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Lenovo Exec Keeps Learning

Lenovo Exec Keeps LearningFletcher graduate Jeffrey Carlisle is reveling in his role as a top executive for one of the world's leading personal computer manufacturers.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.20.07] Practicing law in the ever-evolving fields of telecommunications and computing has kept Jeffrey Carlisle on his toes. But the 1993 graduate of The Fletcher School says the lessons he learned at Tufts have served him well in the business world, including in his current role as vice president and general counsel for the personal computer manufacturer Lenovo.

"One of the most important things I learned while I was in graduate school at Fletcher was that when you work in a field like high-tech or telecom, as a lawyer you can't just pay attention to the law specifically and have a very narrow view of the world," he told The Washington Post. "You really have to understand the economics and politics, the market structure, so you can understand how the law gets made and how the government handles developments in technology."

This proved particularly applicable when he worked for the Federal Communications Commission during the time when voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technologies rose in prominence.

"It was really an opportunity to explore how a basic change in technology and business plan will require change in the legal framework," he recalled to the Post.

Another aspect of working at Lenovo that excites Carlisle is the chance to work for a truly international company. In 2005, China-based Lenovo's purchase of IBM's PC division made it the fourth-largest personal computer manufacturer in the world.

"Lenovo is really a first-of-its-kind company. It's a global company in every sense of the word," he explained to the Post. "The basic concept that the business world is changing is one that I can understand and actually feel very comfortable operating in."

When it comes to negotiating government relations, which is Carlisle's focus at Lenovo, he says he has two traits that prove particularly useful: good judgment and good humor. But when he had to launch Lenovo's government relations office in Washington, D.C., from the ground up, it posed a new set of challenges. The experience, says Carlisle, was an educational one.

"I learned two things," he told the Post. "I had much greater reserves of patience than I thought because it takes much longer to do everything than you expect, and true professionals in Washington are surprisingly generous with their time and advice."


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