There have been some recent opinion pieces written about Carly Fiorina’s time as the CEO of HP. Almost every single one of them was written by someone who has never worked with Carly and has little to no experience actually working for or running a business. Not surprisingly, almost every single one of them was inaccurate.
I first met Carly when she was still with AT&T and would later move over to Lucent Technologies with her after she led the IPO. The first thing I noticed about Carly was how different she was from most executives, who rarely interacted with other employees. Carly not only wanted to meet you and learn all about you, she asked your thoughts and opinions on how things could be improved. She made you feel like you were a part of the team. And beyond that, she cared about you as a person.
I remember one time I hurt my back and had to leave work early. Most executives at Carly’s level would not have even noticed. But Carly actually called me at home to check in on me. That is a level of compassion that is rare to find. People weren’t a means to an end. They were the end. Her demeanor suggested it, and her work product matched it.
When Carly spoke, we always knew that we could rely on her to be open, honest and inspiring. It wasn’t just because she was an accomplished, well-respected, successful executive: Carly was just plain cool. No one at Lucent ever missed a Carly Fiorina Sales Presentation, even if they were sick. Everyone felt like they needed to be in the audience. Her presentations were crisp, her message was appropriate, and her points clear. After each of her presentations, I remember feeling inspired, like I could accomplish anything as long as I was following Carly.
It was these traits and many more that contributed to the fact that Carly was a talented and adept businesswoman who worked hard and produced impressive results. Not many people know this, but while at AT&T, Carly negotiated the largest contract in our company’s history – $940 million. Every department, every service sector, every person at AT&T, we all prospered due to Carly’s ability to take care of the clients and take care of business. She wasn’t just the person you always wanted on your team. She was the person you always wanted to lead your team.
I will leave you with a memory of a day many years ago in Ocean City, New Jersey. After attempting to help a couple who were locked out of their rental, I struck up a conversation with the husband who asked what I did for a living. When I told him that I worked at Lucent Technologies, he told me he had been involved in Carly’s recruitment to HP. Still missing Carly’s leadership, I reported to him, “Carly was the best executive we ever had. She never felt like an unapproachable leader in a far off corner office. Carly was one of us.”
Truer words have never been spoken. Carly is not another politician in Washington. She’s one of us: An American citizen who is frustrated with our federal government and wants to restore our great nation to what it once was. And I can tell you from personal experience, once Carly sets her mind to something, she will accomplish it. Don’t be fooled by partisan talking heads or career politicians that fear an outsider like Carly. Carly is the leader we need in the White House.