Women in Business: Jules Gianneschi

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,019 views 

Class of 2023 Women in Business Jules Gianneschi Senior Vice President of People America’s Car-Mart Inc.; Rogers

Residence: Rogers

Education: B.F.A., fiber design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; M.S., organizational management and design, Capella University

Professional background: Gianneschi joined America’s Car-Mart in 2022 as its first senior vice president of people. Over the past year, she has implemented programs to modernize the company’s employment brand while staying true to the culture. Throughout her career, she has focused on helping people find motivation and perform at their best. Before joining Car-Mart, she was head of people for global finance at Bentonville-based Walmart Inc.

What do you think of the opportunities that exist for women in business compared with when you started? Looking back over my career, it is less lonely than when I started. Opportunities are only limited to what you believe you have the opportunity to pursue.

Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top? Having a different perspective always brings benefits.

What is the most fulfilling part of your work? Helping individuals and teams unlock their “superpowers” and get to use those skills in their daily work. When you are doing that it doesn’t feel like work. Match individual’s capabilities with the tasks.

Who was a big mentor to you in the early part of your career? Jimmy Calzante. He owned the pizzeria I worked at through high school and college. Simple lessons like treating everyone with respect, every job has a purpose on the team, paying attention and asking to take on responsibility. I worked there for nine years and still stay connected.

There has been a renewed push in the legislature to reduce or alter affirmative action programs. Do you believe they are still necessary to provide opportunities for women and minorities? I believe that you need to focus on having the right person with the right skills in the right roles. That delivers long-term success for the individual and for the business. We must focus on making sure we have a prepared pipeline of talent which means making sure that everyone is getting access/opportunity to development and not just placement.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? I think with any job today, the environment is changing so quickly that you have to look ahead and understand what skills are relevant in the types of roles that you want. If you focus on building skills, and knowing what skills are in demand, then you will be prepared for the future.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? I was a competitive roller skater in my younger years and had the opportunity to go to a training camp at the Olympic Training Center.

What habits or traits do you feel are most important for leaders to have? Curiosity, grit/courage, communication and compassion.

What’s the most recent book you’ve read? I read a lot. Recent favorites: “The Second Life of Mirielle West” by Amanda Skenandore, “The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters” by Rachel Trethewey, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, and “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz” by Erik Larson.

What do you do to relax when not working? Read, knit and focus on family time. Games, films and watching my youngest of three children crush a softball at a park somewhere in the area most weekends.