Benjamin Yrun Ostapuk has worked for semiconductor manufacturing company Intel Corporation for just over a decade and has been promoted twice. Along the way, he’s learned a few lessons. “As you continue in your leadership journey, you have to get better at leveraging yourself to make your team better,” Ostapuk says. “It’s about trusting and empowering your team in order to accomplish results, together.”
Ostapuk is well-versed in leveraging his skills to successfully lead a team. He first joined the company as senior litigation counsel in 2010; in 2014, he was named associate general counsel and director of patent litigation.
“This position was an important growth stop on the way to my current role,” Ostapuk says. “It involved learning how to be an effective leader and people manager. It also involved learning how to manage the overall portfolio of risk patent litigation poses to the company, and then how to present all of that directly to the leaders above me.”
Today, as a vice president and director of Intel’s intellectual property legal group, Ostapuk is still learning and growing professionally. For instance, when he was promoted to his current role in 2018, he went from managing an organization of twenty people to managing an organization of one hundred people, including those located internationally.
The transition to a new role also meant acquiring expertise in new areas. Ostapuk’s prior experience had been primarily with patent litigation, so the promotion came with a certain learning curve. In addition to litigation, he’s now also responsible for Intel’s worldwide intellectual property rights (IPR) development, IPR transactions, trademarks and brands, legal support for standards, and since 2021, an expanded organization including a new IP policy team.
“There is a lot to learn—from how to be a leader of a large organization to also leading an international organization, as well as assuming leadership responsibility for subject matter that I’m not an expert in,” Ostapuk says. “It’s been an incredible educational experience and I’m grateful for it.”
To keep up with his constantly changing role as a leader, Ostapuk says he too must continuously evolve. “With each new role comes a new set of skills to learn and master,” he says. “To do so, it’s critical for me to always be evolving. Over the years, I’ve evolved to be more communicative, transparent, and intentional.”
Ostapuk also had to adjust his leadership style to meet the needs of a remote workforce. “Like most companies, the COVID-19 pandemic took away our ability to meet face-to-face,” he says. “We had to redouble our efforts to ensure we were staying connected and focused.” For his department, staying connected and focused meant video water cooler chats, coffee talks, and more. In a way, he says, navigating this new era of remote work brought them closer together.
One of Ostapuk’s responsibilities is supporting the new corporate strategy under Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. Since Gelsinger rejoined the company in February 2021, he has announced a bold “IDM 2.0” vision for Intel’s semiconductor fabrication that includes significant manufacturing expansion plans as well as plans to become a major provider of foundry capacity in the US and Europe to serve customers globally.
“The IP department’s involvement in realizing Pat’s vision includes figuring out how Intel will license semiconductor IP and ensuring we’re obtaining the intellectual property rights that protect our continued innovation,” Ostapuk explains.
The Power of Representation
While Ostapuk’s days as a leader and IP strategist are quite busy, he makes it a priority to support and mentor others—at Intel and beyond.
Intel’s law and policy organization, called the Growth Acceleration Team (GAT), is committed to diversity and inclusion, and some of its initiatives include a diverse summer associate internship program, an internal senior employee sponsorship program, and a newly announced partnership with the North Carolina Central University School of Law, a historically Black college. “The partnership involves a $5 million donation from Intel over the next five years for the development of a technology, law, and policy center on the college’s campus,” Ostapuk says.
He currently serves as cochair of Intel’s Latinx Leadership Council, a seventy-plus member group of Intel’s most senior Latinx employees supporting the company-wide employee resource group and the broader Latinx community at Intel.
In addition, Ostapuk is an executive member of the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA), with whom Intel recently started a new partnership to support its senior Latino employees in adding to their impact in the boardroom. He participated in the LCDA’s 2020 BoardReady Institute, a comprehensive program designed to prepare and position highly credentialed Latino executives and national leaders for corporate board service—a career aspiration Ostapuk says he’s had since participating in the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers program in 2011.
Ostapuk’s determination to be a successful leader and mentor is deeply rooted. As a third-generation Mexican American, he’s appreciative of the opportunities he’s received and also seeks to increase Latino representation in positions of power. “My career trajectory has helped me realize the power of Latino representation in the boardroom,” he says. “It impacts the way companies, like Intel, are run, as well as impacts the people in the communities they serve.”