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Stand up and Lean in

Exploring the many ways technology and tech leaders are reshaping and re-imagining how we work and live in today’s ever-changing world.

Transformation Nation Podcast

On this episode, Chief Digital Technology Officer and your host, Anna Frazzetto, interviews JoAnne Kennedy, VP of Technology at Nordstrom. JoAnne’s career began in telecom and led her to Microsoft. From there, she was snatched into the realm of digital media and product development by MSNBC, and in 2016, joined Nordstrom and worked her way up to her current role with the fashion retailer.

Before she could step into her success, JoAnne was just another boys’ club party crasher in a business world that then held a thankfully now-outdated expectation that women needed to act like men to be successful. Of course, this was when women in tech were scarce. JoAnne notes how far we’ve come since then, and how now we encourage bringing your whole authentic self to work because we understand that to innovate and create, we need diverse life experiences and voices. Talk about progress! 

JoAnne also reflects on her personal progress, growing up in America with Asian parents. Back then, she believed her family’s ideals were rooted in old school culture, but the value of their dedicated work ethic and strength became apparent with maturity. She shares that their story instilled a will to get knocked down, brush herself off and stand right back up to lean in. It gave her the confidence that she could be successful in whatever she chose to do.

JoAnne continues to be an active member of and advocate for the Asian community. Over the past 10 years, she has been involved as a board member with the Seattle-based organization called Asian Counseling and Referral Services (or ACRS), which provides everything from culturally appropriate healthcare to employment and training services. She’s also deeply involved and acts as the executive sponsor for Nordstorm’s AAPI employee resource group. 

With the recent alarming rise of hate crimes against the AAPI community, JoAnne has had a lot of people ask her how they can show up and demonstrate support. She suggests simply asking, “How are you doing?” and then listening carefully to the replies. This small act can go a long way. We hope you enjoy this episode.