Mentorship Best Practices

October 1, 2018 by

Mentorship

Few would argue that Mentorship is a key to personal and professional success. I hope that the mentorship best-practice thoughts below are helpful to you, whether you’re a motivated, hard-working, coachable, flexible and capable potential mentee or a seasoned, accomplished, committed mentor, ready to give-back, or a connecting and passionate executive implementing a program for your company.

  1. Mentorship should be integrated into the ongoing culture, not just inserted as an afterthought. From the top-down, from the bottom-up, all must think, speak and act in ways which would support the success of a mentorship program.
    • This means providing the time and resources to ensure the ongoing success of the program.
    • This means commitment from the top in thoughts, words and actions, and follow-up from all ranks to ensure exceptional implementation on an ongoing basis.
  2. Let the mentees drive the cause and the conversation, and let the mentors guide the conversation and learnings, within a specific timeframe.
    • Problems occur when mentees aren’t the initiators or when mentors aren’t the right guides.
  3. Agree on specific, measurable goals, objectives and timelines.
    • Do it for the right reasons, the intangible results, but report on the measured results to build momentum, credibility and impact.
  4. Report on the specific, measurable impact of the program.
    • Learn from what went well and what didn’t go so well and respond accordingly.
  5. Focus on building specific and transferable soft skills, but apply the learning to a specific project.
    • Common leadership soft skills include: communication (for clarity, succinctness, written, assertiveness), confidence, decisiveness, negotiation, delegation, empathy and humor, embracing change.
    • It’s best to learn any of these transferable leadership skills in the context of specific work projects as it would have clear impact today’s project, and develop transferable skills for tomorrow’s project.
  6. Adopt mentorship projects in alignment with larger team, product and corporate goals.
    • In fact, mentorship programs can actually be instrumental in the success of the larger product, team and corporate initiatives!
  7. Optimize the matching of mentors and mentees.
    • Sample guidelines include connecting people:
      • within or outside the company, but not part of the local team,
      • with similar overarching values,
      • with similar interests
      •  with similar experiences
      • with different perspectives
  8. Have a back-up plan when things don’t go as expected.
    • Commit to showing up for meetings, but have a plan when life happens.
    • Be prepared to shift mentors or mentees into other relationships if necessary.
    • Have a program director to act as a resource when mentors or mentees need additional information, resources or support.
  9. Be inclusive. Engagement a large community of dedicated mentors and mentees. With that said, don’t force someone to engage if they aren’t committed participants, if it’s not the right time for her/him to get engaged.
    • It’s easy to engage those who raise their hand eagerly and more challenging to approach the shy, reserved, quiet others who would also greatly benefit – as a mentee or a mentor.
  10. Celebrate your progress.
    • Change doesn’t happen overnight. Progress is what should be celebrated. It’s a journey, not a destination.

Best of luck with your mentorship program. Showing up and speaking and thinking about implementing one will put you ahead of most people!

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Making Decisions That Count

October 16, 2018 by

WSSOct122018

FountainBlue’s October 12 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Making Decisions That Count’! Below are notes from the conversation.

It’s not easy to make the right decision every time, all the time. We were fortunate to have a wide range of viewpoints about making decisions. Below is a compilation of advice and suggestions from an engaging and experienced panel.

Listen and Learn

  • Judgment for making great decisions comes with time and experience. Embrace every opportunity to learn. Be open to learning from those who know more than you do – that’s almost everyone else!
  • Embrace every opportunity to teach others what you know, and learn interesting new things from others.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Don’t expect to make all decisions on your own every time. In fact, that probably wouldn’t work too well for most people.

Be Strategic

  • Adopt a top-down strategy for making decisions (how do you stay on top of the hill) and a bottom-up strategy for executing on that strategy (what will help keep us there).
  • Recognize that not all decisions are created equal and respond accordingly.
  • Err on the side of decisiveness.

Be Open

  • Many people in tech are trained to be rational. But those in tech must also be accepting of those who are more creative, less rational. It would help with making quality decisions.
  • Be willing to pivot from a decision if the data and response warrants a change.

Manage Yourself

  • Manage the emotional part of your experience, so that the logical, left-brained side of you can focus on the facts.
  • Make important decisions when you have good energy and mindset.
  • Don’t be pressured into making a decision urgently, especially when there’s a lot at stake.
  • Trust yourself and your gut. But also point to the data to back your decision.
  • Don’t second-guess yourself after a decision has been made. 

Focus on Relationships

  • Build relationships of trust, making motivations clear. Treat others as you would have them treat you, especially when making tough decisions.
  • Take the time to know the motivations of other people and groups you’re working with. Work collaboratively to make decisions which benefit everyone in the short term and for the long term.

The bottom line is that all decisions matter, but relationships are even more important. Make decisions with that in mind, focusing on the goals, while also honoring the people involved.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ForeScout and our panelists for FountainBlue’s October 12 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Making Decisions That Count’! 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Monica Bajaj, Director of Engineering, Perforce Software
  • Panelist Kerstin Ewelt, Head of Marketing, Quora in German, Quora
  • Panelist Jennifer Geisler, VP Marketing, ForeScout
  • Panelist Bhavya Vaidya, Director Supply Chain, Lam Research

Digital Innovation

September 26, 2018 by

FountainBlue’s September 21 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Customer-Led Digital Innovation, When She Speaks in East Bay! Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such a diverse panel of leaders with decades of deep experience integrating digital solutions into work challenges. Although they represented a wide range of educational and professional experience, they had much in common.

  • A passionate curiosity for solving complex problems efficiently, so that everyone benefits.
  • A customer-first mindset which helped them lobby for solutions to meet the needs of their customers.
  • A flexible and versatile approach to work situations, and the courage to reach for what’s next.

Below is a summary of advice on how to lead digital transformation in your company.

  • Lead the digital transformation initiatives in your company.
    • Embrace opportunities to lead digital transformation for it will help set your company apart.
    • Accept your team and partners for where they are, yet help them reach for a simpler, more elegant way to solve pervasive problems.
    • Work with people across product, sales, marketing, engineering, etc.,
    • It’s going to be difficult for some people to embrace digital solutions. Work with leaders at all levels to help everyone elegantly transition to the right digital solution.
  • Be strategic.
    • Research market trends. Understand use cases around digital transformation. Adopt strategies which might work for yourself and your company.
    • Change is happening rapidly, and digital transformation is inevitable. Respond accordingly.
    • Be visionary about the possibilities, agile around the implementation.
    • Focus on the intended result. Automate the processes to help deliver measurable progress.
  • Focus on the data.
    • Know what you’re measuring and why. Know how you’re measuring it, and report on the data. Tweak the plan as needed.
    • Leverage the data to efficiently create personalized solutions, products and reports for individual customers.
    • Aggregate findngs between customers so you have a larger general understanding of each type of customer.
  • Be customer-oriented.
    • Create an engaging, immersive, memorable experience for the customer.
    • Be ever customer-focused, and make the time to understand their current and anticipated needs.
    • Make your offering simple, your workflow intuitive and easy-to-use.
    • Have a detailed profile of your target customer and design a solution which would resonate for him/her.
  • Understand the market trends.
    • Embrace a subscription economy, where the focus will be more about the data and the service rather than about the product.
  • Accept that there will be an increasing level of automation, but know that there will always be a need for versatile and talented humans.
    • Relationships need to be developed and maintained between humans.
    • The creative edge will always belong to humans.
    • It will take a human to represent different viewpoints and constituencies.
    • Only a human can take responsibility for a project – not a machine or robot or tool.

As we look for what’s next, there’s a hope that it will make life easier, and a fear that it will make parenting and managing more difficult. Go forth with hope that we can leverage the best of the Age of Digital, the Age of the Empowered Customer.

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at Five9 and our panelists for FountainBlue’s September 21 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Customer-Led Digital Innovation, When She Speaks in East Bay:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Carla Di Castro, Technology Sourcing Leader, Workday
  • Panelist Maranda Dziekonski, Vice President of Customer Success, Pared
  • Panelist Niki Hall, VP Corporate Marketing, Five9
  • Panelist Sri Mudigere, Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Product Management, Customer Insights & Experience Design, Wells Fargo 

Telecommunications and Mobile

September 21, 2018 by

telecommunications

FountainBlue’s September 20 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Telecommunications and Mobile Trends and Predictions’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Comcast. Below are notes from the conversation.

Everyone remarked on the technological changes which are creating the infrastructure and enabling the evolution of telecommunications and mobile solutions. There was a lot of discussion on the opportunities and challenges associated with providing 24×7 cable in the home. Everyone remarked on the up-sides:

  • The huge volumes of digital content streamed through a wide range of devices across the home provides massive opportunities for both content creators and device manufacturers alike.
  • Flexible options for managing devices and content for users within the home provides a similarly large array of opportunities.
  • There is a large gamut of software and hardware options available for users to manage day-to-day living, working and thriving at home – from the kitchen with its internet-enabled toasters and refrigerators to the entertainment and security devices distributed across the living spaces.
  • Open innovation is allowing companies to jump-start and complement their own development efforts, and also facilitating collaborations between teams, leaders and organizations.

But there are also down-sides to this explosion in telecommunications and mobility, which in turn opens up market opportunities.

  • Those who do not gain digital access and literacy will be left farther and farther behind. But there are opportunities for companies and organizations to provide digital access and digital education, to help ensure that fewer people are left behind.
  • Weak links within a system may bring down a whole network, so you need to have an ecosystem approach to designing the network. There are consulting and management opportunities as a result.
  • Compatibility between devices within a network may make configuration difficult or even impossible. Companies who make it easy for impatient, non-technical consumers to adapt and integrate their solutions will likely get more market share.

Below is advice for navigating this time of hyper-innovation in telecommunications and mobile.

  • Embrace Change
    • Be open to the inevitable rapid change, and help your team to also be open to it. It will only get more complex and happen more quickly!
  • Be Collaborative
    • Embrace opportunities to innovate collaboratively.
    • Connect marketing leaders with product and engineering leaders.
    • Build a culture of trust within your organization, and an organization which customers could trust.
    • We should all assume some responsibility for the policy decisions made, to help ensure the business opportunities are available. Which countries are more business friendly? How would net-neutrality positions impact businesses? What are the GDPR repercussions? 
  • Embrace Diversity
    • Welcome people with diverse backgrounds and mindsets. They will help you see the problem better, and brainstorm solutions better as well.
  • Put Customers First
    • Focus on the needs of the customer, with an eye on the overall market trends.
    • Take a customers-first mindset. It may not be your fault when something unexpected happens, but try to take responsibility and partner with others to solve a customer’s problem.
  • Be Strategic 
    • Embrace the old and the new, explore solutions offered in adjacent industries, be open to integrating old tools and offerings in new ways.
    • Advances in telecommunications and mobile solutions may be adapted across industries, but only if we first understand the needs and the challenges of the end users for these other industries.
    • Proactively plan, but be prepared to react when it doesn’t go as planned.

Below are some ideas for opportunities ahead:

  • Elegantly balance privacy, security and access across a wide array of devices and solutions.
  • Manage the variability of access. We still have dead spots in geographies (‘Food Deserts’ also means internet access deserts), and hiccups in service when volumes of data traverses our lines.
  • Leverage technology and data, ML and AI to help customers systematically and proactively detect and respond to problems within a network.  
  • Design solutions for more concentrated populations as people will continue to move from rural areas into the cities.
  • Leverage Machine Learning to document known traffic patterns and also to identify anomalies at scale.
  • There will continue to be an explosion of low power hear-ables and wearables, in response to high customer demands.
  • Find elegant opportunities to upgrade legacy solutions, or at least elegant integrate these technologies, solutions and data into new offerings.
  • Embrace integrated hardware and software in upcoming innovations. Software alone will not be enough in this next stage of innovation.
  • As we look at having 5G solutions in your pocket in the near future, the possibilities around apps, wearables and IoT solutions are mind-boggling. What could we do with 5G on a stick? or AI on the go?

The bottom line is that there is a lot of chaos and change right now as we evolve into the Connectivity of Everything. Convergence is happening across technologies, leaders, industries, geographies and solutions. The solutions will be seamlessly integrated and woven deeply into the fabrics of our life and work.

Those who are open during this turbulent time are more likely to navigate this cycle of change than those who are electing to remain siloed, independent, complacent with the way-things-are.

Showcasing Collaborative Innovation

September 20, 2018 by

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 3.40.43 PMFountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Showcasing Collaborative Innovation’! We were fortunate to have a large range of perspectives on our panel on the collaborative innovation topic. Our panelists represented the wide range of roles, levels and functions across tech companies small and large, and even representing different industries. But they also had much in common.

  • They explored many different classes, roles, and responsibilities, bravely trying new things and courageously delivering results in a wide range of contexts.
  • They have decades of experience, witnessing and contributing to the evolution of technology.
  • They pay close attention to the needs of the customer, and deliver what the customer is looking for.
  • They pay close attention to the market trends and advise their customers based on what they see with the market trends.
  • They are in alignment with the strategic direction for the organization and its leaders. In fact, they have chosen their role and company as they were inspired by same.

The way we do business is very different than it used to be.

  • Innovation is everywhere – in universities, at standards bodies, through start-ups, in Open Source solutions.
  • The problems today are much more pervasive, much larger, much more global than they used to be.
  • It no longer works to be the only local offering as the world has become flatter, so everyone can easily get anything from anywhere.
  • It’s becoming more expensive to solve even simple problems.

They each exclaimed in different ways about the pace of change, the rate of change, the constancy of change. Collaboration helps each of them to best cope with this change.

  • Collaboration enables people to specialize in specific technologies, partnering with others.
  • Collaboration helps companies address multiple market segments, again partnering with others.
  • Collaborative Innovation helps companies to differentiate themselves, focusing on their core value-add, and partnering with others to deliver complementary offerings.
  • Collaboration allows others to vet and trouble-shoot a solution, before it goes to market.
  • Collaboration helps all parties to consider additional applications for existing and known solutions.
  • Collaboration helps with product planning and implementation by identifying more corner cases.
  • There is less likely to be group-thinking when you are collaborating with a range of partners.

Below is advice on how to make your collaborative innovation projects more likely to succeed.

  • Gather a wide range of partners and collaborators.
  • Encourage brainstorming sessions.
  • Get all perspectives on the table, even from those who are not generally vocal.
  • Empower and engage all participants.
  • Encourage all to submit ideas and input, even if they are not involved in the project.
  • Consider that a solution for one problem may contain ideas and technologies which could be applicable to a totally separate problem.
  • Be bold and persistent, resilient and positive.
  • Have the hard and difficult conversations to stretch your own comfort zone and that of others.

It was fascinating to see how each of our esteemed panelists looked at innovation from a different perspective, yet each delivered a new and better product, process, solution, technology. 


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TI and our panelists for  FountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Showcasing Collaborative Innovation’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Mary Emerton, Vice President, Manufacturing, Nutanix
  • Panelist Padmaja Nimmagadda, Applications Program Manager, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Laura Patton, VP,  Customer Solutions, Flex
  • Panelist Sangeeta Ramakrishnan, Distinguished Engineer, Cisco
  • Panelist Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice, Comcast
  • Panelist Jeremy Yaeger, MGTS Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments

Ode to a Hat

September 1, 2018 by

The summer, the year, she has passed so quickly, so eventfully, with the highest of thrills, the darkest tragedies of loss; the indulgent and sinful decadence of time well spent, laughter well expressed, and the regret of time not taken for and with others.

So I find myself reflecting on the transiency of time, the joy of hope, the importance of faith.

So this month, as we enter into a new school year, and also come upon the anniversary of a fire which touched my family deeply, I will honor a poem written by my brother-in-law, who so eloquently expressed his thoughts following that fire last year. I hope that it touches you deeply as well.

CalicoHat

Ode to a Hat 

 It was down in the hold of the ship: 

 I crocheted It in the half light of crew arguments and 

the stomach-bending pitch of the vessel,

While far away, my mother wondered if I still Loved her. 

 It was colored the give and take of Calico–

and I realize now I must have borrowed the yarn 

 (after all, I didn’t board with any). 

 And its Presence insulated me from where I was, 

 And from who I have become. 

Afterwards, I did mail it to her…my Mother. 

 Then, much later, it appeared in photographs – 

in scenes of her 

studying Chinese, playing piano or some such thing — 

in those cold Northern California days, bathed in Hope.

 There was always that special Covering, 

an Object Captured, yet rarely mentioned… 

 Well… then… “The FIRE”: 

The FIRE, She took the HAT. 

 The FIRE took almost everything–even the piano I learned on. 

 Plus… …that silly bit of spindly, mottled poly-thread covering which 

Most likely had believed Itself safe. 

 Safe in a box where it had been deliberately placed so as not to be Worn to Death. 

 Safe where it might continue–as all Love Hopes to. 

 Safe, where, when the Flames finally found it, 

 It told them it had already served a Greater Purpose. 

 Greater than all its Adversaries possessed.

 And it spoke the Truth to that Flame:

 “I’ve mattered more in this world than you could ever possibly Hope to. 

 I have done my Work. 

 Now take me Home.” 

 – Ladd Holroyd

Resiliency

August 31, 2018 by

ResiliencyFountainBlue’s August 30 When She Speaks in East Bay event was on the topic of ‘Resiliency as a Secret Weapon’.

We were fortunate to have such a diverse and powerful panel of leaders who shared both inspiring stories and practical tips on how to find strength, courage and perspective as we each navigate our own path.

Our panelists represented a wide range of educational, professional and personal backgrounds, but they had much in common:

  • Parents and other advocates who instilled in them early in life a drive to become excellent, a passion for learning and growing, and a resiliency which helped them overcome obstacles
  • A network of supporters, mentors, champions, and friends who can help them stay centered even through the toughest challenges
  • A desire to be kind and supportive and give back to others all that they have gained personally and professionally

Below is a summary of thoughts and suggestions on how to be more resilient and centered personally and professionally.

Know Yourself

  • Know yourself well – your values, your strengths, your purpose. Then have the moral courage to stand for your principles, the resiliency to be persistent in accomplishing challenging tasks, the strength to make the people, company, project choices which would set you up for success. 
  • Take care of yourself – physically, mentally, spiritually. Surround yourself with people who know you well who can help you make sure you take care of yourself.
  • Know what and who are important to you and act accordingly.
  • Create boundaries in your work life so that you can be there for the important people in your personal life.

Embrace Change

  • Be flexible and open to change.
  • Reach for what you want, but also accept what you get. It may be even better than what you wanted.
  • Ask for what you want and fearlessly reach for those stretch opportunities.
  • Go where you’ve never been and learn with every iteration.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Live and learn with every choice made. Learn to live on your own terms.

Build that Network

  • Ask for the support and feedback that you need to succeed.
  • Have others do the little things for you, even if they don’t necessarily do it the way you want it to be done. (It’s easier on both of you if you adjust your standards accordingly.)
  • Recruit the mentors, sponsors, partners and other stakeholders to help you get centered and remain centered especially during tough times.

Be a Magnet for Positive Energy

  • Have a positive and constructive mindset. Don’t expect to be perfect, but do expect to learn from every experience, good or bad.
  • Have a thick skin. Being overly-emotional makes people less likely to absorb the lessons learned through failure.
  • Have faith that you can make something happen, that you can help make tomorrow better than today.
  • Manage your self-talk and embrace a positive growth-oriented mindset.

Manage Yourself

  • Work hard. Keep learning. Be resourceful. Add value. Keep reaching for stars!
  • Choose to work with the company and people who can help you feel focused, productive and fulfilled.
  • Be consistently bold and decisive.
  • Be consistently open and coachable.
  • Be consistently strong and resilient.
  • Block off dedicated time for yourself.
  • Compartmentalize to help manage stress and remain positive and productive even through difficult times.
  • Don’t judge yourself or others too harshly. You don’t know the full circumstances of what others are going through, and it’s unproductive to judge yourself too harshly.

Lead a Team Through Adversity

  • Connect leaders to a common purpose and focus on taking productive, measurable outcomes which would gradually again build traction.
  • If you have to do it to prove yourself and you know that you are right, be willing to outwit, outplay and outlast others.

Helping Others Be More Resilient

  • Encourage and support others in being self-reliant and solving problems
  • Have empathy for the circumstances of others
  • Be a role model for others
  • Help others see failure as a badge of courage, as a predictor for success

I’ll conclude with the comment that this resilient panel left a mark on all of us, inspiring us all to have a Vision larger than we dared to dream, to push through obstacles and have Faith that we too can do our part and Change the world.

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Please join me in thanking EFI, our hosts for FountainBlue’s August 30 When She Speaks in East Bay event on the topic of ‘Resiliency as a Secret Weapon’, and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Gayathri Badrinath, Head of Global Marketing Services, Siemens Healthineers

  • Panelist Sharawn Connors, Vice President, Global Total Rewards and Diversity, Flex

  • Panelist Sherry Guo, Head of Global Analytical Science and Technology, Analytical Chemistry & Bioassay, Genentech
  • Panelist Jaya Nair, Senior Intellectual Property Counsel, ASML 
  • Panelist Meena Narayanan , Global HR Leader, Livongo

  • Panelist Jill Norris, CIO, EFI

  • Panelist Vicki Sam, Chief of Staff, EFI

Audience

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 11.10.31 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-31 at 11.11.11 AM

Integrating Work Into Life and Life Into Work

August 13, 2018 by

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.19.20 PM

We were fortunate to have a large range of perspectives on our panel on the work-life integration topic. They varied in their educational background, in their career choices, in the work experience, in their interests outside the home, and in their family choices. All chose to work professionally, and all excel in what they do. All chose to get married and have at least one child. And all are learning from the experience.

Below is some advice for others who are aiming to integrate life into work, and work into life.

  • Make a proactive, considered, data-based decision for both your work choices and your life choices, plus how to integrate the two.
  • Welcome help and support from your family, friends and networks, as well as technology tools and community resources.
  • Know what’s important for the important people in your life and make sure that you’re there for her/him.
  • Know when it’s crunch time at work and make the time to do work well. This may take more support, more understanding, and less time for life activities which are important for yourself and your family and friends, but make up for it when it’s no longer crunch time.
  • Don’t second-guess your work-life integration choices. Don’t judge others for theirs. Don’t be bothered by others who judge you for your choices.
  • Do embrace and work-life integration choice. Do support others in their life-work integration choices. Do accept input, feedback and support when it’s offered.
  • Mentor and support others who are navigating work-life integration challenges.
  • Be actively involved in leaders and causes which you’re passionate about. You will also meet like-minded leaders who would be great support systems as well.
  • Set time boundaries at work so that you can make time for important daily routines at home. Leaving at an earlier hour and working after the kids are in bed will help ensure that you’re there for your kids during their waking hours. 
  • Have a sense of humor and a broader perspective.
  • Do many things well, but don’t expect perfection. 
  • Ruthlessly manage what needs to be done, and when things needs to be done.
  • Allocate time for yourself to do the things which would energize you.
  • Take care of yourself – eat well, exercise, meditate, connect with friends and family.
  • Stretch your mind, your brain. Choose to learn and grow every day.
  • Choose to work on something that’s meaningful, and to work with people you enjoy and respect.

Nobody has all the right answers, but everyone struggles to find that integration between a stimulating and fulfilling life, and work that will make a difference. Choose to enjoy the ride.


Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Comcast for our August 10 When She Speaks panel, on the ‘Integrating Work Into Your Life, and Life Into Your Work’ topic, and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Maria Olson Kilgore, Vice President Global & Strategic Alliances, JetStream Software, Inc
  • Panelist Jyoti Kukreja, Director, Software Sales Strategy, Nutanix
  • Panelist Kitty Lou, Director of Product Engineering, Comcast
  • Panelist Ronit Polak, VP of Quality Assurance, Palo Alto Networks
  • Panelist Tamara Rivera, Director, Inside Sales, Synaptics
  • Panelist Nithya A. Ruff, Head, Comcast Open Source Practice, Comcast 
  • Panelist Erin Yeaman, Senior Director of HR, Lam Research

Communications and Media

August 10, 2018 by

Communication.jpeg

FountainBlue’s August 10 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Communications and Media Trends and Predictions’, hosted by ForeScout. Below are notes from the conversation.

The conversation ran a wide gamut of topics from leading communications and media in tech companies and for start-ups, to the trends around communication and media industries. Our executives in attendance agreed on the following.

  • Effective Communication will become ever more critical. 
  • Everyone is responsible for communicating on point, on message, not just people who have the title and job description around communications.
  • The convergence of technologies and industries make for a complex, complicated and interrelated ecosystem of players – all of whom are integral to the success of the industry.
  • In an age of the empowered customer who insists on getting data anytime (24×7), anywhere (independent of location), anyhow (across devices), we must be prepared to respond in a timely and detailed matter.

As such, great leaders must be able to navigate:

  • the technologies integral to the way we run our businesses today;
  • the privacy concerns of consumers and companies within and outside an organization;
  • the convergence across industries and sectors;
  • the leaders in other roles within and outside their organization;
  • the industries adjacent to their own

The importance of collaboration between leaders and companies is key because:

  • The pace of change is mind-boggling. No one person can track it all.
  • The advancements in specific technologies are significant and ever-evolving. 
  • The security of the brand and impact is on the line.
  • Knowledge and information will reside across leaders, functions, companies and industries.

Below are suggestions and best practices given the above.

  • Tell a story which draws out emotions and speaks to the truth.
  • Educate everyone within the company about appropriate communications and messages.
  • Learn from what others are thinking, saying and doing in this field. Change is happening quickly!
  • Remember that anything you’ve ever communicated is fair game, and may come back to haunt you!
  • Watch for applications who may gather data without permission, or manipulate you with the information collected even with your permission. 
  • Be an educated Prosumer – one who creates and consumes content. 
  • Segment your audience and strategically message to them, based on their interests and priorities.
  • Document in written communications who the intended audience is.
  • Keep your communications simple but meaningful. Speak the language of your intended audience.

Below are thoughts on trends around communications and media.

  • Balancing privacy, security and access will continue to be key. Emerging companies in this space will ensure maximum accessibility and flexibility – across devices, across content, between interval and external devices, while also ensuring privacy and security for everyone.
  • There will continue to be opportunities around collecting a comprehensive, dynamically-updated database of devices and managing them.
  • There will continue to be strategic consolidations between networking, telecommunications, entertainment industries and companies. Users will benefit from more seamless integrations of networks, more integrated presentations of content options, and even more safety and security functionality at the home.
  • There is and will continue to be an excess of content and data. There are therefore opportunities for filtering out content based on the real interest of people. Companies who do that right, without pushing their own agenda first (e.g. promoting companies who have paid more in ads), would be more respected for their authenticity and for representing the truth.
  • AI and ML will continue to be part of customized solutions.
  • Direct-to-direct communication will help ensure security, and minimize potential interception of communication – intentional or otherwise.
  • There’s an opportunity to curate content to reflect what’s really happening, the real truth, not manipulated messages. Perhaps crowdsourced creation of content, including the input of people with true identities, would help elevate the validity and the veracity of communications.
  • With data provided by leading marketing technology companies, both established and emerging, companies and leaders can have enough data to understand the buying decisions of targeted users. There’s a huge opportunity for companies who can get this piece right.

Any way you slice it, there’s a lot going on around Communications and Media trends. Connecting with other leaders and with market trends will help us all stay on top of the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Our Journey at Lam

August 2, 2018 by

WGOPsAug12018Panel

The WGOPs Steering Committee was pleased to host our August 1, 2018 Tualatin-based launch event entitled ‘Our Journey at Lam’ and featuring:

  • Katherine Brown, Director of Manufacturing Engineering, Lam Research
  • Lora Muller, Senior Supply Chain Business Manager | GOPS – SMG8, Lam Research
  • Belinda Nabarrete, Managing Director, Lam Research
  • Erin Yeaman, Senior Director of HR, Lam Research
  • with the interactive conversation facilitated by Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue and opening remarks by Mike Snell, Divisional GM, Lam Research

Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists represented many different educational and professional backgrounds, and made many different life choices around education, family, and work. But they had much in common.

  • They made the right work and life choices for them at the time, based on the myriad of factors which impacted them.
  • They had the support of men and women around them to help them tackle the work and life challenges.
  • They support the leadership and development initiatives brought by Lam and applaud Lam for having a culture which supports diversity and inclusion.

Our panelists agree that there are a whole host of opportunities ahead, in this age of Industry 4.0, led by digitization and advanced manufacturing. People who have been working for decades have helped lay the groundwork for others – making it easier for women and people with diverse backgrounds to secure more challenging, more impactful positions and roles.

Advancements in technology and the business climate are also impacting how business leaders attract, retain and develop talent. In this Age of Digitization, people with skills in data and statistical analysis, advanced manufacturing and AI/ML will be at a premium. 

And leaders at Lam and other companies will need to increase the pipeline for this talent, as well as develop and promote talent from within. Including more women and more people with diverse backgrounds  – a WGOPs mission and goal – will help address this critical need, directly impacting the bottom line.

Below is a summary of advice for navigating a career journey at Lam.

  • First, believe that there are many options for women (and men) in Lam’s global operations roles.
  • Then, stretch yourself and reach for something a bit more than what you’re doing now. 
  • This may take getting networked with influential others, or it might mean taking classes or even getting a degree. It may mean reading books and web sites and using the library of resources available to Lam employees.
  • Make calculated risks and learn from every success, every failure.

Below are thoughts about personal development in general.

  • You are the CEO of your life. Know what you want and follow that path. Accept that there will be setbacks along the way, and learn from any failures and setbacks.
  • Sometimes things don’t go as planned. But you can still make the best of each opportunity so that things work out in the end.
  • Embrace the opportunity to do something new and different.
  • Learn to manage and lead.
  • Welcome the support of others – whether they be family, mentors, friends or sponsors. 
  • Speak up when you need something. Reach out and support others who are seeking support.
  • Get the support you need at home to get your work done. Get the support you need at work so that you can be there for important life events.
  • Err toward finding win-win collaborations across people, teams, companies and even industries.
  • Don’t expect perfection, but do aim for continuous improvement. 
  • Choose to be your best self. Help others to make that same choice.
  • Sometimes life happens, and you have to make a proactive choice in one direction or the other – toward work or toward life. It’s a tough decision, so go easy on yourself. Correct it to the other side if and when you think that’s the right thing to do. But don’t second guess yourself or feel bad for a proactive choice you’re making.

Below is advice offered on how to partner with others in your network and community.

  • Be a Lam ambassador in the community.
  • Find out about programs involving the community – whether it’s the colleges or the local high school.
  • Ask your HR representative about securing an intern for your team.
  • Take personal responsibility for helping to fill the pipeline, the volume of prospective interns, staff members, managers.

To conclude, in this time of great change, let’s work together in community, as women (and men), as Lam employees, and as active community members, to grow and stretch ourselves, and meet the work challenges of the future.