Author Archive

Integrating Work Into Life and Life Into Work

August 13, 2018

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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
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Communications and Media

August 10, 2018

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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

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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.

Choose Happiness

August 1, 2018

HappyPeopleHappiness is a choice, a frame of mind largely independent of circumstances. You can find the happiest of people in the humblest of circumstances and the sourest of people who could not be more pampered.

And nobody would contest that happiness is tightly correlated to success socially and professionally, in the long term and for the short term.

Below are a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned from happy people.

  1. Believe that happiness is a choice and choose to make it happen. Here’s a recipe below.
    1. First, choose to be happy. Feel deserving of happiness – no matter what you did in the past, where you think you fall short today.
    2. Next, know what it takes realistically to make youreslf happy. What’s the (smallest) delta between what you have/do/want now and where you’d like to be?
    3. After that, confirm that it’s a practical and doable objective.
    4. Then create an incremental plan to get from here to there.
    5. From there, consistently believe that your choices can bring you the happiness you’re seeking.
    6. Continue to proactively make those choices even when the road isn’t easy.
    7. Include others in your journey.
    8. Celebrate along the way.
  2. Know yourself well and accept who you are, while also stretching the envelope for who you can become – but only if it helps you become happier and more fulfilled.
  3. Be grateful for all you have, rather than focusing on what you wish you had. People could waste their lives waiting for something to happen…
  4. Be proud of who you are and what you can do. Nobody’s perfect, and comparing yourself to others more perfect than you can easily lead to unhappy and unwelcome thoughts.
  5. Bring positive energy to people and tasks around you – all the time, every time, especially when it’s really challenging to do so. But be authentic about it – don’t force it.  As a corollary, let go of people and things that bring you down. Many of us are burdened by tasks and obligations which bring work without joy and appreciation, without delivering intended results.
  6. Be purposeful in what you do, and align it with what you’d like to accomplish.
  7. Be resilient. Nobody succeeds and wins all the time, every time. Use every failure as a stepping stone to success. Embrace failure as a badge of courage.
  8. Be compassionate to those who are not like you, and those who don’t agree with you. Be curious about how they are different than you and in what ways their viewpoints are different than your own.
  9. Forgive yourself for past perceived infractions. Forgive others for same.
  10. Be curious about what you don’t know, about how things work, how things will change. Complacency in what you do, overconfidence in everything you know will not lead to a happiness outcome.

As a final thought, be self-aware enough to understand and implement the thoughts above. Embrace the opportunity to read and process new information and new people, especially when it makes you uncomfortable. For embracing change is a road to happiness.

Best of luck in your quest for happiness.

Don’t wish for an ocean, for an ocean is too large. Do wish for the right droplet of rainwater and appreciate the life it brings to you.

Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

July 17, 2018

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FountainBlue’s July 13 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings Trends and Predictions’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Ford and to our participating executives. Below are notes from the conversation.

The perfect storm is bringing together technologies and industries and solutions to make cities and buildings smarter, serving an ecosystem of broad and diverse players. There’s a lot at stake, and everything is evolving quickly. Success with this opportunity involves:

  • A collaborative mindset which is open to technologies, solutions, and processes introduced by other leaders, companies and industries. 
  • An adoption of cutting hardware and software technology solutions, and even more importantly, the elegant integration of same.
  • A customer-centric, tech-philic, data-enabled approach to delivering solutions.
  • A vision for a future which leverages technology to make life easier for more people.
  • An ability to respect the volumes of data generated, and then to filter out the noise and collect actionable information which will efficiently prescribe measured actions.
  • A deep respect for the privacy of users, while also delivering to their specific and detailed personalized needs.

Below is advice offered by the participating executives on how to facilitate leadership and innovation which creates smarter cities and smarter buildings.

  • Define standards which are approved by a wide range of partners across the ecosystem. 
  • Everyone across the ecosystem must work with policy-makers to help ensure the success of entrepreneurial and business initiatives which spawns innovation and economic growth.
  • Have regular open conversations in community and encourage and reward win-win collaborations.
  • Understand the business models for proposed solutions, especially when you’re supporting cities, who have not traditionally had the financial resources and risk-taking mindsets necessary to adopt game-changing technologies that make life easier for citizens.
  • Accept that users will insist on bringing their own device to work and want to work from anywhere. Corporate and community leaders must figure out how to make everyone’s data safe and private despite these choices.
  • It’s always about the data. Make sure that you Focus on quality data (not just noise), that the right people Access the intended data, and that you can fluidly Manage how data is generated, accessed, used and distributed.
  • Focus on creating specific use cases for adopting technologies and processes and business models which would benefit all participating parties.  
  • Be mindful of the many innovations happening in Asia, specifically Shanghai. Don’t assume that Silicon Valley and the US are leading the way.
  • Look not just at the technology and economic progression of the company/team/industry, but also at the social impact and long-term sustainability of the decisions made. 
  • Although we are always looking for sexy technologies and solutions, it’s always about the people – our customers who adopt it, our staff who implements it, our leaders who influence adoption.
  • Sometimes adopting a technology without a specific goal in mind might deliver results beyond your imagination. Case in point, in Shanghai, $1 sensors were put on manhole covers because it was easy. Although it wasn’t planned at the time, the result was better traffic management and control, better road safety and quality around the manhole, less theft of manholes, decreased number of vehicles who didn’t get smog-checked, and increased ability to track stolen cars.

Below are thoughts and questions to consider when investigating opportunities for Smart Cities and Smart Buildings.

  • What technologies would increase public safety and minimize crime?
  • How will analytics help cities to better serve residents?
  • What’s the best way to get from point A to point B?
  • How can we improve parking, and therefore better manage congestion?
  • How can we measure the time and energy used and saved in a building with more granularity? with more regularity?
  • What can we do to support over-strained city resources as people flock to cities and as more huge cities are born?
  • How will sensors integrate with AI and ML to create actionable data, not just noise?
  • How can we continue to optimize storage, access and connectivity when demands grow at such an alarming rate?
  • How do we keep in front of the bad guys who would jeopardize our safety, compromise our network, steal our personal data?
  • How can we all more efficiently and effectively work together to deliver customized services to workers and residents in growing cities?
  • What can be automated and what should not be automated?

We are all impacted by the choices made by leaders and companies to create smarter cities, especially as the greater majority of us will move to cities in the decades to come. The leaders and the innovators will define which technologies, which processes, which solutions will succeed, and who will benefit from these successes.

Food for thought:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/13/microsoft-president-calls-for-regulation-of-facial-recognition-technology/

To Rosie the Riveter and Other Groundbreaking Women

July 17, 2018

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FountainBlue’s July 12 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘To Rosie the Riveter and Other Ground-Breaking Women’. Our panelists represented a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, and a wide range of roles and organizations, plus of course multiple generations. But they had much in common.

  • They were very authentic, clear and self-aware. Clearly their life and work experiences helped to shape them, for the better.
  • Their successes and challenges helped them to further embrace the opportunities ahead – to seize the day and make the best of it.
  • They welcomed feedback and input from important others around them.
  • They erred toward sharing, toward helping others around them to also be more open, more inclusive.

Below is a compilation of learnings and advice for being the kind of strong and authentic leader who will help raise the bar for others, and produce lasting and tangible results.

  1. Know who you are, what you’re good at, and where you want to go. Be flexible about the plan to get from here to there as life happens despite the plans. Then keep reaching for stars.  
  2. Choose carefully the cause, the company, the team you join. This way, you can make the kind of impact which is in alignment with your values, with your talents, with your purpose.
  3. Embrace your circumstances. There is no ONE prototype for leadership. Step in and step up despite, or because of, your background and upbringing and life/work choices. It’s all in the frame of mind.
  4. Be inclusive and supportive. Empower everyone around you to achieve more and do more.  We are all learning and growing. Doing it together helps everyone.
  5. Be grateful for all you have. Bring positive energy to all you do.
  6. Be curious about people who are not-like-you. Having an open mind will keep you flexible, marketable and useful and perhaps happier besides!
  7. Don’t take things so personally. Frame conversations so that they are fact-based, and purpose-driven. Let your left brain take the lead when emotions run high during a conversation. What’s the kernel of useful wisdom in a charged interaction? How can that support your personal growth and your relationship with the other person?
  8. Look not necessarily to the public figures to be our heroes. In this day of communication, warts can be easily reviewed and no public figure is perfect, no matter how pure. Take the positive and constructive learnings from these public figures, but consider also what you can learn from the everyday heroes around you.
  9. Connect on common purpose and common mission, whether at work or in life.
  10. Focus on delivering clear and objective goals which are measurable. Change those goals with market and customer feedback.

We concluded by remarking that we can ALL be groundbreaking men and women, no matter what we’re doing, where we’re sitting. The more powerful we each are, the more we can do together. So let’s support each other in a common leadership and innovation cause – one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time.

Resources:


Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Quora and our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 12 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘To Rosie the Riveter and Other Ground-Breaking Women’.  

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Beth Arnesen, Inside Sales Manager, Pure Storage 
  • Panelist Kelly Battles, CFO, Quora
  • Panelist Stephanie Ho, Engineering Manager, Quora
  • Panelist Tiffany Iskandar, Portfolio Management Index Equity Analyst, BlackRock 
  • Panelist Nehal Mehta, Director Global Partner Sales, Veritas Technologies
  • Panelist Shveta Miglani, Head of Global Talent Enablement @LiveRamp @ Acxiom and Member of Forbes HR Council
  • Panelist Medha Samant Director of Product Management, COO- eBay Women In Technology (eWIT), eBay

Leadership Lessons from Dr. Seuss

July 1, 2018

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When I was in college back in the day, I worked three different jobs, each of which provided me with the foundation of knowledge and experience I use every day.

Firstly I worked in an office, learning technologies and tools, efficiencies and protocols, as well as people and communications skills. Secondly, I took notes for a wide range of classes, and also summarized and typed notes for other note-takers. Lastly, I taught at a pre-school. There is no better leadership experience than doing that, and no better opportunity to teach others how to think and lead.

I integrated the learnings and teachings of Theodor Seuss Geisel (Mar 02, 1904 – Sep 24, 1991), commonly known as Dr. Seuss, in my day-to-day life, and shared it with my pre-schoolers back then, and with my colleague, friends, clients and partners today, for they are still relevant.

1. Be Fully YOU

  • “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” From Happy Birthday to You!
  • “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” from the The Lorax.
  • “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • “All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot!” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • “Only you can control your future.”

2. Seize the Day

  • “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
  • “Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • “If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”
  • “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
  • “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
  • “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” from the Cat in the Hat

3. Exude Confidence

  • “Will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

4. Choose to Always Learn and Grow

  • “It is better to know how to learn than to know.”
  • “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • “You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.”
  • “Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!”

5. Be Clear and Direct in Your Communications

  • “Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
  • “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful, one hundred percent.” from Horton Hears a Who.

6. Think Outside the Box

  • “He should not be here, ” said the fish in the pot. ” he should not be here when your mother is not.” from the Cat in the Hat
  • “Think and wonder, wonder and think.”
  • “Why fit in, when you were born to stand out?”
  • “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
  • “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.”
  • “Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”

6. You May Only Be ONE Person, But You Are an Important Person

  • “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
  • “Don’t give up! I believe in you all. A person’s a person, no matter how small.” from Horton Hears A Who!

7. Treat Everyone as Someone Important

  • “I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.” from Yertle the Turtle and Gertrude McFuzz.
  • “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” from Horton Hears A Who!

6. Play the Game of Life

  • “So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act.” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • “We must become invisible, travel silently, for there are forces that would seek to destroy us.” from Horton Hears A Who!

7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

  • “If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”

8. Embrace a Positive Mindset

  • “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
  • “Fun is good.”
  • “You oughta be thankful a whole heaping lot for the people and places you’re lucky you’re not.”
  • “You are you. Now, isn’t that pleasant?”

9. Live a Life with No Regrets

  • “Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”
  • “Life’s too short to wake up with regrets.”

10. Be Good to Everyone You Touch

  • Love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t.

Thank you Dr. Seuss, for touching me so deeply, through and through. May your words of wisdom and way of being continue to bring ripples of love and happiness, may this wish come true.

Managing Up, Down and Sideways

June 11, 2018

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FountainBlue’s June 8 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Managing up, Down and Sideways. Our panelists represented a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, and a wide range of roles and organizations. But they had much in common.

  • They were each authentic, candid and real. They learned their management and leadership lessons from the trenches.
  • They each successfully navigated the educational and professional hurdles put in front of them and became disciplined strategic thinkers, exceptional problem-solvers, and determined, results-oriented performers.
  • What’s more, they each took these learners and experience to keep raising the bar for themselves, learning and growing as they manage and lead.

Below is a compilation of learnings and advice regarding managing and leading:

Know yourself, and put yourself first.

  • Draw upon your passion and talents. Invite opportunities to be as fully yourself as you can be. 
  • When you’re at a life crossroads factor in what’s going on in your life. Put your family and your health first.
  • Don’t look back and have regrets for opportunities lost if you make that choice to put yourself first.
  • Management and leadership is not for everyone. Do what’s right for you.

Be strategic.

  • Be strategic about what you want to do as well as how it would get done. 
  • Align corporate goals with team and personal goals. Manage so that everyone works on maintaining that alignment and on demonstrating results.
  • With that said, be willing to shift the goals based on market and customer feedback.

Never settle.

  • Keep reaching for stars. Don’t settle for complacency, or for doing the same things only faster. Or you will be left behind!
  • Welcome the opportunities to learn and stretch yourself. Provide those opportunities for others on your team.
  • With that said, don’t expect to know it all every time,
  • The pace of business, the pace of technology development is overwhelmingly fast, so have an open mind about all things. What worked in the past may not necessarily work going forward.

Support each other.

  • Provide opportunities for everyone to participate in solving the problem.
  • It’s not always easy to toot your own horn or to get introductions to new people and new opportunities.  Be that wing-man for someone else, and welcome others to do that for you.
  • Go out and network and meet others – both people who share your background and interests and people who are very different than you are.
  • Ask for support from others you can learn from.

Select stellar leaders and companies to work for.

  • Stand by your own values. 
  • Work with people who are smart, have high integrity, and demonstrate enough authority and enough courage to foster change.
  • Work with people you admire and enjoy working with. 
  • Select a work culture which would support that mindset in thoughts, words and actions.
  • Pick a company and leadership team who understands the market trends and is strategic about executing the corporate strategy with that in mind.

Put your people first.

  • Do the right thing for your people, even if it’s a tough thing to do in the short term.
  • Treat people at all levels with respect. As Maya Angelou would say, it’s not about being right, it’s about how you make people feel.

Communicate clearly and transparently.

  • Listen to what’s said and what’s not said so that you can understand what someone needs and how someone feels and what motivates them. 
  • Think, speak and act as if others are important to you.
  • Be courageous enough to have difficult conversations when necessary. Not taking action when action needed to be taken does not help anyone, and is not good for the project, for the brand, for the team, for the company.

The bottom line is that it’s not about managing or leading, it’s about influencing others around you to bring energy and resources toward collaboratively driving tangible results.

Resources:

  • What Motivates Me
  • Grace Hopper Conference
  • Watermark

Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Pure Storage and our panelists for FountainBlue’s June 8 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Managing up, Down and Sideways.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Kelly Battles, Chief Financial Officer, Quora
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect’s Office – Development, Cisco
  • Panelist Betty Campell, VP of Ops, Pure Storage
  • Panelist Carolyn Crandall, Chief Marketing Officer, Attivo Networks
  • Panelist Julie Cullivan, SVP, Business Operations and CIO, ForeScout
  • Panelist Namrata Mummaneni, Sr. Director of Quality Engineering, eBay
  • Panelist Nivedita Ojha, Senior Director Product Management, IoT, Citrix

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e-Commerce and e-Marketing Trends

June 1, 2018
ecommerce
FountainBlue’s June 1 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘e-Commerce and eMarketing Trends and Predictions’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at eBay. Below are notes from the conversation.
There has been so much transformational change in the world of e-Commerce and e-Marketing over the past couple of decades. Below are some trends and predictions on how these trends will progress and how they will impact each of us.
 
The E-commerce highlights from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report (May 31, 2018) shows the following:
  • E-commerce sales reached upward of $450 billion, a 14 percent year-over-year increase reported in 2017.
  • E-commerce represented a 13 percent share of all retail spend (both online and physical retail sales) in 2017. As e-commerce continues to grow, physical retail sales growth is trending toward deceleration, with less than 3 percent year-over-year growth.
  • Mobile shopping is also on the rise, with mobile shopping app sessions growing 54 percent year over year. In fact, mobile shopping represented the fastest-growing app session, ahead of music/media/entertainment (up 43 percent year over year), business/finance (up 33 percent year over year), utilities/productivity (up 20 percent year over year) and news/magazines (also up 20 percent year over year).
Our participating executives agreed that the volume of information and data is mind-boggling. But the effective marketer and leader will categorize and leverage that information so that it’s sorted and actionable. 
  • Urgent and immediate cases are quickly triaged and acted upon with special parties as necessary. This is especially true with suspected fraud and technology glitches.
  • AI is leveraged to ensure the efficient handling of common, lower-level problems or questions or concerns.
  • Algorithms and architecture will help ensure companies have scalable and robust infrastructure necessary to scale operations.
There is also agreement that today’s customers are very demanding. Doing the above also helps companies to better support their customers. With the data, we can better understand current and anticipated needs and more quickly address technical and process issues which interfere with our ability to give customers what they need. Consider these trends around customer needs.
  • Customers are taking urgency to the next level, even asking for 10-minute delivery windows! Categorizing what you can practically deliver when will help companies better and more efficiently serve customers. Same day, two day and one-week deliveries will be much more regularly requested, so companies will have to find efficient ways to make it happen.
  • Local ethnic and specialized goods will be requested. Creating a platform where multiple physical store fronts can leverage technology to deliver goods from these multiple stores to sites throughout the neighborhood would be a good win-win solution.
The big companies such as Amazon and Google are already successful in the market, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities ahead. Below is advice on how we as leaders can best take advantage of these trends.
  • Adopt digital solutions from the top down, from the bottom up. Integrate it into your culture.
  • Enhance physical stores, embracing technology solutions.
  • Provide personalized solutions for customers.
  • Respond to their needs of the customer real time.
  • Design robust loyalty and rewards programs.
  • Provide your high-impact customers with specialized perks, with special treatment and access.
Below are thoughts on the opportunities ahead for e-commerce and e-marketing solutions.
  • Provide chatbots which are embedded into the shopping experience so you can quickly address questions and concerns. 
  • Provide platforms which seamlessly address the customer from search to order to fulfillment.
  • Consider separating the delivery from the e-commerce solution.
  • Consider partnering with other companies to provide specialized services. As a retailer, you might want someone else to provide the mobile and web platform for delivery, as a technology company, you might want to have someone else distribute the goods for example.
The bottom line is that everything is trending toward e-commerce and forward-thinking leaders are responding to that trend.
 
Resources:

Unconscious Bias

June 1, 2018

UnconsciousBias

FountainBlue’s May 18 When She Speaks in East Bay event was on the topic of Overcoming Unconscious Bias. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such a passionate, articulate and diverse panel, representing a wide range of companies, roles, perspectives and backgrounds. They were each passionate about the topic of Unconscious Bias for different reasons, but generally it was from their own early direct experiences and their thoughts when they witnessed biases, conscious and otherwise.

Our panelists agreed that it’s normal, and even adaptive to have unconscious biases. They help us make wise decisions related to our safety, like not taking the subway at night by yourself, traveling through rough neighborhoods. Unconscious biases may also help us do the quick-filters we need to succeed at work, making sure that the candidates which pose the least amount of risk are assigned to the most mission-critical roles for example.

But there are also the kinds of unconscious biases which limit our ability to grow and transform ourselves personally, or our teams and our companies. Each panelist resolved to make a stand against unjust biases and commented on the benefits of being more inclusive, more diverse in the workplace. Specifically, they pointed to the following benefits of having more diversity in the workplace:

  • the improved company brand
  • the improved sense of community
  • the improved problem-solving abilities
  • the improved ability to recruit and retain more diverse candidates
  • the innovation advantages which come from having diverse viewpoints
  • the ability to better understand the diverse needs of a broad customer base

Below are our panelists’ suggestions for overcoming biases you may not know you have.

  • Approach each challenge and opportunity with an open mind.
  • Push your own comfort zone when you’re doing something the same way every day, every time. Challenge yourself to find an alternative approach, perspective, partner or mindset.
  • Understand your own upbringing and how it might impact how you’re showing up at home and at work.
  • Find support to help you challenge your own conscious and unconscious biases.
  • Be open to thoughtful and measured feedback.
  • Be self-aware enough to know when your biases may be limiting your successes at work or at home.

Some suggested best practices for overcoming unconscious bias are highlighted below.

  • Nurture an inclusive culture from the top down, from the bottom up.
  • Think, speak and act inclusively.
    • Call each other on it when that’s not happening.
    • Make it safe to call each other on it, even when a ‘subordinate’ is calling a ‘superior’ on it.
  • Create a tight community where a broad range of diverse people feel they can belong.
  • Adopt a corporate strategy which includes hiring a diverse workforce.
  • Build bridges between siloed teams and projects. Help them understand motivations of people not-like-them. Align diverse people to common corporate and team goals.
  • Expose teams to successful people from different perspectives and backgrounds.

The bottom line is that Unconscious Bias is a reality and can be helpful. But Build Self-Awareness in yourself to manage how you’re personally responding to these biases. Then Manage and Lead your team so that they can mitigate their own.

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Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Lam and our panelists for FountainBlue’s May 18 When She Speaks in East Bay event.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Anne Nemer Dhanda, Managing Director, Global Learning and Organizational Development, Lam Research
  • Panelist Jennifer Geisler, Vice President of Marketing, ForeScout
  • Panelist Gina Lau, Director of People Experience & Development, HelloSign
  • Panelist Lisa McGill, Chief Human Resources Officer, CrowdStrike
  • Panelist Suchitra Narayen, Vice President, Legal and Associate General Counsel Commercial, Digital Realty