Kristy Fair Ballentine, October 2020
Tell us a bit about yourself/your career journey.
I am the director of global communications at Lenovo. I love the variety of my work, which ranges from creating strategic communications programs to managing crises and issues in the media, launching some of the company’s most important products, and helping build the brand and company’s reputation.
Before moving to a corporate career, I was a television reporter and was fortunate to go to many interesting places – riding in a hot air balloon – covering impactful events – reporting during Hurricane Isabel – and to some life-changing stories – the exoneration of a death row inmate. I also returned to my alma mater to earn my MBA. (Go Heels!)
What’s your current professional focus?
As director of global communications at Lenovo, I help the company build and protect its reputation. I lead Lenovo’s global efforts under our Workplace team, positioning Lenovo as a destination employer, and driving the business to advance its Diversity and Inclusion work. I focus on Tier 1 media coverage of our c-suite leaders to tell Lenovo’s service-led transformation story, particularly focusing on our Commercial Internet of Things Business. I also lead our corporate narrative development and storytelling program.
What attracted you to NCPRSA?
I’m lucky to have found a profession where I get paid to be continually curious. Is there a better way? Are we being holistic and strategic in our thinking? What outcomes did we drive? I became accredited in public relations early in my career and have found the insights from PRSA valuable in keeping me up-to-date on the latest industry trends and news. Now with NCPRSA, I’d like to become more involved in the local network of communicators.
What’s your favorite aspect of working in your professional area?
The breadth of projects I get to work on – from defining my team’s agile structure that uses data and insights to inform our workstreams to running integrated communications programs and managing the variety of issues relevant to our business around the world. I work with people from across the business at all levels and locations. It’s exhilarating and a benefit of working for a global organization like Lenovo.
In what ways have you seen communication reduce barriers at your company or elsewhere?
As my team focuses on workplace issues, we’re committed to helping foster greater diversity and inclusion at Lenovo. Each year we increase the transparency around the workforce data we share in our Diversity and Inclusion Report, which helps to increase confidence in our employees and other stakeholders that we’re committed to increasing the number of women executives globally and number of U.S. underrepresented executives. Other initiatives have involved creating a Product Diversity Office, and partnering with other leaders in the industry, like Intel, to conduct global research.
We educate the company about our workforce representation and ESG (environment, social, and governance) goals. Using our quarterly reputational data and insights, we are better able to council the business across the four pillars driving our reputation – Innovation, Performance, Workplace, and Citizenship.
If we could shadow you, what would be surprising to us?
The variety of different things that cross my desk, so to speak, that when viewed through a communications lens are actually quite connected and help us tell our service-led transformation story. In global communications, because of the position we sit in, we have a wide purview and are able to make connections that may otherwise not be made.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Getting paid for my thoughts! One day I’ll be able to use AI to harvest and develop all those budding ideas and stray thoughts I map out in my mind while I’m planting in the garden, setting down for the night, or sipping my morning coffee. Idea to implementation at warp speed!
Anything you are reading or binging right now?
I’m reading the Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. It’s about how outlier events, despite being rare and unpredictable, are later rationalized to make it appear less random. You won’t think of the traditional bell curve in the same way again.
Favorite line from a book or a movie?
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
What else would you like us to know about you?
While I love my job, there’s more to life than work! In my free time, I spend a lot of time outdoors, riding my horse, hiking, kayaking, and hanging out with my husband and two children.
Kristy Fair Ballentine is Director of Global Communications at Lenovo and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org