Cara Carleton Fiorina (née Sneed) / b. 1954 / Texas, USA / Businesswoman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Liberals and progressives will spend inordinate amounts of time and money to protect fish, frogs, and flies. But they do not think a 17-week-old, a 20-week-old, a 24-week-old is worth saving?Reported by Jay Hobbs in “Carly Fiorina: ‘Liberals Protect Fish and Frogs, Don’t Think a 20-Week Unborn Baby Worth Saving,” lifenews.com, October 21, 2015.
Alignment and collaboration need not be fuzzy, ill-defined concepts for “let’s just all get along.” Effective teamwork is more than good manners and good will, although both help an organization function more effectively. Alignment results from shared goals. Collaboration results from shared measures of success.Carly Fiorina, Tough Choices: A Memoir (2006).
We are a nation founded on a visionary and, at the time, radical idea. That visionary idea is that every human life has potential, and everyone has the right to fulfill his or her potential. That is what the Founders meant when they wrote “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Carly Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015).
All triumphs are made of the same stuff: the right support, the right team, the determination to achieve the goal, lots of really hard work. And all triumphs are much more about choice than they are about chance.Carly Fiorina, Tough Choices: A Memoir (2006).
[Women] are neither the helpless victims nor the unthinking drones nor the single-issue hysterics our politics treated them as. I know from being a CEO that any company needs as much talent around the table as it can possibly muster. Failing to take advantage of the talents of women—half the population—is corporate malpractice as far as I’m concerned.Carly Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015).
Believe me, if it can be digitized, it will be.Address, “The Transformation Accelerates,” CTEA [Convergence Transportation Electronics Association] 2000 conference, Detroit, Michigan, October 17, 2000; accessible at hp.com.
Capitalism and History
If you look at history, you see that human flourishing exploded beginning about the time two things first appeared: the new American republic and free market capitalism. If you plot the history of human prosperity going back over a thousand years, what you see is a flat line hovering just above zero until the late eighteenth century; then the line turns upward, and it hasn’t turned back.Carly Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015).
They’re not terribly imaginative. They’re not entrepreneurial. They don’t innovate. That’s why they’re stealing our intellectual property.Reported by Lydia O’Connor in “Carly Fiorina Calls the Chinese Unimaginative Idea Thieves,” huffpost.com, May 26, 2015.
Fiorina on Fiorina
Childhood is precious. The hardest part of growing up is growing up, I think.Interview with David Webb; reported by Alex Swoyer in “Ohio Male RNC Member Calls Carly Fiorina ‘Hot Babe,’” breitbart.com, August 5, 2015.
Re: a male coworker who wanted to conduct his first business meeting with Fiorina in a strip club:
I have to stand up for myself. . . . I learned something that I could and should stand up for myself, and he learned something, which was she will stand up for herself.Interview with David Webb; reported by Alex Swoyer in “Ohio Male RNC Member Calls Carly Fiorina ‘Hot Babe,’” breitbart.com, August 5, 2015.
If you’ve had to overcome an obstacle or insecurity or fear, . . . genuinely you can bet on that person because they have gathered themselves and found through their inner strength, they have determination, they have grit.Interview with David Webb; reported by Alex Swoyer in “Ohio Male RNC Member Calls Carly Fiorina ‘Hot Babe,’” breitbart.com, August 5, 2015.
When I think of something that really is me, that I’m proud of, is honestly, I would have to say, I’ve never sold my soul along the way… All those things, you’re selling your soul, and I don’t think I have.Interview with David Webb; reported by Alex Swoyer in “Ohio Male RNC Member Calls Carly Fiorina ‘Hot Babe,’” breitbart.com, August 5, 2015.
For me, business is a story about people—what they are capable of when supported and challenged; what they can envision and create—which is why I like the business world.Carly Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015).
I need debate and dialogue with others to test my own thinking and to make a decision. I test others’ convictions or opinions by pushing on their arguments and seeing how strongly they will defend them. When challenged, do people shrink away from their own views, or do they stand behind them? When pressed, do people offer more data to support their position, or do they simply repeat the same things in a louder voice?Carly Fiorina, Tough Choices: A Memoir (2006).
There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs as a nation. Our competitiveness as a nation is not inevitable. It will not just happen.Press conference; reported by Drew Cullen in “US tech industry stands up for overseas jobs,” theregister.com, January 8, 2004.
. . . of all the things I resent most about out-of-control government and the politicians who support it, grow it, or simply fail to deal with it, what angers me above all else is the knowledge that all of this waste and ruin is entirely preventable.Carly Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015).
HP’s goal is to bring the most compelling entertainment content and experiences to our customers, … We explored a range of alternatives to deliver a great digital music experience and concluded Apple’s iPod music player and iTunes music service were the best by far. By partnering with Apple, we have the opportunity to add value by integrating the world’s best digital music offering into HP’s larger digital entertainment system strategy.HP press release, January 1, 2004.
Leadership is all about unlocking the potential in others.Speech, University of Maryland, October 10, 2003.
The hard truth about leadership and success is that it can never be taken for granted. It must always be invested in. When companies—or countries for that matter—begin to rest on their laurels and take comfort in their past triumphs or their present performance, the future begins to dim just a bit. The past is not prologue to the future. The future must always be built.Carly Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015).
. . . what have I learned about leadership? The first thing that I would say is I think we’re really confused about leadership. . . . What I used to think was that a leader was whoever had the big office, the big title. I thought leadership was the same as position, title. If you have a big position, if you have a big title, if you have perks, if you’ve got a big budget, you must be a leader. Then I looked around and I noticed that there were people with big offices, big titles, sometimes big egos to go along with it, and they were not leading. Leadership is not about position or title. There are people with position and title who lead, but it’s not because of their position and title.Lecture, “A Lesson in Leadership,” Busch School of Business and Economics, Catholic University of America, October 24, 201
Second thing I’ve learned about leadership, so you got to be courageous. The second thing I’ve learned about leadership is, you have to have character. You know about character, it’s why you’re here, but character is such an old-fashioned word these days and honestly, I think our culture writ large, celebrates anything but character. We celebrate controversy, we celebrate conflict, we celebrate outrageous, the more outrageous the better, but character, character is knowing there is a difference between right and wrong, and there is. Character is knowing that two wrongs don’t make a right. Character is knowing that the ends do not always justify the means. Character is knowing that how you get things done is as important as what you get done, and says as much about you. Character is also knowing the difference between a short-term win and a long-term victory, and leaders without character are focused on solving the wrong problems, or they’re focused on themselves, because the final aspect of character is a willingness to accept that there is something bigger than ourselves, more important than ourselves.Lecture, “A Lesson in Leadership,” Busch School of Business and Economics, Catholic University of America, October 24, 2017.
The third thing that leadership takes is collaboration. Collaboration. Working with others to solve a problem. There is nothing worth doing in this life that can be done with one person acting alone. Nothing. Everything worth doing is a collaboration. Everything. To collaborate, by the way, to solve problems, frequently means that we’re collaborating with people that might be different than we are. One of the things about human nature I think is we are all most comfortable with people like ourselves. We’re most comfortable with people that look like us, that have the same background as us, that sound like us. It’s just human nature it doesn’t make us bad, but unfortunately, when we hang out with only people like us or only people who agree with us, then we actually aren’t able to collaborate effectively to solve a problem. We have to reach out.Lecture, “A Lesson in Leadership,” Busch School of Business and Economics, Catholic University of America, October 24, 201
What you are is God’s gift to you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God.Interview, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, University of Kansas, April 14, 2019.
Everyone truly does have God given gifts. . . . Find them and use them, and don’t let anyone else tell you that you are less than who you are.Interview with David Webb; reported by Alex Swoyer in “Ohio Male RNC Member Calls Carly Fiorina ‘Hot Babe,’” breitbart.com, August 5, 2015.
Presidential Nomination Campaign, Republican Party, 2016
Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton’s Christmas gift wrapped up under a tree. I am the lump of coal in her stocking.Tweet; reported by Eric Bradner in “A Trump-driven conspiracy to elect Clinton?,” cnn.com, December 10, 2015.
Trump says a lot of things that are crazy. . . . Trump’s a moron.Reported by Ben Gittleson in “Carly Fiorina Repeats After Girl: ‘Donald Trump’s a Moron,’” abcnews.com, January 15, 2016.
When people get to know me, they tend to support me. . . . That’s what you see in the polls.Interview with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show, NBC; reported by Ali Vitali in “Carly Fiorina Talks Trump and Religion, Rocks for Fallon on ‘Tonight Show,’” nbcnews.com, Sept. 21, 2015.
From my travels around the country, I’ve noticed that the GOP has two distinct but related problems with women voters. First, many GOP-leaning women are apathetic. They may have previously voted with Republicans, but they’ve become disenchanted or perhaps have just disengaged.
Second, many women are open to voting for Republicans but have to be persuaded. Neither group much likes the tone and tenor of politics. They are put off by the vitriol, the arguing, the seemingly endless posturing, and the paucity of results. Women tend to be both doers and collaborators—their complicated, busy lives require both skill sets. They get frustrated when they don’t see much of either in the political process. This is a tragedy, because women—every bit as much as men, maybe more so—have the potential to contribute to our party.Carly Fiorina, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015).
I actually believe that people of faith make better leaders. . . . Whether they are Christians, as I am—my faith has sustained me through some very bad times; I’ve battled cancer, I’ve lost a child, I’ve been tested—but whether it’s a person of Christian faith or Jewish faith or Muslim faith or other faiths, I think faith gives us humility, and empathy and optimism. And I think those are important things.Interview with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show, NBC; reported by Ali Vitali in “Carly Fiorina Talks Trump and Religion, Rocks for Fallon on ‘Tonight Show,’” nbcnews.com, Sept. 21, 2015.