To this day, Daphne Jones remembers the high school guidance counselor who told her she would never get into college\u2014or if she did, would never graduate. \u201dBlack girls just don\u2019t make it in college, he told me,\u201d says this renowned C-suite technology leader and board director. \u201cHe had my destiny all locked up.\u201d\n\nIf only that misguided counselor could see Jones today (college degree and MBA achieved long ago). \u201cHis voice is always in my ear,\u201d she adds, and that partly inspired the name of her consulting firm: Destiny Transformations Group.\n\n\u201cI want you to know you can transform your destiny, when you\u2019ve been told you\u2019re not enough, too female, or too Black! You can transform,\u201d she adds. The former CIO\u2019s next transformation will add \u201cauthor\u201d to a long list of career accomplishments when McGraw-Hill publishes her first book this fall. Current working title: Win When They Say You Won\u2019t.\n\n\u201cMy book is part autobiography, part instructional, and part inspirational,\u201d explains Jones, who serves on three public boards and was named to Savoy magazine\u2019s list of most influential Black corporate directors for 2021.\n\n\u00a0\u201cI want to inform the reader that whether you\u2019re a woman or a person of color, or different than the approved mainstream, not everyone will tell you they\u2019re not in your corner. But they'll find a way to show you,\u201d she says. \u201cYou won't get the budget everyone else did, or you won\u2019t be given the same opportunities.\u201d\n\nWhen the newest Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had to watch members of Congress publicly walk out on her during her confirmation celebration, Jones adds, that was a very public example of what many women and people of color experience every day. \u201cThey are being told, \u2018You\u2019re not going to win, and I won\u2019t support you if you do.\u2019\u201d\n\nNext month at the SIM Women National Summit in Princeton, N.J., Jones will share with several hundred mid-career women how they, too, can succeed despite being told they won\u2019t. Her keynote address will introduce her 4-step process for transforming business and personal lives\u2014regardless of the roadblocks or discrimination encountered so far.\n\n\u201cI\u2019ve reinvented myself at least 5 times,\u201d she cheerfully points out. \u201cYou have to approach it like a business problem and figure out what steps to go through to improve your \u2018product.\u2019 \u201d\n\nI caught up with Jones recently to hear more about her career strategies and how she created this methodology to coach others along their own paths to success.\n\nMaryfran Johnson: Describe what you\u2019re doing today with your business. Mainly career coaching work?\n\nDaphne Jones: My business today is about three things. One, I serve on three boards to help drive stakeholder value from my business and digital background. Two, I\u2019ve launched a new company called The Board Curators, which is about demystifying the process of pursuing a board seat. Third is my coaching and consulting work through Destiny Transformations.\n\nHow does Board Curators work?\n\nIt\u2019s an online course and an individual coaching program, designed for those C-Suite or equivalent executives who are curious about board service or ready to serve on a board. We focus mainly on those leaders who have been overlooked, undervalued, and not traditionally sought out for board service. We \u201ccurate them to ready.\u201d We\u2019re also doing live sessions for companies that want to drive a group understanding of board services for their leaders.\n\nTell us more about the 4-step transformation methodology you write about in your upcoming book.\n\nI describe my methodology with the acronym EDIT, which stands for Envision, Design, Iterate, and Transform. You start with Envision by thinking about what is possible? Where can I go? Can you envision what you'd been told is impossible? With Design you work on understanding your own SWOT, your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You think of yourself as a business product. IT people understand the SDLC (software development life cycle) really well\u2014and you can apply that to your personal development.\n\nThen you try out your design in the \u201cmarket\u201d and using some principles from Eric Ries\u2019s book, The Lean Startup, you iterate through your hypothesis, persevering if it\u2019s working or pivoting if it\u2019s not. Finally, when you have achieved your objectives and key results, you have transformed yourself\u2014and hopefully those around you, as well. We should be able to transform not only ourselves, but our environment because our product (us) has superpowers.\u00a0\n\nWhat version are you now in this personalized SDLC?\n\nI\u2019m probably at least on version 5.5 by now! I was at version 2.0 in college and graduate school. But when you think about whatever version you are today, it\u2019s never too late to edit your direction. I\u2019m a business owner and board member now, but my next transformation will be to author. The focus is on continuous improvement.\n\nLooking back at your career strategically, what was the best decision you made?\n\nIt was having the idea in my mind and realizing what the next big job could be for me. I believe that wherever your mind goes, energy follows.\u00a0 I worked as an IT director at PSE&G utility in New Jersey, reporting to the CIO, who reported to the CEO. He asked me one day what I wanted to do in my career at the company. I told him I wanted his job! That was the first step. I believe reimagination can lead to transformation.\u00a0\n\nWhat was your biggest mistake or lesson learned?\n\nIt was about how you choose who you work with, either from an employee or contractor standpoint. I've made choices by trusting what people told me, but not doing the due diligence on their background. I once hired someone after being warned about that person\u2019s horrible reputation. I should have listened!\n\nTo me, there are three kinds of trust. First, I have to trust your intentions\u2014you mean well and you\u2019re looking to do the right thing. You have integrity. Second, I trust your word. You meet deadlines. You honor commitments.\u00a0 If you will be late, you disappoint early, not late.\u00a0 And third, you really have the skills to do the job well. If someone doesn\u2019t demonstrate those 3 areas of trust, I cannot do business with them.\u00a0 But I had to learn that the hard way.\u00a0\n\nThis article first appeared in CIO's Career Strategist newsletter.