Governing Body Spotlight

Co-Chair of the Southern California CIO Community

Carol Fawcett

Corporate Vice President, Chief Information Officer

Golden State Foods

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

For over 30 years, I have spent much of my career in the technology industry with Western Digital, Quest, and Dell Technologies. In each, my goal was always the same: before jumping to a solution, understand what it is you are trying to solve and why.  Understanding the problem and impact to the business will help define a strategy, supporting goals and objectives, and set priorities enabling the timely production of the best products for all. 

Today I am lucky enough to be with one of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries, Golden State Foods. Through its manufacturing and distribution divisions, GSF feeds 5 billion people per day worldwide in over 125,000 stores/restaurants, with 50+ locations on five continents. GSF’s values-driven culture reflects my beliefs, as written in the company’s Creed: “Our success is dependent upon the success of our customers, and that only by working together can the ultimate success of all partners be assured.”

Learn more about leaders in the Southern California CIO community here.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

One of my guiding leadership principles mirrors GSF’s first company value: Treat others like you want to be treated. In short, I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. Whether working within the IT team, business associates or the external customers, frequent conversations, focused listening and close partnerships are key to everyone’s success.  

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CIO going in the next 1-2 years?

With our industry, in a continued high-growth pattern, we need to help our customers as they continue to change the way they do business. The store fronts we see today in the quick service industry are drastically changing. The volume of each order and what is being ordered has forever changed. GSF is adopting new digitized and seamless ways of doing business with our customers to ensure they have the right products manufactured and delivered to meet customer demands. As an example, we are increasing the velocity of our automation and automated intelligence efforts to advance further into predictive analytics and cross-company data sharing. This will provide valuable insight needed to make the right decisions in the product mix. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CIO?

Never stop learning! We as the visionaries of the technology industry must continue to learn about our businesses by being part of our businesses. The more we understand, the more we can move the needle to servicing the outside customers in the manner they want to do business. And I am not just talking about learning about technology; it includes learning about people, trends, financials, and social responsibilities.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  • For fun, I love enjoying the outdoors with the family! Whether skiing behind a boat or down a snowy mountain, watching my family have fun brings the greatest personal joy in my life.
  • One of my favorite movies is Jaws! I can never get enough of the underdog winning. I have watched it so many times that it does not matter what language they are speaking; I still love it!
  • I love being part of a team and bringing people together to succeed as a team.  There is no greater feeling than seeing those around you reach across the “aisle” to listen, collaborate and discover new ways of doing something.



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