The annual EPIC2 Achievement Awards is one way VMware recognizes outstanding members of our workplace community who exemplify our shared values – Execution, Passion, Integrity, Customers, and Community – and make VMware a great company to work for. Learn more about one of our 2016 EPIC2 Achievement Award winners, Silvana Torik, and discover how her drive to lead an authentic and purpose-filled life is empowering her and the wider community to flourish.
Global Services Senior Director
Palo Alto, California, U.S.A.
VMware value that means the most to you: Each of the EPIC2 values are important to me. The combination of the 5 attributes brings balance into my career and life. The one that can be a challenge to bring in on a regular basis is Community. VMware makes it easier. Earlier this year I had the honor of being on the Good Gigs Service Learning Trek to India where we had the opportunity to share our technical knowledge with the teachers who care for 100 girls every year at the Udaan School for Accelerated Learning. The teacher’s goal is to empower young girls, ages 11-14, through education. While all attributes of EPIC2 were lived out every day on the Trek, I also discovered that there was one feeling that tied all of them together: Love. The love that was shared among the VMware people, our three Trek leaders, the school teachers and students was palpable and powerful. It was a profound experience and I will never forget it. When I bring it closer to home, my daily life at VMware, I love the culture at VMware and who I work with. This makes my job easy which translates to execution and results. Working and living with Integrity is how I show up for my colleagues, my customers, the community, and at home. VMware and my personal experiences truly embody EPIC2 values.
- I love spending time with my grandchildren. My husband has 13 and I have two of my own. When I was growing up I knew I would be surrounded by children, I just didn’t know how blessed I would be. With grandchildren, I get to relive moments I had raising my own or experience brand new ones…and there are many. It’s so much fun to experience life through their eyes, watch their discoveries, internalize their logic, and experience their innocence. There is nothing more beautiful or sacred.
- I like to train for and participate in endurance sports. I’m a late bloomer when it comes to sports. Growing up I rode my bike, roller skated, and was on the high school drill team, but I didn’t do any organized sports. In my 30’s, I discovered a love for aerobic-based activity which then led to endurance sports. Last year, I completed a Half Ironman triathlon relay with my kids, followed by a Half Ironman on my own. So much fun! Over the years, I’ve completed bike centuries, marathons, triathlons, and other events. One of my favorites was hiking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim in one day. This was an incredible experience of beauty, micro-climates, hydration, nutrition, fatigue, and teaming. With any of these sports, I like knowing I am physically and mentally strong.
People might not know: While I am tender-hearted, I also care about doing what is right. If something is not principle-based, I am decisive and will do what needs to be done. Even if it is tough. I learned from watching my father at his job and in his dealings with people. He was fair, principle-based, and he cared deeply.
Inspiration: It is very important to me who I work with, work for, and what I do. Inspiration comes from the people I work with. At VMware, I get to experience my colleagues being leaders, while being real, funny, and authentic. Individually or as a team, we laugh, work hard, and make things happen. Because of VMware’s culture, I feel that we have a platform to be who we are as individuals. That has inspired me to be more of who I am. When we are who we are, it’s amazing what we can do.
Best Quality: I would say self-motivation. I set personal goals, they may be explicit or not. Probably one of my biggest accomplishments was completing my college degree as a single mom while working full-time. It took 16 years and with the support of family and friends, I accomplished this very important and personal goal. I was the first in my family to graduate from college. My family flew in for the graduation, and with my family, friends and kids at my side, we celebrated. It was a big day. Throughout those 16 years, I was also blessed with wonderful leaders and great mentors.
Guilty pleasure: I like to read novels. I’m currently reading the Outlander series. Yep, I am. I also just love to relax outdoors with my shoes off.
Career ambition: So this is a hard one for me to share. First, I had to work through it with my husband, followed by lunch with a colleague, and then personally commit to being vulnerable in sharing it here. Throughout my career, I have purposely chosen different career paths and deliberately moved up, moved down, and moved laterally. I’ve gone back and forth between management and individual contributor roles. I moved between companies. Ultimately, what drives my career choices are cultures that connect with who I am. Of course, the job content has to be there too. I came to VMware five years ago. It was the combination of the hiring manager and the energy I experienced on campus while interviewing that brought me here. It’s been a wonderful 5 years at VMware. Frankly, how cool is it to have a career in high tech and be at an innovative company! At this point in my career, I’m ready to say that my next career ambition is to get to the next level, VP. And just as my career as evolved in the past, it will happen when it’s meant to.
Occupation if money wasn’t an obstacle: It would definitely be working closely with people, coaching and guiding them. Over the years, I feel like I have gained insights and perspectives that could be helpful and useful for others. Trust me, the insights were not always easily learned. I’ve had many leaders, mentors, and friends along the way and I would like to help others. I have a particular interest in empowering women in business. The good news is that I have been involved with VMwomen and am currently involved with the VMinclusion and the Women@VMware POD in Palo Alto. So I am on a path!
#1 passion: My grandchildren.
Biggest takeaway from receiving the EPIC2 Achievement Award: It goes back to the love and support across VMware. The day I received the award I was completely caught off guard. My manager flew in to be at the company All Hands when the 2016 winners were announced. Several of my colleagues sat together to celebrate the moment with me. After the announcement, I received heartfelt emails that spoke volumes on the type of people who work at VMware. They are kind and generous. VMware walks and talks EPIC2.
Giving Back: I directed my Citizen Philanthropy investment* to the Udaan School, located in Hardoi, India. This is where we did our Good Gigs Service Learning Trek. After experiencing first-hand, the school’s mission of empowering girls through education, observing the teacher’s 24×7 commitment, seeing the young girl’s excitement and hope shining in their eyes, I understood how VMware does make a difference. I want that difference to continue.
*Each of the 2016 EPIC2 Achievement Award winners received a monetary donation called a Citizen Philanthropy Investment to direct to the nonprofit of their choice from the VMware Foundation.
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