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Our People | Kristen Ethridge

KristenWhen did you join Dell and what roles have you held in your time here?

I was 22 years old and pretty close to straight out of college when I started at Dell on January 3, 2000 and was here for almost six years. I started in manufacturing—I worked in internal communications for Portables manufacturing, ARB, and for Dell Americas Operations. I also spent some time in a sales support role for Public. I returned to Dell in July 2011 and rejoined our Corporate Communications team. I feel like Dell and I have grown up together in a lot of ways.

What responsibilities are included in your current role?

Currently, I am a part of our Global Corporate Internal Communications team, supporting our HR team and our Connected Workplace program.

What do you think people interested in working here would need to know?

I think the best part of being at Dell, as a team member, is our People Strategy. We’re committed to building leaders who inspire, winning together, and solving our customers’ needs by embracing an entrepreneurial spirit. Also, we have great programs which empower team members, like Connected Workplace. They help us to work globally, and do our best work in a manner which works for each individual.

How is Dell different to other organizations you have worked with in the past?

I’ve been a small business owner and I’ve worked for other companies, and overall, Dell has been my favorite place to work (outside of working on the beach in my flip flops!) We have great people on the Dell team, we offer great products, and today’s experiences are never the same as tomorrow’s. Things are always changing. I truly believe you’ve got to thrive on change and a fast pace to be successful at Dell—but if that sounds like fun to you, then Dell is a great place to be.

What are some projects that you have recently been involved with and some of your career highlights at Dell?

One of the things I’m most proud of is that we’re always trying new ways to reach team members. When I was first at Dell, I was managing editor of Dellocity magazine, a full-color, monthly magazine for our more than 6,000 (at the time) manufacturing team members in the US. It was a great magazine and won several awards. Today, we have One Dell Way, Chatter, our amazing social media team, and so much more, and we’re always looking for new ways to reach the team and share our messages.

What have been the positive affects you have seen as a result of Dell’s strategy?

I think we are achieving our goals. We are a leader, not just in desktops, notebooks, and servers like we used to be, but we are on the leading edge of the predictive security revolution, in cloud, around new solutions like thin client, and so much more. We’re helping solve childhood cancer, bringing solar powered classrooms to Africa, and we’re the power behind power grids all over the world. Who can’t get excited about having a hand in that kind of work?

What role have you played in helping your customers grow and thrive?

My customers are internal customers—our global HR team. I love partnering with them on helping our team all around the world understand why Dell is a great place to work. I help them communicate programs like our massive My HR transition a few years ago, our annual performance plan and review cycle, Tell Dell, and so much more. Plus there’s the work that I get to do with our Connected Workplace team. We have the greatest team members in the whole world at Dell, and it’s my job to inform, empower, and motivate them. I’m one of the luckiest people here because I support all 100,000 amazing team members around the globe, and I hope that what I do helps them do what they do even better and to know that we value their contributions to our customers and our company.

How does Dell differentiate itself when it comes to being an employer of choice?

To me, it’s easy to see why people would choose Dell. Our People Strategy is not just words on a page, it’s how we live. We take team member feedback every year in the Tell Dell survey and use it to make real, meaningful change and improve our company. We have embraced Connected Workplace, not as a stand-alone program, but as *how* we get work done at Dell. We are a place where you can achieve your definition of work/life balance—repeated times in Working Mother’s Top 100 backs that up, and with two small kids and a second career as an author with one of the world’s largest publishers, I’m living proof of that.

Plus, we have so many opportunities to learn and grow and contribute in new ways and to plug in through communities like our Employee Resource Groups. From where I sit, working with our HR team to empower and motivate our team members, I can confidently say it’s a great time to be at Dell!

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