Becoming a C-level executive is reaching the top of the apex in the business world and most employees do not hit that height, let alone do it as a woman in her mid 40’s.
Joni Floyd started out as a customer service representative working at Affiliated Computer Services (NYSE: ACS), and ultimately became EVP of the Electronic Commerce Group, heading up one of the most profitable divisions, The Moneymaker ATM Network. She managed an $ 80 M annual budget and had over 125 employees ultimately reporting to her from the late nineties to early in 2000. Leaving ACS, a $ 2 B market cap company in early 2000, she joined an early stage revenue company in 2001. With a focus in a slightly different area of the industry, she took a sole contributor position as project manager with no direct reports, and no direct profit and loss responsibility – a position that ultimately led to her becoming a COO.
Question from w2wlink.com Editor Jean Lewis: What was your career path to get to the EVP position?
Joni Floyd: I started at as an entry level customer service representative and worked my way up through the organization via performance based promotions from project manager position, to AVP of operations, then VP of Operations and Business Development, Sr. VP Operations, Marketing and Sales, and finally EVP where I oversaw operations, marketing and sales. My experience and disciplines of expertise became wider as I got promoted and gained additional exposure.
Question from w2wlink: What made you decide to then take a lower paying, no direct report project manager position in a slightly different sector of the industry?
Joni Floyd: I saw the opportunity to join an early stage company with a chance to participate as an equity owner and become a C-level executive. I believed there were growth opportunities both from a financial point of perspective and an "exposure" point of view. I felt the position could be leveraged as the company grew.
Question from w2wlink: What factors did you use to assess the level of risk before you went for and then took the offer for the lower position at the smaller company?
Joni Floyd: I considered the work ethic of the principal of the company – in my case I had worked for the executive before so I knew his work ethic and culture. When that is not the case, do your homework – talk to people of have worked and who have left - find out what you’d like to know by asking around, don’t be shy. I sought out a high energy culture conducive to candid discussion, open to hearing disagreement and able to operate efficiently in pursuit of opportunities. If it's a smaller company, consider who the financial backers of the company are – meet with the Private Equity or Venture Capital partners if you can. Understand the company’s structure, their lending relationships.
Question from w2wlink: Do you think you would have been able to get that COO position without first taking the project manager job?
Joni Floyd: No, I definitely needed to take that project management job because I was able to gather the necessary industry experience, for me, gaining exposure to the mergers and acquisition process, ultimately managing all of the integration efforts of the rapidly growing company. I was then able to use my experience and make the kind of contribution that gets one promoted to C-level: broad, general management leadership with precise, up-to-date industry knowledge, producing continuous, consistent growth results.
Question from w2wlink: In addition to taking the lower job to get that extra knowledge that you needed to get that promotion, was there anything else you did that you think made a big difference to getting to C-level?
Joni Floyd: Networking has lead to my career success at every step along the way; networking, coupled with hard work and extra effort do get results. I have weaved a life net that has made and continues to make all the difference in the world.
Optimistic and energetic, Joni Floyd’s success is a model for any professional woman with her eye on a C-level position. She is not inhibited to say that she was both interested and motivated by the thought of making money and gaining C-level experience. She hopes her experience will encourage and inform fast track corporate career women on their way up as well.
The company at which Joni served as COO until 2006 got acquired from GTCR in July 2007 by Welsh Carson for $ 683 M.
Recently, ready to grow again, Joni launched an advisory services practice. She serves as the incubating CEO for her own company, www.shuzsociety.com, an online content aggregator and social network serving the $ 44 B footwear industry. She’s using her expertise from the payments industry to generate online marketing and commerce programs for both trade and consumer participants. shuzsociety.com is a uniquely targeted business with cash flows generated through subscription and advertising services.
Organizations that Joni Floyd is affiliated with includewww.texchange.org, www.cancer.org, www.w-net.biz and anvilinvestments.com .
Check back on Sundays for more w2wlink.com Interviews with the Editor on cutting edge issues for professional women.
has edited and written for consumer Web sites and publications reaching nearly 50 million people. Her credits include writing and editing online and print articles, sales and training materials, marketing collateral, and advertising and PR for conusmer companies including BeautiControl, a Tupperware subsidiary's publications to women ages 20s through 50s, the WHO Foundation, Women Helping Others, MCG Magazine, Los Angeles and Seasonal Living Guide for Sam’s Club, a retailing subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Her career also includes working and living in Canada and Japan. Jean is well regarded for her market-research based approach to managing story development enabling consistently original, relevant and timely content.