Meet Adobe’s New Vice President of Global Talent, Mark Lipscomb

There’s no denying that the technology industry as a whole is competing toe-to-toe for the very best talent on the market. According to Forrester, the search for tech talent in the U.S. is becoming more challenging and costly this year.

People have always been our most valuable asset at Adobe and everyone here plays a critical role in growing and scaling our business, so we can meet the changing needs of our customers and deliver the world-class experiences that only Adobe can.

Our new Vice President of Global Talent, Mark Lipscomb, joined Adobe this week and he is responsible for driving our efforts to attract, develop, and retain top-notch talent across every country and every region where we do business. We sat down with Mark to get to know him better. Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

Mark Lipscomb, Vice President, Global Talent.

What was your first job?

My first job where I made what I thought was “real money” was washing and detailing cars. My friends and I started a Car Washing and Detail business, and it took off. Once we got one customer’s cars clean on the street, we ended up getting the rest of the block. It was an early lesson in the value of customer referrals!

What drew you to Adobe and this specific role?

Adobe is a company that you always see on the various best places to work lists. I understand this track record over time takes a lot of hard work and incredible focus on talent and culture. I’ve also been a big fan of Donna and her leadership in Employee Experience. I first met Donna many years ago at the Mayor’s office in San Jose. I admire Donna for being a true “HR Rebel,” questioning the way things have always been done in our function.

When we spoke about this opportunity, I became very excited as talent selection, development and engagement are my true areas of passion. During my interviews, one point was made very clear which is that the continued growth of Adobe is entirely dependent on our ability to attract and develop the best talent. What an incredible responsibility and privilege to be a part of this!

The other message I got loud and clear from everyone was the willingness to disrupt, to question the status quo, to change. For a company that’s been around for over 3 decades to have this mindset is very motivating and refreshing. All these factors have me genuinely ecstatic to be here at Adobe!

What do you think are the most critical capabilities across technology today?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)I and Machine Learning seem to be the “hot” and most critical capabilities across tech today. It’s impressive to see what AI is already doing, and its potential is incredible. From my perspective, though, all this talk around AI means that EI (emphasis on the E!) is even more critical than ever before. AI can’t replace the human skills of Empathy, understanding, persuasion, etc. The other massive area in tech right now is of course data, how companies are handling all this data, and specifically efforts around privacy and security. This is also where I think EI needs to play a significant role to gain and keep the trust of customers and employees.

What are you binge-watching now?

I don’t binge-watch too often (with 3 kids, that’s quite difficult!) but I will admit that last weekend my kids and I watched all of “Cobra Kai Season 2”. If you don’t know this show, it’s the continuation of The Karate Kid, 34 years later. I was a big fan of The Karate Kid, so I love it! It’s just cheesy enough to be funny, plays excellent 80’s music and plenty of clips from the original Karate Kid movies!

You are a veteran. Can you share the most important leadership lesson you learned from your military experience?

The biggest thing I learned in the military was that a leader’s job is to take care of their people. As an officer, you learn quickly that your success, and possibly life, depends on your people. I know that my job is to serve my team, not the other way around. I often talk about “flipping the org chart” which puts the leader at the bottom of the org chart to show that their responsibility is to serve everyone above them on the team.

What are some of the Diversity & Inclusion initiatives you’re most proud of from your previous roles and what you’re most energized about around Adobe for All?

I’ve been passionate about D&I for a long time and am really excited to be joining a company known for its inclusive culture. In my most recent role at 23andMe, during my tenure, over half our hires were women. I personally hired several new executives to our team, 60% of them female. We also revamped our hiring process to ensure we had diverse panels, selection based on core values vs. “cultural fit,” more robust feedback, more inclusive job descriptions, and better recruiting analytics to track our progress.

As I’ve just started to learn more about Adobe For All, I’m excited to see the action orientation around the vision as building a diverse and inclusive environment is truly everyone’s responsibility. In all cases, I’ve worked hard to lead by example by having a highly diverse team and creating a sense of belonging for the team. The Talent organization serves a critical role in this vision – from how we hire and grow our employees, so they can do their best work to how we develop our leaders, so they can create the sense of belonging for their teams.

What does #AdobeLife mean to you?

I’m sure I can answer this better in a month or so, but I will tell you what #AdobeLife means to me so far based on my interactions with everyone I’ve met. The Value “Genuine” really stands out to me – each individual I’ve talked to through the interviews and since has come across as very authentic. I love that #AdobeLife is about you being you and bringing your whole self to work each day. I have also been very impressed with everyone’s humility and desire to continue to get better. I get the sense that there is a healthy mixture of confidence and humility and a desire to always be innovating. This is very motivating to someone that loves to challenge the status quo.