Denise Ramos - ITT
Denise brings a unique background to her role as CEO that combines more than two decades in the oil and gas industry with significant retail and customer-centric experience. She previously served as SVP and CFO, and was responsible for all aspects of financial management and reporting for the global multi-industry company, as well as communication to the investment community.
She began her career at Atlantic Richfield Company where she spent 21 years in a number of increasingly responsible finance positions, including corporate general auditor and assistant treasurer, the position she held when the company was acquired in 2000 by British Petroleum. Denise then joined Yum! Brands Inc. where she was SVP and corporate treasurer. She also served as chief financial officer for the U.S. division of KFC Corporation. Prior to joining ITT in 2007, she served as chief financial officer for Furniture Brands International.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
Today, ITT and all companies across America are in the midst of a global competition for virtually everything – customers, talent, profits, technologies and market share. To ensure our long-term competitive advantage and prosperity, we must peer into the future – the sometimes distant future – and determine the kinds of products and services that will be needed in five, 10 and 20 years from now. We have to be able to look around corners, and this absolutely requires the strategic thinking, problem solving and technological capabilities that STEM encourages. Perhaps just as importantly, technology will continue to be an ever-increasing presence in our personal lives as well, and an understanding of STEM will be critical to navigating our increasingly technological future.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
To advance STEM, we need to engage the broadest possible participation in these fields and draw individuals across race, gender and nationality to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. This requires leaders at every level of an organization to embrace diversity and become ever more open to an infinite variety of thoughts and viewpoints. When leaders create an environment that welcomes diverse ideas, they not only nurture talent across the broadest spectrum. They also deepen the capabilities within the organization and STEM professions, where the ability to work collaboratively, integrate different perspectives and think about problems in new ways is central to success.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
In work, as in life, we learn in many ways – through books, experiences, conversations. However, one of the best ways for aspiring leaders to learn and grow is through good role models. Throughout my career in the oil and gas, retail, and manufacturing industries, my leadership style and capabilities have been enhanced by learning through people who I admire and respect. Looking back, one special role model stands out because I really developed my ability to think strategically and relate to people more openly and authentically. I also learned that work is not just a job – it’s a way of being. Those lessons have deeply influenced me and shaped who and where I am today.
Of what one initiative are you most proud?
Earlier this year, following a spin-off transaction that created a “new” ITT, we launched a renewed version of our vision and values that reflects who we are today. I am proud that it carries forward those things that make up the best part of our century-old legacy – our values, capabilities, brands and management system – while integrating our strategy as a global diversified industrial company around leading with technology, differentiating with customers and optimizing our work. However, I am most proud because at the core of The ITT Way – both literally and symbolically – are the ITT people, who every day deliver enduring impact and premier financial performance for all our stakeholders. I couldn’t be more proud to be leading this team of high achievers and to see the engagement and enthusiasm they feel for The ITT Way.