STEM Professional Profile of The Month – Lisa Neal-Graves


Name: Lisa Neal-Graves

Job Title: Director, Technology Insights

Company: Intel Corporation



Q: What precisely do you do? What are the duties/functions/ and responsibilities of your job?

My title is the director of technology insights. My job is to identify forward technology trends meaning five to ten years out, identify those trends in ways where Intel can intersect those trends and take advantage of market opportunities based on those. So looking for the “next big thing” for Intel.

Q: How did you choose to pursue computer science and engineering management? What excites you about these fields?

My major in undergraduate school was math and computer science and I chose it because it really was all I knew. I knew math really before I understood English. My father and mother made us spend a lot of time practicing math problems because math is really more of a practised skill as opposed to an intellectual art. My job right out school at AT&T Bell labs required that I get a masters in order to be a member of technical staff so I got one in computer science. While working I realized there is a lot that you can learn about  program management and being able to track technical work so I continued to go to school and got my masters in engineering management. Years later I went to law school and got a degree.

Q: Some of your top skills include leadership and management, what do you think it takes to be a good team leader?

Inspiration and courage, you’ve got to be inspiring so that people will want to follow you, it takes courage in order to really lead people because you have to be decisive and make sure you are doing right by the people that you’re leading. You have to be be willing to own and accept responsibility and not be afraid of the decisions you have to make.

Q: What are challenges that you have come across in your job? What is your strategy to find solutions?

A lot of the problems have to do with communication. Some problems that I’ve encountered previously have really been either misunderstandings or people making judgements based on what they see instead of asking the questions they need to be asking. Typically what I have done is to over communicate in order to get past that. I also use a lot of humor, people have a hard time accepting criticism but if you frame a response in a constructive way that allows them to not feel like it’s an attack on them personally, people take it easier, it’s a little bit lighter.

Q: What is a lesson you’ve learned in either pursuing your career or through your work?

Always look for the next thing.

Try not to set goals that you easily achieve and are left without knowing what else to do. You should always look for what is the next thing you should be doing in order to achieve your next goal. For me I am always learning. If in my job I don’t learn three things a day, then I try to find ways to grow my roles and responsibilities so that I get better..

Q:  What is some advice you would give to people pursuing a career in management or computer science?

Patience is a virtue. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t think that your way is the only way. Look for and broaden the types of people that you talk to so that it enlightens your perspective. As a manager don’t feel like you have to be a boss in order to do your job. A boss is just that, someone who bosses people around. A manager is a person who makes things happen and makes everybody feel good in the process. Everybody has fun when you’re being managed, nobody has fun when you’re being bossed.

Q: Can you tell us an interesting fact that most people don’t know about you?

I’m actually quite shy, but from an outsider’s perspective you would never know that!

*This telephonic interview was taken by iUrban Teen Youth Mina Engquist – a 16 year old first year freshman at PCC. Mina plan on studying business with focus on supply chain management and she love writing, art and learning about the world around her*

 Mina Engquist - iUrban Teen Youth