Archive for the ‘When She Speaks’ Category

Managing Up, Down and Sideways

June 11, 2018

20180609_065314-COLLAGE

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

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

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

Know yourself, and put yourself first.

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

Be strategic.

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

Never settle.

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

Support each other.

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

Select stellar leaders and companies to work for.

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

Put your people first.

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

Communicate clearly and transparently.

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

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

Resources:

  • What Motivates Me
  • Grace Hopper Conference
  • Watermark

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

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

20180608_115935IMG_20180608_125154IMG_20180608_125251

Advertisements

Men Who Open Doors

May 14, 2018
MenWhoOpenDoors

Left to right: Janice Le, Michael Dickman, Ganesh Srinivasan, Ash Chowdappa, Linda Holroyd, Gopal Kumarappan, and Jatinder Narang

FountainBlue’s May 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Men Who Open Doors. Below are notes from the conversation. Our panelists represented a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, and a wide range of roles and organizations. But they had much in common.

  • They had strong women in their lives who helped them understand the value of having women on teams and in their lives.
  • They fully understand the business case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and are passionate and frequent advocates.
  • But beyond the data, they each make the choice to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

Our panelists each consistently focused on sponsoring and supporting women in the workplace and pointed to the business case for doing so. The benefits mentioned included:

  • the increased diversity of thought from heterogenous teams, which can lead to innovation
  • the improved decision-making abilities of diverse teams
  • the increased creativity and increased amount of different ideas presented when brainstorming and problem-solving
  • the improved productivity and morale
  • the greater likelihood of reflecting the customer base you serve and the local community

Their collective advice to those who seek sponsors for their careers is highlighted below:

  • Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities which may arise.
  • Be consistently confident, competent and courageous, regardless of whether you’re seeking a sponsor.
  • Own what YOU can control – your experience, your results, your brand – while you’re waiting for the opportunity to be recognized by others.
  • Be your authentic self. Don’t think that you have to change who you are to succeed. Find a way to succeed by being uniquely you.
  • Make an informed and specific ask when the timing is right. Know who to ask for help, and why he/she is the best person to ask.
  • Work together and help each other be successful – in work and in life.
  • When you’re given an opportunity, be diligent, hard-working, open and eager person, passionate about generating measurable results.
  • Communicate openly and transparently and be worthy of the trust of others.
  • Select the right mentor and sponsor for you, based on what you need at the time.

Their collective advice for building more sponsors and mentors and leaders in their organization is highlighted below.

  • Work on changing the mindset of the executives in charge. 
  • Understand your own unconscious biases and those of other executives in the organization. You may have to overcome these biases to bring more sponsors and leaders to the team.
  • Pay it forward, in honor of those who did the little and big things to help YOU get to where you are.
  • Lead by example and model the way. As Mahatma Gandhi would say ‘Be the Change you want to see.’

Our parting thought is that we all have the power to impact others around us and support their growth. Take the mindset that working with and for others benefits everyone.

=====

Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Aruba and our panelists for our May 11 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Men Who Open Doors!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Ash Chowdappa, VP & GM, Aruba Wireless LAN at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
  • Panelist Michael Dickman, VP, Product Line Management, Aruba HPE
  • Panelist Gopal Kumarappan, VP Software Engineering, AppDynamics
  • Panelist Jatinder Narang, Senior Director – Finance, Western Digital
  • Panelist Ganesh Srinivasan, General Manager, Power Management, Texas Instruments
  • with an introduction by Janice Le, Chief Marketing Officer, Aruba HPE

406407

Conflict Resolution

April 16, 2018

ConflictPanel

FountainBlue’s April 13 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Resolving Conflict When the Stakes are High. 

Photo from left to right, Ruchika Jhalani, Director of Engineering, eBay; Sangeeta Relan, Senior Director, Quality Engineering, Nutanix; Wei Li, VP of Engineering Operations, ASML Brion; Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue; Sondra Bollar, Senior Director of Engineering, Oracle

Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, but they shared much in common.

  • They managed conflict as part of their day-to-day work, as part of their day-to-day life.
  • They build deep, trust-based relationships with a broad range of people.
  • They focus on common goals and perspectives.
  • They leverage data and information to keep the conversations constructive and positive.
  • They learn from their interactions, from their successes and their challenges.

Their collective advice is highlighted below.

Accept conflict as a part of life, as a part of work. 

  • Have an open and curious attitude about people who don’t share your perspective and opinion.
  • Pick your battles. Win the war, and battle from the same side.
  • It’s not always easy. But challenge yourself to make things work.
  • You can’t always be right. Agree to disagree, but then commit to the chosen direction.

Earn the respect of others by generating results for the greater good.

  • Go toe-to-toe with someone on their terms if the situation warrants this. But make it about the data and information, not about the emotions and politics.
  • Help make all parties look good when a conflict is resolved. It doesn’t help anyone’s cause to say ‘I told you so’.
  • Respect others for their varying perspectives and backgrounds. 
  • Align thinking, speech and words.
  • Be passionate and energized about what you do. But don’t be overly emotional if it makes the other party feel uncomfortable.
  • Seek to understand before trying to be understood.
  • Be the mediator and facilitator. Identify prioritized needs and assign resources and dollars accordingly.
  • Try to make the other party look good, even if you’re right about a conflict you’ve had.

Build a Network

  • Connect with a wide range of other people from varying backgrounds.
  • Invite face-to-face meetings, especially when building a relationship.
  • Meeting face-to-face also helps when you’re meeting people from another culture.
  • Be curious about others’ perspectives, and open to other interpretations.

Keep learning, sharing and growing. Never settle.

  • Take the ‘We are all one’ and ‘We are not alone’ mindset.
  • Adopt a Quality-First culture and make a business case for it.
  • Be open to people who don’t think, speak or act like you. 
  • Communicate in a language the other party would understand.
  • Be quick to listen, slow to judge, especially when others aren’t in agreement with you.
  • Stand up for yourself. Don’t be talked over or belittled.
  • Stand up for others who were dismissed or unheard.

The bottom line is that although conflict is inevitable, it can be a positive and constructive thing, if managed well.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ASML and our panelists for FountainBlue’s April 13 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Resolving Conflict When the Stakes are High!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Sondra Bollar, Senior Director of Engineering, Oracle
  • Panelist Ruchika Jhalani, Director of Engineering, eBay
  • Panelist Wei Li, VP of Engineering Operations, ASML Brion
  • Panelist Sangeeta Relan, Senior Director, Quality Engineering, Nutanix

 

Transitioning from Technologist to Manager

March 12, 2018

Maker:S,Date:2017-10-11,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

FountainBlue’s March 9 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Transitioning from Technologist to Manager!  We were fortunate to have an experienced and passionate set of panelists speak to their technical and management experience. 

We were in agreement that the technologist-vs-manager choice is highly dependent on the circumstances – the type of project, team, role and company for example – as well as personal preference.

Our panelists advised us to know ourselves first – our strengths, our aspirations, our goals. From there, we can decide what you want to do and do it well, whether as a technologist or as a manager. 

It’s all about being credible, and having a solid reputation for delivering on projects, for being kind and helpful to others, and for being bold and hard-working. 

Once you have a track record and built your credibility, be open to the opportunities ahead, and invite the support of influential others. You can plan-fully do that, or it may just serendipitously happen for you, provided you have that solid track record for delivering on challenging projects. 

The caveat is that when you deliver on key projects, it’s important that the right people know that 1) YOU are achieving great results (so someone else doesn’t take credit for your work) and that 2) they know that you’re OPEN to more challenging and different opportunities, whether that be as a technologist or as a manager. (They may otherwise assume that you’re happy doing what you’re doing.) If you don’t make that clear to people around you, you might feel stuck and frustrated with the same types of projects and little growth opportunity. 

The question came up about whether to stay in technology or go into management. The response was that some people like getting into the details with the technology, and might want to grow and learn about doing other types of functions or technologies. Management is an extension of technology, and asks for a larger, more strategic vision beyond single technologies. In tech companies, management might still be tightly tied to the technology, even requiring management at times to get into the code or the architecture. But ultimately, it’s about people and market and product challenges beyond the technology.

If the opportunity arises to do something beyond your comfort zone, err toward taking that chance, with the knowledge that you can switch back to another role or opportunity if it doesn’t work out. That opportunity arose because somebody believes in you. Find out why they do, and honor them by trying to make it work. 

Whether you choose to continue to be a technologist or to go into management, surround yourself with the positive and supportive people who can help you succeed. Know where you need support and who can provide that type of support for you. Be humble and open enough to accept that help.

Along those similar lines, be a positive and supportive person to others in your network. Have the mindset that the more people who succeed in different ways, the better it is for everyone in the ecosystem.

We concluded our conversation with a work-life question from a man in the audience. The responses are below.

Kudos to the powerful, centered man in the audience for asking the question. His wife is fortunate to have a spouse with that mindset!

It depends on the circumstances – the role, management, opportunity, etc., will vary. Proactively do what’s right for YOU.

With that said, your life circumstances will certainly impact the choices you make around change. 

Don’t make the assumption that management needs 1) an MBA, 2) more time, 3) less or more money, 4) more or less opportunity, etc. 

Know your priorities first, and interface your options ranked by your priorities. Family and friends are generally high priorities for each of us, so factor in their needs as you make the technologist vs manager choice.

Our parting thought – Embrace that Growth Mindset: Err on the side of embracing opportunity, and learn about yourself and your interests and gifts.  


Please join us in thanking Western Digital, our gracious hosts for FountainBlue’s March 9 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Transitioning from Technologist to Manager, and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Cynthia Dote, Director of Engineering, Pure Storage
  • Panelist Lakshimi Duraivenkatesh, Sr. Director of Shopping Experience, eBay
  • Panelist Maitreyee Mahajani, VP of Production Planning, Memory Technology, Western Digital
  • Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, Director Of Business Strategy & Operations, Global Accounts, Nutanix
  • Panelist Bhavya Vaidya, Director Supply Chain at Lam Research, Lam Research

Customer-Centered Big Data Use Cases

February 17, 2018

WSSFeb162018

IMG_0670

FountainBlue’s February 16 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Customer-Centered Big Data Use Cases.

Delivering personalized solutions to discerning customers real-time will continue to differentiate companies. We were fortunate to have a diverse and experienced panel to help us understand how technologies, companies and leaders are changing the way we work and live.

We began with some definitions – 

  • Big Data is a general term referring to the volumes of information made available by the programs, devices, tools and applications we each use every day, in growing proportions. 
  • AI or Artificial Intelligence offers a suite of reasonings to draw intelligence from that data, so that it’s understandable and adds value by describing and detailing what’s happening.
  • ML or Machine Learning turns to computers to identify and report of patterns which may not be obvious to the average user, and which be useful and insightful.

Our panelists shared a wide range of data use cases which describe well “what happened”, in detail, predicts “what will happen” based on the information provided by volumes of historic data.

Each company has developed sophisticated systems, processes, modules and leaders to help ensure efficient, secure, scalable solutions, despite the complex and overwhelming volumes of data managed, customers served, transactions facilitated. 

Key to providing exceptional service is the ability to anticipate problems, to mitigate risks, to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders in order to anticipate and address needs, and to get it right each time, every time.

Below are some aggregated thought-provoking comments from an expert panel.

  • This is a LOT of pressure, considering what’s at stake. But data management is a certain and inevitable direction for ALL businesses in ALL industries. So being open to these challenges and changes will help you keep your skills relevant.
  • Partner closely with customers to define, create, anticipate their challenges and needs, and serve their needs efficiently, leveraging real-time data.
  • Balance the need for security with the mandate for privacy, and the demand for efficient access.
  • Respect the data, but more importantly, use your judgment to ensure that the data provides useful information which is actionable and useful.
  • Focus on the prioritized pain points for each class of customer, and work collaboratively to solve them, preferably proactively.
  • Data scientists and business leaders are important on each team.
  • The hardware, the software, the cloud, all IoT devices add to the volume of data created, and are also instrumental in ensuring we manage the data well.

Our panel ended with some thoughts on the need for humans, for leaders, in an age where data reigns supreme. We will ALWAYS need humans:

  • To ask the right questions
  • To define the data to be measured
  • To understand the implications of the data
  • To validate the recommendations of the data
  • To take responsibility for the results of a project
  • To keep raising the bar, never settling for existing solutions
  • To ensure that we are leveraging data for the betterment of all
  • To decide what’s ‘useful’ about the data generated, and how it’s useful
  • To lobby for the money and energy to fund programs, devices, robots, systems
  • To draw conclusions and recommend decisions beyond the synthesized data sets
  • To draw creative and intuitive conclusions and recommendations which may not be logical

I’ll conclude this month by inviting everyone to Go Forth with the data, and DO GOOD THINGS.


Please use us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s February 16 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Customer-Centered Big Data Use Cases and our gracious hosts at eBay.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Pauline Burke, Global Head of Experimentation, eBay
  • Panelist Adriane McFetridge, Director of Engineering, Netflix
  • Panelist Maryam Sanglaji, Principal Product Marketing Manager, Nutanix
  • Panelist Suruchi Kaushik Sharma, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy, Flex

Negotiating for Win-Win Results

January 20, 2018

screen-shot-2018-01-19-at-4-27-35-pm

FountainBlue’s January 19 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Negotiating for Win-for-All Results.

We were fortunate to have such a fun and experienced panel of leaders and negotiators, representing a range of companies and backgrounds. They generously shared best practices around negotiating.

Negotiating takes place between companies, within companies, at home, at work, everywhere there are people. Learn from each negotiation, and build a network of supporters and mentors to help you better negotiate.

It’s all about the relationship.

  • Focus on building a long-term relationship with all stakeholders, even if it means sacrificing short-term victories.
  • Be curious about the motivations and needs of the other parties.
  • Insist on respectful interactions. Empower yourself to walk away if the interactions do not maintain a level of respect.   
  • Seek to create win-wins for all parties, for the short term and in the long term.
  • Build a team culture: Do the give and take, choose your battles, make your sacrifices, take one for the team.

Communicate clearly and respectfully in good faith.

  • Strive to keep a clear, open and transparent communication in your negotiations. Even if it means awkwardly calling out the other party for not adhering to that level of communication and trust.
  • Be firm, fair and consistent in your communication.
  • Know what you want and ask for it. (Implication: don’t complain that you don’t get what you want if you didn’t ask for it.)
  • Be generously forthcoming in sharing resources and information, and ask for that also in return.
  • Keep the momentum and conversation going. Stymied negotiations waste time and money and puts the credibility of all involved at risk.

Be strategic and hardworking.

  • Do your homework and be prepared for each negotiation. Learn about the people, their motivations, the product, the team, the company, etc.,
  • Use tools like milestones and roadmaps and project plans to help get all parties negotiating in alignment, and delivering positive results for the customer.
  • Understand and speak to the value you’re create, and its relevance to the audience you’re connecting with.
  • Give yourself cooling-off time if emotions run high.
  • When you get the attention of influential others, consider ending your conversation with an ask. The other way to put this is to have a goal/objective if you get the audience of someone influential.
  • Speak to the Value of something first, then to the Pricing of something, while factoring in the Cost of implementation. 

Be Other-Focused.

  • Take a ‘Cow’s Eye’ view of the world – seeing the world from the other’s perspective (a cow has eyes on the side of their head, so she sees the world differently).
  • ‘Fair’ does not necessarily mean equal. ‘Fair’ to one party is defined differently than it is for another. 

Support Others with their Negotiations.

  • Negotiate for yourself, and for others.
  • Create an old-girl’s-club to back each other up, so that you’re not your only advocate.
  • Don’t be the victim of ‘man-splaining’. If someone repeats what you just said and claims credit for knowing more, then call him on it. Or call out that man on your friend’s behalf.
  • Seek a mentor, advocate or champion. Be one for others.

Resource:

The bottom line is that negotiating is a part of life, and learning how to do it well would benefit yourself and all you touch.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Palo Alto Networks and our panelists for FountainBlue’s January 19 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Negotiating for Win-for-All Results!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Vonnie French, VP, Supply Chain, Palo Alto Networks
  • Panelist Debbra Rogers, CEO, Paradata
  • Panelist Birte Schwarzenfeld, VP Global Account Management, Flex
  • Panelist Heather Sullivan, Chief People Officer, ChargePoint

Collaboration Best Practices

December 13, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 3.52.31 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-13 at 3.50.17 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-13 at 3.50.02 PM

FountainBlue’s December 8 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Collaboration Best Practices. We were fortunate to have a wide representation of companies, roles and perspectives for our panel discussion. Despite their many differences, our panelists had much in common:

  • They had an inquisitive nature and moved from many different types of roles, developing a broad background and perspective.
  • They witnessed and responded to the many changes in the tech sector related to both technologies and businesses. 
  • They built deep and broad connections which helped them to learn and grow and make measurable impact in collaboration with key stakeholders.

Our panelists agree that the pace of change is accelerating, so it’s becoming increasingly important to collaborate with others to keep up and remain relevant. This is true independent of role, company, gender, industry, geography, age, etc., In general, we must be more collaborative so we can be more:

  • inclusive, with many parties working on the same project. 
  • communicative, so we can share information real-time, and coordinate with people working on other facets of the same problem.
  • responsive to the real-time needs of our customers, working with many internal and external partners. 
  • comprehensive in our ability to address problems end-to-end.
  • efficient and accurate in delivering results.

A compilation of our panelists’ advice for facilitating collaborative innovation is below.

  • Adopt a collaborative mindset.
  • Develop a skillset and adopt the tools which will help you communicate at the speed of business and coordinate with other stakeholders.
  • Make sure that you have the full information so that your project can succeed. Create a culture where the generous sharing of information is rewarded.
  • Seed a conversation with important stakeholders before an official meeting. They should not be surprised about a collaborative initiative at the meeting.
  • Sometimes there’s a been-there, done-that mentality for a change initiative which is more collaborative than the current standard practices. Patient management and data-based communication will help many people overcome these reservations. But there may still be hold-outs, as sometimes the older ways die hard. Focusing on the ‘loudest’ protesters might help everyone transition to a more collaborative mindset.
  • Be analytical in your orientation, detailed and thorough and frequent with your communications.
  • Model the collaborative management style you would like others to emulate. Show gradual and immediate improvements and measured results.
  • Facilitate an elegant hand-off between people and teams to ensure that the ball doesn’t get dropped between parties.
  • Authentic, honest, low-ego communications welcomes direct communications and transparency. These qualities help keep projects moving forward, especially when complications arise.
  • Be curious about the motivations for other parties. Find a common ground, based on their motivations.
  • Invite and respect the participation of all stakeholders. Keep them apprised of progress and reward for results.
  • When new collaboration partners come onboard, be proactive in your communications to all stakeholders. Everyone should know the strategic reasons for the new partnership and also be informed on partnership results and empowered to participate when it makes sense. In short – Inspire everyone about WHY something should happen; then Align stakeholders behind the partnership; then Change or Adjust where necessary, and then Measure for success.

Today, many corporate cultures embrace Collaboration as part of their DNA. Others tie collaboration as a key to Innovation. The bottom line is that creating CLEAR shared goals and managing by these objectives will encourage everyone to collaborate in achieving results. 

——-

Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Nutanix and our panelists for FountainBlue’s December 8 When She Speaks event on the topic of Collaboration Best Practices!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Ruth Cotter, CHRO, SVP Worldwide Marketing and Investor Relations, AMD
  • Panelist Nolwenn Godard, Head of Pricing Product & President of Unity Women, PayPal
  • Panelist Marissa Schmidt, Director Product Management, CITRIX
  • Panelist Michele Taylor-Smith, Sr. Director Corporate Social Responsibility, Nutanix
  • Panelist Praveena Varadarajan, VP of Product Management, FICO

Lean In, and Level It Up

November 13, 2017

NovemberWSSPanelFountainBlue’s November 10 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Lean In and Level It Up. We launched the panel talking about our greatest take-aways from Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’. 

  • Work through your fear and find your voice.
  • Take a seat at the table at every opportunity, no matter what your role or level or background or authority is.
  • Be vulnerable and authentic.
  • Your career is not linear – it’s a jungle gym, not a ladder.
  • Have the confidence to be your full self.
  • Don’t take your foot off the accelerator. 
  • Surround yourself with those who would support you in stretching and reaching for what’s next. Be that person for those around you.

A compilation of our panelists’ advice for leveling up is below.

Be a leader you can admire.

  • Be confident enough to be assertive, humble and kind enough to be respected.
  • Challenge yourself to identify and overcome your fear.
  • Work hard and be passionate about and good at what you do. 
  • Spell out the problem, articulate the solution and detail the results for the work you do.
  • Try not to take things personally. Focus on the facts and the data.
  • More important than the work you do is the feelings you instill in others. Be the kind of leader who makes others feel good.
  • Be honest, open, transparent and authentic, especially when there’s a lot of ambiguity. 
  • Say what you’ll do. Do what you said. Show the data behind the results.

Seize every opportunity to grow.

  • Embrace every opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Embrace the risk with every opportunity. Be comfortable with the ambiguity so that you can define and create success.
  • When you come against a difficult ‘either this or not’ decision, try to choose ‘this AND that’.
  • When you’re considering a great new work opportunity, make a choice based on your values and your priorities. 
  • Diversify your training, background and experience.
  • It can be overwhelming to be in the midst of a huge problem, which is also an opportunity. Have the support system around you so that you can take it one step at a time. Go easy on yourself and enjoy the ride.
  • Ask for the resources and authority and empowerment so that you can solve complex problems.
  • Learn from your mistakes. See failure as opportunities. Have a resilience to keep pushing forward, despite any setbacks.
  • Women may get fewer opportunities to lead at the highest level, and even when they do, the opportunity might not be ideal. However, the women who are succeeding even under extreme circumstances are paving the way for more women to reach the highest level, and grow the company and team from that level.

Be Collaborative.

  • It takes a village – be that supportive leader for others. Seek the support from others.
  • Grow your network so that you can have a broad and deep support base, and a broader view of the world.
  • Get the help and support you need to succeed. Delegate the things that you don’t want to do. 
  • Work with your team to get from point A to point B. But remember that not everyone can get from here to there, especially when there’s too much ‘history’ involved.
  • As you rise, always make room for others.
  • Build relationships with teams across the company. Trust others and be worthy of their trust. 
  • Partner with your spouse to divide up the other tasks so that everything is good at the home front. 

Be the best YOU you can be.

  • Keep reaching for stars. 
  • Embrace failure as a learning opportunity.
  • Have mentors and heroes, but don’t try to replicate what they do. Be original.
  • Be versatile and broad in your impact so others can’t box you into a specific label. 
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Celebrate all your little successes.

The bottom line is that YOU are the best YOU there can possibly be. And YOU are in charge of Leaning In, to get the support you need, and Leveling Up, to the level that works for you.

===========

Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Polycom and our panelists! 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Madhavi Deshmukh, Head of Product Management, Security Products, PayPal
  • Panelist Laura J. Durr, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Polycom
  • Panelist Niki Hall, VP Corporate Marketing, Five9
  • Panelist Ishita Majumdar, Senior Director of Products, eBay
  • Panelist Ronit Polak, VP, Quality Assurance, Palo Alto Networks

Please join us also in thanking Polycom’s CEO Mary T. McDowell, who provided such inspiring introductory remarks to launch the panel discussion.

ISMAC is Where It’s At: Immersive, Security, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud!  

October 12, 2017

FountainBlue’s October 12 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ISMAC is Where It’s At: Immersive, Security, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud!  

OctWSSCollage.png

We were fortunate to have such a talented and diverse panel, so passionate about innovation and leadership. Although they represented a wide range of companies, backgrounds, education and roles, they had much in common. 

  • Each was curious and passionate about math and science and learning, even from a young age, even when a technology is complex and evolving.
  • Each was brave enough to keep raising the bar, competent enough to keep delivering results, connected enough to keep sharing results to larger circles of others.
  • Each shifted and evolved and grew in many ways, trying different technologies, roles, and companies.
  • Each continued to push the technology envelope in new ways, with an eye on the needs of the customer, and an eye on the needs of the market.
  • Each has delivered tangible and useful products and services to happy customers and growing markets, and plans to do so on a grander scale.

Below is their compiled advice on how to lead innovation, wherever you’re sitting at the table.

  • Keep taking measured risks and reaching for stars. Technology will keep changing the world.
  • Surround yourself with people who can support you, and reach out to them frequently and strategically.
  • Find or create projects which would allow you to collaborate with others.
  • Be highly focused on what you’re doing AND deeply connected with others in your partner ecosystem.
  • Map your direction, chase with enthusiasm and perseverance.
  • Be detailed enough to do a great job and productive enough to get things done efficiently.
  • Manage the relationships and networks around your project and proactively manage support for your innovation project at the meeting and prior to the meeting.
  • Build relationships before you need favors and resources.
  • Build a brand and reputation of success worthy of funding and supporting.
  • Try the entrepreneur, corporate AND investor paths and see where you best fit.
  • Identify opportunities to integrate technologies across products, across teams, across companies.

It’s exciting how technology has shaped our world in the last few decades. And there are so many more opportunities ahead. We concluded the discussion with some thoughts on how to remain human in this digital age:

Core to the success of any innovation is the relationship between the people collaborating on the project. And core to building deep relationships is genuine, open, transparent communication – like the conversation we had at this event.

————-

Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at PayPal and our panelists for  FountainBlue’s October 12 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ISMAC is Where It’s At: Immersive, Security, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Principal Engineer, Chief Architect’s Office – Development, Cisco
  • Panelist Preethy Padman, Director of Business Operations – Global and Strategic Accounts, Nutanix
  • Panelist Gayathri Radhakrishnan, Head of Product, Catalina Labs, Inc
  • Panelist Arthi Rajan, Senior Director, Strategic Risk Partnerships and Credit, PayPal

Make Your Own Rules

September 14, 2017

WSSSept8

FountainBlue’s September 8 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Make Your Own Rules. This month’s panelists were full of spunk, confidence, creativity and inspiration. They had practical ideas which delivered results, great things to consider while toeing the line and while breaking the rules. Although they varied in terms of background, education, upbringing, perspectives and even gender (!), they had many things in common.

  • They have built their reputation and their credibility so that they are well positioned to facilitate change.
  • They are respectfully confident and know how to engage all the leaders and stakeholders to make shifts small and radical to address the long-term and short term needs of the company.
  • They break rules because they know that it’s core to innovative and transformational thinking, the heart of business success.
  • They are passionate and empowering communicators who made others want to work with others, to make a stand for the greater good.
  • They know themselves and keep choosing positive, proactive learning environments and experiences – so that they can better perform, better support those around them.
  • They are open-minded, curious and innovative by nature, and embrace opportunities to expand their perspectives and opportunities.

Below is a compilation of their advice for others who want to make their own rules.

Know yourself. Be centered. Stretch yourself.

  • Trust yourself, your judgement, your gut.
  • Surround yourself with those who can keep you centered and strong and reaching for stars. People who will help you keep changing and growing and breaking and bending rules, even when it gets uncomfortable.
  • Know your own unconscious biases. 
  • If you’re not happy, do something to change the circumstances. Consider getting more education, following a different discipline or role or company or industry.

Be strategic.

  • Keep an eye on the big picture, while also knowing how the individual pieces fit under the overarching vision. With this perspective, you can help ensure the broader view fits the market and customer needs, and that the tasks, projects and technologies are in alignment with that vision.
  • Decide on what’s important to change and whether it’s the right time to change it.
  • Know the circumstances around the rules, and choose to strategically choose conform, acquiesce, resist or transform based on your own moral compass.
  • Evaluate your actions individually, rather than scripting responses based on the ‘rules’ and circumstances. 
  • Be willing to lose a battle so that you can win the war.
  • Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
  • Look for opportunities to innovate collaboratively.
  • Understand the mentality, the thinking, the rationale for all new strategies and directions. And get on board if you can, or bring up objections respectfully, making a stand for principles, for customers, for staff, for products. But when the decision is made, fall in line so that all can roll forward together.
  • Know the consequences before you break a rule. Be willing to live with them.
  • Learn from the risks you’ve taken yourself and encourage risk-taking in others. 

It’s about the people.

  • Be with the people, projects, processes and team who will help you stay productive and optimistic and positive.
  • Be curious about people who are not like you, as their perspectives are also valid.
  • Be around the people and culture who believe in you. And then BE the biggest, best YOU possible. 
  • Build momentum, allies, partnerships behind a new direction, reversing a rule you’d like to break.
  • Invite the ideas and participation of all people, especially if they are not inclined to actively participate.

When others are driving change

 

  • Agree and commit or disagree and commit or offer another solution.
  • Do not stay silent, or do nothing – you become part of the problem

 

Resources:

  • Consider Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development when evaluating whether to break the rules: 
    • hedonism – because you can get away with it (probably not best for long-term goals or relationships)
    • pleasing – because you would perceived as the good girl/boy (following rules is generally good, especially if it’s adaptive for your safety . . . but don’t blindly follow rules)
    • intentions – consider the intentions behind the actions
    • law & order – because you would perceived as the good girl/boy (following rules is generally good, especially if it’s adaptive for your safety . . . but don’t blindly follow rules)
    • majority rules – rules can be changed by majority vote (if you don’t like a rule, change the rules within the system)
    • moral mandate – do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of the above 

I’ll conclude by saying that understanding deeply what rule needs to change and why is only a beginning. A leader must also communicate with all stakeholders to get them on board with the new direction. With these communications, the leader is metaphorically tossing a stone in a pond and embracing the ripple effect, spreading rule-breaking change to all, for all.

===========

Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s September 8 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Make Your Own Rules and our gracious hosts at Texas Instruments! 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue, Chief Revenue Officer, 888 Steps 
  • Panelist Alex Gorjanc, Area Director, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Daniela Busse, Director, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, Citi Ventures
  • Panelist Rajni Dharmarajan, Product Line General Manager, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Suruchi Kaushik Sharma, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy, Flex