Archive for the ‘When She Speaks’ Category

Career Agility

July 18, 2016

July15WSSSFPanelFountainBlue’s July 15 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership in SF event was on the topic of Agility: The Key to a Successful Career. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have such a dynamic panel of women leaders representing disparate roles and companies. Each panelist had a compelling perspective, a poignant voice, and each authentically, candidly and generously shared their journey and their learnings. They had the following in common:

  • They all started out with something small, which grew as they succeeded at each opportunity. Sometimes that led into deeper responsibility in similar roles, and sometimes to something different altogether.
  • They got noticed for their abilities by those who mattered, and these people were able to craft opportunities for them which were able to further stretch them, and the organization as well.
  • They fearlessly embraced the unknowns as they strove to become fully realized beings. They plowed ahead despite the fear. Their go-for-it mentality inspires us all.
  • They know their priorities and their values and don’t compromise on them. 
  • They know their strengths and select opportunities which allow them to lead with their strong suit(s).
  • They insist on always growing and learning – for themselves and for those around them.
  • They make sure that they add value wherever they’re working, whatever their job description. 
  • They are passionate about what they do and consistently stretch themselves and others on how it’s done.
  • They are curious and open-minded about the perspectives of those not-like-themselves.

Below is advice that they shared with us regarding embracing opportunities to advance and realize your professional potential.

  • They wisely touted the usefulness of a full and broad network which helps gain both access and perspective. But a network is also a two-way street, and they generously reach out, give back, mentor and support others in their network as well.
  • They repeatedly mentioned that we must all know what our brand is – what we do for whom and why we are passionate about doing so. Being cognizant of your brand and proactively reaching for what’s next can help you transcend from one job to another, from one role to another, from one industry to another.
  • Be aware of what you’re looking for, and be specific about what you’re looking for, so that others around you can help you realize that vision. 
  • Wherever you are is where you are meant to be, unless you decide it no longer is. Then it’s on you to do something about it.
  • The best lessons in life are often the hardest lessons. Learning from these tough lessons will make you more agile, more resilient, more effective. 
  • Choose opportunities and lessons which would expand your knowledge and perspective. Hiring and working with people not-like-you is a good way to do so, as is traveling to places before unknown.
  • Walk a mile in the shoes of others so that you can support them in their journey as well. With that said, watch your back and don’t succumb to the manipulative games of self-serving others.
  • Work hard, do good work, work your brand, and seize the opportunities that present themselves to you. Being prepared helps set yourself up for receiving lucky opportunities and having courage helps you to open the door when someone or something’s knocking!

Below is advice for those looking at what’s next for themselves career-wise.

  • When you’re looking for what’s next for yourself career wise, reach for what you’re looking for and make the case on why you are the best candidate for the role.
  • Ask for help from others – nobody is ever alone, unless they elect to be that way, or allow themselves to think that way.
  • Be positive, always gravitate to something rather than running away from something!
  • Stare down the worst fears. Break it down so that you understand the fear, and let others help you gain a perspective beyond the fear. 
  • Compromise on the little things (it might be title, salary, corner office etc.,) so that you can reach for the things that really matter to you (impact, passion, result, growing something from nothing, independence).
  • Sometimes career agility must take place from the employer side. Be creative in finding ways to keep top talent engaged and present
  • As you’re hiring, consider the skill side (what someone can do) and the style side (how they get things done). Training on skills is easier than training on passion and coachability. 

Our dynamic and amazing panelists are challenging us to to be career-agile, to reach high to be all you can be, first by knowing yourself, then by constantly reaching and growing yourself and all those around you. 

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Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 15 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership in SF event, on the topic of Agility: The Key to a Successful Career as well as our gracious hosts at StubHub! 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Coach, Adviser and Consultant 
  • Panelist Laura (Danckwerth) Bermudez, Director of Software Development for StubHub Social & President of eBay Women In Technology
  • Panelist Melissa Daimler, Head of Learning + Organizational Development, Twitter
  • Panelist Carole Gum, VP Global Campaigns, AppDynamics
  • Panelist Alexandra Shapiro, SVP, Marketing, PR and Communications, Bigcommerce
  • Panelist Miriam Warren, VP of New Markets, Yelp

Social Media

July 3, 2016

July1WSSPanel.pngFountainBlue’s July 1 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Social Media for Work and Play. Below are notes from the conversation. 

Our panelists this month represented a wide range of companies, educational backgrounds and experiences, yet each had extensive experience and perspectives around social media.

Our panelists are experienced professionals with distinct perspectives around leveraging social media for work and play, and they generously shared some common best practices.

They each actively and consciously leveraged social media in their day-to-day activities to build relationships, to share their brand, to keep in touch with others in their network, and also for pure enjoyment. 

Each panelist recognized that the different social media tools serve different purposes, and that each individual has different objectives. So key to knowing what tool to use to communicate what message is to understand what your goals are – whether it’s a social goal of staying connected with family who are spread out, or extending a corporate message to strategic partners.

Whereas LinkedIn is a must-have for all professionals, open to those well beyond your immediate network, FaceBook and Instagram are more social platforms for more personal communications with messages more intended for friends.

Whereas blog tools like Medium and WordPress are platforms for communicating a brand and message, tools like Slack and Yammer are designed for social interactions between an established group, to build connections between teams who work in different locations for example.

A tool like Twitter can be used to perpetuate a corporate message, and also to add a personal and social element to that professional brand. Our panel mentioned some interesting and creative tools which you might consider for your company.

  • LinkedIn provides a background and history of a professional career, complete with testimonials, allegiances, educational background etc. Every professional should have a profile, and link to fellow professionals whom they know and trust. 
  • WeChat and WhatsApp can be used to connect to message between people who are far apart.
  • WordPress and Medium and other blog sites are great platforms for spreading your message and your brand.
  • YouTube can help communicate deep technical issues or share presentations and information easily online.
  • Wikipedia may be used as a platform to share deep technical expertise.
  • Scoop.it helps compile written and curated data on the same theme, by the same group or individual.

Because there are so many options to use social media, companies need to proactively manage the corporate and product brand. It helps to have a handbook and agreement and a regularly-updated message about what to say and how to say it, but in the end, professionals must trust that employees know how to exercise good judgment and use discretion as their words and actions may reflect badly on themselves, their teams, their products/services. 

Marketing and PR teams may also work closely with executives to draft communications and messages, and also provide a handbook to the general staff on approved company communications policies and practices.

The bottom line is that social media is great when it helps you expand and grow your network and your brand, and not so great when the message and consequences are not as intended. Proactively managing your brand and thoughtfully communicating through these platforms would help you get more consistently positive results.

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Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 1 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Social Media for Work and Play and our gracious hosts at Synaptics.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Executive Coach, Tech Adviser and Leadership Consultant
  • Panelist Stefana Hunyady, Sr. Director, CPI Horizontal Programs, PayPal CTO office
  • Panelist Ann Minooka, Sr. Director of Marketing and Communications, Synaptics
  • Panelist Laura Padilla, Senior Director Technology Alliances, Nutanix
  • Panelist Heather Sullivan, Vice President & Head of HR – Global Innovation Center, Samsung Electronics

Millennials

June 11, 2016

Event

FountainBlue’s June 10 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Embracing Our Multi-Generational Workforce.   Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a broad representation of business, company and technical leaders on our panel, all with in-depth experience working with millennials, and who are generously shared their perspectives on how to successfully work with a multi-generational workforce.

Our panelists agreed that millennials are already an important segment of the work population, and will become increasingly more so, as more move into the workforce, and others leave the workforce. These digital natives are re-shaping the way we live and work in many ways:

  • Tech-based devices and applications are now a part of our life and work. It’s hard to imagine our lives without social media, without texting, without real-time notifications, on digital devices which are never far from us.
  • We are more freely questioning the-way-things-are-done, and invite new and better processes, technologies, approaches and systems… because we can.
  • We are ever more curious about the why of everything, and use that curiosity to seek understanding, and possibly to seek solutions to an existing or emerging problem.
  • Social justice, environmental responsibility, and doing the right thing are becoming a big part of who we are, what we do. Companies which both say the right things in this regard, and act on that resolve are resonating more with their larger community – from employees to partners to customers.
  • Collaborations and partnerships are increasingly becoming more accepted. Indeed, the layout of office space reflects this shift in mentality.

Because these changes are happening, below are suggestions on how we can embrace the mindsets of millennials into the workforce.

  • If more of us are inviting more challenging and meaningful work, invite people to create and lead projects which do make that difference.
  • Invite active participation in corporate activities that support the community overall.
  • If we challenge people to question the status-quo and invite them to design new ways of doing things, positive transformations can take place, transformations which are both easily adopted, and which also directly impact the bottom line, as well as employee engagement.
  • If we focus more on impact and purpose than on title and compensation (not that these aren’t important), you would be more likely to recruit, retain and development the best people.
  • If you continually raise the bar and keep work interesting and challenging, if you reward based on performance, you will also recruit, retain and development the best people.

The conclusion is that millennials are in general well worth the time and investment. Mentoring and training the best of our millennials on how to better communicate and lead is an investment in our future.

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Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at NVIDIA and our panelists for FountainBlue’s June 10 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Embracing Our Multi-Generational Workforce. 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue, VP of Professional Services, IQVIS
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Principal Engineer, Cisco Systems
  • Panelist Tonie Hansen, Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, NVIDIA  
  • Panelist Charu Madan, Head of Business Development and Partnerships, DataTorrent, Inc.
  • Panelist Yezhisai Murugesan, Architecture Engineer, NVIDIA
  • Panelist Lucia Turpin, Senior Director for IT Governance and Strategy, Polycom

Mentors

May 16, 2016

WSSMentors051216FountainBlue’s May 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors. 

We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives, and who so graciously shared their wisdom and experience, stories and advice. Below is their collective advice and recommendations.

Know yourself.

  • Know yourself and your value-add. What can you do better than what other people can do, and how can you leverage that for the good of the project, the good of the team.

Stretch yourself.

  • Consider becoming a mentor, for it energizes you, helps you see new perspectives and also what’s next.
  • Embrace opportunities for continuous learning.
  • Be the kind of stand-out employee who gets noticed for consistently, energetically and good-naturedly deliver quality results, no matter what you are asked to do. This way, the right people will notice you and consider you for positions that would stretch you in good ways.
  • Be open and curious and outwardly facing, and connect with people who can help you remain that way, whether they are mentors, mentee, sponsors, champions, advocates or others.
  • Look for opportunities for continuous learning, which may make you feel uncomfortable at times. Putting yourself front and center may be an initiation by bonfire, but it will tell you and others ways you can shine, and also ways you can grow.
  • If you’re interested in advancing, take the time to know the executives in your company as she/he would be in a position to recommend you for a position or a project which you might not know about, and which might stretch you in a great way.
  • Consider hiring a coach who would help you better understand your value-add, your response to group and team dynamics, your current challenges and opportunities. He or she may help you create a proactive plan for your career and your future, and also be an accountability partner for you as you execute that plan.
  • Be worthy of champions and advocates by performing well at work, delivering measurable results, and treating others with respect and support. Any number of these advocates and champions may give you the time, energy, dollars, resources, connections etc., that you may need to make something happen.
  • Consciously choose to work with people not-like-you, as a mentor, as a mentee, as a boss, as a colleague etc. She or he would help you see things in a broader and deeper and different way.
  • Invite opportunities to connect with customers and understand their current and anticipated needs, regardless of what role you have within a company.
  • Be curious about why things are not working or responding as expected. Ask the right questions of the right people and learn the whys behind it. 
  • Bring your A Game, every time, all the time. Especially when things are really challenging and you just don’t feel like it!
  • Be hungry – don’t settle for more of what you’ve got, but invite opportunities to do more, be more!
  • Keep seeking all different types of mentorship and learning opportunities.
  • If you’d like to move forward, don’t look down, look up and around, and work with people who can help you do that.

Understand the world you’re working in.

  • Do the market research and learn about what’s new and what’s next so that you can stay ahead of the curve.
  • Align corporate goals, mandates and objectives from a strategic and a tactical perspective and continue to measure results.
  • Look beyond where you are to the future of technology, the future of industry, the future needs of the customer.

Remember that it’s always about the people.

  • Relationships come first and foremost. 
  • Connect with people beyond your day-to-day circle so that you can see new perspectives and opportunities.
  • Choose to work with people who would accelerate your growth, while you are accelerating their’s.
  • Find a mentor/mentee with whom you can build a long-term, productive, win-win relationship. There are many different kinds of mentors and mentoring relationships, and many ways both sides can benefit from these relationships. Work proactively with your mentor/mentee to ensure that it’s a positive win-win relationship across roles, companies, time.
  • Take the WIIFM perspective – What’s in it for me? – Ask yourself the question how are you helping your boss and her/his boss? 
  • Pay it forward. Find every opportunity to give back.

Resources onlilne:

  • Thank you to Erna Arnesen for sharing the following: 

    • Blank form for mentee to complete 
    • A sample completed mentoring session form
    • Sample of a reverse mentorng form, courtesy of Erna Arnesen
    • Sample Mentor Mentee Agreement 
  • Thank you to Laura Owen who shared the following:

    • Polycom’s mentoring program and mentoring guide
  • 22 Quotes to Help Boost Your Mentoring Prowess, Inc. Magazine

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Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s May 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Standing on the Shoulders of Mentors as well as our gracious hosts at Polycom.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Executive Coach, Tech Adviser and Leadership Consultant
  • Panelist Erna Arnesen, former VP, Global Channel and Field Marketing, Plantronics
  • Panelist Jocelyn King, Sr Director, Programmable Solutions Group Marketing, Intel Corporation
  • Panelist Laura Owen, Chief Human Resources Officer, Polycom
  • Panelist Gail Rahn Frederick, Senior Director, Developer Ecosystem and Services, eBay

Creating and Managing Your Executive Brand

April 10, 2016

AprilPanel.jpg

FountainBlue’s April 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Creating and Managing Your Executive Brand.  We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives who so graciously shared their wisdom and experience on the topic of Creating and Managing Your Executive Brand. Below is their collective advice and recommendations.

  • Know yourself – who you are, what you like, what your values are and find work and personal pursuits which are in alignment with same.
  • Do well at what you choose to do and communicate your brand based on what you do well.
  • With that said, intentionally decide what you will do, and only do what is in alignment with who you are, what you stand for, what you want to accomplish in life and work.
  • Do regular assessments to make sure that you’re in alignment, so that you don’t keep doing things that aren’t important to you, even if you do them well!
  • Know how you’d like to be perceived and how you actually are perceived with tools like 360s. Figure out how to close the gap between desired and actual perception.
  • Be curious when something doesn’t seem to feel or fit well and find a fix to get back in alignment.
  • Having a network of trusted others who are invested in your success will help you stay grounded in this regard.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone – embrace those continuous learning opportunities and learn from your mistakes. Applying your transferable skills in new ways will help you stretch and grow yourself and your brand.
  • Doing things well and right is almost always good, but treating people well and right is always the right thing. People will remember how you made them feel more and longer than whether you were the one who got it right.
  • Develop your emotional intelligence so that you can better handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically as it will help your brand.
  • How you got here isn’t necessarily what will bring you to the next level. In other words, checking off boxes of achievements, from tackling projects and writing programs to getting your MBA and completing integrations, may not be sufficient to get that promotion or that juicy new project. Bringing out your authentic self, investing in people, and developing your soft skills will help you leave people better off, will help you be perceived and considered as a better leader.
  • Develop a reputation for being trustworthy, especially when a company is going through a lot of change.
  • To intentionally build your brand in the industry, gain expertise and perform well, then go beyond your own company. Publish and present papers, participate in panel discussions, volunteer, stand up for causes you care about, all in alignment with the bigger message you’d like to communicate.

Resources:

  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goldman
  • “Emotional intelligence, more than any other factor, more than IQ or expertise, accounts for 85% to 90% of success at work . . . IQ is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional intelligence can.” Warren Bennis
  • The Complete Guide to Running 360 Reviews by Christian Vanek 

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FountainBlue’s April 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Creating and Managing Your Executive Brand. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Sandisk and our panelists!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Executive Coach, Tech Adviser and Leadership Consultant
  • Panelist Deepika Bajaj, Head of Marketing and Growth, Redlink Inc.
  • Panelist Hillary Barnhart, Senior Director, Business Operations, Applied Materials
  • Panelist Amy Rubin Friel, Head of Marketing and Product Management, Exciting New Stealth Business, Nokia Technologies
  • Panelist Michelle Ravn Appelqvist, Senior Director – Sales, Marketing, Product & Technology Legal, SanDisk Corporation

Agility: The Key to a Successful Career!

March 11, 2016

FountainBlue’s March 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Agility: The Key to a Successful Career!

March11Panelists

We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives who so graciously shared their wisdom and experience on the topic of career agility. They had many things in common:

  • Their self-awareness helped them to contemplate what they are doing professionally and their proactiveness helped them to forge a new path when it was time to do so.
  • Their courage, curiosity and burning desire to grow and evolve drove them to become increasingly better at what they do, and to diversify into new areas of need to companies and their customers.
  • They made false steps on occasion, and always learned from their experiences, without regrets.
  • They brought their learnings and perspectives into a new and richer role which was more right for them.
  • They ever focused on developing relationships with the broad spectrum of stakeholders around each role.
  • They worked and grew their brand as competent tech leaders who knew how to solve important problems in collaboration with others.

Below is their advice on how to make career-agile choices.

  • Know what you’re good at and what you want to do, as well as what you want to be known for.
  • Navigate the discrepancy between who you want to be and how you are perceived.
  • Develop relationships with all stakeholders and be in constant communication with those around you.
  • Incremental projects for the right team and leader may need to a larger, longer-term commitment.
  • Choose COOL work, COOL people, COOL company – as you see it. (It may not be just right for others for example.)
  • Choose to be with positive and supportive people who bring out the best in you.
  • With that said, also surround yourself with people who are not like you, but could complement you.
  • When starting something new, be curious, build relationships and understand expectations and stakeholders.
  • Accept your circumstances, change them, or leave. Don’t take the grouse path.
  • Choose to be learning-agile, hungry for knowledge and proactively plan your personal and professional development path.
  • Consider the opportunities which present themselves to you even if you don’t feel quite prepared for them, for you will learn as you go.

The bottom line is GO FOR IT, Don’t Settle. Contemplate what may be blocking you for being more than you are now, more even than you thought you could be. Embrace the learning opportunities which may appear as a result.

Resources:

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Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at eBay and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Executive Coach, Tech Adviser and Leadership Consultant 
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Principal Engineer, Cisco Systems 
  • Panelist Sondra Bollar, Senior Director of Software Development and Release Management in the Oracle Public Cloud, Oracle

  • Panelist Sarah Brubacher McDonald, Senior Director B2C Engagement, eBay 
  • Panelist Laura DeBacker, Senior Director, Leadership and Talent Development, Synaptics
  • Panelist SK Lau, Product Line Engineering Operations, Texas Instruments 

Expanding Your Circle of Influence

February 12, 2016

FebFountainBlueEvent

FountainBlue’s February 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence. We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives around what it takes to be influential and impactful within an organization. They agreed on the following:

  • Knowing who you are, what you’re passionate about, and being committed to delivering results and getting things done are the heart of every influential leader.
  • Communicating who you are and engaging and listing others in your web of influence to join in and support goals and objectives comes only after the first step, but is also critical.
  • Reaching for more breadth and experience, being open to new people and learnings helped make our panelists the successful and influential leaders they are.
  • Taking the high road, seeing the larger picture, and being open and accepting of others helps leaders navigate waters, which can be sometimes turbulent, especially when there’s a lot of change. And even when things are pretty stable, because of the nature of tech companies and the market changes overall, everyone needs to deal with a very diverse base of stakeholders. Learning the motivations of the audience, and communicating in a way they understand is also critical in order to be influential.

Below is advice from our panel for those who want to be more influential:

  • Don’t think that to be an influential you have to be a Dragon Lady. Be influential in a direct, positive, collaborative, win-for-all way.
  • In the same token, don’t hold back from trying to be influential because you want to be nice, because you don’t like conflict.
  • Get your facts straight and focus on the data to influence others on a course of action and decision.
  • Have a broad and deep network of connections, spinning a web across all those you touch. Use those connections to get the information, resources and connections you need to get work done!
  • Select a leadership team, company and culture that aligns well with your values, who you are, what you’re about.
  • Being trustworthy, authentic, goal-focused and direct will help make sure that you are worthy of the influence you wield.
  • Pick your battles. Know what you will focus on and change, work with what you can’t change. There will be those Dragon Ladies, those cows-in-the-road, but ignore and push forward to achieve that higher purpose. 

In the end, the heart of influence is a brand, a reputation for consistently and persistently delivering results, in a wide range of roles and settings.

MayaAngelouQuoteOnChange

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Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s February 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence and our gracious hosts at Dell.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Coach, Adviser and Consultant
  • Panelist Megan Bozio, Sr. Director, Global Key Accounts Program Office, Oracle
  • Panelist Karen Randig, Director of Finance, Dell 
  • Panelist Nithya Ruff, Head of Open Source Strategy Office, SanDisk, President for Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) at SanDisk

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! 

Jan2016Panel

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

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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.

Dec11WSSCollage

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.

Resource:


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


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