Women in Business: Adriana Graham

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Class of 2022 Women in Business Adriana Graham Senior Director of Information Technology Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale

Residence: Fayetteville

Education: B.S.I.B. (international business), M.I.S. (information systems), University of Arkansas

Professional background: Since joining Tyson Foods in 2004, Graham has served in multiple senior-level roles and led teams and projects globally. In her existing role, she’s responsible for Tyson’s digital transformation. Previously, she was senior director of business relationship management.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? Professional tennis player. I made that dream a reality, competing professionally in the WTA Tour in over 30 countries.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? I am a citizen of the world. I was born in Medellin, Colombia, left home at age 13 and spent most of my adolescent years in Germany and traveling around the world pursuing my tennis dream. My parents were my greatest supporters and motivated me to become independent early on in life, teaching me the value of teamwork and work ethic at a young age. After my professional tennis career, I came to Arkansas to play tennis for the Razorbacks. At Tyson Foods, I have continued building extensive international experience leading digital business transformation, teams, and projects in support of multinational and global impact initiatives. I am fluent in German, English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top? I believe that diversity of thought in leadership, with authentic and inclusive stakeholder representation, offers a broader depth and breadth of experiences relatable to the needs of the organization, its customers, and its consumers. Diverse perspectives from different vantage points can help organizations boost innovation, attract top talent, promote an organizational growth mindset, inspire an engaging cultural environment, strengthen relationships across the industry ecosystem and deliver enhanced business outcomes. Women representation in the C-suite advances organizational resiliency with strengthened emotional intelligence at the senior level and fosters trust with a sense of belonging for other women in the organization.

You stay busy professionally. How do you take care of yourself and maintain good mental health? I am blessed to have a loving family and a great support system. We make a great team, continuously encouraging each other to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating (we love our Tyson products), meditation and exercise. My daughter Karina (16) and son Lucas (12) are competitive athletes and excellent workout partners for me. We love the outdoors, and during the summer you will find us spending quality time as a family at Beaver Lake.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life? I have had wonderful mentors in life. Even early in my career, I was honored to work closely with outstanding leaders who helped me plant the seeds of my professional experience. As a dedicated 4.0 student-athlete at the UA, I was committed to excelling on the tennis court and in the classroom. Once I graduated with my bachelor’s with the highest honors, Chancellor John A. White offered me the opportunity to become the chancellor’s graduate assistant while working on my master’s — an experience that shaped my professional character.

In John, I found the best mentor in inspiring with vision as well as defining and executing strategic initiatives. He was contagious with his constant strive for excellence and attention to detail, taught me the importance of effective communication, and instilled in me the keys to successful leadership.

Once I joined Tyson Foods, our former CIO Gary Cooper invested countless hours sharing with me his knowledge and wisdom — a trusted adviser who believed in me and continuously advocated for creating growth opportunities for me within the organization. I will be forever grateful to both.

What is a leader’s best asset? A willing heart, with a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference.

What’s unique about your company’s culture? Tyson is an innovative and modern food company. We are passionate about feeding the world and serving our consumers with nutritious and delicious products. We are committed to doing what’s right, being good stewards of our environment, the communities where we live and serve, the animals entrusted to us, and caring for our wonderfully inclusive and diverse family of 140,000+ team members around the world. I am privileged with the opportunity to work every day among a fantastic team of Tyson innovative leaders committed to delivering value and making a difference. Tyson is a great place to work.

Favorite Northwest Arkansas-area restaurant? Meiji in Fayetteville, for their great food and friendly atmosphere. A place where my wonderful husband Devin and I often enjoy date nights.