Janice Chaffin - Symantec
Group President, Consumer Business Unit
Janice Chaffin leads Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit, which includes Symantec's market-leading Norton™ brand. Since assuming her role in 2006, Chaffin has expanded the Norton portfolio to address the post-PC era of multiple devices and exploding data. Under her leadership, Norton has received nearly 600 awards for its superior products, achieved its highest-ever customer loyalty, and grown revenues for 14 consecutive quarters.
Chaffin previously served as Symantec’s first Chief Marketing Officer and spent 21 years at Hewlett-Packard. Chaffin graduated from the University of California, San Diego and earned an M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
How is your company innovating to promote STEM?
Innovation requires diversity of perspective and a work culture that fosters a curiosity and willingness to challenge basic assumptions. At Symantec, we advocate a climate of respect and encourage employees to open their minds and think about ideas from a variety of viewpoints because we believe this fuels innovation.
We have created our own internal group—the Symantec Women’s Action Network (SWAN), which reaches out to young girls encouraging them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Additionally, Symantec has proudly participated in groups and with external agencies that foster innovation principles—we are one of the founding signatories of the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
Technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., yet if current trends continue we will not have the talent we need to fill the jobs of the future. Currently, women and minorities are significantly under-represented in the technology industry. We need to expand the talent pool and build a long-term pipeline of women and minorities interested in technology. I believe very strongly that a climate of openness and respect for diverse perspectives encourages innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.
Initiatives like the STEM Education and Workforce Challenge put forth a concerted effort and investment that will help ensure that our country continues to be competitive in the global economic marketplace.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
As women leaders we need to pledge our own personal commitment of time and focus to mentoring up-and-coming women. When I was 14, I worked after school as a janitor in a medical office. The nurse who ran the office was the first professional woman I ever knew. She inspired me to reach further. As I move through my career, I have looked for opportunities to engage and help young women understand that it is possible to be a wife, mother, and leader. We can make a difference as a mentor, teacher or friend.
What about STEM gives you passion?
Discovery itself gives me passion. Finding answers to the unknown is exciting. Maybe it is a natural curiosity that I was born with, but STEM is at the root of how we live our lives, innovate within business, evolve as a society, and make the world a better place. Without this drive to discover, the world would be a stagnant place with many more problems that would never be solved.