Archive for the ‘When She Speaks’ Category

A Work-Life Balance that Works for Life

January 16, 2016

FountainBlue’s January 15 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of A Work-Life Balance the Works for Life! 


We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives around work, life and balance! They have each successfully grown their careers, continually reaching for new roles and positions and better education as well. Collectively, our panelists shared the following pearls of wisdom for those seeking work-life balance.

  • Know your priorities. The work can often wait, but embrace the opportunities to capture the joy of key moments with your loved ones, and make the effort to spend quality time with your friends and family.
  • Plan-fully setting boundaries and communicating expectations transparently and iteratively can help you both enlist help and support and set you up for success.
  • Remember that it’s a journey and not a destination – be fluid between the surviving and thriving spectrum, aiming more toward the right!
  • Be known for having high standards and consistently delivering to those standards. Then you can build a reputation that will allow you the flexibility to decide how and when things get done, so that you can embrace those precious life moments.
  • Select a company and a management team that speaks the talk, and walks the talk regarding work-life balance.
  • Expect that life will happen, no matter what your plans are. Be kind to yourself and the important people in your life so that you can navigate through the rough patches together, and enjoy the calm moments.
  • Having a supportive spouse makes a huge difference. Select one who wants to partner with you in achieving work and life goals.
  • You don’t have be be-all, do-all. There’s no shame in getting help, whether it’s a maid or nanny, or whether it’s ordering in or eating out, or whether it’s tapping on a family member or neighbor to help out with kids or chores.

In the end, the work work can wait. Don’t let it overwhelm you and compromise your health. Help those who work with you adopt the perspective that they are each more important than the work they do, for they are valued more for who they are.

Resource: Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family – Sep 29 2015, by Anne-Marie Slaughter


Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s January 15 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of A Work-Life Balance the Works for Life and our gracious hosts at EMC.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Coach, Adviser and Consultant
  • Panelist Angelique Egorerua, Sr. Manager, ECD Renewal Sales, Americas, EMC
  • Panelist Sara Hepner, Vice President of Worldwide Services Sales, BMC Software
  • Panelist Namrata Mummaneni, Director Quality, Core Product & Technology, eBay
  • Panelist Karen Pieper, Director of Software Operations, Microsemi
  • Panelist Sridevi Koneru Rao, Senior Director, Business Development, Cisco
  • Panelist Lisa Violet, Vice President, Internal Audit and Business Continuity, Hitachi

Power to the Team

December 14, 2015

FountainBlue’s December 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Power to the Team.


We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives around leadership, innovation, teamwork, diversity and team-building. Collectively, our panelists shared the following pearls of wisdom for team leaders: 

  • Insist that people treat each other with respect, trust each other to deliver, assume and deliver on responsibilities and assume accountability for their individual tasks and the project overall. 
    • Have zero tolerance for any individual(s) who would undermine the success of other people within the team, or the team overall.
    • Manage the brilliant mavericks and keep them engaged as this is critical to the success of any team. 
  • Bring out the best in all members of the team, knowing what everyone’s role is, knowing everyone’s value-add, and stretching everyone to contribute in specific ways, for the good of the project and the team. 
  • Communicate clearly and transparently in writing, to all stakeholders, what the expectations are and how the project is going.
    • The measure is any team leader is how well people feel heard, how good they feel about the project and about themselves. It’s almost as important as the bottom-line results delivered.
    • Building bridges between people and teams and empowering them with information and resources through constant, transparent, and clear communications is critical to the success of any project.
  • Select a team which is willing to be both process-oriented and agile. Having a plan of where you’re going and making changes on the fly helps teams succeed when the challenges are difficult, when the timing is tight, and when the stakes are high.
  • Be other-centric, focusing on the needs of the customer, the market, the team. Then develop a plan which takes into the account the motivations, expectations and expertise of all involved, managing toward win-for-all results.
  • Build on past successes by recruiting individual team members from prior successful projects, even if they are not quite in their sweet spot of individual team members, even if it’s not with the same company or industry.
  • Ensure that yourself and everyone on the team adds value in specific and necessary ways, wherever anyone sits in the org chart, working as a team to deliver measurable results in collaboration, moving beyond silos and a me-first mentality.
  • Expect to deliver with the team you have, rather than make excuses for any short-comings there might be. Of course you’re going to want to empower the team you have to deliver results, and to recruit more A players to your team, but rare is the leader who will deliver results even when B and C players are the majority, and rarer still is the leader who can convert these B and C players to also become A players. 
  • Know enough to be able to oversee and manage a project, but let your team be the experts in specific areas.

The team is only as strong as the individual players, but when led well, the gestalt of the team far outweighs the value of individual members, and it is these teams which are building and growing people, products, companies and industries.


Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Samsung, and our panelists for FountainBlue’s December 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Power to the Team:

  • Facilitator Deb Kaufmann, Deb Kaufmann & Associates, Inc
  • Panelist Charlotte Falla, VP of Legal and General Counsel, Samsung Research America 
  • Panelist Andrea Kolstad, Sr Director Digital Platforms, Polycom
  • Panelist Leila Pourhashemi, Head of Product Operations, eBay Marketplaces
  • Panelist Renee Six, Sr Mgr, End User Computing, Dell Inc
  • Panelist Reema Vijay, Head Business Operations & Strategic Planning, Vertical Solutions BU, Software Platform Group, Cisco
  • Panelist Ruby Yip, Senior Account Manager, EMC

The Business Case for Diversity

November 16, 2015

November13PanelistsFountainBlue’s November 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of the Business Case for Diversity. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives around leadership, innovation and diversity. But they had much in common:

  • they were all exposed to people from many cultures, languages and backgrounds and recognized the importance of having diverse viewpoints and accepting people for their differences;
  • they recognized and appreciated that they themselves are different, largely because their mothers helped them be confident in being original and respecting the differences in others;
  • they embraced diversity as a business advantage; and
  • they generously share their perspectives with their teams, with their company, with their community.

Collectively, our shared the following pearls of wisdom:

  • Do accept and respect that others have expectations about where you should fit and what you should do, but be your own person despite what they expect of you.
  • Respect that we are all different but equal, and all have something to share. These differences add more varied and diverse elements to work and life.
  • Find your talent, find your voice and speak your mind, while encouraging and supporting others to do the same. This takes self-awareness, patience, reflection and is part of an ongoing inner journey.
  • Know what you’re good at, accept who you are, and be passionate about what you do. With that said, STRETCH all of the above, don’t just complacently go through the motions.
    • As one panelist puts it, if you are a tiger, be that mover and shaker, if you are an elephant, be that reliable beasts of burden who get the job done but don’t be a hippo who swaddle in mud and occasionally raises his head.
  • Be strong, especially when it’s not easy to be different and un-accepted because of the differences. You are not just making a stand for yourself, but for others who are also different.
  • Develop and curate your own moral compass so that you can strike that balance between who you are, who you want to become, how you are responding to others, how others are influencing you, what you think is the right thing to do, and how to achieve the best-for-all-results. An integral part of achieving this goal is to embrace the thinking and perspectives of people not-like-you.
  • Take charge and reach for what you want to achieve in life and work, overcoming restrictions and barriers, collaborating and working with others.
  • In order to take charge, you need to curate the influence and support of those in charge. See what motivates them, show them why embracing your perspective and that of others who are different would provide a business advantage. Speak in a language they understand and respect to earn your credibility.
    • Consider that being overly-emotional might make some people uncomfortable and impact the message you would like to deliver, and how you are viewed. Manage your communication accordingly.
    • Consider that many people might be influenced by what you wear. For example, wearing skirts and jewelry might limit how others perceive you and take that into account. You could overcome these perceptions with your results and your words, but understanding how you will be perceived and making the other party comfortable and open might make it easier for you to get your message across and focus on the results, rather than gender.
  • Be patient with those who are judging you, restricting you, or trying to get you to conform. Understand the influences that have brought them to this state and work with them to embrace the value of thinking and doing things differently.

Below is advice for facilitating diversity within your organization.

  • Communicate the importance of diversity and its impact on products, team and solutions.
  • Help teams understand that they are on the same side, but may just perceive and respond differently.
  • Show management the data behind the diversity initiatives implemented.
  • Put the actions behind your words – encourage out-of-the-box thinking, hire diverse people on to your team, reward different perspectives, listen to those who see things differently, encourage people from different teams to participate, etc.,

In the end, we hope that the panelists and the event encourage all to better embrace diversity as an opportunity for you to rise and shine and find a better, deeper, more complete version of yourself and others around you.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TI and our panelists for FountainBlue’s When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series, on the topic of the Business Case for Diversity:

​Facilitator Camille Smith, Work In Progress Coaching
Panelist Monica S Bajaj, Senior Engineering Manager, NetApp
Panelist April Greene, HR Director, Juniper
Panelist SK Lau, Product Line Engineering Operations, Texas Instruments
Panelist Shobhana Viswanathan, Product Marketing, VMWare

Women Leading Innovation

October 12, 2015


FountainBlue’s October 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Leading Innovation. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have such courageous and accomplished women on our panel, who come from many different educational levels, corporate and technical backgrounds, and frames of reference. 

As women leading innovation in a variety of industries, technologies and roles, they provided a higher level picture of what it takes to bring something new into an organization, to change the status-quo/the way things are done, and to bring a disparate range of stakeholders to the same agenda. Their advice for moving the needle forward is summarized in the points below.

  1. Focus on the needs of the customer and the trends of the market. Technology’s role is as an enabler.
  2. With that said, it takes integration and management of the most flexible, scalable technologies in order to address the needs of the customer.
  3. So get the best people working with the most current technologies to ensure the viability, performance and scalability of the solution and learn to speak in a language they understand.
  4. Innovation must be blessed from the leaders within the organization, in both words and actions. Work with a company whose leaders walk their talk around innovation, and identify projects which lets you contribute to the company’s innovation edge, engaging a wide range of stakeholders.
  5. It’s never easy to embrace change and chaos and conflict, yet these are all inherent requirements for innovation. Successful innovation leaders effectively manage through the process, facilitating alignment towards common goals.
  6. Know first why you want to innovate, by understanding market trends and customer needs. Then know what your team and organization can do to best serve that need, and how that need is best delivered by whom, with measurable results.
  7. Take a long-term view on innovation. Be resilient and persistent enough to work through the ‘nos’ and the failures. Fail fast and fail forward, progressing new learnings and new and deeper relationships as you go.
  8. It’s a challenge to make old technology fit into our new needs, yet it’s fundamental to the success of organizations.
  9. Make it intuitive and easy for people to use powerful technologies, for the customers of the future make be broader, more demanding AND less tech-savvy.
  10. Carpe diem – seize the day. What’s blocking you from doing what you could possibly do is the lack of confidence that you will succeed the first time. Re-set your expectations – try with little incremental steps to enlarge your objectives, goals, role and contributions.

In the end, innovation is about leaders who think differently about how things are done. Leaders who focus on the needs of others and delivering scalable results, engaging a broad range of internal partners and stakeholders. 

Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s October 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Women Leading Innovation and our gracious hosts at Aruba.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO FountainBlue, Producer When She Speaks Series, Coach, Adviser and Consultant
  • Panelist Jae Sook (Jun) Evans, VP Global Cloud Operations, Saba
  • Panelist Sujatha Mandava, Senior Director, Aruba
  • Panelist Adriane McFetridge, VP, Payment Software Services, Verifone
  • Panelist Gayathri Radhakrishnan, Director Strategy & Corporate Development, Dell Software
  • Panelist Shweta Saraf, SW Engineering Lead, Cisco
  • Panelist Navrina Singh, Director of Product Management, Qualcomm, ImpaQt

Make Your Own Rules

September 11, 2015

FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Making Their Own Rules.RulesCollage

We were fortunate to have such courageous and accomplished women on our panel, who come from many different educational levels, corporate and technical backgrounds, and frames of reference. They shared with us why there was a need to create new rules, shift current rules, question each rule, and advised us on how best to break those rules so that they benefit all.
  1. Be strong and confident with who you are and broaden your understanding of the impact you may have, no matter where you sit at the table, or even if you don’t even have admission to the event! 
  2. Be clear on your purpose and goals. Understand how the rules and processes and culture are affecting the need to achieve those goals and speak in a way where influential others will understand the logic and reasons for making changes.
  3. Communicate in a way that commands attention and respect. Speak in a language and through a channel that would resonate with your audience. 
  4. Be prepared and plan-ful, with a clear focus on delivering measurable results. Then overcome your fear, engage with influential advocates, get uncomfortable and see where it takes you. 
  5. Try hard, be open, fail quickly, and don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying in the first place!
  6. Build a wide and broad network that would benefit all. And maintain those relationships and conversations to help you get grounded and to help build influence and credibility.
  7. Challenge yourself to do something new and different if you’re feeling a bit listless at work. Leverage what you know to get to what you can do from here. Be confident that you can deliver on something new, even if you haven’t exactly done this sort of thing in the past.
  8. Many people are uncomfortable with changing the way-things-are-always-done, even if there’s no logical reason to do things that way. To help foster change with these people and these cultures, adopt a logical, plan-ful, data-based approach for why a new system, process, method would be better for them individually, for the team and company as a whole, and for the customer. And sell the approach in a way that would best resonate with each person/group/team/division. 
  9. Represent the viewpoint of the customer and translate the needs of the customer to the internal teams that can best serve that customer.
  10. Be who you are and do things in a way that works for you. Be pure of intentions, reliable with delivery, generous with support, open for feedback and opportunities.
The bottom line is that our panelists are challenging us to be the person we know we can be – to challenge the system and rules that are holding ourselves and each other back, and to rise up and embrace opportunities to forge shifts little and big – for the good of all.​

Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Women Making Their Own Rules and our gracious hosts at Cypress:

Facilitator Nancy Monson, Nancy Monson Coaching

Panelist Jennifer Altergott, Regional Sales Director, Polycom

Panelist Raji Arasu, CTO, StubHub, an eBay Company

Panelist Stacie Hibino, Tangible UX Director for the Visual Display UX Lab at Samsung Research America, Samsung Electronics

Panelist Grace Hu-Morley, Senior Manager, Product Management of IoE Healthcare Solutions, Cisco Systems

Panelist Tamara Lucero, former Director, Inside Sales, Cypress

Politics In The Workplace: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

August 14, 2015
Politics in the Workplace, FountainBlue August 11, 2015 When She Speaks Event

Politics in the Workplace, FountainBlue August 11, 2015 When She Speaks Event

FountainBlue’s August 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Politics in the Workplace, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such courageous and accomplished women on our panel, who come from many different educational levels, corporate and technical backgrounds, and frames of reference. They graciously and generously shared their wisdom around navigating politics – the art and science of influence.
  • Accept that politics is a part of life and decide to work with it and learn from it. It’s a given that there will be politics as not everyone will be on the same page with the same agenda at the same time.
  • Know yourself and what your values are and what your value-add is. This will help you identify who you are and stay strong to your integrity and principles. This will also help you find the courage to stop fearing the fear and take risks in ways that make sense and for the right reasons.
  • Ever be that confident, energetic, enthusiastic person – even if you have to fake it to get there sometimes.
  • Accept that there will invariably be misalignments between people, teams and groups, and work to understand the perspectives and objectives of all those involved. Assume that others in the group have the best intentions . . . unless the data shows otherwise.
  • Know the difference between misalignment of opinion and misalignment of values. Never compromise those core values.
  • Create and build a support network that helps you keep centered, ‘smelling the roses, blowing out the candles’.
  • Understanding what needs to be done, who’s involved and what their motivations will help you better understand and manage the situation.
  • Resources such as time and money always adds conflict to any group dynamic, whether a company is huge and established or just starting out. Understand why different people, teams and partners want what they want and start the negotiations with that in mind.
  • Separate the bad politics which is around self-centered empire building to the good politics where people may have different plans and needs, but are overall aligned on the goals.
  • Be curious – listen to what others have to say. Always try to understand what’s motivating them.
  • Communicate with clarity, courage and transparency with conversations based on facts and data. Communicate outside the direct network and to the larger network, including execs to keep them in the loop, where appropriate.
  • Embrace interactions as learning experiences. Know the difference between what you own and what someone else owns and accept that you can only change yourself. For example, if someone pushes you under the bus, perhaps you did things that set them up to do that, but in the end, the other person pushed you under the bus, so approach with caution.
  • Park the emotions and don’t take things personally. Take the high road at every opportunity and maintain channels of communication. (That’s generally easier said than done, so invest in making yourself more centered and stronger so that you can get more progressively closer to the mark.)
  • Connect with people at all levels and build networks and relationships of trust BEFORE you need to count on them.
  • In working with difficult people, find a way to disagree amiably. Start conversations and communications focused on what you have in common, which is probably more things than you think in the heat of the moment!
  • Build relationships with men and women – don’t make gender a criteria for the people you have in your network. Rule of thumb: if a woman opens a door, people might wonder why she’s so pushy. If a man opens a door for the woman, people will wonder what’s special about that woman.
  • In general, tech companies are more accepting of women leaders who prove themselves than in other industries such as automotive or military. But that doesn’t mean that all tech companies will treat women better, or that all companies are equal. Find that company, culture and team where you feel you can succeed, and make plans to walk if it’s not all that it appears to be, in a bad way. Hint: When you find a job and a team that is super focused on an exciting new project, there may be less time to engage in petty politics.
The bottom line is that those who accept that politics is part of the game of life, those who know who they are and stand behind those principles, those who put the project and the team above themselves will better succeed in navigating political waters.
Recommended Resources:

Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at NetApp and our panelists for FountainBlue’s August 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Politics in the Workplace, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

Facilitator Julianna Hynes, PhD, Julianna Hynes & Associates, Executive and Leadership Development Coach

Panelist Neela Deshpande, Chief of Staff, Dell Networking

Panelist, Lakshimi Duraivenkatesh, Director, Software Development, eBay 

Panelist Niki Hall, VP Corporate Marketing, Polycom

Panelist Julie Herd, Director of Product Management, NetApp

Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, Sr. Mgr. Solutions Marketing, Nutanix

Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play

July 11, 2015

Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play (2)-COLLAGE

FountainBlue’s July 10 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such an accomplished, dynamic, creative and powerful panel of speakers, representing a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives and thoughts. They generously shared their wisdom and strategies about social media.
They started with a definition of social media. Social media facilitates ‘multi-directional’ interactions where content and ideas are created, shared and/or amplified by the users via electronic means. These technologies and tools allow people to connect and engage with a wide range of other people, be it friends, family, customers or partners or a wide range of strangers and like-minded people with shared common interests. In short, it amplifies and accelerates the content we create and the networks of people and communities we reach, in real time. Leveraged well, it can take us to the next generation of communication and impact, expanding human and professional networks and the ability to share relevant content and information and connect a wide range of people and democratizes the access to raise one’s voice.”
Whether our panelists came into social media as a part of their corporate job function, as a personal exploration of interest, as a social and networking experiment for a start-up, or as a consultant in a PR firm working with tech companies, they all saw the impact of social media strategies on the company, on the people connected with the company, and on the brand.
They each commented in different ways that we are all empowered to leverage social media technologies and strategies to clarify our brand, to find our voice, to connect with those that matter – both personally and professionally. There’s no avoiding it or running and hiding from it, below are some tips on how to do this wisely:
  • Know what you want to communicate and do it authentically, strategically and with good judgment. 
  • To strategically leverage social media, know your objective, your audience, and your measurable results before you start on any campaign.
  • Social media is not just for the extraverts. Everyone can leverage it – do what feels comfortable to you.
  • Social media is a must-have for building networks and connections, and for communicating your brand.
  • LinkedIn is a must-have for all professionals. Create your profile, find and communicate your brand and voice.
  • Even if personal and professional identities are separate, how you do one thing is how you do everything, so make sure that your communications is ‘clean’ and won’t reflect badly on yourself or your company. Assume that everything you do will be public and forever, even if you meant the message as a personal communication to a private audience.
  • When weighing what or whether to communicate, make active choices that you will stand by. Be ever respectful and non-controversial and don’t be argumentative.
  • Develop a point of view by retweeting others’ content and eventually writing your own. Be consistent with the point of view – don’t be schizophrenic going back and forth with your viewpoint.
  • Consider the immediate and feedback when you send out messages – do people like what you say? is it the right audience?
  • You know when you’re ‘too’ into social media if you’re texting or SnapChatting someone sitting next to you. Social media is not a substitute for face-to-face interactions!
  • Social media allows you to be the person you want to be perceived as.
  • Be real – warm, human, encouraging, light – while providing meaty content of interest to the audience you’re reaching.
  • Be in alignment with corporate, division, team, product and other perspectives.
  • Collaborate with others from other divisions and roles to communicate messages and achieve objectives.
The bottom line is that social media will forever change how we communicate who we are as individuals and as professionals. It’s a double-edged sword, which, when managed well, can amplify your message and your reach.

Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 10 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, the topic of Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play, and our gracious hosts at Sandisk.

Facilitator Natascha Thomson, CEO, MarketingXLerator, Co-Author,  CMO, Beonpop, Yogi
Panelist Jennifer Barr, Social Media Manager Online Brand; TEDxBerkeley, Co-Curator
Panelist Yvette Huygen, Director, Worldwide PR & Corporate Communications, Synopsys, Inc.
Panelist Linda Liu, VP Corporate Sales, Altera
Panelist Nithya Ruff, Head of Open Source Strategy Office, SanDisk, President for Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) at SanDisk
Panelist Brianna Woon, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Polycom

Millennials In Our Midst

June 12, 2015


FountainBlue’s June 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have wise and inspiring panelists representing a range of roles and functions, education and perspective, and companies and generations. Please join us in thanking our panelists for so candidly sharing their thoughts and perspectives on how to work with millennials in producing win-win, measurable results, engaging the full workforce.

Millennials will represent a progressively larger percentage of the workforce, a workforce which still includes four different generations with different backgrounds and perspectives. Considering the needs of each worker and focusing on strategically recruiting, retaining and developing them, while building bridges between them will be an ongoing challenge of forward-thinking leaders like those on our panel.

Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials grew up surrounded by technology, the internet, social media. They are generally competitive, yet collaborative, passionate, yet easily distracted and disengaged, career-minded yet focused on making a difference, driven yet fun-loving, always-reaching for instant gratification, while also insisting on work-life balance.

Millennials are great at creative problem solving, and have the confidence to see things through, despite obstacles. Their can-do attitude, collaborative style, irreverence for titles of authority and fearless approach to problem-solving make them dynamic, energetic staff members who can add energy and diversity to a team, when managed well, and discord and hard feelings and fractionism if managed badly.

It is a challenge for corporate leaders recruit, retain and develop them. Some successful strategies include: 1) creating a culture that’s energetic and exciting, and work that is meaningful, 2) creating challenging opportunities for advancement and growth, while making a difference, 3) offering the ability to work flexible hours and work from home, to accommodate the interests and travel schedules of millennials, 4) providing opportunities for connections to leaders at all levels, and mentorship and growth opportunities that would stretch them, and 5) promoting and supporting the short-term advancement and growth of millennials. With these generalities in mind, remember that every company and every individual is different and as managers and leaders who factor in the needs and opportunities of individual team members will most likely succeed.

Below is advice offered by our panel on how to best manage and work with millennials:

  • Although stereotypes and understanding classes of people help in some measures, stop over-generalizing who millennials or any other class of people are. Treat everyone as individuals who have the same focus – being successful and happy, and help each one get from here to there. Help each person focus on delivering on their short-term goals while keeping an eye on their long-term goals.
  • Explain how each role and function contributes to the bigger picture, the larger goal for the team and company and industry.
  • Teach them the value of staying humble, and model the way.
  • Encourage them to accept leadership opportunities for community groups and causes for which they feel passionate.

Below is advice for leaders from all generations:

  • Make the time to build relationships at all levels, across both genders, across all generations, inside and outside of work.
  • People who give 110% effort in all assignments and produce measurable results stand out in a good way over those who give half-hearted efforts. They will be the ones who will be given progressively more responsible and interesting roles and tasks.
  • Be proactive and take initiative, but also be sensitive of how others might interpret it if you are overly eager and enthusiastic.
  • Be eager to contribute, yet patient about getting the opportunity to do so in a way that would stretch you and best contribute.
  • In communicating your brand and considering social media, use your best judgment and put your best foot forward. In addition, focus on what you want, not comparing yourself necessarily with others.
  • Take the time to know yourself and your strengths and aspirations. Use the magic of who you are to communicate your value-add and reach for those stretch opportunities that would help you grow.
  • Build on your transferable skills which can be taken into many different roles, functions, companies and industries, including: Communicating, Problem-Solving, Customer Service, Presentation, Skills, Management, etc.,
  • Know your long-term goal, but also accept that there will be a circuitous path to get there.

In the end, the millennials will affect the way we work and live, just now reaching 50% of he workforce. The workforce will be forever changed – it will be more informal, more collaborative, more innovative and creative, with fewer organizational layers. How will these changes impact YOU?


Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s June 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst and our gracious hosts at Juniper.

Facilitator Pat Cross, Cross Apps
Panelist Gina Diaz, Director, License Management Services – Enterprise Accounts, Oracle Corporation
Panelist Camila Franco, Manager Product Management, StubHub
Panelist Marjorie Glover, Regional Director, Inside Sales Americas, Dell
Panelist Van B. Nguyen, Program ​Manager – University Talent Program, Juniper Networks
Panelist Christine Nguyen Vaeth, Global Services Marketing, Workday

Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors

May 11, 2015

May8PanelFountainBlue’s May 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panel was varied in terms of backgrounds and experience yet they consistently: 1) clearly communicated the value of mentorship, 2) candidly shared their experience and knowledge in ways that were inspiring as well as practical, 3) showed their openness, persistence and passion around both people and leadership, 4) consistently chose to embrace the serendipitously opportunities which arose and 5) modeled the way for fearlessly and courageously and continually raising the bar for themselves and those with whom they connect.

Below is advice they have regarding how to leverage mentorship to support your career and life goals.

  1. Know what you want and why you want it and then decide with whom you should connect. Being specific about what you need to optimize work, behavior and communication etc., while keeping an eye on your overarching goal might help you with both your short-term and your long-term goals.
    1. Know your blind-spots and areas of weakness/less preference and complement yourself with people who can help you fill the gaps.
  2. Be authentic and genuine in your communications. Focus on building relationships based on trust to a wide variety of people.
  3. Accept all stretch goals within reason, and if you have a purpose for it. It will help you see yourself and your world in a different way.
  4. In the same token, embrace diversity – people and things around you who are not-like-you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it can have the up-side of being another kind of stretch goal for yourself.
    1. For example, every company has a different DNA, so if you move companies, embrace the opportunity to meet peers and others who can help you get integrated with the-way-things are done.
    2. Another example is that Millennials have so much to teach us in their team orientation, in their perspective about the leaders-in-charge, in their sometimes forward, unapologetic approach to solving problems. There are learnings there, especially if their mindset makes you feel uncomfortable.
  5. Be ever open, ever persistent, ever out-wardly focused, ever focused on paying it forward.
    1. Take the perspective that you can learn something from everyone.
  6. Be ever influencing who is in your sphere and how you are influencing others in your sphere, while expanding your reach selectively.
  7. Find and speak your voice, for the purpose of growing and sharing your knowledge, wisdom, brand and network.
  8. Look for different kinds of mentors, sponsors, coaches and allies, and leverage them for different reasons, while always keeping an eye out on ‘what’s in it for them’.
  9. Always look for and create win-win experiences for all. This is much more important than whether it’s a structured or unstructured mentoring relationship.
  10. Change is hard and inevitable. Having the right people with you and for you – those who help you embrace who you are *and* who you’d like to become – supports the journey for all.

In the end, YOU are the person who owns your career path and your success. So shape your experiences, plans and outcomes and take responsibility for it.


FountainBlue’s May 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors, and featured:

Facilitator Jacqueline Wales, Advisor, Author, Speaker, INNERFLUENCE and The Fearless Factor

Panelist Shaya Fathali, Sr. Manager, Technical Communications, Altera

Panelist Tonie Hansen, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, NVIDIA

Panelist Yasmeen Jafari, HR Business Partner, Intuitive Surgical

Panelist Leila Pourhashemi, Head of Product Operations, eBay Marketplaces

Panelist Ching Valdezco, Director, Strategy and Planning, HP Enterprise Services

Panelist Shobhana Viswanathan, Director of Product Marketing, Neustar, Inc.

Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at eBay.

Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand

April 10, 2015

April9PanelFountainBlue’s April 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have inspiring, authentic, practical, courageous and resilient panelists who spoke so candidly about their brand and their work challenges and experiences. They ran the gamut, representing marketing, legal, sales, HR and everything in between, and they came from all walks of life, a myriad of life experiences.

It was remarkable when they spoke of their initial business experiences and the learnings they had from those experiences. It showed how women like those on the panel paved the way for the rest of us, and also that we have come so far so fast in the business and leadership world, so there is much to celebrate!

From their personal and professional experiences, they each began to understand and articulate their brand, with the intent of becoming more effective at what they wanted to become, what they wanted to achieve. The road was rocky at best, but resilience and perseverance were a hallmark of strength for each of our panelists, as they model how we can each remain consciously authentic to our brand, while also remaining in alignment with the goals of our company and our team.

They each advised in different ways that we should seek alignment with the company we select, so that we can bring out the passion in ourselves and in those around us. Alignment is not an easy thing to keep, especially when there will be others who will challenge us and push us to doing something with which we don’t feel comfortable. But finding the support, resilience and strength to stand by your values and principles will lead to your internal happiness and also to a more positive perception others have of you, and the effectiveness and value you bring to the table.

The panelists ended by speaking about the business and technology trends ahead: Expect that the pace of change will accelerate, so be agile and embrace the chaos. Be nimble, transparent and open.

So whether you stumble into your brand by consistently being who you are, or consciously shift your brand as you move from one place/position/role/company to another, make stretch goals for yourself and those around you and authentically pursue those goals, accepting that fear is a given, and failure sets you up for the next success.


April9AudiencePlease join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s April 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand, and our hosts at Polycom:

Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue

Panelist Barbara Adey, Vice President of Business Development, HP

Panelist Amy Rubin Friel, Marketing Director, Nokia Technologies

Panelist Margaret Hughes – Sr. Director, NA Field & Channel Marketing, Dell Cloud client-computing

Panelist Laura Owen, Chief Human Resource Officer, Polycom


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