Dec 01, 2022 | 2 min read

Engineering Your Career Progression with Deborah Spence-Cummings

By: Patrick Emmons

Engineering Your Career Progression with Deborah Spence-Cummings

Only an exceptional innovator would look at a burgeoning career in operations and pause to examine their reputation and evaluate their goals. With the help of an executive coach, Deborah Spence-Cummings did just that and now serves as the Director of AI/ML Operations at Apple.

Deborah shares how she used an engineering mindset developed at MIT and Northwestern to drive her career progression through positions in operations, planning, project management, sales, and now, artificial intelligence and machine learning. In this conversation with Pat and Shelli, Deborah also discusses her contributions to the innovative processes at Apple and NAVTEQ and how she navigated her career when opportunities did not automatically appear.

  • (01:27) – Machine learning and AI
  • (08:09) – Studying material science
  • (11:38) – Journey to NAVTEQ
  • (18:14) – Taking on different roles
  • (21:45) – Working with an executive coach
  • (26:51) – The engineering of sales
  • (28:33) – Approach to leadership
  • (30:27) – Advocates in your network

About Our Guest

Deborah Spence-Cummings is the Director of AI/ML Operations at Apple. She has previously held executive and senior roles at HERE Technologies and NAVTEQ across operations, planning, program management, and sales. Deborah earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

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About Patrick Emmons

If you can’t appreciate a good sports analogy, movie quote, or military reference, you may not want to work with him, but if you value honesty, integrity, and commitment to improvement, Patrick can certainly help take your business or your career to the next level. “Good enough,” is simply not in his vernacular. Pat’s passion is for relentlessly pushing himself and others to achieve full potential. Patrick Emmons is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. Patrick co-founded Adage Technologies in 2001 and in 2015, founded DragonSpears as a spin-off dedicated to developing custom applications that improve speed, compliance and scalability of clients’ internal and customer-facing workflow processes. When he is not learning about new technology, running a better business, or becoming a stronger leader, he can be found coaching his kids’ (FIVE of them) baseball and lacrosse teams and praising his ever-so-patient wife for all her support.

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