“We don’t live in this world by ourselves; we don’t live for ourselves; we live for others.” – LaVerne Council
She is a glass ceiling breaker, mother, mentor and tireless supporter of March of Dimes. She is LaVerne Council, Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Johnson & Johnson, and she’s blazing trails and taking names.
Not everyone enrolls in college knowing what they want to do in the future. It’s quite possible that LaVerne is one of those people who did as she received her Bachelor’s degree in Business, graduating with highest honors, from Western Illinois University. She went on to receive her Masters of Business Administration from Illinois State University with a concentration in Operations Management. LaVerne’s educational background set the stage for what would later become a “stereotype shattering” career journey.
LaVerne’s career experience spans across a variety of non-traditional fields including infrastructure engineering, networking, security and enterprise application interfaces to name a few. Earlier in her career she became a partner with notable consulting firm CapGemini (formerly Ernst and Young, LLP) where she was responsible for leading the Global Supply Chain Strategy Practice. In that role she focused on Life Sciences accounts and led the supply chain strategy team for all markets.
After leaving CapGemini, LaVerne went on to become the first black woman to serve as the Global Vice President for IT, Global Business Solutions and Development Services for Dell, Inc. As the IT leader for EMEA, Asia, Global Software Services, and IT Globalization for Dell, LaVerne was responsible for optimizing the global project delivery capability. She also designed, developed and implemented effective solutions for business growth including creating the Capability Maturity Model (CMM/CMMI) to improve business processes worldwide.
LaVerne now serves as the Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Johnson & Johnson. In her role she is responsible for managing IT and related systems for Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide enterprise which includes over 250 operating companies and over 3,000 information technology employees with a budget of $1.9 billion…yes, billion.
LaVerne’s achievements are not going unnoticed. She was featured in January 2007 on Change Artists, a CNN live web cast profiling CIOs and CEOs of major corporations. In 2009, she was selected as one of New Jersey Technology Council’s ‘CIO of the Year’ and one of 15 women selected for PINK magazine’s Top 15 Women of the Year. She continues to be featured in major magazines including Eenadu (one of the largest news magazines in India), Black Enterprise and Austin Business Journal to name a few. In 2004 she was selected by Profiles in Diversity Journal as one of 45 “Women Worth Watching”.
Above all of her achievement, LaVerne is probably most proud of her and her husband’s son Troy. LaVerne speaks of Troy as her inspiration and source of her dedication to her charity of choice, March of Dimes, which works to help prevent prematurity. LaVerne and husband Bennie’s son Troy was born prematurely. She says, “Troy has been a gift to us — with the kind of wisdom and courage that he’s shown…He wakes up smiling and he goes to bed smiling. That’s what life is all about. It’s not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can.” As Secretary of the March of Dimes board of trustees, LaVerne recently visited the White House to speak with President Obama about how preterm births illustrate how critical it is for every pregnant woman and child to have access to health coverage.
In addition to her support of March of Dimes, LaVerne has been a mentor to other women trying to navigate their way through corporate America, she is on the Board of Trustees of the Liberty Science Center (New Jersey), Board of The Executive Leadership Council, Research Board, CIO Executive Board, and a member of our beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Hear LaVerne talk about her plans for Johnson & Johnson’s IT strategy on this podcast.