Technology is 'Pivotal' to Tyson, Says IT Director Adri Graham

Technology is 'Pivotal' to Tyson, Says IT Director Adri Graham
Graham was named one of the top 25 young Hispanic leaders at Fortune 500 companies by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility in 2008. (Provided)

Adriana “Adri” Graham, 45, joined Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale in 2004 as a data analyst. She moved up the corporate ladder, serving in various executive positions. She was named senior director of information technology in 2017.

Graham earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is a former professional tennis player born in Colombia and played for the UA.

How important is technology to Tyson Foods?

It is pivotal. We are an innovative and modern food company that is constantly transforming. Because of our organizational size and transformational leadership, we have access to the most recent advances in emerging technologies, and we are focused on delivering material outcomes to our business with technology-enabled capabilities that demonstrate greater business scalability, agility and resiliency.   

How do your rich experiences shape what you bring to the table as a leader?

Traveling around the globe “for a living” during my teenage years made me a citizen of the world. Having such a rich multicultural background has enabled me to have global impact with a special ability to connect and relate with my teams, attract top talent, inspire an engaging cultural environment, and offer a broader perspective to enable our organization, our customers and our consumers. My dual background in business and technology, heightened with my passion for corporate strategy, has allowed me to bring to the table depth and breadth of knowledge and experiences to boost transformation, innovation, promote organizational growth mindset, strengthen relationships across the industry ecosystem, and deliver enhanced business outcomes.

What can and needs to be done to get more women in executive positions?

I believe that 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. We need to continue investing our time and efforts in uplifting others and helping talented women reach their full potential. At Tyson, we have established the Women in Information Technology organization, with special focus on fostering mentorship opportunities and coaching young professionals and students interested in STEM fields. We support them in developing leadership skills and encourage them to learn about information technology career opportunities. The organization serves talent pipelines starting with high school students and extending to experienced professionals in the field.  

How does Tyson Foods not only promote diversity but value its contributions?

At Tyson I have always felt valued for my ideas and the diversity of thought that I bring to the table. For me, that is the best example of inclusion, feeling a sense of belonging, knowing you are heard and respected. I am honored to serve as chair of the Latinx Business Resource Group, where we embrace and celebrate the uniqueness of Hispanic and Latino heritage, championing an environment of inclusion and moving forward together as one Tyson to serve our team members and positively impact our communities. We realize this vision with real impact, working closely with team members at all levels of our organization to uplift our experiences. Tyson has a big focus on creating opportunities for promoting and upskilling its team and improving quality of life.