CXO Conversation Podcast

CPO Irma Lockridge, Mentorship Importance, Having 3 CEO Bosses

Irma Lockridge joins the podcast today from the CoorsTek Headquarters in Golden Colorado to discuss what it’s like working for three CEOs simultaneously, what HR and company culture have to do with one another, and the critical importance of mentors in your career path.



Irma Lockridge has an impressive background and has worked with some of the biggest companies that touch our everyday lives — Accenture, Archstone, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Western Union, Rubbermaid, and for the last four years, CoorsTek.


She earned her Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School and completed executive leadership development training from Harvard Business School.





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[1:52] Michael introduces Irma and asks her to share an interesting tidbit about herself — Irma was born in Mexico and is a first-generation high school and college graduate and she is married to her high school sweetheart. She introduces CoorsTek.


WHY HR? [4:30] HR has an impact on every aspect of a business: it deals with people — and if you don’t have the right people in the right roles, you simply can’t get anywhere. Irma shares the path that led her to choose Human Resources even if she says it chose her!


AN UNUSUAL TITLE [6:33] Chief People and Systems Officer… Irma explains what the unusual ‘systems’ part is, and how it can be applied more broadly to CPOs and CHROs.


NEVER AN AVERAGE DAY [11:00] With CoorsTek being such a large company and Irma reporting to three CEOs, ‘average’ isn’t something that happens. She touches on that dynamic and some of her daily activities.


LANDING THE ROLE AND CREATING LEGACY [14:20] Irma tries her hand at answering an aspirational question in terms of her legacy at CoorsTek. She also talks us through the recruiting process, what she believes got her the job, and what makes the company a uniquely good fit for her.


CPO PHILOSOPHY [17:30] Irma shares her thoughts on leadership and management style as well as how she developed the philosophy that HR is not a support role, in the course of her career and some business experience.


[20:39] Irma shares her advice for mid-level managers trying to get ahead. Don’t ask for permission and have your ducks in a row.


INFLUENCING CULTURE [21:14] A CPO or a CHRO is in a prime position to influence culture and Irma touches on how this is operationalized in her own role.


GLOBAL EXPERIENCE [24:11] Working for a global business in one of the things Irma loves; it helps her remain agile and keeps her challenged. She touches on the advantages of having international experience under your belt.


GETTING TO THE C-LEVEL [26:45] Irma’s progression was organic and though she didn’t have the C-suite in sight right out of the gate, a key mentor helped nudge her forward in a very specific way.


FINDING A MENTOR [29:21] Irma shares the story of how she met and developed her mentor relationships and shares her advice for mid-level managers looking to find mentors as well as what she would have liked to be more prepared for going into the C-suite.


PREPARING FOR THE C-LEVEL [32:24] Irma offers her thoughts and advice for people who want to get to the C-suite, starting with asking yourself why you want it. Because she currently sits on the Denver Scholarship Foundation, she also shares advice for mid-level managers and first-generation graduates.


HARVARD [36:40] Irma shares from her experience at Harvard and the key teachings she took from it.


BEST WORST JOB IRMA EVER HAD [38:02] Aside from Fast Food and telemarketing, Irma’s very first managerial job takes the learning cake.


FINAL THOUGHTS AND READING RECOMMENDATIONS [41:15] Irma shares her current ‘reads’ and final thoughts.


[44:07] Michael thanks Irma for coming on the podcast to share her insight and closes out the podcast with his favorite takeaways.


We hope you learned something today and enjoyed the conversation. Please give us 5 stars on iTunes and share your comments so we can improve and ask the questions you want to hear.




Denver Scholarship Foundation



The Connector Manager: Why Some Leaders Build Exceptional Talent — and Others Don’t,
by Jaime Roca and Sari Wilde



Jalan Crossland for the music

Angela Johnson at OC Executive Search

Joseph Batty at Podfly


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