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7 Questions with Fred Donatucci
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7 Questions with Fred Donatucci
Name: Fred Donatucci
Current title: Vice President, IT
Current Organisation: New Indy Containerboard
Frederick “Fred” Donatucci is currently the Vice-President,IT / Head of IT for New Indy Containerboard. He leads the IT function across the different New-Indy companies and concurrently serves as a member of the executive team for New Indy. Fred provides strategic leadership across the enterprise and provides leadership and vision for the growing IT team. Fred is responsible for forming a central IT Team from the many New Indy acquisitions.
Prior to joining New Indy, Fred was leading IT functions and enabling transformations across different organizations. Fred was a Director at both Mattel and Avery Dennison, responsible for new initiatives, M&A IT activity and supporting IT organizations.
Fred believes the key role of IT is enabling value for the organization and being a business leader to help the organization achieve its strategic goals. His collaborative approach with a drive to execute has allowed him to build highly effective teams that deliver results.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
As with any organization, joining a group that has an established culture and history - it is a challenge to understand the history and "unofficial" rules of engagement. Understanding how a group gets things done, right, wrong and ugly is important. Once you can understand that, then you can start to develop the plan to move the organization forward.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Well, I have had a lot of experience with large enterprises throughout my career. Working first as a consultant delivering transformations, then as an IT leader working for organizations such as Apria Healthcare, Avery Dennison and Mattel, I was able to gain a lot of experience in different areas. I was at Mattel for about 5 years and just completed a large initiative around their commercial trade spend, when I was contacted by a search firm about the role at New Indy. I was not actively looking, but the opportunity to lead the organization and make change was exciting. I had the opportunity to meet the leadership team and learn more about the business and I was hooked! I have been here for over 6 months and it has been an exciting time for me and my organization!
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I have a pretty active life between my family and work. I usually get up before everyone else, and have some alone time for me. It involves my ritual cup of coffee, watching the news and reviewing any critical emails. Then I usually take time to write out my goals for the day, what are the three things I want to accomplish and I take time visualizing what that looks like. Once done showering, praying and getting off to work - my day is split between meetings, working on initiatives, responding to emails, and working with my team and peers. I then go home, spend time with my children and wife, including time outside playing, eating, exercising and going to sleep. Each day has its challenges. I like to end each day in gratitude in appreciation for my family and relationships and reviewing top things I got done that day.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I believe the biggest lesson is in the focus of developing others to be leaders, helping others to achieve greater things, and learning to inspire and build future leaders. You also need to find ways to tap into the passion of the people on your team, if you want people to give you their best it has to be their passion... so look for ways to tie people to their passions.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
This has changed throughout my career... with the "who moved my cheese" being important earlier in my career. But one of the books that made the biggest impacts was "What Got You Here Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith. The pivot in your career from being the one who did things to the one who makes things happen is critical. And learning to flex "new muscles" that are different from what made you a success so far, is a very important lesson to learn. Many leaders want to keep doing things themselves, but learning to let go and enable the next person to be successful - doing that is important for you and the people coming behind you.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Well, this is a pretty big undertaking, but I want to go back to getting people to do what they're passionate about. Finding the people with the right skill sets and passions is key. Find some strong people who are passionate and skilled in getting things done, and get out of their way. You also need a level of transparency, accountability and a drive to get stuff done.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I wish I had one story that stood out, but making a difference is my key motivation. And this can come from the times you take a team member who may have been unhappy , bored or unfulfilled and help them find their passion and achieve great things or from giving your time and making a difference.
When at both Avery Dennison and Mattel, I had the chance to be part of the teams that gave back to the community. At Avery Dennison we worked with the City of Hope, and having had the experience to meet the people who had their lives changed. While working there, I was able to understand how our Sales VP battled cancer and won. She was able to share her battle with cancer and how the City of Hope made a difference. Knowing that the time you give or the money you give to an organization makes such a difference is inspiring. Getting to know these heros, these survivors, who battled cancer and won, really puts your life in perspective. Life is short - and I learned to cherish the time and the relationships I have and the people who love me.