How To Stand Out In Your Industry with Daphne E. Jones

TTD 55 | Break Through Barriers


Dr. Patty Ann Tublin is joined by Daphne Jones (@DaphneEJones), a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), The Digital Directors Network (DDN), and Executive Leadership Council (ELC). Daphne explains how to break through barriers by sharing her own story of success. She opens up about the challenges she had to endure as an African-American woman competing in a male-dominated industry. She also talks about the harsh realities of business, government, and society, emphasizing how to get ahead and chase your goals anyway. Tune in to this episode and learn how to make a massive breakthrough despite not having inside connections and facing the prevailing male/white privilege.


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How To Stand Out In Your Industry with Daphne E. Jones

In this episode, I have an incredibly powerful guest who happens to be a woman. That is near and dear to my heart because we have many powerful women that always get the press and get the media. I want to bring women to the fort here. Rather than me sharing with you things other than the fact that she was the first woman, an African-American, to report to the chairman of the board with accountability for all aspects that have to do with technology, I am going to allow our guest, Daphne Jones, to introduce herself to you. Welcome, Daphne. I am grateful you agreed to be on this show.

Thank you, Dr. Patty Ann. It is good to be here and meet everybody. I’m honored to be here. I have many years of experience as a General Manager, and have played various executive roles at some of the world’s most recognizable companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, IBM, General Electric, and Hospira, which was bought by Pfizer.

When I think about the things that I have been able to do, I serve on the board of directors of three multibillion-dollar companies. I am the CEO of my own startup. In that startup, I help curate leaders to be board-ready. I teach them how to get on boards. I am now the author of the book, Win When They Say You Won’t. Prior to leaving and retiring from Corporate America, I was Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Corporate Officer at some of those companies that I mentioned. I have had teams, and I traveled to every continent in the world except Antarctica.

I was there in Antarctica right before COVID.

That is the one place I want to go because I have been everywhere else.

Daphne, you are a powerhouse, but I want to ask you a question. What is it about Daphne, the person? What is it about your soul and spirit that created such success for anyone, let alone an African-American woman? What is unique to Daphne that is important for the readers to know?

Everyone got their uniqueness, superpower, and gift. The question is, how do you take the gift that you have? How would you be number one proud of it? How do you have faith in it? How do you deploy it? I was an extremely competitive person.

Were you into sports too?

I wasn’t into sports. I was academically competitive. My uncle always said, “Daphne, you should be a lawyer.” I always had an argument. I would pull logic because I always had this logical brain. I would always try to win in an argument. Being intellectually curious was the other thing. I always want to know why. I can’t do that. I was told, “Some things were impossible. You will never make it in college, Daphne.” Why? You asked the question. If the answer makes sense, okay, but if it doesn’t, you go further and say, “Why?”

What makes me unique is that I’m highly competitive. I never want to lose. I’m curious at the same time. My mother was this force that said to me, “Daphne, you got to live and think above your circumstances. Aspire to be more and greater in spite of what people are going to tell you.” My mom is an external strength that I had that helped me to win.

You were competitive in academics. What did you love about school? What were your favorite subjects?

English and Math.

It is both sides of the brain, English and Math. You don’t get that together often.

My mom made me read. She said, “Readers lead, and leaders read.” I was reading The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys when I was a young girl. I grew up reading all the time. She would send me to the alley. We were very poor.

What is the alley?

It is a fake road behind the house.

I grew up in Brooklyn. We used to have an alleyway. We called it an alleyway.

It wasn’t paved.

Where did you grow up?

In Phoenix, Illinois. One of the poorest towns in Illinois is Phoenix, with 1,500 people. The alleyways were paved with rocks. She would say, “Daphne, go out to the alley and bring me 2 plus 4 rocks.” If I brought her any more or any less than six rocks, she would send me out to get the switch off the weep and willow tree, and she will beat my little legs.

You can’t do that now. You know how teenagers can be teenagers. The kid was madding off, and she slapped her. The kid went upstairs and called the police, and he reported the mother. The mother went to work the next day and said, “I know everybody saw it in the paper. Here is what happened. That is it.”

They will call child protective services in a minute on you, whether you are a teacher or a parent. She instilled learning, curiosity, education, growing, and always grasping for more. I did well in school, so much to the fact that I skipped first grade. Thanks to her. When I went to college, I got my bachelor’s degree in 3 years instead of 4. I got my MBA in 1 year instead of 2. I have always been academically strong, but it came from being intellectually curious and always wanting to know why.

Curiosity is a tool to increase emotional intelligence. People don’t think about it. They think about the four quadrants. If you are curious about somebody else’s position or why somebody feels that way, you keep a connection, and you are not judging. How has that curiosity played a role in your business success? You are swimming with the sharks. I have done work with GE and IBM. Sometimes, these aren’t the nicest people in the room. How did curiosity play a role for you and/or something else that is not taught in school?

What is not taught in school is how to know what game you are playing and what are the rules of the game. Whether you are playing basketball, football, or volleyball, the rules are all different. You have to understand the game you are playing. Who are you playing with? What are their strengths? What do you bring to the table? It is all those things because it is about you having the mindset of the team.

It is not your individual contribution for yourself. It is for how you play the game and help your team win. If you’re lucky, you get the MVP, and you get promoted, but you have to know that there is a game and there is a role that you play in that game. What does success look like? Success looks like that guy right there. He or she is always getting money. She is always getting a name in the paper. Whatever success looks like, I want to understand what they did.

That is what I did too. This could be a sidebar. I feel that it is lost now. When we look at someone successful, it is like, “Woe is me.” They don’t want to work hard. They don’t want to put in the hours that we put in, but they want what we have. For the readers, I want everybody to read. She saw success and mimicked that. She didn’t begrudge it.

As an IBM employee, I was told that I would only be a secretary and had to go to secretarial school. After I got my college degree and didn’t listen to my counselor anymore, I went to IBM, and I saw IBMers dressed in blue pint striped suits and burgundy wingtip shoes. You don’t only win by what you dress, but that is a good place to start.

That means you belong here. You look like you belong here. People say, “How you dress shouldn’t matter.” No, there is a reason why dress for success is a billion-dollar industry. If you want to play the game, you’ve got to dress the part.

The NBA players, for those that don’t know, can’t show up at the stadium in any kind of way. They have to dress in a suit or designer attire as they walk to the locker room. If they don’t, they are either be fined or they won’t be able to play. That is the rule of that game. Everybody got to know the rules of what it takes to win. There is something called PIE. They don’t teach you this in college or school in the business. It is Performance, Image, and Exposure. My mother always thought, “Perform well, Daphne. They will notice you, promote you, and you will be fine.” That is necessary, but it is not sufficient.

Performance is good, but that is not all you need. You have to have an image and a brand that says, “I’m collaborative. I am eager to learn. I want to help you. I’m productive. I’m always early. I’m never late.” What does your image say about you? When somebody knows that Patty Ann is coming into a meeting, they are related or pissed off. Which one is it going to be for you? Make sure that you know your image is positive and productive.

E is Exposure. Who knows you? Who do you know? Who will speak up for you when you are not in the room with them, and you are not on Zoom? If you know Spanish and engineering, you might be the one that your sponsor could say, “Daphne speaks Spanish. She knows engineering. Let her go to Brazil for that ex-pat assignment. She can stand up that new manufacturing facility over there in Brazil.” If nobody knows you, you may have all the qualifications in the world, but you will never be promoted or acknowledged because nobody knows you. They never teach you PIE.

You may have all the qualifications in the world, but no one will promote or acknowledge you if nobody knows you.

I had never heard the acronym PIE before, but what you described is executive presence, in a nutshell.

Having exposure, you have to know people.

That is the other piece about exposure. I don’t like to do the men versus women, but there are differences in the workplace. I’m sure you could tell us a million stories. I find that women tend to fall for the Good Girl syndrome, “If you do a good job, you will get noticed.” Many times, we are our own best-kept secret. I tell women, “That will not get you anywhere.” You mentioned the word sponsorship. Talk a little bit about that and how that played a role in your career.

There is a book called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. Remember, everybody. Be collaborative, but you don’t have to be nice at your own best. There are different kinds of stakeholders. In my book, I talk about you should learn everything you can from everyone that you can. There are different levels of people that you can learn from, role models, and sponsors.

Every single person, there is something you can learn from them.

You can learn from people who made a mistake. I made a mistake. I did a two-minute video about some of the mistakes that I made so that people don’t make those same mistakes that I made.

Let’s talk about the mistakes. I talk a lot about failure. I was watching a video on Pat Summitt. I’m raising my family in Connecticut for 30-some ideas. We hated Pat Summitt in Tennessee. We have UConn Huskies. There are many great stories about that rivalry. One of her players said, “Because there is so much about failure, we learned more from failure than we ever do from winning.”

Kids nowadays aren’t taught how to fail. Life is not fair, not, “I failed.” One of her players said, “If I would have a failure or something would happen. I would complain or say something.” Old Pat would say, “What are you going to do about it? What are you going to learn from it?” It’s back to what you are saying about the mistakes that you made because we all make them.

There are at least three that came to my mind that I did in this video. The first one is never accept a salary that somebody gives you and offers to you because you are grateful. Understand the market’s value of you. If you even have to go to other companies and understand what they would offer you, understand that. If this company does not value you, other companies over there will. That is one. Don’t accept the first offer.

TTD 55 | Break Through Barriers
Break Through Barriers: Understand the market’s value of you even if you have to go to other companies. Don’t just accept the first offer you get.


Daphne, my second book is called Money Can Buy You Happiness: Secrets Women Need to Know to Get Paid What They Are Worth. Men never take the first offer. I have never met a man who thinks he has been overpaid, and there are plenty of them. Don’t get anchored from the get-go. With pay transparency and companies going to finding a way around that, it anchors you forever. That is one of the reasons why you have to leave a company to get that next jump, which is such a broken system.

My friend Gail Evans wrote the book, Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman. They don’t take the first offer, and they believe they are overqualified for a job even though they are only 50% qualified. The other thing is a lot of people take feedback and don’t understand what to do with it or if they should listen to it. I remember that I would get feedback. I would hear all this feedback and try to do everything, but there is hearing and listening. Hearing is what your ears do. Listening is when you decide that feedback makes sense to me and that feedback doesn’t. I talk about taking the meat and spitting out the bones. There are things that are appropriate for you and not appropriate for you. Understand the difference between that.

Number three is success. I would take jobs and projects and didn’t know what success was. How were you going to measure success? I would say, “I’m a star. I’m Daphne Jones. I’m going to do the best that I can.” You got to know what success looks like, who is going to be measuring you, and who is going to be your customer that is going to be caring about the success that you offer.

You got to quantify. In business, you need numbers.

You got a timeframe. You need to know the what, when, and how. The quality has to be strong. Are you ready for that opportunity? Can you do it? If you don’t, you need to get help.

Women turn down things when they are not quite ready, but they don’t have the confidence to understand they can learn as they go. You build your plane while you are flying it, as Richard Branson said. I have never met a man that doesn’t take a C-Suite position. He never had it before, but they are qualified. They will figure it out, and they do, whereas women use that, “I only have 7 out of the 10 expectations.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? The guy only has two. He thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread.” Go back to what you said about taking assignments. What about discriminating between what type of assignments you will raise your hand for? All assignments are not created equal in terms of elevating your career.

There are times when I have skated off what we call the glass cliff. A glass cliff is when you are offered an opportunity that is career life-threatening, but it is important, visible, and big. If you get that done right and you skate off that cliff into the heavens, you have done good. Otherwise, you can go crashing down, and your career could be over.

TTD 55 | Break Through Barriers
Break Through Barriers: A glass cliff is when you’re offered a career-threatening opportunity, but it’s super important. If you get it done right while skating off that cliff into the heavens, you’re done good.


There are roles. I have taken roles that I said, “They told me this was impossible at this company. I have heard the word impossible before. My counselor told me that I would never make it to college. I would take the opportunity.” You have to weigh it. You have to understand, “Do I have the resources? Do I have the time? If I don’t have the knowledge myself, do I know who will help me on my team?” Nobody knows everything, but together with everybody, they know a whole lot.

Having the right resources and people around you is important. You have to say to yourself, “Is this project going to enable me to go to the next level?’ I believe in having T-shaped leaders. You don’t only go up to and promote yourself. You can also go sideways and get knowledge and experience that you will be able to use as you continue to go up. Going sideways and up is fine. Will this opportunity or assignment allow me to go get a breath, or will it allow me to get more depth? If the answer is no to both of those, you have to decide, “Do I have a choice?” If you don’t have a choice, you got to take it. If you have a choice, maybe wait for the next opportunity.

When an opportunity comes, it’s either you don’t have a choice and you have to take it, or you do have a choice and you wait for the next one.

I have been offered promotions to Neutrogena and J&J Canada, but because my son was a sophomore or junior in high school, there was no way that I could move from New York to California. I had to say no. You have to know how many noes you are worth because they are going to stop asking you after a while if you say no a few times. I knew that I had got great skill and capability, and I knew they would be back to ask me again.

You kept yourself top of mind. You alluded to this, but I would like you to address it. Some assignments can set you up for success or set you up for failure. Corporate entrepreneurs are different. We have seen people set up for failure. They leave or quit because, for whatever reason, we don’t want to fire them or we know what the reason is. We can talk about unemployment and lawsuits all day long. How did you navigate what you felt was setting you up for failure? Anyone that has achieved great success has been set up for failure along the way.

The key question that everybody has to ask is, “What must be true in order for me to win?” I’m given this opportunity to create a new gross profitability system that is global. I don’t know what I did, but I do it to deserve this crap. I got it. You say, “What must be true?” What must be true is I have to have access to information, a collaboration between the countries, and people on my team that understand analytics, business intelligence, and technologies that go along with that.

I need to be able to have time. I need $3 million of budget. Whatever it takes, you have to say, “What must be true in order for me to win?” If you don’t know all the answers, there are 30 things that you need, and you only know ten of them. Find the people that know the other twenty. By yourself, you know little, but together with other experts, you know everything.

The key question is, “What must be true? What are the assumptions we have to make that could go our way?” It is a SWOT analysis thing. What are the strengths we have going into this project? The strengths are I have enough people. What are the weaknesses? I don’t have enough time. What are the opportunities and threats? If you understand and ask the questions, it helps you with the information needed to execute. Once you get started on that project, it is all on you. Before you get started on that project, it is all on the people who are asking you. Have them give you everything that you need in order to win.

You are saying it in an eloquent way, but it is going back to curiosity, “I’m wondering what I need. Will I have access to it, and will I have the talent?” Go back to the sponsorship that you mentioned because nobody gets anywhere alone. We are a team. I did an interview with Steven White. I don’t know if you know Steve White. He was one of the presidents of Comcast. He is the first Black man to be President of Comcast. When we met, I adored him.

He talked about you are responsible for yourself to get the individual. He was one of the first that didn’t talk team. I’m taking it out of context, but it was brilliant, and nobody else is responsible for you. However, having said that, no one gets anywhere alone. Talk about the role sponsorship has played in your life and how you have paid that forward.

There was one man that sponsored me early on, and I had another guy who sponsored me later on in my career. The one that warms my heart is Tony Wakin. He was the Branch Manager at IBM. He was an amazing man, a White man. Everybody was afraid of him. He took some of us under his wing. It was because of him. I was an Assistant Engineer at the time. At IBM, you go from engineer to instructor to manager to area manager. It is bureaucratic and regimented. They tell you how you are going to go.

He said, “Daphne, I see how you love customers. I see the mistakes that you have made. When you mess up, you fess up. I see how you are curious and how you want to do all these things. I’m going to sponsor you, and you are going to be in Dallas, Texas, at the education center where you are going to teach people how to do what you are doing now.” That was a promotion.

Before he sent me away, it was like my father sending his daughter away to college. He gave me many nuggets of wisdom. He is the one that told me, “Know how many noes is your worth.” He was the one that told me to watch the game board because it is a game, so know who is making what plays. You have to understand the goal, players, and strategies will change. He was amazing. He was the one that allowed me to jump off of where I was onto a trajectory of being a manager.

When I think about paying it back, I have in my home in New York a picture of Harriet Tubman. In that picture of Harriet Tubman, she has a lantern in her hand, and she has a shotgun under her arm. She is going that way, which I assume is north in the picture. I call it the push-and-pull technique. She is pushing forward through the forest, through danger. She is curious. She has the courage. She is moving forward, always advancing herself. At the same time, her other hand is this way, and she is pulling slaves along with her. In this picture are her and three slaves. That is paying it forward.

She knew how to be free, but she said, “Until my brothers are free, I’m not free. I’m going to be free, but I’m also going to bring my people along with me.” That is what I do. I believe in learning all you can, earning all you can, and returning all you can. I’m at that phase now where I’m not done earning and learning, but I’m skewed to the right, where I am l returning all I can.

My book is my way of being able to share with other women. How do you stop suffering in silence? How do you stop asking for permission to prosper? How do you not wait for your boss to pull you up but pull yourself up? How do you play the game because it is a game? How do you do all these things? If a poor Black Jamaican immigrant girl from Phoenix, Illinois, can do it, so can you. My paying it forward is in my book and coaching.

The title of your book is Win When They Say You Won’t, which I love. It is an awesome book. There are many nuggets, some of which you have shared now. I always tell people, “I love when people tell me I can’t do something.” When I was younger, I would yell. As I got a little bit older, I would be like, “I will show you.” Now I do it. I don’t say anything. You said earlier, “Impossible.” I don’t know where I read this once, but you take the word impossible. It is I am possible. Talk more about your book because you are a role model. I don’t think you are a role model for women or Black women. I think you are a role model for everyone. Share your wisdom with all the readers, women or not, men or not, whatever.

TTD 55 | Break Through Barriers
Win When They Say You Won’t: Break Through Barriers and Keep Leveling Up Your Success by Daphne Jones

It is about, “Do you want to win?”

I don’t like being tribal sometimes. Don’t we want to win? If you don’t want to win, I don’t want you on my team.

First of all, everyone is a winner. If you came out of your mother’s body as a baby alive, you are a winner. If you graduated from school, you won. If you win a championship in sports, you are a winner. If you got your first job, you are a winner. The point is this book is not for losers. This book is for winners, which is for everybody. There are times when odds are stacked against you, when you don’t believe you are a winner yourself and you want to know, “I believe I’m a winner, but I don’t know how to win. I want to get promoted, learn how to swim, be a better speaker, and start my own business, but I don’t know how.”

This book is the playbook of how to win when you or others say you won’t. The reason I wrote this book is when I tell the story about how not only me but other women, young girls, and people of color are planted what I call seeds of misdirection. Girls don’t do the math. Young girls don’t play basketball. A Black person can’t be a CEO of a hedge fund.

All the things that we are told that we cannot be and we cannot do stick with us because we are impressionable as the other sex or the younger side of us. Those little seeds grow up with us, and they become tall trees of Imposter syndrome. When you have imposter syndrome, you are always questioning, “I shouldn’t do that because they told me I couldn’t when I was five years old.” You are stuck and paralyzed. You are in this trance.

Let me parenthetically say this. Yes, those seeds are implanted. Media and culture play a big role, but it is your responsibility not to water that. Don’t give it life.

If you don’t know better, don’t give it life. You avoid that math class. You avoid majoring in something that you have a proclivity for. My book talks about your purpose. Your purpose is where you have passion and capability. Where that intersects is your purpose. There are young girls out there who love math, but they have been told that they shouldn’t. They water it, not on purpose. They avoid it because it is not cool to have math.

Your purpose is where your passion and capabilities intersect.

When you get to be our age or younger, you realize, “I love math. I can’t swim. I can’t do these things. Here is how I’m going to do it.” The goal is to take matters into your own hands, think differently, and not believe that you can’t. I call it suspending disbelief. You have to take that disbelief. We take disbelief, hold it, and cradle it. You got to take it and throw it high so it is not easy to get to.

Take that disbelief where you can’t access it every time you are scared or every time you have a goal that you have. The book focuses on how you go after thinking about what you want, how you design a plan to get it, how you work that plan and take feedback from the marketplace, and how you never quit. There are two reasons people fail. One is your mindset, but outside the mindset, you have many goals.

Talk more about having too many goals.

People have these 2023 resolutions. They are going to lose weight, do this, do that, and start their own business. The question is, which of those things are going to allow you to connect with your purpose and with your vision for yourself? Those things that are most closely associated with that are what I call the BOs, your Bodacious Objectives.

Let’s say you got twelve objectives, and you want to do them all, but you can’t. You pick the two closest to help you achieve your purpose or your vision for your life. Those are bodacious objectives. Those are the BOs. Those that are next level down are your Moderate Objectives, and those are what I call the MOs. The Non-essential Objectives or the lowest ones are what I call the NOs. They are non-essential. No means no.

Either delegate or put it on the list for next year. Maybe it will rise up to be more important, but it probably won’t. That’s what I mean by people having too many objectives, and they quit. Books have been written that say before it was about to turn dawn, when it was night, you quit. You were about to get a breakthrough, and you quit.

Part of my methodology is that when you are going through your process, you look at the situation and say, “This feedback I’m getting from the market is data. How do I use that data, put it back in my plan and go back to the drawing board, but go through it again?” Don’t quit. You find a way to pivot or persevere. At the end of the day, if that goal was worth having, it is still worth having. That objective was worth achieving. It is still worth achieving. The question is, if you can’t go left, you find a way to go right.

If your goal is worth having, it is always worth achieving. Always find a way to go after it.

Let me ask you a question because grit and perseverance are important. Other than self-confidence and mindset, what else have you seen in your career where people can’t get through those difficult moments? We know life throws a curve ball when we least expect it. We will go back to the sports analogy. What do you do when you’ve seen people quit on themselves when life throws them a curve ball? The only thing that is guaranteed is that life won’t go according to plan. There is the expression that if you want God to laugh, let him know you have a plan.

It is conviction and belief. Sun Tzu says, “A winning warrior wins first and goes to battle. A losing warrior goes to battle and hopes he or she wins.” It is your mind and belief. I had breast cancer when I was writing this book. If I had said to myself, which was as easy as not, “I can’t,” it means that I got to stop. Cancer means that I have the ability to keep going. I have to play deal with cancer over here, but my book is over here. It is almost 100% how you feel. The way you define the problem is the problem. I don’t have to go to work now. I get to go to work now.

The way you define the problem is the problem.

What you are describing is you are reframing because every challenge is an opportunity.

It starts with the mind. I’m not saying that the mind is the only thing because, based on the other question that you asked me, you have this daunting task. My question is, what must be true in order for you to make it? You first have to say, “I want to make it. I can make it. I can go. My mind is such that it is a decision away. I decide to win.” You got that straight, everybody. I’m going to win.

The question is, “What must I do to win? What is it going to take for me to win? I got to have the right resources, stakeholders, coaches, sponsors, role models, accountability buddies, money, time, and effort. What is it going to take?” When you have that, that is what you need, the mindset and your resources. When you fall down, you get back up, and it is being resilient.

I believe some of the best leaders can see around the corner. They spot patterns. When you are behind your schedule several weeks in a row, you are probably going to go red. Your project is going to go behind. You don’t wait until it has been yellow for several weeks, and you do something about it. You start to say, “This project looks like it is going to go behind schedule or over budget.” It is being able to look around the corner and see patterns before they may be visible to the common eye or hear noise about that project before it is audible.

That is why that curiosity you spoke about, Patty Ann, is important. “I’m curious. How is the project doing? Why is this yellow for three weeks in a row?” It is not going to, all of a sudden, go green because you are a nice person. It is going to go green because of your intervention. That is what I think people have to do. Have the mindset and right stakeholders, and be curious enough to track and see what is going on and what is going wrong.

TTD 55 | Break Through Barriers
Break Through Barriers: People need have the right mindset, the right stakeholders, and the curiosity to keep track of what’s going on and what’s going wrong.


That is awesome. What is a success story? Even though you have shared how things will go wrong, you have to persevere. You have the book Win When They Say You Won’t. I know people reading are thinking, “It must have come easy to her. She couldn’t have been thrown a curve ball.” You said you had cancer while you were writing the book. Can you share with us a time in your career when your career drew you a curve ball, and you did strike out, and how you came back from that?

When I told you that I graduated from college early, I skipped first grade and two years of college. I joined IBM. At one point, it was Itty Bitty Monopoly because it was one of the biggest companies in the world at the time. I was at IBM. It is my dream job. People sometimes say they don’t dream of labor, but it was my dream job. I was with them for several years.

Tony Wakin, the Branch Manager, sent me to Dallas to be an instructor. I ended up moving from Dallas to DC. My husband wanted me to move from DC to Atlanta. He said, “Daphne, there are a lot of Black people in Atlanta. I will be successful there.” When I moved to Atlanta, I didn’t have anybody there. IBM didn’t send me there. Tony sent me to Dallas, and Dallas sent me to DC. I went to Atlanta on my own. It is my mistake. I knew Tony’s coaching would have told me to stay in DC.

They say, “If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.” I didn’t know anybody to go together with. I didn’t have a resource base, stakeholder base, mentor, sponsors, friends, or coaches. Nobody is there. When IBM was going through its tough financial downturn, I was an easy one to get rid of. They laid me off. I was downsized by my dream company. I was going through a divorce at the same time.

It adds insult to injury.

When you are going through a divorce with a child, you know the mother wants custody, but this mother doesn’t have a job anymore. We had a big house with a pool. He had moved out. I had this house and had to sell it. It was one thing after another. Patty Ann, I struck out. I was afraid that I was going to be called back to the secretarial farm because they told me that all I could be was a secretary. I was afraid the secretarial police were going to come after me and put me back in secretarial prison.

Between crying and depression, my sister came and moved in with me for a minute to help me keep things together. I realized that my eight-year-old son was right here. He needs his mother to be able to move. I don’t know if it was you or somebody else who has told me that you get motivated by when somebody tells you, “You can’t do something.”

I had to get motivated because this little boy here was looking up at me and saying, “Mommy, it is going to be okay.” He is comforting me. I said, “It is going to be okay. Let me get out of bed. Let me dry my eyes and stop thinking that I’m a loser and that I’m not a winner. Let me put a plan together and get moving.” It was a decision to get out of bed. I call getting out of bed a metaphor for getting moving.

Thank you for sharing that because I bet you, everybody reading was shocked. What you did was you violated everything that you teach everybody now in your book when they say you won’t. You didn’t have your support system, resources, and team. You can’t win alone. No matter how talented you are, it needs to be noticed. That is important. Women have a hard time with that. I am grateful for your time. I have a couple more questions, and then I will respect your time. Other than your own, what is the last book you reread and why?

I read it at least 2 or 3 times. It is Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup.

Why? Is it because you are starting your company?

I have a lean startup, and I want to understand how to hypothesize. Pivot versus perseverance is where that came from. I used some of his books for my own personal research to put into my book. That was why. I had a practical application for my own company. I believe strongly that whether you are an incumbent or a brand new startup, you should think like a lean startup. It allows you to win.

My last question is, what is the one song you can’t live without?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

We will call it that. That’s consistent with everything you shared. Unabashedly promote yourself and your book. How can people get your book and learn more about you?

This book is the book to have. Patty Ann said, “It is the playbook.” Everything you wanted to know about how to win and how not to lose, which I don’t believe in losing because I believe it is a lesson. Even when you don’t get what you want, you are still winning because you made that step forward. Reach out to me. I’m at Send me a note, get on my newsletter, and get into my email account. If you want to get a copy or free intro of the book, go to or

TTD 55 | Break Through Barriers
Break Through Barriers: Losing is a lesson. Even when you don’t get what you want, you still win because you made that step forward.


You can read about the book and understand where I come from. I wish that the IBM story was the only downside thing I have had. I have had a lot of challenges. I am not a person born with a silver spoon or a gold spoon in her mouth. I was not a person who had it easy. I have had microaggressions and negative pressure downward for me to stay down. I was the one that got away. You can too.

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I appreciate it. That concludes this episode. As promised, Daphne Jones was incredible. Make sure you like, comment, share, and subscribe so other people can learn her wisdom. I will add to what Daphne said, “Not for you as this book, but there must be somebody you know that can benefit from this book.” Until next time, be well.


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About Daphne E. Jones

Daphne E. Jones is an accomplished and seasoned executive with extensive experience using digital technologies strategically, entrepreneurially, and globally within multi-national corporations. She has over thirty years of experience in general management and executive level roles at IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Hospira (now Pfizer) and General Electric. During her tenure at GE, she served as: SVP for Future of Work, SVP & CIO for Product Engineering, Imaging, and Ultrasound, and as Senior Executive & CIO For Global Services – all comprising a $13B segment within GE Healthcare.

Prior to GE Healthcare, her early career days were spent at IBM and Johnson & Johnson as an IT Executive followed by her role as a Corporate Officer, SVP & CIO at Hospira, Inc. a global pharmaceutical and infusion technology company. She was the first woman and African American to report to the Chairman of the Board with accountability for all aspects of Hospira’s enterprise, digital & analytics technology. A driver of change acceleration and leadership development, her career has been spent using digital technologies to transform business models, distribution channels and products.


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