In celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8, 2014), we’re sharing the dynamic stories of three of our very own technology leaders from across the globe. Kristina, Cindy and Pushpalatha from Bulgaria, China and India respectively are instigators of innovation making waves in the way they lead, frame a problem and get out of their comfort zone. They recognize that inspiring change starts from a conscious decision to rise to the challenge and lead by example. At VMware, creating a supportive environment where our people can thrive and innovate is core to the employee experience. Take a moment to learn more about what this means to Kristina, Cindy and Pushpalatha:
Role: Director R&D, vSphere Web Client
Office Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Years at VMware: 5.8
Typical day for you: My typical day starts with coffee, my mailbox and a review of my calendar. I then look at the goals I’ve set for myself for the week – I try to stick to them during the day and not get lost in urgent tasks that are not that important.
The morning and early afternoon are usually busy with internal meetings and work with my direct team. Late afternoons and evenings is when most of our meetings between the Sofia and Palo Alto sites take place due to the time difference. Once I leave the office, I seek to have quality time with family and friends and re-charge my batteries for the next challenge.
I try not to let a day pass by without talking to engineers on my team, learning something new and helping someone out.
A pivotal moment for me: I have had several pivotal moments since I joined VMware. Joining VMware was a career-changing experience for me. I moved from a smaller Bulgarian software company into a completely new environment. The difference in scale and complexity was impressive. I was fascinated by the tremendous impact VMware products have on our customers and the IT industry. The number of extremely smart people also amazed me. My first year was full of growth. Looking back, joining VMware was one of the best decisions that I have made.
Several years later, I had a pivotal moment when I stepped into the role of a second line manager. I had to re-think my way of getting things done, the level of operation and the new challenges that my new role brought to life.
A more recent pivotal moment has been the start of an MBA program that I hope will further expand my horizon and will help me build the skills required to make the next step in my professional development.
As a woman, the strongest quality that you need to bring to work is: Every person, regardless of their gender, age, background or way of thinking has strengths and it is important to build upon them, rather than focus on weaknesses. I consider my empathy to people, my ability to set direction and goals while working within my team and alongside others, to be some of my strongest qualities in the workplace.
I inspire change by: As a lead of a large team of very capable engineers and managers, I inspire change by enabling and supporting my team to come up with and voice new ideas, take initiative to change and improve development processes and challenge practices that are there just because “they’ve been that way for a long time.”
Role: R&D Senior Director, VMware End-User Computing
Office Location: Beijing, China
Years at VMware: 1.5
Typical day for you: As a remote site leader, a typical day can look like:
- Conference calls and face-to-face meetings around cross-team communications, people development, and technical innovation that can last from the early morning until midnight in the office or from my home.
- Traveling to VMware headquarters in Palo Alto, California for discussions on strategy and our overall roadmap.
- Visiting with customers, partners and field offices around the region to provide support and promote our products and solutions.
A pivotal moment for me: From the moment I joined VMware 1.5 years ago, I immediately loved the company because of its innovation and engineering culture. One way this innovation culture comes to life for our employees is through our company-wide innovation conference that happens every year. To participate, Engineers must submit papers about their forward thinking ideas. The authors who get their papers accepted are invited to present at the conference. Right after I joined VMware, the China R&D site organized an innovation contest as a means to inspire ideation. As an amazing result, the China site was able to fly more than 40 engineers to San Francisco for the 2013 innovation offsite.
As a woman, the strongest quality that you need to bring to work is: Getting out of your comfort zone. In my opinion, many intelligent women are too quiet to be well recognized by their managers and co-workers. The first thing for us to overcome is shyness. Speak up and share your brilliant ideas in public. You will earn more respect and trust. Females also sometimes find it difficult to feel included in the currently male-dominated world in the IT industry. I am always looking for commonality with other male professionals by socializing with them and my extend network. Some of my career opportunities came from my well-connected network. Lastly, women tend to pursue perfection and avoid taking risks. This characteristic prevents a lot of females from achieving higher career success. Don’t be afraid of failure. Stretch yourself by taking on new initiatives or challenging assignments.
I inspire change by: Delivering innovative solutions. For example, our View mobile client team filed a patent of virtual UI interaction model on mobile devices. The patent was implemented in production. Because of this innovation and other cool features, VMware Horizon View mobile clients have received very high appraisals from end users in terms of usability and performance. Our products are rated number four in both the Apple and Google Play stores. As a contrast, our competitor’s product received rating of two in both stores. Our team has changed the user experience and the competitive situation by delivering such an innovative solution.
Role: Senior Quality Engineering Manager
Office Location: Bangalore, India
Years at VMware: 17 Months
Typical day for you: Each and every day brings opportunities for me to learn and add value for VMware’s customers. As a part of the Suite interOp Quality Engineering (QE) team, I collaborate with multiple business units in order to create an environment where my team can obtain an overall understanding of the entire VMware product suite. Communication and collaboration happens predominately through email and conference calls since our teams are global. We’re managing multiple releases, so I try to balance my time with each of my team members by understanding and supporting their personal aspirations, while motivating and supporting them in achieving business goals.
A pivotal moment for me: It was my third week at VMware when I received the opportunity to lead the interOp testing, primarily from a co-existence perspective. This requirement came because of a customer that had reported observations while installing and configuring multiple solutions released along with vSphere 5.1. It was a great challenge to find the upgrade sequence and install, upgrade and configure all 10+ solutions of vCloud Suite with just one team. This achievement was an excellent example of teamwork. Today I am proud to say that the interOp QE team has become strong enough to install, upgrade and configure almost 90% of the solutions in the vCloud suite and are capable of quickly ramping up to learn new solutions when they get added to the suite.
As a woman, the strongest quality that you need to bring to work is: The key to success is managing situations with what is available, owning your projects, and finding the right balance for your individual work-life needs.
I inspire change by: Being optimistic, leading change with a positive attitude, fostering an open culture, communicating with reasoning, bringing objectivity, welcoming different perspectives, better planning, coaching and enabling the team to convert challenges into opportunities. Overall, I try to always smile and seek the reflection of the same from others that I meet, thus bringing happiness and motivation. I am fortunate to have excellent support from all directions – my team, peers and management.
Be sure to join us in the #WomensDay discussion on Twitter and let us know how you’re inspiring change.
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