The Next Big Question with Staples, JLL, Warner Music Group and Delta Air Lines

Community Blog
Written by Liz Ramey

SEPTEMBER 20, 2022

Being a member of the C-suite today comes with its challenges, but through these uncertain times, new opportunities are emerging for executives. In Evanta’s The Next Big Question podcast, we ask C-level executives from the most innovative companies a pressing business question to learn how they are tackling it within their organization.

We recently released a series of four new episodes where we had the pleasure of speaking with renowned C-level executives from Staples, JLL, Warner Music Group and Delta Air Lines. Here is an inside look at how each business leader is addressing one of the biggest questions facing their role today. Be sure to click the links to listen to the full episodes. 

Episode 21: How Should C-level Executives Influence the Enterprise? [Listen]
Guest: Janice Deskus, CHRO of Staples and Governing Body Member of Evanta’s Boston CHRO Community

Janice joins the podcast to discuss how she is leading and influencing the organization from her role in the C-suite. She explains how HR leaders bring a different perspective than other C-level leaders, and she gives insight into how they can earn – and keep – a seat at the decision-making table. Janice emphasizes how HR leaders are “full-fledged” business leaders in all respects and that they “cannot just sit back and be a functional leader” if they intend to be successful as business continues to evolve.

Be clear in your purpose, be clear on the voice that you have, and get out in front and make sure that you're heard in partnering with those individuals, so that you're not just on the receiving end of whatever it is that's coming at you, but rather you're there, and you're up front and leading and influencing.”

It's really about making sure that the organization has a common purpose, vision, strategy that we're all coalescing around. And with that, it makes it more difficult for any one person to be more powerful than others. They all need to come together in order to effect that strategy.”

What we can't do is we can't sit back and just say ‘we can't control anything anymore.’ No, there are things we can control. Let's go after that, and let's make sure that we're getting what we need from that. And then let's just be ready to be able to pivot on a dime when necessary.”


Episode 22: What Role Does the C-Suite Have in Sustainability? [Listen]
Guest: Eddy Wagoner, Executive Director and Digital CIO of JLL and Governing Body Member of Evanta’s Global CIO Community

On this episode of the podcast, Eddy expresses how organizations must focus on sustainability if they want to grow, remain competitive and attract talent. As a CIO, Eddy explains how businesses are utilizing data to improve how they operate – and this includes sustainable practices. He shares ways to collaborate across the C-suite on global issues, and cites how there is power in taking a leadership position in sustainability efforts, as businesses will soon not have a choice.

You need to think more broadly, and you need to look to collaborate with others that are in C-suite positions around you to figure out what's the right approach for sustainability and what you and your company should be doing.”

You can't focus on your own growth and your own industry without focusing on sustainability. Talent is demanding it.

Your choice is, are you going to start thinking about it now to do the right thing and to get a competitive advantage? Or, are you going to wait until the market forces you to do it?”


Episode 23: How Can Organizations Empower, Transform and Liberate with Data? [Listen]
Guest: Moin Haque, Executive Vice President and Chief Data Officer of Warner Music Group and Governing Body Member of Evanta’s New York CDAO Community

Moin joins the podcast to discuss actionable ways to empower organizations through data. He shares that it starts with culture and how businesses should strive to have data “in the water.” He emphasizes how data leaders must improve storytelling capabilities for employees - beyond reports and dashboards - to ensure they are “properly informed,” driving more autonomy and accountability across the organization. He also discusses how to create a foundation for data literacy and how to  “liberate the data” from systems and silos.

This is a way that we can make sure that we're setting ourselves up to be able to have data as a verb in the organization. So, it's really about starting with empowerment. And the key focus on empowerment is to ensure we are driving autonomy and accountability.”

I’m going to pick on reports and dashboards again, which for me don't solve that last mile problem, right? We want to get the insights adjacent to where the opportunity is so people can act upon them without having these in-between layers.” 

And organizationally, there's this sort of framework of a pyramid, where you go from data to insights to knowledge… And you transcend to that next level, which is a larger sense of wisdom for the organization.” 


Episode 24: How Can C-Suite Leaders Engage Policymakers on Cybersecurity? [Listen]
Guest: Deborah Wheeler, CISO of Delta Air Lines and Co-Chair of Evanta’s Atlanta CISO Community

On this episode of the podcast, Deborah discusses the responsibility government entities and private corporations share in ensuring cybersecurity. She describes the current threat landscape, the risks if public-private conversations don’t take place and how private companies can engage with government entities on these matters. She also shares her route into cybersecurity leadership and how to recruit more talent into the field. 

As a country, we're behind the eight ball when it comes to cybersecurity, and we need to catch up. What that's going to require is increasing conversations between the government and the private sector.

So, you've got this mismatch between expectation and policy and the practice and what actually is happening, and that is a gap we're trying to bridge.”

You had asked, ‘what's the risk if there's no action?’ Well, I think the risk is going to be catastrophic. And we're seeing hints of that when we look at the breaches that have happened even in the last two years.”


Listen to the full episodes of The Next Big Question here, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app