Javier Polit - Unclogging the Technology Pipeline
Story By: Kristian Jaime
When it comes to seeing more diversity in the technology sector, the remedy starts with education.
Javier Polit, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Bottling Investments Group, The Coca-Cola Company, knows all too well that the climb to the top of the corporate ladder starts well before gainful employment.
“After a year of taking requirements when I was in college, I was an architecture major,” said Polit. “But then I took a few classes in technology and business systems and I really enjoyed them. He reached out to his father who supported his change of degree because he knew that would make him happy every time he went to work.
For a man used to racking up frequent flyer miles for business engagements, joining such a respected organization seemed like a natural fit.
“I started working for the Coca-Cola Company more than 13 years ago and it’s been a phenomenal experience,” continued Polit. “Early on, Polit was very attracted to the company because of his international experience, having lived and worked abroad. Coca-Cola being a truly global company and being ranked as one of the top companies in executive development was very attractive to Javier.
Success as a CIO is more than just digital and technological expertise; it is about understanding the business, finance, supply chain and many other key levers that drive revenue, operational efficiencies and effectiveness. Hiring the right person for the post is as much about vision as it is adaptability. Working in a modern market is very different than working in an emerging market.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do business in over 40 countries and it is rewarding to have the ability to understand, respect and work with various leaders. Different parts of the world have their own approaches and work ethics and a global leader needs to be equipped to work and lead with agility to share success. But at the end of the day, “technology solutions need to support each country’s profit & loss statements.” Polit said.
With such varying conditions in each market, the best solutions to maximizing sustained profitability are the ones most sensitive to each economic circumstance. Companies with a global profile like Coca-Cola have been more than trendsetters in the field of integrating technology.
They have been at the forefront of branding and assembling a diverse workforce into a business model that is constantly evolving and innovating. The process of staying ahead of the technology curve is far from easy. That is why creativity plays as much of a role in international commerce as technical prowess.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have four or five real mentors throughout my career that have helped shape who I am today. By the age of 27, I told one of my technology partners that I wanted to be a Chief Information Officer one day,” Polit said.
Ever since Javier learned the value of hard work – doing math homework with his mother or being instilled with the importance of academia by his father – integrity was a central theme in any undertaking. That is as much the case now with his role at The Coca-Cola Company.
“You always want to lead from the front and have transparent discussions with business leaders and stakeholders. Stepping up to the line is not easy but yields authenticity and transparency. Hard work is something that pays off over time so I tell my team members to stay focused and stay in line with our values,” Polit said.
Polit’s career may have started in his family home with a strong set of values, but it quickly moved into the classroom.
Originally born in Ecuador, Polit earned a Master’s of Business Administration from Purdue University, Master’s of International Management from Budapest University of Economics and Science, Master’s of International Business Administration from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, Master’s of Science from Barry University, and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Miami, with Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude recognitions and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advance Management Program.
“Leading is a privilege. Today, as leaders, we must recognize that someone believed in us and gave us that opportunity to have controlled failures so we could continue to grow,” Javier said.
“It’s our responsibility to give back in that same manner. We also need to level the playing field, in breaking down the digital divide, providing global access to the Internet and technology and especially leveling women’s compensation, since they control over $1 trillion in purchasing power. You want them to have a seat at the table.”
Polit cites the large segment of the projected Hispanic population by 2050 as an obligation to be present in schools to create those vital early mentorships. Addressing the technology pipeline shortage means finding early opportunities to interact with technology and the individuals at its helm like Javier.
The early stages of climbing the corporate ladder are never easy and it requires hard choices. But they get easier knowing that success like that achieved by Polit is real and extraordinary.