Archive for April, 2012

Leveraging Technology and Fostering Entrepreneurship

April 27, 2012

Kiran Malhotra is the kind of leader who buckles her seat belt for a wild ride while she and her team and organization reaches for stars. It is no wonder that TiE has thrived during this time of great transition, despite the fact that Kiran is new to technology and entrepreneurship.

Kiran’s passion is to inspire, educate and connect people for business purposes and it’s a great fit with TiE where the global network of technology entrepreneurs have been innovating for decades.

Kiran has modeled some key qualities of effective leadership and has the following advice about leadership:

  • Always have a can-do attitude and make wise choices on who is in your closest circle.
  • Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more effective than you are and engage them in collaborating with you to make things happen for mutual benefit.
  • Create programs and resources and connections which others would value.
  • See an opportunity when times are challenging and ride the up-swing when the tide turns.
  • When it’s sink or swim, choose to swim.
  • Getting knocked off the chair a few times will make you wiser and more resilient.
  • Expect and even drive change. You’re not sacrificing work-life balance when you do that. You’re just taking more ownership and control of the change that will inevitably happen.
  • Take the time to stay informed.
  • Stay centered by keeping fit, making time for yourself to get re-charged and grounded, and confiding with trusted others.

As a leader documenting and supporting emerging technology and business trends, Kiran has a front-line view of the technology and business opportunities ahead. Hot areas include social media, mobile, cloud, and the curious convergence of these technologies. Other interesting business trends include the rapid rise of capital-efficient businesses, the participation of an increasingly younger entrepreneur (even teens!), the re-emergence of funding, etc.  Find out more and attend TiECon:

Please join me in thanking Kiran for taking the time to participate in our interview, and for inspiring us to be more connected, better educated, and better positioned for the new business and technology opportunities ahead.


Making Children’s Global Health a Reality!

April 20, 2012

Seema Handu is a world-changer with the Midas touch. She has participated in laboratory and management roles in a biopharma company that went IPO and got sold, while bringing a well-known product like Lubriderm to market. She built and sold a software company for the pharma industry which literally defined the standard for FDA approvals for drugs, transforming and facilitating the process for drug development and approval.

Now she is looking to make a positive impact on children’s global health through Children’s Global Health Initiative, where she serves as managing director. Leveraging the research, infrastructure, network and successes of the Oakland Children’s Hospital, and the desire of passionate people to make a broader, more sustainable impact on children worldwide, this new nonprofit intends to tangibly diagnose and treat children and their community, educate the community around global health initiatives, and fund research designed to better serve the health needs of people living in remote communities. Seema invites us to find out more about CGHI and its initiatives through their web site She shares the following advice for non profits leveraging technology:

  • Technology has made great strides in the last two decades, and can be well leveraged for non profits with solutions like the web and social media and even medical device development and drug development.
  • Focus on your passion and providing a value for the people you serve.
  • Stretch and grow your skills and abilities, and work with a cause you believe in, joining people you want to work with.
  • Give those you love around you room to be who they are, to do things the way they would do it.
  • Never settle for doing something you tire of or don’t want to do. Transition into doing something that better serves your passion and purpose.

Please join me in thanking Seema for taking the time to participate in our interview, for sharing her inspiring story with us, and for all she does for all of us on behalf of children around the world.

Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand

April 16, 2012

FountainBlue’s April 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand, featuring:

Facilitator, Lynn Hunsaker, Customer Experience Optimization Strategist at ClearAction LLC, CEO & President at Marketing Operations Partners, Inc. & Marketing Operations Future Forum

Panelist Monica Bajaj, Senior Engineering Manager, Cisco

Panelist Megan Bozio, Senior Director, License Management Services, Oracle

Panelist Susan Hailey, Director, Executive Talent Acquisition, eBay

Panelist Jennifer Millier, Vice President, Management and Solutions Development Unit, Hewlett Packard

Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at HP. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists were women who represented different companies, roles and levels, supporting a range of product and service offerings, with training from technical to business, but also women who had so much in common:

  • They had the experience and self-awareness to proactively build and develop their brand, and the passion and desire to share their knowledge and learnings with others.
  • They had the wisdom to share their advice, what to do and what not-to-do, and tell stories which resonate with the audience, and providing tips and suggestions for managing their own brand.
  • They generally had experience across multiple companies and roles, and facilitated transitions between roles by developing, expanding and growing their brand and network.
  • They took proactive measures to grow and expand and explore their brand.

They shared the following advice about executive branding:

Know Your Brand

  • Reflect on who has the brand you admire and what qualities you like about these people, be they leaders, managers or influencers, and adopt these qualities as part of your own brand.
  • Create and maintain a brand which says what you want it to say about you, where what people say about you when you’re not in the room or when you’ve left the room is something that you can be proud of.
  • Know your value proposition – what you do well that others would pay well for you to do – and communicate it in a way which makes sense to others around you.
  • Embrace feedback from others around you to understand how you are perceived, and how well it overlaps with how you want to be perceived. Don’t contradict the feedback of others, but look to the essence of the message to see how it can help you better understand yourself and the image you project to others.
  • Enlist colleagues, mentors, and others you admire to help you understand and articulate your brand and build and tweak your brand in the direction you want, reviewing it often to ensure that it fits your needs and objectives.
  • Don’t be afraid to shift your brand from one field to another, from one company to another, but before you do that, know why you want to/need to do that.
  • Consider adopting a brand which is strategic while also being process-oriented, seeing the big picture while executing on the details.

Communicate and Act to Reinforce the Brand You Want

  • Make consistent commitments to deliver results for every project they undertake, stretching themselves to prepare for the next project. Their brand reflects these results.
  • Say what you’ll, and do what you say effectively, knowing why what you said was important for yourself and for the various stakeholders with whom you’re engaged.
  • Know your objectives before communicating and acting, but also know what your various audiences need, and find that middle ground to meet both needs.
  • If you choose a leadership role in technology, follow the same steps in creating and maintaining and communicating your brand, but do know that there are still far fewer women in tech companies in tech roles, and you might have to be just that much better to get the credibility you seek.
  • Be ever willing to take on the tough challenges, and focus as much on relationship-development as on delivering outstanding tangible results on time.
  • Clearly communicate your accomplishments and that of your team, as well as your desired next project and direction, while encouraging others to do the talking on your behalf.

Work with Companies to Shift Their Brand

  • Select a company where you fit the culture and values, and work with them to shift and grow the brand to align with corporate objectives and market changes.
  • Companies, like executives, will be leveraging social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook to communicate their brand, so those who know how to integrate social media to reinforce and communicate their brand may be able to do the same for companies and vice versa.

In the end, the executive branding conversation centers around building and reinforcing a brand that you can be proud of and stretching it in a direction *you* choose, making incremental steps, increasing your impact and emphasizing your results.

The Anita Borg Institute: Increasing the Impact of Women in Technology

April 13, 2012

Jerri Barrett is the type of seasoned tech professional who could sell telecommunications equipment to the Amish, the kind of resilient professional who can transition from biotech to high tech marketing, the kind of supporter leader and mentor you would like to call a friend. We are fortunate that she is dedicated to the cause of empowering tech women, and providing opportunities for tech companies to recruit, retain and develop women technology leaders, in partnership with academia, industry and government.

In her decades of experience in high tech, Jerri has witnessed the rapid evolution of technology, and remained at the forefront leading marketing efforts for corporations and start-ups alike. She embraced possibilities and saw opportunities in every challenge, stretching her knowledge, skills and networking abilities along the way, and always finding a way to connect with others and give back. She found herself identified for technical and leadership trainings which further developed her skills and influence and connections. The Anita Borg Institute is fortunate to have Jerri to lead the marketing efforts there. She encouraged us all to:

  • Visit and sign up on their mailing list.
  • Attend the annual Grace Hopper conference.
  • Read and download research on recruiting, retaining and developing women in technology, available for free on the web site.
  • Volunteer to help with outreach, tell your friends about the organization, and nominate tech women for awards.

In terms of work-life balance, Jerri encourages us to build and seek relationships that are deep and authentic, and set limits to how and when we use devices in our lives. Turning them off will help you turn on other channels and chapters of your life.

Jerri’s journey has been more circuitous than linear, but at each crossroads, she considered the opportunities for growth, the fit with the organization, and remained flexible and open-minded about where each opportunity will take her, making proactive changes and choices where necessary. In this manner, she remains gracious, competent and humble in her current position, and leverages her resilience, knowledge, competence and leadership to empower and inspire tech women across the valley and beyond.

VLAB: Promoting Entrepreneurial Ventures

April 6, 2012

Jaishree Subramania is in Mobility Marketing at Cisco Systems and also the Program Chair at MIT/Stanford Venture Lab – VLAB. Jaishree spoke passionately about the importance of technology and networking and connecting in conversation to explore, communicate and articulate emerging technology and business trends. The hundreds of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and other technology professionals served each month benefit from the proactive management of passionate and dedicated volunteers leveraging crowdsourcing processes and inviting diversity and inclusion in the best way, while also focusing on the business angles around technology: from market opportunities and challenges to fundings and ROI and revenue models.

The heart of the VLAB mission is around actionable discovery, engagement of the best and brightest and most passionate, to create and facilitate market disruptions leveraging technology which drive continued innovation. Recent program topics attracting 350+ people include wearable devices, personal evolution through self-tracking, augmented reality, cyber security, as well as and upcoming topic will be around 3D printing.

As a mother, active community member, and hard-working employee at Cisco, Jaishree wanted to share the following thoughts on work-life balance:

  • Choose work for which you feel passionate, not just a job that would pay the bills.
  • Build your brand and reputation around being competent, passionate and effective.
  • Build a network of support you can reach out to when work is most demanding, for when extensive traveling is involved, or just to be there and share stories, ideas and experiences.
  • Accept that you will have to make tough decisions, but always know what is most important to you, and make decisions that respect your core values.
  • Never sacrifice your health or happiness for your work.

In conclusion, Jaishree models for us that we can choose both life and work, and that we can make it work if we have the right mind-set, realistic expectations, clear goals and values, and a support network that can help us achieve whatever we set in front of us. Please join me in thanking Jaishree for sharing her time and wisdom with us!

For more information and to get involved, join a program pitch session held on the first Tuesdays at Wilson Sonsini, attend one of VLAB’s month events by registering through the web site, or visit to find out more.