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What All CTOs Can Learn from Greg Lavender at Intel

With a storied career spanning over four decades, meet Greg Lavender, Intel’s Chief Technology Officer since 2021. Lavender’s vast experience serves as a treasure trove of insights for those leading the charge in tech innovation.

From maintaining a visionary mindset to championing mentorship and sustainability, Lavender’s journey embodies the essence of effective tech leadership. Join us as we delve into Lavender’s playbook, uncovering invaluable lessons that can elevate your own journey as a tech leader.

Maintain a visionary mindset

Lavender’s journey underscores the importance of not just responding to tech trends, but anticipating them. If you take a look at Lavender’s path through academia, his corporate world stints at Citigroup and Cisco Systems, and finally as CTO of Intel, you can see he showcases the quintessence of a visionary. 

His early engagement with technology started with computer programming at just 14 under his father’s guidance. As a recent college grad, he spent his time pioneering networking protocols on projects like the ARPANET (the precursor to the modern day internet).

Early in his career, Lavender made a choice to focus on computer networking instead of AI since he believed it showed more initial promise. Compute networking laid the groundwork for the digital infrastructure that’s driving today’s tech landscape. It’s also the same foundation that generative AI is now being built upon–making it a great decision in the long run.

Fast forward to Lavender’s work at Intel, especially around advancing semiconductor technology and embracing next-generation computing architectures, and he continued to maintain a forward-thinking approach. Overall, Lavender’s strategic decisions starting early in his career shows that being intentional illustrates the impact of looking beyond the horizon, and that what you initially pursue can pave the way toward innovations later on.

For CTOs, Lavender’s career exemplifies the importance of not just adapting to, but foreseeing technological trends, ensuring their companies remain at the cutting edge of their industries.

Make mentorship a career cornerstone

At the heart of Lavender’s leadership style is a deep belief in mentorship. Lavender knows that having a good mentor can make all the difference in navigating the tech world’s challenges and sparking innovation. 

In many interviews, Lavender claims to be equally fulfilled by mentoring his staff as he is by the technical side of his work. He often credits his success to the invaluable guidance of mentors who inspired him to explore, innovate, and contribute to society through tech.

He continues to honor his mentorship legacy by supporting the next generation through scholarships and fellowships, demonstrating the profound impact of mentorship on both personal and professional growth.

Lavender is a testament to the enduring value of guiding and being guided in the relentless pursuit of innovation. More importantly, his hands-on and collaborative leadership showcases the value of mentorship, serving as a powerful reminder to CTOs everywhere that guiding and growing with your team is key to driving technological advancement.

Take responsiblity for sustainability 

The quest for sustainability is not just about mitigating risks or complying with regulations–it’s about seizing opportunities to lead radical digital transformations that pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Lavender is at the forefront of this approach through Intel’s Sustainable CTO Initiative, which is committed to bringing the global CTO community to adopt eco-friendly practices. His work highlights the critical importance of green tech solutions. By championing a tech-focused and sustainable strategy, Lavender is not only advancing Intel’s goals but also setting a standard for the tech industry to embrace net zero targets.

Under Lavender’s guidance, Intel’s commitment to sustainability highlights the significant role CTOs across the globe have in driving environmental progress. He also proves that the role of technology in sustainability is both a privilege and a responsibility.

In brief

As you navigate your path, remember that leadership in technology is as much about managing people and ideas as it is about understanding the latest programming language or gadget. Drawing inspiration from seasoned leaders like Lavender can offer invaluable insights as you lead your organization into the future. 

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Jena Hodgson

Jena is a seasoned expert in creating compelling B2B content who built her career at various tech startups, marketing agencies, and corporate enterprises. As a "digital trendsetter," she leverages her analytical and creative skills as a contributing writer for CTO Magazine where she reports on tech trends and innovations in the workplace.
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