Decision Making in Complex Environments

Executive Edge

Session Date: January 2021

In the first week of March 2020, the signals around the impact of a pandemic hitting the United States had not yet affected the broader business industry or financial markets. At that moment, in a country of 325 million people, 500 were infected, and 22 lives had been lost. It was still very possible that the United States, which had previously leveraged science, data and governance to avoid maximum impact in prior pandemics, would successfully contain the virus.

It was in this vacuum of information that the executive team at Caterpillar flexed their agility and decision-making skills, leading on the edge by halting the rollout of an organization-wide learning and development program. In this episode of Executive Edge, we will delve into the levers the team pulled in making those early decisions with shifting data and conflicting reports and we will discuss how the program was refined and rolled out digitally to develop those same skills in a new generation of leaders at Caterpillar.

Meet the Guests

Kelly Wojda

Kelly Wojda

Global Learning & Development Director of Caterpillar

Kelly Wojda leads Caterpillar’s organizational, leadership and employee development functions, along with launching employee’s experience initiatives. Prior to her current role, Kelly served as Director of Talent Management for Caterpillar, leading the company’s recruiting, succession planning, diversity & inclusion, and development teams. Joining Caterpillar in 2008, Kelly served in other corporate talent management roles leading recruiting, succession, talent analytics, and HR communications teams.

She earned degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (BS Accounting) and Bradley University in Peoria (MA English). She served on the Peoria Academy Board of Trustees.

Chris Arvin

Chris Arvin

Manager of Executive Leadership Development of Caterpillar

Chris has been with Caterpillar for over 29 years, which includes 10 years in accounting. He currently leads the team responsible for developing the pipeline of executive leaders at Caterpillar. His experiences in HR include leading the internal global organizational development consulting team, establishing and deploying an enterprise career planning process, implementing an enterprise LMS, designing and deploying learning for an ERP system across Caterpillar, and helping start, lead and eventually decentralizing Caterpillar University. Chris has a passion for developing others to their fullest potential so they can ultimately find their purpose in life and help Caterpillar build a better world.

Karen Pippin

Karen Pippin

Executive Pipeline Development Program Manager of Caterpillar

Karen has been with Caterpillar for 16 years with experiences throughout the talent pipeline from recruiting, student programs, professional development, coaching and mentoring and executive succession planning.

She currently is responsible for the program management Caterpillar’s executive-level development programs. Karen is a graduate of Elmhurst University with degrees in Business Administration and Spanish.

Robert Lippert, PhD

Clinical Professor, MBA and Executive MBA Programs, Emory University

Faculty of Emory University, Georgia State University, Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina, Robert has won numerous teaching awards, published extensively, taught and consulted in over 50 countries. He designs, develops and delivers executive education programs globally, assisting organizations in developing and executing strategies to achieve sustainable financial success; working across industry segments including automotive, manufacturing, transportation, energy, healthcare, financial services, hospitality, technology and professional services. Robert is a former CFO and Vice President of Strategic Planning for a publicly-traded holding company and the author of The New CFOs: How Finance Teams and Their Leaders Can Revolutionize Modern Business.

About Executive Edge

Hosted by David Welsh, Duke CE’s Regional Managing Director of North America, each episode of the Executive Edge Roundtable Series puts a single topic (e.g. strategy, leadership, etc.) into the hot seat, as our guests analyze current approaches, debate methods and philosophies, and share their own personal perspectives and experiences against the backdrop of current events.

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