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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Bagel Wednesdays are the Icing on the Cake or shall we say Cream Cheese on the Bagel at VMware Headquarters

The sweet aroma of cinnamon and honey, the sound of toasters dinging, and the sight of bagels, containers of cream cheese, muffins, and croissants galore…Bagel Wednesdays are one of my favorite perks here at VMware Palo Alto!Bagel_Photo_2

Wednesdays are commonly referred to as Hump Day, which represents the idea that a week can be visualized as a hill that a person climbs, with Wednesday, typically being the peak of the week. By Wednesday, the adrenaline from Monday is wearing off and everyone is eagerly waiting for Friday to come around. This is precisely why Bagel Wednesdays are such a treat. They keep us sane and most importantly, indicate which day of the week it is when everything seems like a blur!Bagel_Photo_1

I’ve made a number of new friends by introducing myself to the person next to me at the toaster as we waited for our bagels to toast or by debating which schmear tastes the best while trying to decide between the wide variety of flavors. These new acquaintances have evolved into workout partners at the fitness center, my go-to recommenders for new movies, and even commute buddies. Bagel Wednesdays create an opportunity for people from different teams to interact with each other and put a pep in our step because they are a treat to look forward to just when we need it the most!Bagel_Photo_3

While Bagel Wednesday is a favorite of mine, there are definitely other perks to working at VMware. Some of these vary by location, but here are a few that stuck out to me:

  • Access to a state-of-the-art gym at headquarters or gym reimbursements for those without an onsite gym
  • Access to onsite services like dental, medical, haircuts, dry-cleaning, car washing and detailing
  • Free and healthy snacks including locally-sourced fruit
  • Friday Bashes every two weeks equipped with tasty food, beverages and local musicians

The best part about working at VMware, in addition to innovative people who are architecting what’s next, is that there is a little extra something for everyone here. These perks enhance the whole employee experience and journey of working at VMware whether you’re a foodie, a music aficionado, a nature enthusiast or a health-conscious person…and yes there are many of us who are all of the above too!


Cheers to Bagel Wednesday!



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Join Wendy Salle in VMware’s Front Row Seats to What’s Next

VMware could not have become what it is today without its people. Employees at VMware are our company’s biggest assets because they work together to enhance people’s careers and lives while driving what’s next in information technology. Connect with Wendy, VMware Staffing Manger for the Software-Defined Data Center Suite and End-User Computing business units, and see how she is empowering growth at VMware by building meaningful relationships and collaborating with others.


Wendy_Salle_Picture_1Name: Wendy Salle

Role: Staffing Manager

Office Location: Palo Alto, California

Years at VMware: 9.5


In your current role as Staffing Manager, you help support the Product Engineering and Product Management/Marketing teams for the Software-Defined Data Center Suite and End-User Computing business units. How do you empower what’s next for these business units? What is meaningful about being a part of these game-changing innovations?

I feel so fortunate to work with smart, passionate, talented and fun people! I am able to help empower what’s next for the End-User Computing and Suite business units largely due to the dedicated partnership and collaboration between my recruiting team, the business leaders/teams, and our Finance and HR Business Partners. It truly is a collective effort. Hiring the right people is key to continuing our game-changing innovations and I am very committed and excited to be part of that process and help drive best practices and partner with the business. It is extremely meaningful to me to be part of this for two reasons: I’m able to help bring new people into teams and enhance their careers and lives, and I’m able to help our teams become stronger and more dynamic with every hire. VMware becomes a stronger company with every new hire because people are our biggest asset. The groups I support understand how challenging it is to hire in this current market of increased growth and competition. They are happy to bring me and my team into the fold so we not only understand their business mission and objectives, but also what products they are building and technologies they are using and how it fits into the VMware story. They get involved and partner with us.

You’ve been at VMware for almost a decade, which is very exciting! What has it been like to see VMware grow over the years? 

It has been incredibly exciting to see VMware grow over the past decade! When I started, there were 800 employees. I feel like I have had a front row seat in this journey and have made long-lasting friendships and business relationships along the way. I was here for our first-ever VMworld  and to see what it has become today is mind-blowing. I have learned so much about our technology – our products and solutions positively impact the lives of millions of people and it makes me proud to work with the people who create that. It is very inspirational. I was hired for a 6-month recruiting contract and here I am today! This by far has been and continues to be the most interesting and cool place that I have ever worked!

Watch the “Fun Facts” video below to learn more about VMware’s growth over the years.

How has this evolution within the company shaped your role and how you get things done as One VMware?

When I joined, the Staffing team was relatively small and I was part of creating many of our processes. In the recruiting world, getting things done quickly and efficiently (with a sense of urgency) is key. My role has evolved from Candidate Development Recruiter to Lead Recruiter and now Staffing Manager. The way in which we get things done has evolved and our processes have become more streamlined, which leads to better production and more hires. There is a lot of thought and strategy that goes into how our recruiting organization operates and I remain very involved with those areas. Our entire Human Resources team cares deeply about getting things done as One VMware, and I see firsthand the programs and teams that have been put together to meet that goal.

Building meaningful relationships is an important value for you. Share how this has influenced your professional journey.

I am a “relationship recruiter”, meaning that I believe a successful and productive recruiter starts with their ability to build and sustain long lasting relationships with people – prospects, candidates, hiring managers, teams, etc. As a recruiter, our mission is to help people see the value in having a conversation with us and from there great things can happen. In order to be successful, you must be trustworthy, credible, respectful, and want to learn about the business you support. My work style has helped me be successful in my professional journey at VMware because I immerse myself in the business units that I support and truly care about them. The teams are very receptive and are always there to provide enormous amounts of information that help us articulate the value proposition of working at VMware. I love what I do and I think people see that and gravitate towards that. The best feeling is when I see the people I’ve helped hire have long and happy careers here!

Share any inspiring advice you might have for professionals who are looking to grow and make a meaningful impact in the technology industry.

I have learned that one’s sincere passion, excitement, curiosity, tenacity, and desire to learn new things are among the most important things one should convey during the interview process. VMware is a place where people learn a tremendous amount and acquire skills to hone their craft. You also add value with your own special skills and competencies that make a company better. I always advise candidates to be honest, communicative and ask questions  – and to be yourself!

What are some core characteristics of people who are successful at VMware and how does it tie back to our cores values?

Our EPIC2 (Execution, Passion, Integrity, Customers, Community) values really resonate with me. These values have always been at the core of VMware and I like that we articulate them. The people who I have seen succeed at VMware definitely have passion for what they do and they have a “make it happen” attitude. They get recognized for their work because they step up to challenges and are not afraid to try new things or to take on new projects. They work with integrity and are inclusive. VMware is a place where one has the chance to “rise to the occasion” and there is encouragement to do so. It is fantastic to see dedicated people take their careers to the next level – whether it’s in their current role or a new role – VMware is a place to be a rising star and I see it every day.

What is the most memorable VMware moment you’ve had at VMware? Why?

Really my most memorable moments are when the business units I support hit their milestones and releases and celebrate! I know how hard they work to cross the finish line and when they do, those are the happy moments I can share with them. We have grown by leaps and bounds since I joined and as I look back on each year, there have been so many incredible milestones that I have witnessed. It’s too hard to pick just one, but what stands out to me are the people who made them happen.

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“We’re Like Interns…But Not Really”: A Look at 6 University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business Students’ Stint as VMware Employees

Monique Childress and Kyle Grubman are MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Project) students from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. They, along with four other teammates, were at VMware headquarters in Palo Alto, California for the past few weeks getting the full employee experience as part of their 7-week MAP. Hear about the VMware MAP experience from Monique and Kyle below.


While the name suggests we could be expert cartographers, we’re actually MBA students from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business completing our multidisciplinary action project (MAP) here at VMware. A requirement of our program, MAP is a 7-week engagement with a sponsor organization to close out our first year. For most MBA students at the Ross School of Business, this unique opportunity is a top reason for enrolling in the program. All 450 first-year MBAs at the University of Michigan are scattered across the globe (in teams of 4-6) working with various corporations and non-profit organizations to apply core curriculum learnings. A key benefit of this opportunity is that it prepares us for our summer internships, having had experience in MBA-level professional work as well as intense teamwork.MAP_Team_1

Our team of six landed in San Francisco, California in mid-March and enjoyed four weeks as employees at VMware headquarters Palo Alto, California.

10 Fun Facts about the Ross MAP Team

  1. At Ross, our team name is VMware Team #074.  On Instagram, we decided to rebrand our team as #VMwareItsAt.
  2. This was the first time in Northern California for half of our team.
  3. The weather is significantly better in Palo Alto, California than Ann Arbor, Michigan – Yes, even with the rain. The food on campus is better, too. (We’re never leaving.)
  4. Out of over 100 MAP project choices, we all ranked this project as our top 1 or 2 choice.
  5. During our first week at VMware, we found a new route to and from work every day.
  6. One of our teammates is a certified Korean chef.
  7. Combined, our team speaks 7 languages. That number drops to 3 if we’re only counting fluent language skills.
  8. Two of us experienced our first NHL hockey game as we watched the San Jose Sharks beat the LA Kings. One even decided to become a lifelong Sharks fan!
  9. One of our teammates is currently Mayor of the Illy Café at VMware headquarters on Foursquare.
  10. Half of our team will be returning to the Bay Area for summer internships.MAP_Team_4

So back to the real fun stuff…

The objective of our project focused exclusively on the “bookends” of the VMware employee journey: onboarding and offboarding. Four weeks onsite at VMware enriched our experience and findings, from connecting with the employee community at Jane McGonigal’s talk during a recent VMware Speaker Series event to interviews with members of the Human Resources organization and VMware employees all over the world. Guided by the research from the Center for Positive Organizations, our goal was to deliver valuable insights on how VMware can ensure that all employees have a positive experience at these two critical points in his or her professional journey.

After analyzing dozens of interviews with various employees and stakeholders and hundreds of survey data points, we found that VMware employees across the board hold great pride in the company’s products. With such an intense war for talent happening in Silicon Valley, what keeps VMware’s employees happy and engaged are the innovative products and great community of colleagues on the Palo Alto campus and around the globe.MAP_Team_2

While we conducted site visits to companies known for their cultures to find best practices, we were happy to see that VMware boasts managers who already follow onboarding best practices. Some of our recommendations serve as catalysts for multiplying what already exists in small pockets of the organization.

In regards to offboarding, few companies capitalize on the opportunity to create a lasting memory for employees at this critical point. That said we were encouraged by the trend of former VMware employees “boomeranging” back to the company for a second tour. Jessica Amortegui, VMware’s Global Talent Development Director, captures the potential of a thoughtful offboarding strategy in a recent Fast Company article.

VMware is growing fast. Working with the HR team, we are excited for their plans for the future in terms of the VMware employee experience. And we can only hope that we’ve added a bit of insight and substance to the future of the onboarding and offboarding processes.MAP_Team_3

The list of those who supported our efforts would be too long, but a special thank you goes to our VMware team (Jessica Amortegui, Ed Snook, Danielle French, and Sarvenaz Ghodosizadeh) for giving us a truly rewarding experience here in Palo Alto!  We saw the quote below in Hilltop A (one of the buildings onsite at VMware headquarters) during our New Hire Orientation and it truly captures our thoughts on our VMware experience:

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh


-The Ross MAP Team b.k.a. #VMwareItsAt




About Monique Childress: Monique is a Washington University in St. Louis graduate with an equal fondness for the Chicago Bulls and tacos. As a first-year MBA student at the University of Michigan, she came to business school looking to transition from a marketing and business development career into human capital consulting. This summer, she will return to the Bay Area for a summer internship with Accenture as a strategy consultant in their Talent & Organization practice.


About Kyle Grubman: Kyle is familiarly known at Ross as a “double wolverine”, currently earning his second degree from the University of Michigan. Last fall, Kyle joined the Center for Positive Organizations as a MBA Fellow to guide his transition from education and product development to strategic HR. This summer, he will be returning to the Bay Area for an internship at LinkedIn.


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Being Green at VMware

Being “Green” at VMware isn’t just about our virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions. It’s an important part of who we are and how we shape our workplace community. Join us as we celebrate Earth Day and learn a little bit more about how our people work together as One VMware to make environmentally conscious decisions each day.


Growing Green

Earth_day_photo_1VMware’s Palo Alto, beautiful California headquarters strives to be green from the ground up. In 2009, VMware began pursuing its first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for three buildings on campus. To become LEED certified, a building has to satisfy prerequisites and earn points for recognizing best-in-class building strategies and practices. To date, the LEED certification project at VMware has:

  • Diverted 86.5% of the on-site generated construction waste from landfill
  • Allowed 32.81% of the total building materials, by cost, to be manufactured using recycled materials
  • Reduced connected lighting power density from that allowed by Title 24 by 18.45%
  • Installed occupancy sensors for 76.2% of the project connected lighting load
  • Installed ENERGY STAR-rated equipment and appliances equal to 60.76% by rated power

vm_209_0022_182726We’re currently growing the number of LEED certified buildings at VMware. Eight buildings at our Palo Alto campus and the commercial interiors of our new Vista building in Bangalore, India are in the certification process.

Learn more about the LEED Certification here.

Eco-Friendly Ways to Get to Work

Whether you bike, take the commuter rail, carpool, or drive on your own to work, VMware supports a variety of ways for our people to be Green when commuting to and from work every day.

With 133 bike lockers, over 200 external bike racks/posts, five indoor bike rooms with lockers and racks for 120 bikes, and one covered outdoor area with racks for 20 bikes, our “campus in a forest” is bike friendly. Being situated in the Stanford Research Park allows for access to a variety of bike paths and ease of commute due to the designated bike lanes across the city of Palo Alto as well.ColoradoBikers

Interested in going for a cruise around Palo Alto, California? Discover over 4,000 bike routes around the city here. 

Depending on where you live, commuting by bus or rail might be the most logical and environmentally conscious decision. In order to reduce the number of incremental vehicles on the road, VMware currently pays 100% of the cost for employees to use public transportation at our Palo Alto headquarters. Some of the most frequently used modes of public transportation in the Bay Area include CalTrain, a local commuter train route that goes between San Francisco and the San Jose/Gilroy stop at the Palo Alto station and Dumbarton Express, an express bus route that runs from Union City BART to Palo Alto and Stanford Research Park – where VMware headquarters sits.

Hear from Hanna Friend, VMware Program Manager, on her commute to work with CalTrain on the Peninsula Moves! blog.

For employees behind the wheel, our Palo Alto campus has 53 EV (Electric Vehicle) charging stations onsite. Since March 2013, there have been 11,670 EV charge ups and 122 MWH (milowatts) used. That is the equivalent of saving 51, 153 kg (kilograms) of green house gases and 15,205 gallons of gasoline. Pretty cool, right?AOWN_Hanna_Phan_2

Reduce & Reuse for What’s Next

To power what’s next for our community, VMware headquarters has eight solar installations that can produce an estimated 1,300 MW (megawatts) of power. This is the equivalent of taking 190 passenger vehicles off the road.

We’re also proud to say that because of our sustainability practices and the participation of our people, VMware’s Palo Alto campus diverted 91.59% of waste from landfills in 2013. Since 2009, our people have reduced the total waste output of VMware headquarters by 70,000 tons while our population increased by over 1,000 people!

Going Green Goes Global 

Being Green isn’t just something that our people practice at VMware headquarters. Our global sites are working together to define and drive sustainability efforts that will make a difference in their local communities. Here’s a glimpse of Green activities taking shape at VMware offices around the world.Earth_Day_Photo_2

  • Our Broomfield, Colorado site holds e-waste recycling events for employees’ personal items (i.e. computers, TVs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines). To date, the site has collected over four tons of electronics to be safely and ethically recycled.
  • VMware Cambridge in Massachusetts reimburses its employees that carpool or use public transportation to get to work each day. Over 50% of our Cambridge employees take public transportation.
  • Over in Europe, our Cork, Ireland site recently began a Waste Awareness Campaign in March of 2014. Each of the three buildings onsite (Behan House, Kavanagh House and Parnell House) has a board that displays its monthly recycling vs. waste figures. The goal is to increase recycling while reducing waste. A little friendly rivalry between sites is helping each building improve their recycling statistics. To date, the Parnell House is in the lead with 58% of their waste being recycled. VMware Cork intends to drive these stats above 70% in the coming months.
  • Employees at our Sofia, Bulgaria site collect plastic bottle caps to recycle offsite. The money from the recycled caps is donated to a local nonprofit.
  • In Japan, VMware Tokyo employees turn off the lights and air conditioning in conference rooms after meetings have concluded to reduce energy consumption. Tokyo employees also recycle cans, pull-tabs, caps, and plastic bottles after use.
  • VMware Bangalore in India implemented the use of microfiber mops to clean office premises. Microfiber mops help the environment by using less water and chemical when cleaning, thus contributing less to the waste stream.

Earth Day reminds us to reflect on how we can do our part to protect our environment and shared finite resources. At VMware, we’re always looking to learn more about how we can work together to make more sustainable choices for our global community’s future.

Join our community as we work to give more, take less, and protect mother Earth.

Tell us, what inspires you to be Green?



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Exercise Your Mind: Top 4 Reasons Why VMware is a Fit-Friendly Worksite

What is your work schedule like? Are you on the go, moving around from one location to another, or are you relatively stationary, sitting in one spot for the majority of the day?

At VMware, we believe that it is important to integrate balance in our peoples’ work schedule so that each individual can grow professionally while focusing on his or her well-being. And it is because of this, that the American Heart Association recognized VMware as a 2013 Fit-Friendly Worksite.DS-6029 AHA_Seal13_Gold_cmyk

Each year, the American Heart Association honors employers that go above and beyond to foster a healthy environment for their employees. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and physical inactivity doubles this risk. That’s pretty scary if you stop to think about it…but let’s keep moving and see why VMware was afforded this honor: Hear from our people too and see how VMware empowers us  to live a balanced life!

1.) Health & Wellness Resources and Seminars

All VMware employees have access to the VMware Wellness Portal, a site that provides a wealth of educational resources including a personal health & wellness tracker, nutrition tips, the latest news from Mayo Clinic, and information on blood pressure and cholesterol readings.

VMware also hosts Wellness Lunch & Learns, a series of seminars either in person at VMware’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, or by webinar throughout the year. One recent seminar, “Put a Lid on High Blood Pressure,” focused on the basics of a healthy blood pressure, the risks of high blood pressure, and tips for reducing blood pressure without medication.Hackathon_4

 “The Health & Wellness Program at VMware has been very inspiring. I’ve started tracking my portion sizes and it has made a big difference. After grocery shopping, I measure the appropriate portion size for the calories on the packages and store in snack baggies. –Paula, Senior Benefits Analyst

2.) State-of-the-Art Gyms

There’s nothing like going for a quick run, stretching in a yoga class or pumping some iron to find your center. Whatever your fancy, at VMware, our people can enjoy the vFIT program, two fitness centers located at VMware headquarters that provide a variety of fitness machines, workout classes including spinning, body sculpting, circuit training, Bollywood, Zumba, and more. Our soccer field and basketball / sports courts provide a team building environment available to all members. For sites without a gym, employees can use the gym reimbursement program.Health_Wellness_Photo1

3) Locally Sourced, Delicious Food

Deliciously prepared food is an important staple in our workplace community. Whether our people are enjoying a meal together while collaborating on a project, coming together during a holiday celebration such as Lunar New Year, or winding down the work week at a Friday Bash, food helps unite our dynamic and diverse community. Because of this, our Real Estate & Workplace team works tirelessly to provide a healthy variety of food options for our sites. Some of the most popular meals and snacks include: Smoked salmon salad with lemon-dill vinaigrette, Vital Vittles Tangy Ginger Cookies (Vegan), Honey Nut Bunch cereal, and Clover Strawberry yogurt.

“Club vFit is paramount to my aggressive fitness goals. With an up-to-date facility and an encouraging staff, I am always motivated for my workouts. And that sets the tone for my day, to be the best I can be, both in and out of my job.” – David, Sr. Admin AssistantFood_Photo_1

4.) Staying Fit as a Community

Have you heard of The Amazing Race, a reality television show in its 23rd season on CBS that takes teams across the globe to tackle a variety of challenges? The first team to make it to each “Pit Stop” wins a prize and the team to make it first to the final destination wins the race. Sounds like an adrenaline rush, right?

VMware decided to create its own spin on The Amazing Race. Each year, VMware people team up to work on their fitness goals while visiting virtual “Pit Stops” (i.e. our major office sites across the globe) on the VMware Wellness Portal. Employees log their fitness minutes in the physical activity tracker and the team with the highest exercise average wins the race. The Amazing Race at VMware is an opportunity for our people to come together as a community and learn about other office sites while achieving their individual fitness goals. Weekly raffle prizes, fun team names such as “Wii Not Fit”, and the encouragement from others make the event invaluable (and fun)!

Getting out from behind the desk to spend time outside is also important for our people. From green space and walking paths around VMware’s LEED certified headquarters to offsite events such as our Cambridge site’s service learning project with The Food Project in Massachusetts, our people see value in spending time outside.ColoradoBikers

Can’t keep Colorado Springs or Colorado down. We have some amazing folks here. Twenty-two VMware employees participated in the annual Bike to Work Day, which is about 20 miles from the office to downtown Colorado Springs and back. NICE JOB Fitness with Altitude!!!”

-Trisha, Member of Fitness with Altitude from our 2013 Amazing Race Challenge



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A VMware Employee’s Pursuit of Happiness Inspires the Growth of Others

Helping people reach their goals and exploring their best selves is a personal passion for Karen, lead for VMware’s T3 innovation program. I connected with her recently to learn about her work and how she ‘seeds’ new growth and learning opportunities for her colleagues at VMware. Join me on this conversation to see how her pursuit of what makes her happy in her career has enabled her to empower others.


Karen_Ellis_HeadshotName: Karen Ellis

Role: Take 3 Program Manager

Office Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Years at VMware: 2.5


What is a typical workday like for you? 

A typical workday at the Cambridge, Massachusetts office at VMware varies, but is always great. I interact with a lot of people, engineers mostly at this site, but I talk to people from all over the company. Sometimes I’m helping employees navigate their Take 3 adventure, other times discussing opportunities they may want to explore. I’m involved with global mobility program development, so we’re looking at all of our employee’s experience here and how we can support their development and growth in the company, which is really exciting. We have a really upbeat and friendly office atmosphere and we overlook the Charles River, with great views into Boston. It’s hard to beat! 

The last time we spoke, the T3 program was just taking off. How is it going now and what new things can employees expect?

The Take 3 Program (T3) is an opportunity for VMware employees, with five or more years of service, to take a three month rejuvenation period and select an assignment outside of their regular day job. T3 is an opportunity for professional, technical, and leadership development that not only benefits personal and professional growth, but also enhances the contributions employees are able to make to the company.

In the two and a half years since T3 launched, so many great developments have taken place. We have a new user interface for our online portal that is easier to use, we have a lot more opportunities for employees to choose from, thanks largely to the amazing adoption of T3 in R&D, and we are looking forward to moving into the rest of the company in the coming quarter. The success we have seen in our engineering community, and the impact it’s made around the company, has helped us push this idea into a employee wide activity. In the next few months we’ll see the beginning of more cross function Take 3 activities and a lot of collaboration and skill sharing taking place around VMware, and that will be really exciting to see. T3_Duck

Where did your passion for learning come from? How does this passion energize your current role?

Before joining VMware, I was in the non-profit world. I started at America’s Promise and AmeriCorps, and after that, for a decade, I was a program developer at The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, a global non-profit who’s main goal is to empower underserved youth to learn, create, grow and develop through the use of technology. My drive has always come from helping people reach their goals and explore their best selves through whatever means that may be. In creating programs and experiences for a targeted audience, you get to think about how that service impacts people and their needs, and you are a part of the overall health and well being of people. Here I get to do the very same thing. Within VMware, my job is to think about what’s next for our people, what drives them and where they want to go, and that experience is really important.

How have you seen the guiding principles of the T3 Program weave into your own growth & development?

I very much believe in growth and development: both personal and professional. If you’re not learning something or experiencing new things, you’ll get bored and be unhappy, and who wants to spend their days like that! Working at VMware has afforded me many opportunities to branch out, get involved in new things and be engaged in many different areas of the business, all things that have helped me grow tremendously during my tenure here.

One way that I’ve been able to develop is with my new relationship with the Global Talent Development team. Using my knowledge from the T3 program to help think about and launch new programs to support our people has been really fun and challenging, definitely a great experience in terms of career growth.

Can you share a person, place, news source, or item that inspires you to try out new things and collaborate with others?Karen_Ellis_Farm_Team_Pic

This photo is of my fellow Cambridge colleagues and me working in the gardens at The Food Project in Dorchester, Massachusetts. People who dedicate their lives to causes that matter to them constantly inspire me. I try to volunteer often and give my time and resources to organizations that matter to me and do powerful work. VMware’s Service Learning Program is great as it encourages employees to give back throughout the year.

Share a fun or inspiring T3 project that you have helped drive.

There are so many great T3 stories that I think are fun and inspiring. I have been lucky enough to be a part of every one of our participant’s journeys, and it’s been such a great thing to be able to see, from the initial idea to the end of the project. The projects that I think resonate with me the most are the ones where someone really goes outside of their comfort zone to try something completely new. I think that it takes a certain fortitude to do a complete turn for three months and do a totally new job.

We’ve had a few participants in R&D go out into the field and work with customers for three months, and a few that have incubated new projects that then turned into larger areas that the business explored far longer than the three months. I think both of those areas are so interesting because it pushed people to be open to whatever may come at them and adapt to new and sometimes unfamiliar situations. What I’ve taken away from this program is that our employees have some amazing ideas to explore and talents to share. T3 is a great program because it fosters the spirit of innovation that is core to VMware. It is a cool and different way that our smart people at VMware can stretch and grow themselves.

What advice would you give to individuals looking to grow in their career? How does VMware provide opportunities for growth for its people?

The advice I would give anyone looking to grow his or her career is to talk to anyone that you think is interesting. You never know what can come from one conversation, even sharing the simplest of ideas can help you formulate a new plan and could open up a world of possibilities you didn’t know existed. What’s impressive to me about VMware is that they are really dedicated to helping employees develop in all areas, and they show that in so many ways, like through Take 3 for growth, or the technical education courses they offer to encourage continued learning, or Service Learning through the VMware Foundation to support community involvement and help employees give back to causes and projects that mean something to them. Those are just some of the opportunities that are available for employees to personally and professionally grow here at VMware and there are so many more. It’s really a great place to work and I’m proud to tell people I’m a VMware’r!!



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Borathon – A VMware Hackathon Fostering Innovation on a Global Scale

Borathon is an opportunity for VMware people to get back to their creative roots and work collaboratively to build flings, features, proof-of-concepts, hacks, or new workflows. The purpose of Borathon is to engage as a community and work together to foster creativity and to build enthusiasm for our products. As participants, you get a chance to build something that can truly have an impact on the company. You get to show it off in front of a panel of judges of senior engineers and management.VMware_Borathon201403-28

But why did we pick “Borathon” as the name of the hackathon? Well, legend has it that when VMware moved from CVS to perforce, the new repository had an island theme – “Bora Bora”. We wanted the name of our hackathon to be representative of our historical roots. Explaining the roots of VMware is something we need to do constantly as we grow. Otherwise, culture cannot be propagated.

Our most recent Borathon launched simultaneously at VMware headquarters in Palo Alto (California) and our Bangalore (India) site on March 27 and ended on March 28. With over 100 participants at each site, this two-day hackathon was a wonderful opportunity to get back to creative blissful coding.

Some teams stayed overnight to continue working on their ideas. We of course encouraged that with breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks in between and about 80 pounds of candies. Let’s not forget our large quantities of beverages and an endless supply of caffeine.VMware_Borathon_Candy_v2

Even with so much caffeine, you still occasionally need to get up and move! That is where the Teddy Bear Contest came in! We hinted there would be prizes for the best Teddy Bear and we had a great turnout from our stuffed friends! There was a stuffed moose, a minion, a very fluffy Optimus Prime, and a bunny along with the bears. The winner of the Teddy Bear contest received a $25 gift certificate to Best Buy. The winning toy was determined by the loudest applause, which was a great way to liven up the late night hacking.

Let’s not forget the awesome prizes that were given out during Borathon. Prizes for the winning teams included Leap Motion Controllers, Chromecasts, GoPro Cameras, and RADIO passes (an R&D innovation offsite for VMware people).VMware_Borathon201403-20

Hackathons can often prove perilous to the hardware the teams use- and one poor developer accidentally spilled a soft drink all over his laptop- instantly killing it. He was undeterred however and continued to push through with that innovative spirit, he went and found screwdrivers, disassembled the machine and laid it out on a fan to dry it out. A short time later, he was able to reboot the machine and went right on coding! We felt this embodied the spirit of Borathon and our community value of Passion and rewarded him with a prize.

Looking back on the event, we feel inspired by the passion VMware engineers showed for developing new and innovative ideas. It is also wonderful to see the Community that has developed in the days after Borathon. It’s common to see Borathon hoodies on campus because people are proud to be part of the event.


-Todd Valetine & Laetitia Farrugia




Todd_Valentine_HeadshotAbout Todd: Todd Valentine is a program manager in the office of the CTO; Todd joined VMware originally in 2011 in the Cambridge office and has recently relocated to Palo Alto. Todd is a graduate of the Boston University Graduate School of Management with a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters of Science in Information Systems.




Laetitia_Farrugia_PhotoAbout Laetitia: Laetitia Farrugia is a program manager in the office of the CTO. She comes to us from France after having travelled and lived in multiple countries. She studied in France (ESSEC Business School) and in Cardiff University (UK) where she picked up skills in international business administration and marketing. Having also worked in IT for most of her career, she brings a broad variety of experience.





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