Archive for the ‘When She Speaks’ Category

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

Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career

March 20, 2015

March20Attendee (7)FountainBlue’s March 20 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panel represented leaders from many different backgrounds across education, companies, industries and cultural backgrounds. But they have all consciously and proactively managed their careers, choosing and creating different roles and opportunities along the way. They generously shared their advice and kernels of wisdom.

  1. Know yourself – who you are, what you’re good at, what you’d like to do, where you’d like to go, consciously stretching yourself as you go. Consciously build a skillset and a mindset so that you can move quickly and agilely and land on your feet.
  2. Learn from your mistakes, and use those learnings to be wiser and stronger. Learn from mentors, advocates and supporters and also from people who don’t-think-like-you.
  3. Support the growth of others around you, for their success benefits all.
  4. Build relationships at all levels at all times. Lean toward working for someone who understands your core competencies and strengths, and believes in you and supports you in doing something new.
  5. Be open to the opportunities that appear in front of you, and also to opportunities which you could create yourself.
  6. Change will happen – you will change, the management will change, the technology will change. Be nimble and agile enough to manage and even anticipate changes in everything from technology to management.
  7. Be good at what you do, using effective, transparent communication, hard work and persistence to generate measurable results.
  8. Embrace the opportunity to learn from people across regions, across cultures, across roles, across industries . . . As a good listener, we can address the motivations and desires of the wide range of people we serve, no matter what our role or title is.
  9. Integrate the needs of the family, with that of their own professional goals, career opportunities will come and go but family is here to stay. In fact, having a child helps you raise the bar at work – it’s got to be a fulfilling, worthwhile job to be worth the time away from your kids.
  10. Position yourself for doing what’s new, based on what you’ve successfully done before, and purposefully stretch in new areas so that you can continue to grow.

The tech industries is evolving more quickly now, so agility will become much more critical going forward. Knowing what technologies are hot, what industries are worth pursuing, where you fit with the market and customer needs will help you proactively navigate your career.March20Attendee (6)March20Attendee (5)

Please join us in thanking our panelists for our Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career, and our hosts at Cypress.

Facilitator Nancy McKereghan, Founder and CEO, Tangerine+

Panelist Sara Hepner, IIG Worldwide Sales Operations, Planning, and Development, EMC

Panelist Bien Irace, Senior Vice-President, Strategic Alliances and Partnership, Cypress Semiconductor

Panelist Judy Priest, Distinguished Engineer, Data Center CTO Office, Cisco Systems

Panelist Shilpa Vir, Lead Product Manager, eBay Inc

Panelist Josie Zimmermann, Director, Brand Amplification, Juniper Networks

Expanding Your Circle of Influence, With or Without Direct Authority

February 20, 2015

FebPanelFountainBlue’s February 20 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence, With or Without Direct Authority. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of panelists to cover our influence topic, representing an educational and operational background in engineering, marketing, program management, business development, and alliances. They’ve worked in companies large and small, and with execs at all levels, including the executive suites, and across all industries, geographies and roles. Our panelists generously shared their advice on expanding influence.

Relationships Matter

  • Build deep and meaningful relationships with people who matter. Understand their motivations and communicate clearly and transparently, working toward a common objective.
  • Be authentic in your communication and caring in your outlook.

Communication is Paramount

  • Be passionate in your thinking, communication and actions in order to engage others to do the same.
  • Ask the right questions to make sure that you understand the needs and motivations of your stakeholders.
  • Communication is more about listening than it is about speaking.
  • Ask for the support you need to succeed.
  • Using ‘I’ language is less threatening.

Be Strategic

  • Regardless of where you sit at the table, what your role and title are, what your responsibility is, etc., make a difference with what you think, say and do.
  • Do your research to understand the people, the dynamics, the company, etc., in order to best understand which measurable results would most matter to customers.
  • Pre-meetings before the actual meetings may help you better manage an outcome.

Focus on Delivering Results

  • Communicate clearly in writing and enlist the buy-in, focused on delivering specific results.
  • Put the needs of the team above your own needs in your thoughts, words and actions.

Manage Your Emotions

  • Manage your emotions so maintain the respect of others, especially when stakes are high. Try rolling your tongue at the back of your teeth if you feel tears, or curling your toes and standing taller.
  • Separate yourself from the situation and try to understand the feelings and motivations of others.
  • Remember that what’s more important than being right is the good of the team, and the results delivered by the team.
  • Sometimes when emotions run high, the best move is to let it go and carry on.

Be Other-Centric

  • The needs of the customer are paramount. Deliver to those needs and keep them happy.
  • Speak the language of your partners – in messages and communications they can understand and respect.
  • Wield Your Influence with Care. If you get things done you will get noticed and will likely influence others without your awareness.

A suggested multi-step process for influencing an outcome:

1) assess the situation – what’s the influencing style? analyst, driver, collaborator, etc.

2) remove the barriers – territory, language, biases

3) making the pitch – problem, causes, recommendation/actions, benefits (PCAN – credit Wharton)

4) getting the commitment – in writing, with an accountability element and peer/social pressure

Please join us in thanking our hosts at EMC and our panelists for FountainBlue’s February 20 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence, With or Without Direct Authority:

  • Facilitator Lucie Newcomb, NewComm Global
  • Panelist Ellen Butler, Director, CxO Thought Leadership & Content, VMware
  • Panelist Minoo Gupta, Senior Director of Engineering, CITRIX
  • Panelist Maria Schaffer, former Cisco
  • Panelist Jennifer Stephenson, Software Product Manager, Altera

How to Throw More Balls Up Higher: Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Times

January 17, 2015

JanPanelFountainBlue’s January 16 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of How to Throw More Balls Up Higher: Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Times. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of panelists to cover our work-life integration topic. They had different educational backgrounds, career paths, and family choices. They each lead from a different role, in a different tech company. Yet they also had much in common: 1) they chose to work in tech companies and rose to positions of influence within these companies; 2) they chose to complement their work life with a full calendar of responsibilities and commitments outside work, including family; 3) they made tough choices when they needed to; and 4) they freely and generously shared their stories and words of advice with us.

They told us collectively to:

Make the Right Career Choices

  1. Choose a job and role for which you have a passion and have skills to contribute.
  2. Work with managers and companies which would help you achieve your personal and professional objectives.

Continue to Grow

  1. Seize every opportunity to learn and grow. Be open to experiencing new things and new perspectives. But be realistic about managing the time and responsibilities to ensure that you can succeed if you take on *too* much.
  2. Manage life like a roller coaster – things go in waves, in ebbs and flows. Give a little here, take a little there, and choose to intentionally coast sometimes.
  3. Learn from your mentors, sponsors and others around you.
  4. Lower your standards and broaden your perspective if that would help better integrate work and life.
  5. Learn to ask for help. And be prepared to also help others. Above all, don’t judge yourself or others for needing help.
  6. Make and take the time for yourself, so that you can be more ‘present’ and ‘prepared’ for the other things of importance.
  7. Surround yourself with the network of people who will believe in you, be there for you, and accept you. Beware those who would judge you for the choices you make.

Get the Support You Need

  1. Enlist the help of others around you, especially for delegating the less important things.
  2. Clear and transparent communication between work, home, community, parent, and other parties will help you navigate a path to success, even when circumstances are difficult.
  3. Set clear boundaries and expectations on all sides, and live by those boundaries, while also remaining fluid about them as your priorities will evolve and change.
  4. Leverage technology to facilitate efficiency and communication and results.
  5. Leverage Employee Assistance Programs, and other corporate offerings which may help you navigate a particularly difficult time in your life.

The biggest takeaway is that we are not alone. Nobody has it all, all the time. But investing in yourself and getting support for all that you do will help you manage your work-life integration objectives.

Please join us in thanking our hosts at Dell and our speakers for FountainBlue’s January 16 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of How to Throw More Balls Up Higher: Juggling Work-Life Balance in Demanding Times:

  • Facilitator Jerri Barrett, Vice President of Outreach, SENS Research Foundation
  • Panelist Maryam Alexandrian – VP Global Sales, Channels & Field Ops, Dell Inc
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Principal Engineer, Chief Architect’s Office – Development, Cisco
  • Panelist Sondra Bollar, Software Development Director, Oracle
  • Panelist Niki Hall, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Polycom
  • Panelist Vijaya Voleti, Senior Engineering Manager, PayPal

Getting The Most Out of You and Your Team

December 13, 2014

Dec12Panel2FountainBlue’s December 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Getting the Most Out of You and Your Team. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have impassioned, articulate and inspiring speakers on our panel, representing a range of perspectives and approaches to the leadership and management of teams. They represent different backgrounds and career paths, different styles and experiences, yet they had much in common:

  • They did not necessary plan to be managers or leaders, yet they figured out how to successful lead and manage, and discovered that working with a team helps people achieve more than they could as an individual contributor, no matter how brilliant they were in that role.
  • They always put their team first, and took the time to build relationships, understand the needs of the people they work with, and advocate for the support and resources so that each member and the whole team succeeds.
  • They understand their own strengths and weaknesses and that of their team members, and worked with their teams so that they collaboratively deliver results.

Below is advice offered by this wise and experienced panel:

  • Develop your learnings and expertise – there is no substitute. It will help you be confident and persistent and garner the respect and admiration of the right people.
  • Help set the direction and priorities, and let your team members figure out how they can deliver on it. Separating the what and the how helps leaders go from good to great.
  • Trust your team to deliver. And respond appropriate if they do or do not.
  • Raise the bar high and give people stretch goals to keep them motivated, committed and connected.
  • Be positive and transparent and authentic in your communications – it’s all about relationships.
  • Walk the talk and model the way – show others how they can be proactive and productive despite challenging situations.
  • Really care about each team member, in thoughts and words and actions. Be compassionate and flexible, especially with your high-performers.
  • Share the credit for success, accept the responsibility for challenges.
  • Find the support you need so you can focus on the larger picture. Mentors and sponsors can help to do that. Having support at many levels will help you think through the problems you’re facing and the options for resolving those issues.
  • Give people on your team the opportunities to grow and lead and stretch.
  • Establish, communicate, respond to ground rules. The team should know why they are there and what the consequences are for breaking them.
  • It’s not so much about gender or style or knowledge, but about what you do and what results you provide. Focus on the tasks at hand and why you’re doing what with whom, and the other stuff will take care of themselves.

The bottom line is to be open to and prepared for change – for yourself and for members of your team. Change is not personal but happens to a company all the time, especially in industries that are fast-moving like tech! Help your people to respond proactively and positively to changes.

And in order to lead through change managers and leaders must be likable – the kind of authentic, transparent and trustworthy leaders who put others in their thoughts, speak clearly of their intentions and follow through on their projects and programs, delivering tangible results.

Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Applied Materials, our partners at UCSC Extension, and our panelists for FountainBlue’s December 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Getting the Most Out of You and Your Team:

Facilitator Christina Trampota, Managing Partner, CGM Squared

Panelist Azlina Ahmad, Sr. Director of Engineering, Violin Memory

Panelist Chunshi Cui, Business Development Director, Dielectric CVD Division, Applied Materials

Panelist Kamini Dandapani, Director of Engineering, LinkedIn

Panelist Lakshimi Duraivenkatesh, Director of Engineering, Retail Promotions Platform, eBay Inc


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