singapore
Strategic Marketing, GE O&G Global Key Accounts team, Europe (Norway)
Product Marketing, GE Measurement & Control, Billerica (Boston), USA
GE Awards: GE Marketing 5I Award (“Impatience for customer”)
Hobbies: Anthropology, History, Languages (speaks Norwegian, French, Hindi, English…currently, adding Japanese to the repertoire!)
I was grown on a ravenous diet of travel channel series such as Lonely Planet and Globe Trekker. In my professional life, I have been fortunate to live my passion for travel and understanding idiosyncrasies of global cultures as I worked and lived across 7 countries and gained experience in key industries such as oil & gas, banking, capital markets, e-commerce, shipping & logistics.
Through the ECLP program, I get the unique opportunity to apply my professional background and hone my sales and marketing skills to contribute towards the growth and success of GE in the oil & gas world.
What did I learn so far from my rotations?
In my 1st rotation, I worked with GE O&G’s Key Accounts team where we built programs for fostering customer intimacy, capturing industry feedback, and profiling our key customers to understand how to they behave viz. contracting & procurement, technology adoption, business model, and communication preferences. As a result, we empowered the GE front line to approach our customers in a more targeted manner to create customer intimacy and differentiate GE in the market.