Q: Describe your company.
A: With the unparalleled visibility Zebra provides, enterprises become as smart and connected as the world we live in. Real-time information -- gleaned from our visionary solutions including hardware, software and services -- give organizations the competitive edge they need to simplify operations, know more about their businesses and customers, and empower their mobile workers to succeed in today's data-centric world.
Juliann LarimerTitle: VP and GM, North America Sales
Company: Zebra Technologies
Headquarters address: 3 Overlook Point, Lincolnshire, Ill.
Annual sales: $3.652 billion
Number of employees: 7,000
Hometown: Lake Forest
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: We recently partnered with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard to assemble 40 leading executives, industry experts and policymakers for the 2016 Innovation Symposium on the Intelligent Enterprise. Executives from organizations such as Google and GE Healthcare defined the "Intelligent Enterprise" as the defining trend for the decade for industries globally. The "Intelligent Enterprise" is about connecting the physical and digital worlds to drive innovation, efficiencies and global economic growth.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: "Leave things better than you found them." During my career, I have had amazing opportunities to work in a variety of companies in a variety of positions. I feel strongly that part of my responsibility to my company and my team is to continually focus on how we can make things better.
Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?
A: Close to home, it is my dad. He started his career as a sales rep and retired as a COO of a publicly held company. He built strong and loyal teams, delivered great results and provided well for our family and gives back to the community. In the broader sense, I admire Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Allied Signal. He has written some brilliant books. My favorite article written by him is titled "What your leader expects of you and what you should expect in return" which was published in Harvard Business Review in April 2007. It describes what is for me the gold standard of who I want to be as a leader. I pull it out at least once a year to remind myself of what matters.
Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?
A: Many people think of Zebra as a printer company. We have evolved so much over the last few years. We are proud that Zebra won "Supplier of the Year" from Boeing because of the solution that we implemented with them to help reduce injuries in the jetliner manufacturing process. Our real-time locationing solution helps Boeing keep their workers safe. We are so proud of that award, and the fact that our technology can have such a profound impact on our customers.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Family, family, family! My husband and I have three children -- 2 high-schoolers and a middle schooler as well as immediate family in the area. I try to make as many hockey games, basketball games, band and orchestra concerts and other events as I can ... We are also active in our church and I try to make exercise a priority -- it is my "thinking" time.
Q: What book is on your nightstand?
A: Right now I have three that I alternate between, plus at least 2 issues of The Economist and The Upper Room, a daily devotional. Those three are:
•"Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World" by Adam Grant. This book is really fascinating. It looks at successful and unsuccessful products, companies and even movements (think suffrage) and what are the characteristics of the leaders that helped drive that success or failure.
•"Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood." I found this book at the local bookstore and have shared it with other moms of girls. It is a great road map and toolset for those teen years.
•"The Best American Travel Writing" by Andrew McCarthy. I love to travel and this is how I can vicariously visit amazing places through exceptional travel writing.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: I think a lot about the team I am responsible for -- have I done the best job advocating for them inside Zebra? Have we represented our customer needs and market trends well as we think about strategy? Are my husband and I raising resilient children that will be good global citizens? Do we have enough live crickets to feed our tarantula this week?
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: In middle school, I was a magician's assistant, making $10 per birthday party. I worked with a classmate, and we would go to people's homes and be the entertainment for parties. At the end of the show, all the kids got balloon animals. That is still one of my secret talents -- making balloon animals!
Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: Given our partnership with the NFL, it would have to be any of the NFL stadiums. We're big Bears fans at our house, so I would say Soldier Field.
Q: What is one funny thing that has happened to you in your career?
A: My first job out of college was with a Japanese company. I found out about the job through the career office. I was completely unqualified for the role -- they were looking for an engineer that had some Japanese language skills and computer programming experience. In the interview, I somehow persuaded them even as a liberal-arts major that only spoke a bit of French that I could become a systems engineer and live and work in Japan for a year.
That job is what got me into technology, and I have loved every minute since then!
Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why.
A: PewResearch FactTank (@FactTank): They are constantly sharing interesting demographic information on every topic you can imagine.
NASA (@NASA): The team that tweets does such an amazing job. They have beautiful photographs, interesting facts and it is a good reminder that we are all part of something much larger.
-- Kim Mikus