May 17, 2022

Purpose in Leadership: Jeff Frazier, VP, Head of Global Public Sector at Snowflake

On this episode of Davood For Thought, VP and Head of Global Public Sector at Snowflake Jeff Frazier discusses his unique background and experience with host Davood Ghods, sharing about purpose in leadership to create impact, the role of data and public service, and his mission to improve the lives of others. Jeff is a respected leader with a rich and varied background in sales, digital transformation, government consulting, advising international business, emerging markets, public policy, and government affairs. Together with his teams at Snowflake, Jeff enables organizations to mobilize data with Snowflake's Data Cloud. Customers use the Data Cloud to unite siloed data, discover and securely share data, and execute diverse analytic workloads. Jeff Frazier is also a Non-Resident Senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Operating Partner at Digital Alpha. His prior roles include Managing Director at Cisco, General Manager and Corporate Partner at Microsoft, and Distinguished Public Service with Risk with the FBI.


Narrator (00:00):

We are in an era of rapid change where resilience is vital, the Davood for Thought podcast dives into the most important topics in government and technology today, our host Davood Ghods sits down with this vast network of colleagues to dish on the tech challenges that affect us all.

Davood Ghods (00:18):

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Launch Consulting's Davood for Thought podcast. I'm Davood Ghods, and I will be your host today. The way I stay up with the pressing topics of tech and government of today is to tap into the panel of experts I've had the honor of connecting with over the years.Today, we have Jeff Frazier on the podcast. Currently Jeff has four jobs, including Head of Global Public Sector at Snowflake, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Operating Partner at Digital Alpha. His prior roles were Managing Director at Cisco, General Manager and Corporate Partner at Microsoft, and Distinguished Public Service with Risk with the FBI. As the Head of Global Public Sector at Snowflake, Jeff and his teams enable organizations to mobilize their data with Snowflake's data cloud. Customers use the data cloud to unite, siloed data, discover and securely shared data and execute diverse analytic workloads. Jeff is a respected visionary leader, a guest speaker at many conferences and an author. He is a specialties include sales, digital transformation, government consulting, and advising international business and emerging markets, public policy, and government affairs. Jeff, without sharing any more of your background, I want to welcome you to this episode of Davood for Thought podcast and ask you to tell us about yourself and for someone who doesn't know about your background, please give us an overview of what you have done and what you're working on these days. Welcome.

Jeff Frazier (02:28):

Davood, thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here and certainly enjoyed our time in meeting you. Give you a quick background - by way of background, the, probably best to characterize it as public service for public purpose. My whole life has been dedicated to serving a category around public sector. So, I've spent a number of years in it and then I've taken that those learnings. And so by way of background, I spent time in most, all levels of government, US government then into the corporate framework, nonprofit framework and then some board work framework. So I went to Cisco for and worked on a number of their businesses in global channel global consulting, all public sector off to Microsoft and ran their global public sector. Found, came back into Cisco work for the chairman, ran his country initiatives on digital transformation and then, and private equity.

Jeff Frazier (03:36):

That's where I was an operating partner where I would sit on a number of boards where I would jump into companies and help them go to market. In the last year I was asked to come and build a category for public sector, for a company I really care about and a category I really care about at Snowflake. So, you said I have four jobs. I really have perhaps four jobs and one mission, and that is to improve anything I spend most of my time, or all my time when I do have extra time, on improving the lives of people and that's in the public sector. So I use a corporate lens, a nonprofit lens in my time at the, as a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and then my time on boards and councils to do that. But my corporate role is my priority because of the impact we can bring with the role of data and public service.

Davood Ghods (04:34):

Excellent. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that background and sharing that all of them have really one mission to improve lives of people. Yeah, that's fantastic. Jeff, our second question is what emerging trends are you seeing in the IT and business fields that we should all be paying more attention to these dates?

Jeff Frazier (04:58):

I see the waves of emerging trends, Davood. This is kind of how I, how I characterize it. But every 10 years, there's this big shift, market shift. And again, where you sit, where you stand. So I'm taking it from a public sector perspective, right? But I'm seeing this shift from, I was there in the wave of mobility and technology and the advancements that we had with mobility. And you saw it with analytics, and you see it with cloud. And that 10-year shift is squarely in what where I'm seeing in data, in the role of data and that it plays in our lives. There was a really good article that was laid out a really good argument, actually, that was laid out in the economist about the real time revolution of economics. And if you think about that, like for instance, you're able to acquire information and 90% of the, of the information, 90% of the decisions in any institution come from unstructured data.

Jeff Frazier (06:01):

And it's hard to get that. It's hard to extract that it's hard to use that it's hard, that to be accurate. So, we start having technologies now that organize, assemble, and are able you for anyone to democratize that yet ex extend the horizon of understanding the role of information and data. You get much more precise, much, much more fast. So, you're gonna see this. I really appreciate the way they shared the real time revolution and economics. You're gonna be able to understand tax roles more accurately. You're understanding roles of impact of fraud, the impact of latency in markets. And you're starting to understand this with much higher degree of accuracy and a much greater speed in which we'll learn faster. That's the trend I'm seeing and it's compounded in the us by the modernization that's taken place in the government and also by the capital structures that have been put into play post COVID with regard to funding advancements in modernization and the big rush to the cloud. There's just too many cost advantages. There's too many capability advantages. There's just, there's so many productivity benefits in GDP impact by moving to the advanced modern architectures. That's the trend I'm seeing.

Davood Ghods (07:26):

Yes, definitely. There is a lot of attention and focus on data and data analytics right now. Every organization wants to know all this data that they've been gathering and collecting or over the years, how can they turn that into information and be able to use? I think you would agree, Jeff, that adjusting to the pandemic was challenging for many organizations. And now everyone is thinking of what the next major disruption like the pandemic is going to be and how can we better be prepared for it. So, resiliency is a big topic of conversation these days. What are some examples of resilience you have seen in the past year or year and a half? What is the one thing organizations should be doing to improve resilience?

Jeff Frazier (08:24):

Hmm. What I see Davood, what some practical examples and then sitting back and looking at the bigger trends. If, so the question to, what do we look at, or what do we do or what, how do we improve resiliency or how do we address it? It's really fundamentally resiliency is just to be able to overcome shocks, you know, or, or be able to work through difficult issues. Those issues are becoming more frequent more severe 'cause greater things are at stake. Whether you move up geopolitical risks, whether you look at you know, virus and what that has done to health what that's done to the economics and supply chain, what was exposed because of that one control point, that one virus and what it did is shift the world. If you've studied cloud dynamics, which is this, the statistical side of history, you find these cycles of unrest and we go through them about every 65 years question is what contributes to that?

Jeff Frazier (09:30):

How will people express their disappointment or their anger and how will they understand the resiliency pattern to get out of it? What I'm seeing corporations do is a place of priority and emphasis around planning and preparation distributed models of management, models of how to manage. So how does the corporation itself prepare in terms of the business context? How does the corporation prepare itself and its ecosystem for de-risk and, and for resiliency? It's been a, it will always be a process. It won't be an endpoint and it'll always be a consciousness around that. So the first thing.

Jeff Frazier (10:18):

We would say, the first thing, one of the first priorities you look at for resiliency is get up on a balcony and look and see what's really going on. So you really see what's going on. We always see looks three times. You see what's really there. So you know how you're operating, then you back up and say, what is, what are these treatments that will take place or not? You model it? What if we were to have a disruption for a period of time, what if we couldn't sustain for a period of time? What if we couldn't do this for a period of time and you model that's planning and preparation and then communicating and communicating with intent, remember the strong, strong culture, so that are the companies or the organizations that really, really well achieve and overcome and come out of resiliency much faster. So having a strong culture is really one of the key predicates for overcoming any shock to the system or any resiliency. So people then you look at product and then you look at market not order.

Davood Ghods (11:20):

Very good. I completely agree with you. And it, it doesn't have to be a virus. As you mentioned, it could be any disaster such as flooding or earthquake or fires. It could be a technology disruption like a widespread virus, computer virus, or cyber-attack. It could be a disruption similar to the civil one we had in 2021. So resilience comes into play. How well are they prepared as you mentioned, how well are they communicating? And definitely you added another angle. The culture also determines that the people, the culture. Excellent, thank you. It really comes down to risk management. My next question, Jeff is about motivation at launch consulting. We always talk about how we are going to get a project or something done, but we also ask ourselves, why are we doing what we are doing? What is your, why, what motivates you in your work? In other words,

Jeff Frazier (12:24):

I don't know if I've discovered it by accident, by intuition or perhaps otherwise. I always link the work that I do or the activity that I undertake to a, a purpose that I discovered years ago, and that I've been fortunate enough to serve and continue to serve that purpose. So when I asked what, what is my, why? I think it was mark Twain that said, you know, the most, the two most important days of your life are the day you're born and the day you discover why

Jeff Frazier (12:58):

<Laugh>. So my why is my purpose, which is I'm most happy when engage in activities that if successful benefit a lot of people mm-hmm <affirmative>, this is true. Whether I look through a corporate lens or a nonprofit lens, or even a government lens. So my, the, when you go ahead and see an eye doctor for an eye exam, it's that little eye machine. You look through that and they keep changing lenses. So you get really focused. Mine is pursuing public purpose mm-hmm <affirmative>. And the reason as really one of the key reasons that drove me to Snowflake,

Davood Ghods (13:38):


Jeff Frazier (13:39):

Was that our founders gave the people, the world a gift you'll notice that world governments who oppose people or who oppress people, they don't really have allies. They just have transactional partners. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. So democratically developed countries have allies mm-hmm <affirmative> and over the years the strategic needs in which we continue to advance our alliances have diminished. So the question is what role will an organization play to improve that? And so this is what gets me excited and gets me motivated is the role of our technology at Snowflake promises to be that technology, which can return to our strategic engagement. You can share, you can share and organize around data on issues to find facts and really discover ways to advance achievement. And that's what I wake up every morning and get excited about is that advancement and the role of data that plays in the lives of people.

Davood Ghods (14:44):

Excellent. That's goodness for the world. Yes. How about on inspiration and innovation? What inspires innovation? Whenever you have teams now, and you've had teams in your prior roles, what inspires innovation on your teams? How do you inspire them to be innovative?

Jeff Frazier (15:05):

Where I think what comes immediately to mind Davood is the conditions, are the conditions in place that, and the environment exists in which you can operate in a way that you can have the capacity to think, to test and to share authentically. And that's where I found if you create those conditions and allow people to participate in those activities and align goals and align priorities, the innovation and the motivation behind of which will come from questions that haven't been previously asked from people who typically wouldn't ask them. So, I always think very deliberately about what conditions exist that would allow somebody to operate in an authentic way that there's no fear or guilt about looking at a topic and sharing that, and is with the understanding that this is to improve those conditions or to improve some offering or some product or service that we're currently working place a premium on the conditions.

Davood Ghods (16:28):

Right. Right. You hit on some key terms, the authentic thinking and capacity to think authentically. It's really what it comes down to and having no fear. Yeah. No fear or failure, even, you know, giving the room to fail so they can be innovative. That's what it takes in my opinion also. Yeah. Excellent. Jeff, what is something that would surprise people about your background or interests?

Jeff Frazier (16:58):

I spent a number of years in the government doing some really meaningful and interesting work. I think you may have mentioned at the top of the call, I had been a former agent of the FBI where I looked after some international corrupt and organized institutions. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so I spent time doing that. Some folks find that interesting. I also, about my background that you wouldn't know. I'm also an enrolled member of an American Indian tribe, out of Oklahoma.

Davood Ghods (17:34):

Oh, wow. Okay. That's fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Where can people find you Jeff, and keep tabs on what you're working on? How can people support your work?

Jeff Frazier (17:48):

Probably, but you mentioned the top of the call, I had four jobs. I have one mission. So you can, you can track me by supporting and, and monitoring and following the Atlantic Council, the geo tech center, you can also, of course, follow me and spend some time looking at the issues that I focus on with Snowflake and catch me on LinkedIn.

Davood Ghods (18:12):

Thank you so much for joining us today, Jeff. Thank you to all the listeners out there for joining us as well. We will see you in the next episode of Davood for Thought, where we will, shed more light on the human side of tech,

Narrator (18:33):

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