Interview with Jennifer Bonine

Welcome to the 1st interview from “Quality Talks with TLC Speakers” series. This time we have Jennifer Bonine with us. And I am sure you will enjoy this interview as much as I did. 

What made you choose “Leadership IQ in the Age of AI” for your tutorial in TLC? What can participants expect to learn from your tutorial? 

“I choose this due to the challenges we are facing now with a pandemic, changes to work life, home life, community life, social life, and everything else.  I want to make sure that along with the rapid technology changes people have the tools and skills needed to lead and navigate these changes.  Managers we have plenty of in the world, but what I feel is critical right now are great leaders who can help communities, organizations, teams, and people through all the challenges we are all faced with currently and in the next few years.  I hope people get some techniques and strategies to help them think about their leadership style and how they want to adapt it to what is needed in their current organization.  I also hope they connect with others facing similar challenges to network beyond the session and help them with leadership challenges they may be faced with.”

How different do you think the remote format of tutorials would be compared to in-person format? How do you plan to keep it as effective as it would be otherwise?

“Remote is more of a challenge naturally as everyone right now is not only remote from the workshop but also probably remote from their workplace.  You have the added distractions of family members, other things happening in the world, balancing work and family, and other stressors so remote and then quarantine add a whole new dimension to teaching a workshop! Interaction and discussion are key.  Also, shorter intervals and more breaks help.  We can’t focus as long so taking breaks and getting up and moving around is key to learning.  The connection is also key.  I always start with an activity to connect the audience to one another.  Better connected teams outperform teams that are not highly connected.  So creating that connection even in a remote workshop is necessary and critical for success! And to maximize learning.”

How is leading tech teams different from leading non-tech teams?

“Many elements are the same.  What varies more is what different needs from you as their leader.  It is important to understand the traits that are most needed for the team to succeed and to make sure you as their leader have what is needed in that project and to achieve the goal.  Many people believe you need to be deep in the subject matter to lead and really what usually is most needed are skills like being able to identify talents and strengths in team members and highlighting and showcasing those talents.  Another big task for any leader is to be able to remove barriers and utilize emotional intelligence in situations.  It is also important to know when you need a different leader to change the outcome.  For example, some people lead best during growth stages of teams, some during sustaining times, and some in times of reinvention.  It is important to know what stages of companies you prefer and to know when it is time for another leader to step up and take your place.”

What’s the biggest mistake you see leaders making and what would be your advice to rectify it? 

“Right now I believe personally that empathy is critical and leading with understanding and empathy is necessary.  We see even in leaders of different countries and how they are leading their citizens through a pandemic.  They have different approaches and styles of leadership.  If you look at countries with leaders that are recognized as emotionally intelligent and empathetic they are excelling at this time.  When in crisis empathy and emotional intelligence are key to leadership and sound decision making.  I believe more leaders need formal training in emotional intelligence and how to adapt their leadership style as needed based on the situation and team they are needing to lead.”

What’s the most rewarding part about leading people?

“I personally love seeing people achieve a goal they didn’t think was possible.  Watching them reach and achieve something they didn’t know they could do.  I love being a mentor and coach and seeing people succeed in their personal and professional goals.”

By the way, I read this article the other day – Do you think women bring something unique in the field of leadership? If yes, what is it?

“Naturally, each person has different things they bring with them from their own life experiences and perspectives.  I believe diversity of thought and experience is critical for all leaders.   They have done studies that show female leaders tend to naturally have more empathy so in times of crisis they can draw upon that skill if it comes naturally to them.  That is not to say that all women have that trait, but the percentages seem to be higher in women overall.   I believe for any leader you also need to know your blind spot or weakness and surround yourself with a “ personal board of directors” to help you navigate and steer you with key decisions in your career.  I have on my personal board individuals that are extremely strong in areas I know I am not as strong in for the reason of being able to give me another perspective on a situation or challenge I may be facing as a leader.  The key is to remove the “echo chamber” of people who always just agree with you and to empower a group of advisors who challenge your thinking and help make you a better more well-rounded leader.”

Do you want to share anything else with the TMA community?

“I am passionate about youth leaders and entrepreneurs and spend time with them to gain insight and perspective and encourage others to do that as well!  I learn so much from youth and working with them and hearing their ideas and approaches to solving challenges.  I am also working on a children’s book series about a lion and her best friend bot and their adventure to help introduce AI/ML concepts to young children, to hopefully pique their curiosity about technology and how it shapes their world.   A chapter I wrote just early released in a book called “accelerating software quality”.  It was fun to provide a chapter in this industry collaboration around the impact of AI on Quality and DevOps.”

Thank you, Jennifer, for the interesting conversation. I am looking forward to attending your tutorial.

Dear readers, if this interview inspires you and makes you curious about the tutorial that Jennifer is offering with TLC then don’t miss this chance and sign up for it soon. Below are the details:

About the Interviewees:

Jennifer Bonine


CEO AI Appstore Startup Life • Entrepreneurship • Leading Change• AI • Cultivating diversity of thought • Design Thinking 

Jennifer Bonine is the CEO of AI Appstore, Inc., and was the first female Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) platform tech CEO. AI Appstore specializes in custom subscription technology bundles, leveraging an intelligent platform to recommend actions and changes in the software development lifecycle. The company exceeds expectations of integration, testing, delivery, and management with a groundbreaking business model that is fully engaged in the sustainable development goals (“SDGs”) cultivated by the United Nations.

Respected as a gifted speaker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Jennifer Bonine addresses the AI industry nationally and internationally, most recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos and for CNNMoney Switzerland. She has held executive-level positions leading teams for Oracle and Target and is a founding board member of the United States bid for a World Expo 2027. Jennifer is a 2020 Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree, a founding sponsor and member of IVOW AI’s Women in History Data Ideation Challenge, and an executive board member of Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation. She is a member of Million Dollar Women, member and ​TeamWomen, and is a council member of DreamTank, an organization designed to champion young entrepreneurs. Recently named one of the Top 30 Leaders to Watch in 2020 by Silicon Review, Jennifer Bonine was featured at the UN’s AI for Good summit. Jennifer is also developing a series of books to educate children about the power of AI and machine learning

About the Host:

Astrid Winkler

Astrid is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from Switzerland. Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4