Meet Lori Cornmesser, the Global Channel and Commercial Management Executive at Infoblox, who impeccably utilized her skills to take her and the organization to its utmost heights. She is a customer centric organizational builder and leader who maintains strong rapport with existing and prospective clients through transformational sales strategies and marketing plans that deliver greater customer engagement. Her unique decisiveness has also led her to achieve many milestones on in her pathway.
CioLook admires such business women and takes pride in featuring Lori in its special edition, “The 10 Most Influential Women in Business, 2020.”
A brief look into Lori’s Leadership Journey
Lori has been working in the tech industry, and more specifically in the IT channel, for more than 25 years. For her, it’s been an exciting, rewarding and challenging journey filled with incredible experiences, accomplishments and friendships.
As a Global Channel and Commercial Management Executive with in-depth experience in networking, managed services, and security, her leadership style and “always be learning” mindset has contributed greatly to the growth and success of the teams she led, Fortune 500 businesses she worked for, and of course, the partner and customers served.
“Work Hard, Smart & with a Sense of Urgency”
She states that one of the ways in which she has been able to scale and replicate success throughout her career is by being a student of the industry, a listener, a doer and a raving fan of her team, her colleagues, and her customers and partners. As part of her leadership goals, she has always stayed focused on building customer-centric organizations that maintain and foster strong rapport with existing and prospective clients through transformational sales strategies and marketing plans that deliver greater customer engagement. Staying close to the customer and listening to the needs of her team has propelled her strategic thinking and tactical execution, and led to successful market penetration initiatives that have rendered significant results.
Moreover, on a more personal leadership front, her German and African American descent has kept her close to the need for greater diversity and more efforts toward inclusion in the workplace. She has worked throughout her career to spread an understanding of the importance of having diverse backgrounds in the workplace and has advocated for the inclusion of under-represented groups in the tech industry, including by serving as President of the Silicon Valley branch of the California Diversity Council from October 2011 to October 2015.
Solutions to Rely On
Lori states that you have to commit the time and energy to listen, and then take action. The key to enticing different customers is understanding their business, the opportunities they have and the pain points they’re working to resolve for themselves and others. The technology has to work, but it’s what the technology or service solves for that’s most important. Further she adds, you have to make the value and the business case clear for the team and your customer. And in order to do that, you need to understand the vast diversity of challenges that different audiences face, and how your products can help meet their needs.
Women who Inspire Lori
Lori says that for her, an inspiring woman is someone who does something that makes for a better world. She takes action, makes it happen and appreciates life for everything it has to offer. Lori grew up with a number of strong women in her family—in particular her mother who showed her what it means to be strong and courageous throughout her life. In her professional life, Lori has also been fortunate to have had a number of women who have served as powerful role models and helped shape her leadership style.
There is no better feeling than knowing you have made a positive impact on a person’s day, or in some cases, their life. Serving as a mentor gives Lori the opportunity to step into the shoes of someone else, which provides her with a fresh look at her profession that she can use to drive change in her field. Mentees also tend to be younger, and she often gains new ideas and perspective from them around technology, life, and the way that the two interact with each other.
“Reverse mentoring – when a younger individual mentors a generation before them – is also a practice that I am passionate about,” says Lori. She asserts that we have so many generations in the workforce today, we must take time to learn from each other and appreciate the contributions and differences we have.
She adds that women want to be equally valued for the contributions they make. “Level the playing field and let us do what we do without any bias – conscious or not,” says Lori. “From compensation to career opportunities at the highest level of an organization, women want equality in the workforce.”
But Lori also believes that it’s important to have a life outside of the workforce. “I am really starting to understand the value of self-care. Women in general seem to be encouraged to believe that self-care is selfish! I have started to block out time for myself on my calendar and to be deliberate with how I spend my time and my intentions. I start each morning these days with a walk. And I have started to block an hour off for movement at lunch. Typically, I’ll stretch or ride my Peloton bike,” she says.
A Glimpse into the Future
After 28 years in this industry, Lori feels really good about the work she does and the contributions she has been able to make to the companies she has worked for. She especially enjoys the technology industry, since its fast pace always keep her job interesting. Wherever she lands, she always wants to work for and with good humans and have an impact on the world.
As she was rising in her career in Silicon Valley, she stood alone in many conference rooms, as the only female and the only minority. She served as the President of the Silicon Valley branch of the California Diversity Council and is active in the community on these topics because of these experiences.
When it comes to giving advice to rising women leaders in business, she encourages them to ask for help. “Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness,” she says, “It’s a sign of strength. No one got to where they are today without help along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask, and then remember to return the favor.”