This month, LiftMaster is honoring veterans and the United Service Organizations.
LiftMaster is proud to again partner with the United Service Organizations (USO) in honor of their 75th Anniversary.
Joanna Sohovich, CEO of Chamberlain Group (CGI, Inc.), is a Navy veteran. We asked her a few questions about her role in the Navy, her passion for the USO and her outlook on CGI, Inc.
You started your career as a Naval Officer. What led you from that point in your life to becoming the new CEO for CGI, Inc.?
I am proud of my military background for a variety of reasons, but what it prepared me for most and what I’ve had the opportunity to do at every step of my career since is to bring diverse groups of people together to form successful teams.
As an industry leader, I was of course interested in CGI’s brands, products, customers and partners, but more importantly, CGI is rooted in family values that resonated with me personally. Having been at the helm now since February, I can confidently say it’s the people that make the CGI great.
I’m excited to continue to bring everyone together under one vision to achieve even greater and more transformative success!
You’ve moved 19 times in your life. What is the most exciting place that you’ve lived?
Yes, I’ve moved many times—almost always at the request of my employer–and there are things that I love and miss about every city. The Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego was particularly beautiful with an unbeatable climate, but those memories are colored by living there in my 20s with much less responsibility!
This year is the 75th anniversary for the USO, a LiftMaster partnership that is a personal cause for you. Explain why the USO is important to you.
Our service men and women make a lot of sacrifices. Out of duty and service, they sacrifice family relationships, personal lives, health and more. The USO is one way we can give back and add to their quality of life while they’re serving.
Your favorite quote is by Dan Millman that reads, “We can do anything, but we can’t do everything…” Why is this quote meaningful to you?
With the speed of technology and a global focus on smart solutions, there are endless initiatives and projects that are worthy of tackling. However, in a world of limited resources, prioritization is key. Prioritization helps you recognize that just because something didn’t make the initial list doesn’t mean it’s not important, it just means we must focus fully on the most compelling priorities first.
Something some people might not know about you is that you are an avid runner. Talk a little about the most challenging run you’ve been on.
I once ran the Marine Corps marathon in Washington, DC with very little training or experience. Two weeks before the race, a Marine I knew got injured and I took his bib. It was cold that morning, so I wore a long-sleeved shirt—not realizing how hot I would get as the race went on. I was also unprepared for the distance and by mile 16 it got really rough. I pulled through by singing songs from platoon runs, while pondering the value of proper training with each step!
What are your goals as the CEO for CGI, Inc.?
Our customers interact with our products many times per day: as they come and go from their homes, their communities, their workplaces… basically moving throughout their world. We have the opportunity to evolve from the most used—yet often unknown—brand in America to the most used, most valued brand in America by delivering meaningful innovation and building strong connections.
What excited you the most about joining the Chamberlain Group and LiftMaster family?
I was (and remain) most energized by our potential for transformation in a rapidly changing marketplace and world. CGI has a strong foundation as an industry leader—amazing brands, people, channel structure and technology—and thus a great foundation to work from. Being deeply embedded in home connectivity, there is a significant additional opportunity to become an innovation leader in a world surrounded by connectivity, intelligent products and systems, and the internet of things.
What has surprised you so far about the people you work with?
What surprised me most was how important it was for people to be allowed to wear jeans to work! It might sound funny at first, but it’s more than a fashion choice—jeans are symbolic of the balance between working hard, being comfortable and expressing individuality. I’m happy to say we’ve successfully moved to a flexible dress code that includes jeans—and that our workforce is appreciative of the pivot.
What is something that you want people to know about you?
I am passionate about fitness and wellness. From being captain of the cross country team and a varsity swimmer in high school, to understanding the challenges of PT during plebe year at the Naval Academy to my early morning workout regimens today, fitness is one of my personal priorities. At work I try to encourage and inspire our team to embrace fitness by organizing fitness challenges and morning workouts.
Not everyone is as appreciative of my efforts as they were by the dress code changes, but I still dream of a workplace where our employees are fueled not only by mental creativity and innovation, but also by physical wellness and well-being.
In honor of the USO’s 75th anniversary a campaign was created in an effort to generate 1 million messages of support and gratitude from Americans to service members, and military families around the world.
You can visit www.USO.org/connects and share your personal messages of support directly on the website.
How can you make a huge impact?
Easy! For every new like or follow on LiftMaster’s social channels, we will donate one dollar to the USO. Share messages LiftMaster posts on social to spread the word so we can hit our goal of 50,000 new likes or follows.