Fairygodboss

On any given day, Kristen Gore, Ph.D, might be performing consultations for engineers and chemists across multiple organizations, teaching statistics classes, performing quality audits, or something else entirely. Recently, she even had a hand in developing the data strategy for HP’s next generation of printers. It’s all in a day's work for her at HP Inc.

Over the course of her career with HP, Gore says that her role has certainly become more strategic. When she started at the company, she wasn’t necessarily aware of the bigger picture. Over time, however, she asked the right questions, learned more, and, ultimately, moved up to a leadership position in which she’s made more of an influential impact.

Recently Kristen spoke to Fairygodboss about her career, navigating self-doubt and treating others the way she wants to be treated. She also has some advice on growing in the workplace and lifting others up along the way. 

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role, how long have you been in this role, and what were you doing previously?

I’m a Senior Statistician hosted out of the Microfluidics Technology and Operations organization, but I support all of our Print R&D and Manufacturing organizations. I’ve been a statistician at HP for roughly six and a half years total.

What were your initial thoughts when you learned you were moving into a leadership role?

I’d say I had a mixture of excitement, some self-doubt (being honest), and a sense of responsibility to bring about positive change. I was excited to have the opportunity to put together my strategic vision and made sure I did my homework, so I had the best chance of being successful. I love collaborating, though, so that was a piece I was looking forward to.

How has your day-to-day work changed since you went into leadership at your organization? What about your overall approach to work?

When I first started at HP, I leaned toward the more tactical tasks — running analyses, designing experiments, etc. I didn’t necessarily understand the big picture when I started, though, so I didn’t have a good grasp of whether I needed to push back on some requests or pose different questions in my consultations. 

As I gained more business knowledge and garnered more of a systems-level view of the organization, I started to approach my job differently and ask the right questions that get to the root cause of many issues. It’s helped me to become more effective and influential in the overall organization. 

Many of the elements of my job still exist. I still teach classes, perform consultations, etc, but I’d say my role has become more strategic in nature over the past few years.

What’s one strategy you’ve used when managing an individual or team that you think has been particularly effective?

I’m not a people manager, but I am the chair of my site’s Multicultural Impact Network, so I’m responsible for leading a team of nine amazing and passionate colleagues in order to help us drive key diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at our site.

One strategy I’ve always employed both in this role and previous leadership roles is to treat others the way I’d like to be treated. That means exercising patience, empathy, respect, and kindness. It goes a long way. It’s a principle I learned from my dad from a young age, and it’s something that I try to live by. As Maya Angelou so eloquently put it: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

 What is your No. 1 piece of advice for others who are moving into leadership?

Treat your people right, show them that you care, and listen. Okay, technically that’s three things, but they’re all buried in one sentence

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