Beyond If Beyond If
If/When Jul 28, 2020

Organizational Innovation: Crisis, Culture, Commitment and Change

Show Contributors: Georgette Kiser, Heather Wishart-Smith, Paul Thies


Many of the things that are born of innovation occurred during a time of crisis. While individual crises may change over time, crisis itself looms ever present, and one of the best antidotes is to be ready with an innovator’s mindset to meet the challenge head on. To discuss what organizations can do to fully leverage the power of innovation, we spoke with Georgette Kiser, operating executive for the Carlyle Group and Jacobs board member, and Heather Wishart-Smith, Jacobs senior vice president of technology and innovation.

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Georgette D. Kiser is an operating executive for The Carlyle Group, where she helps lead due diligence and technical strategies across various Carlyle portfolio companies. Previously, she was managing director and chief information officer (CIO), responsible for leading the firm’s global technology and solutions organization and developing and driving IT strategies to include application development, data, digital, infrastructure, cyber security, program management and outsourcing. She previously held positions of increasing responsibility at T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. where she headed Enterprise Solutions and Capabilities within the Services and Technology Organization. She led and managed teams that provided creative solutions and leveraged technology for investment front office, trading, and back office operations. Prior to T. Rowe Price, Ms. Kiser worked for General Electric within their Aerospace Unit.

Ms. Kiser earned a B.S. in Mathematics, with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park, a M.S. in Mathematics from Villanova University, and an M.B.A from the University of Baltimore. Ms. Kiser serves on the Board of Directors of Aflac, Jacobs, NCR, and Adtalem Global Education, as well as the Carlyle portfolio company, Claritas.

Heather Wishart-Smith is the Senior Vice President, Technology & Innovation for Jacobs. A registered Professional Engineer and certified Project Management Professional, Ms. Wishart-Smith is a Fellow of Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and its National President for the 2020-2021 centennial year.

Prior to her current position at Jacobs, Heather led Innovation and Jacobs Connected Enterprise (JCE) for Buildings, Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities, and before that she led the Buildings & Infrastructure Mid-Atlantic region, with oversight including design, consulting, and program management/construction management projects in the rail, highway, transit, Federal, corporate/commercial, science & technology, and related markets.

A former Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, she served at the Presidential Retreat, Camp David, under two different presidential administrations, among other duty stations. She has published and presented articles on several leadership, architectural, engineering, and construction topics in the military and transportation sectors. Ms. Wishart-Smith holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia.