Rhonda Vetere: Impacting lives with a healthy and Active Lifestyle

The Most Admired Women Leaders in Business, 2021 Vol III

For some leaders, prioritizing humanity and watching others reach their ultimate potential and grow personally and professionally is what acts as their driver. Sharing a similar vision, Rhonda Vetere, the Chief Information Officer of Herbalife Nutrition, paves the way to her successful career. She is also a 2x author, speaker, and Ironman 70.3 Triathlete who has worked hard to become one of the top technologists in digital transformation and global leadership.

Rhonda has a proven track of her committed Board roles for educational, athletic institutions, and professional, including Longwood University, Xcelocloud Inc., George Mason University School of Business, Miss Fashion Week, The Canadian Cloud Council, and SWAAY Magazine.

Hopping onto the Success Path

For Rhonda, success holds a very different and unique definition. She wants to help all companies tread the growth path with a skyrocketing stock price for all the shareholders. She states, “In my heart, I believe that everyone has the potential to be everything they want to be, and they just need a chance or someone to invest and guide them. My only legacy is that my team wakes up 10 years from now and knows that “they were the highlight of my career” and that they learned the most when working with me, then I’ve reached the pinnacle of success.”

Her journey of reaching where she is today wasn’t an easy one. For her, she grew up as an only child and watched her mother work two jobs to support the family. This struggle helped her learn work ethics and tough resilience to the core, and she shall always carry it wherever she goes in life. She strongly believes that such roadblocks make an individual stronger in many ways and offer a distinct perspective on life. She further adds, “As a leader, I overcame being one of the youngest, female Managing Directors in the Finance Sector in my career. I didn’t know it at the time, but in hindsight, it prepared me to have grit in many industries that were historically male-dominated and to have empathy for all walks of life.”

Owing to this, she became a mentor for many striving females around the world, searching for inspiration. She states, “Now my life’s mission is to be a competitive, team-focused leader and mentor a diverse group of executives from all line of business and to continue to use my platform to inspire others {most importantly women}.”

How Herbalife is reshaping the health industry

Herbalife is a distributor-driven business that aims at improving people’s lifestyles with its personalized nutrition approach, supportive coaching, and a like-minded community. She adds, “We ensure the culture and integrity of Herbalife by instilling a healthier lifestyle mentality in our employees. They know by coming to work, they contribute to the overall goal of making a difference in people’s lives.”

Not just developing exceptional wellness products, the company also focuses on creating a wellness lifestyle for their employees. She further adds, “We typically provide them every option by covering the financial cost, providing them training/meal plans, and teach them a holistic approach to sports nutrition.”

Their main responsibility also includes collaborating with industry experts and professional athletes to engage in motivating and educating teams.

Herbalife Nutrition basically works on building great nutritional habits using their excellent product formulations that are science-backed nutrition products to help people lead a healthy lifestyle. She says, “There are 5 Herbalife Nutrition Innovation and Manufacturing facilities around the world where experts work round the clock to develop and harness cutting-edge technology, scientific research, and consumer data to create/improve our products.”

Rhonda’s Career Path and Biggest Achievement

Ever since she completed her BA from George Mason University, she has served at in IT Executive positions in top companies like JPMorgan, Estée Lauder, and Barclays. She states, I actually didn’t intend on following a career in Technology until a manager, who would eventually become a close mentor, saw certain skills that I possessed in change management. This was the catalyst that moved me into a more technical role and steered my professional journey in a different direction.”

Later, she has even been placed at senior technology positions in many companies such as HP Enterprise, Lehman Brothers, and AIG before moving to Herbalife Nutrition in November 2019 to lead the company’s information technology strategy and implementation.

She says, “For more than 25 years, I’ve been able to live and work internationally and have managed teams of more than 20,000 technology and operations professionals in over +160 countries.”

As Rhonda herself had an aim to create a difference in the lives of people, she feels that her role at Herbalife Nutrition is letting her fulfil it with full zeal. Throughout her extensive experience in technology, telecommunications, finance, retail, and beauty, Herbalife Nutrition is the company that matched her personal aim with her professional mission. She states, “For more than a year, I’ve been able to combine that mission with my passion through sports and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). At my core, I am a corporate athlete, and I have the pleasure of working at a company that believes health and wellness are vital, which means the world to me.”

Rhonda understands that the technology industry needs to increase its female representation. There are mainly two incidents that made her confidence boost up in the IT field. She says, “The first is was being recruited to head the technology SWAT team that would bring the networks back online after the tragic events of 9/11. The second would be the honor of winning the Stevie Award for Global Business technology transformation across 1500 top CIOs globally.”

Maintaining a Balance between Career and Passion

Rhonda performs actionable plans in the information systems (IS) infrastructure in which application systems, budget, hardware, personnel, voice and data networks, and management procedures to support an integrated delivery. She works with the team that manages the entire corporation’s Technology and operational infrastructure.

Further, she explains, “I oversee IT Executives and projects all over the globe that improve how Herbalife does business, but it will also make doing business easier for our distributors and their customers. This includes working on transforming the technology organization with a digital edge, focus on building a team, and the technology that will help our distributors be more efficient from ordering online, shipping to paying.” Moreover, she is trying to implement technology and create a balance between digitalization and human interaction together.

On a personal front, she wishes to keep up with her balance in career and finish off her training and continue her races as soon as possible. She says, “Leading by doing is extremely important to me, but even more vital to success is showing your team that “you can’t take care of your team if you are not taking care of yourself.” She motivates her team to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle so that they can attain their health goals besides working really hard professionally.

She states, “As a Corporate Athlete, I have learned it is possible to balance being an Executive and your passion. Anything is possible when you focus on your goal.” Due to COVID-19, all live Herbalife events have been delayed, but once everything comes back to normal, their intention to continue these traditions will return too. Even the 2021 schedule of the Ironman 70.3’s have been pushed to the fall; she fully plans to complete at least +14 races a year once it is safe enough to do so.

Taking the plunge to grow the company and emerge as a leader

Being a detail-oriented person, as Rhonda calls herself, she loves to be a part of everything. She shares, “I’m the type of person who loves to see everything from start to finish, and throughout that process, I’m required to take a detailed approach to the entire game plan.  Overseeing the holistic strategy requires that I take a leap of faith that applies to myself, my company, my people, the processes, and the technology that the team harnesses to get the job done.” Her team working consistently towards the company’s goals has inspired her and has helped her craft other people’s careers to the top.

As a leader, Rhonda shares the 3 tips that have helped her attain the success she has already achieved:

  1. The first and most important values that she demonstrate as a leader is her ability to surround herself with trusted and extremely intelligent people. When her company succeeds, it’s the company employees on the team that is responsible for it, and she is constantly showing her appreciation for their efforts.
  2. Secondly, she emphasizes understanding the value of time as it is one of our only true, non-renewable resources. She had realized this quite early in her career, and that’s why she attributes much of her success to her ability to manage her time and her team’s time effectively.
  3. Thirdly, taking charge of actions and being accountable is a sure sign of effective leadership. It shows that the leader holds themselves to the same standard as they hold those with whom they work with. It can be done by formulating goals and guidelines and performing actions as the job requires.

Being Successful as a Leader

Rhonda’s chief goal is to keep growing and evolving as a leader and never stop learning. She states, “I would love to spread my heart across the world and my stories and methodology. I want to continue to be known as an iconic female presence who will be the voice when people call from all over the world about what good looks like in not only the technology but also running a global team.”

As a leader, there are many harsh decisions to make to get the job done. She says, “The most difficult decision to make as a leader is tied to the investment. One of my mottos’ is when you say “no” to something, you are saying “yes” to something else.” She believes that this statement is valid for all essential assets for the business be it employees, teams, technology and time.

She feels each leader should focus on improving the employees under them. So, each leader should speak up and not sit on anything. If there is any opinion, sharing it can help in seeing improvements in the person standing in front of you. Focussing on real-time feedback rather than waiting for weeks can prove out to be quite beneficial in witnessing a great employee growth track.

She further says, “In the post-COVID world where people are working at home in isolation, it is important that you learn even more about how people crave, need human contact and what makes us tick as human beings.” Collaboration is the key to ease out all work processes at such hard times and leaders must engage in it extensively.

Her work and company motivate her to bring out her best. When she gets a chance to support and build up other people’s careers, it drives her to improve their efficiencies and processes. Further, it makes her motivated to work together and achieve a shared goal. She emphasizes, “If you want to successfully reach your goals in any situation, train yourself to listen first and then respond.”

While part of her role as a leader is measured on her legacy of a scalable and sustainable business model framework and growth of the organization through tangible results, that’s only part of how she measures herself. Explaining her humane leadership, she shares, “I truly find that I measure myself on how I help lift up others. I find it is more important to put the goals and aspirations of my team in alignment with my own.  I love to see my team members grow and elevate their own careers. I also love to know that my team enjoys coming to work every day and truly love what they do and with whom they do it with.”