Former Principal and Chief Confidentiality and Privacy Officer for the Deloitte U.S. Firm
In 1982, after Ralph Sorrentino graduated with a BSEE degree from what was then commonly called Poly, he joined IBM, a firm he credits with changing his life. There he spent more than a dozen years developing hardware and software products — at a time when IBM marked the indisputable center of the computer universe and mainframes were the size of an entire room. He then made the leap to a post as IT Executive at the snack-and-beverage company Frito-Lay / PepsiCo, where he led computer operations. “No matter where you land, you will need to learn the business,” he tells young people. “At a tech company like IBM, I learned how to develop and deliver IT solutions, and when I got to Frito-Lay / PepsiCo, I wanted to learn just as much about how they made, marketed, and distributed their products. Become an expert! Be the one people can approach to get help in translating their ideas and business requirements into IT solutions that create value.”
In 1999, Sorrentino joined the iconic consultancy Deloitte, where he remained until retiring in 2017 to embark on a new mission: mentoring and encouraging aspiring young professionals, hoping to guide them to careers that will prove as rewarding as his had been. Among his succinct career advice:
- Work on your communication skills, both written and verbal, because being able to express yourself well is vital to everyone’s career.
- No matter what your job, you’re going to be assigned to work on teams; learn how to do so effectively.
- When you get performance feedback, good or bad, own it and learn from it; it’s meant to help you grow.
- Tech changes rapidly, so keep your skills current.
When you choose a job, ask yourself if you will love the work, if you will enjoy interacting with your colleagues, and if you will be paid commensurate with your contributions to the company. If you can answer those three questions affirmatively, that’s a job worth considering.