I’m Sandra Lopez, VP of Intel Sports Group, and This Is How I Work
During her 13 years at Intel, Sandra Lopez oversaw the company’s brand repositioning, created new organizations within the company, and applied her fashion expertise within Intel’s sports group. The National Diversity Council named her one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology and one of the Top Ten Latin Executives of the Year by Latina Style, and she told NBC News aboutthe Silicon Valley Boys Club . We spoke to her about how her experience has influenced her tech career and how to manage a team responsibly.
Location: wherever my work takes me; is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and resides in San Francisco, California. Current place of employment: Vice President of Intel Sports, Immersive Media. We are opening a new generation of storytelling. Current mobile device: iPhone 6s (work) and iPhone X (personal) Current computer: Dell Latitude with Intel Core i5 vPro and MacBook with Intel Core i5 One word that best describes how you work: #JustDo
First of all, tell us a little about your past and how you got where you are now.
As a child, I wanted to become a fashion designer and start my own business. It wasn’t until college psychology class that I realized that I was more intrigued by how people express themselves and how companies interact with consumers than creating a collection. This obsession (and also my interest in fashion) allowed me to get a job as a shopper in a large fashion store. I thought I was going to be in fashion for a few years, but I left the industry within 12 months. I resigned within 24 hours after one of the executives told me that the company had a glass ceiling. I was devastated, but it was a blessing in disguise.
Living in Silicon Valley and intrigued by technology, I decided to plunge into the high-tech world as a marketer. Marketing was such a vast discipline that I attacked my career by delving deeper into every center of excellence – advertising, channel marketing, and retail – highlighting each discipline, looking for growth opportunities within the company or in new companies. The turning point came after I joined a large software company in New York, where my then boss was striving to create a new discipline: integrated marketing. It was through her that I learned the importance of being in a leadership position and making big bets.
Since then, I have held leadership positions that allow me and my team to find new ways of doing business or create new markets. When I decided to join Intel’s new business initiative, we had limited resources and my team needed to get creative. We decided to get into influencer marketing when it was still new, before it was “something special.” As part of this team, I was given the opportunity to join the wearable team and start a fashion wearable business at Intel. After that, I used my experience to partner with the leaders of Intel Sports to create a platform for next-generation storytelling: immersive media.
Today I create and create new initiatives and businesses. In a sense, this is what I always dreamed of as a child.
Tell us about a recent work day.
My day starts at 5:30 am and ends when a business dinner, sporting event is over, or when my job is done. I try to fall asleep by midnight. I focus on completing three main tasks every day:
- Active listening and participation in meetings . Typically, I have meetings on my calendar that run from 7 am to 5 pm or later, depending on my colleagues around the world. Being an active listener is very important because it not only expresses respect for the other, but also allows you to be sensitive to their position. Removing the device is not always easy, but I strive to do it and actively participate. If I disagree with this person, I would rather have the partner or person hear it directly from me, rather than whispering in the hallway or in the industry. I am required to represent my team and my client’s voice at the meeting. If I don’t do this, I will not be able to do my job. Long days with multiple appointments are not easy, so my next moment is very important.
- Focusing on my well-being . Without health, I would not have a career. Every morning I start with my first 20 minute session of Transcendental Meditation and warm lemon water. It’s even on my calendar. When traveling, I use the time that I usually spend on work. I have found that working on my well-being is a prerequisite for success.
- Recoil . I am a byproduct of Intel’s protégé program, so giving money is very important to me. Every day I wake up and know that I am a role model for the next generation. My daily actions serve as an example for the next generation, including my eight-year-old daughter. There are hard days, and I want to quit, and then I think about those that were before my generation, and I say to myself: if not us, then who?
What apps, gadgets or tools can’t you live without?
Google Maps and Waze because I commute and travel a lot. An extra five minutes without traffic jams means more time with your daughter.
How is your workplace arranged?
I have an open cube table, but I actually live off my work bag. All I need is a computer, phone, magazine, pen and Bose headset. I am moving from the conference room to the conference room, to the office building and to the restaurant. My car is also my office, and I often joke that United Airlines is also my office.
Tell us about an interesting, unusual, or challenging process you have at work.
This is not a process, but a simple request: please. I love Maya Angelou’s quote: “I learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If my team members treat people as individuals, each person is unique, it will lead to respect for each other, which will ultimately increase the productivity of the business.
Who are the people who help you achieve results, and how do you rely on them?
Recently, a colleague of mine asked how I cope and manage to work on several jobs at once. I simply replied, “Great team and partners, great infrastructure with family and friends, and great communication.”
As far as trusting them, I trust that they will keep their end of their bargain; I’ll do my job. And when I need help, I ask for help!
How do you keep track of what you need to do?
I live according to my calendar. If it is not planned, it will not happen. I also live with my diary and lists. Every month I break my to-do list by week and day. Given the dynamics of the market, my list is very fluid. But crossing things off every night is so good.
How to recharge or relax?
Transcendental Meditation Every Day. On weekdays, when we don’t have big weekend sporting events, I put my work phone in a drawer and focus on my family. I also take family leave at least twice a year.
What’s your favorite side project?
I am writing a book on the next generation of women leaders with advice and guidance on how to best survive in corporate America as a woman.
What are you reading now or what do you recommend?
There are so many great books out there that I love for all sorts of reasons. The last five books I’ve read are Ego is the Enemy , Purposeful Work , The Checklist Manifesto , Welcome to Lagos, and Molly’s Game .
Who else would you like to see to answer these questions?
Steve Kerr – I admire his leadership.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never stop striving to be the best version of yourself.
What problem are you still trying to solve?
Injustice towards women in the workplace. From abuse of power to pay inequality to simple excuses. We have a lot of work to do, and every day we will roll up our sleeves and fight on.