Our Meet the Hiring Manager series allows you to get to know the people who grow teams at VMware. You will learn about our hiring managers’ career paths and what they look for in candidates during the interview experience. If learning and interview tips from our people interest you, we invite you to read on.
This week we want you to meet Michael Robinson who is a remote employee based in Florida. Michael joined VMware in 2017. He joined in order to help expand the Healthcare Vertical within VMware as the Vice President of Healthcare in North America. In addition to this, Michael is also an Executive Sponsor for the Black@VMware Power of Difference (POD) group. Read on and get to know Michael.
VMware Careers: Tell us about your career journey to date.
Michael Robinson: I have had a long and very diverse and non-traditional career journey. To start off, I did not complete High School as I dropped out in my senior year. I started working in a warehouse job and then was fortunate enough to land a job with the local telephone company as an outside field technician in 1974. I worked in that role for about 6 months before joining the military and spending 2 years in active duty. When I returned, I was guaranteed my old position and began my college journey on the GI Bill.
I enrolled at Manhattan College pursuing an Electrical Engineering degree while continuing to work full time at the phone company and. Which proved to be a bit much, so after two semesters, I again dropped out. It would take me nearly thirty years to complete my undergrad and graduate studies.
I was doing well in my job and very content however, I had a sponsor that would change the direction of my life. A gentleman who went to school with my older brother was at the time, one of the most senior African- Americans at the company I was working for. He obviously saw something in me that I did not see in myself and told me that I should look at opportunities in data processing. I was reluctant as that required a move into management and I was currently a union shop steward. However, he was relentless, and I agreed to at least take the exam. I scored so well in the exam that he then enlisted the program manager to join him in his recruitment efforts. I finally relented and spent the next decade in a variety of IT roles culminating in a director role managing one of the largest IT systems in the company.
After a 15-year career at the phone company, I left to pursue some entrepreneurial opportunities and started my own consulting firm moving from New York to Atlanta. I grew the business from 3 people to over 100 consultants in less than two years. Ultimately, being acquired by a larger consulting firm. I spent the next decade in senior roles at a few large and mid-sized organizations including creating the business case for a new Hitachi LTD subsidiary, Hitachi Data Systems Solutions, becoming the Cheif Operations Officer for that $100 million organization. This organization was the foundation of what is today Hitachi Consulting.
In 2000, I once again started an entrepreneurial journey and formed an Executive Search Firm. One of my potential clients was Microsoft. After several conversations with senior executives there, instead of getting a contract, I was recruited to join them 2001. I would spend the next 15 years in a number of key leadership roles including; General Manager of the Mid-Atlantic and New York Metro regions; Vice President and General Manager for Public Sector Middle East and Africa and finally Vice President Health and Life Sciences Americas. I retired from Microsoft in 2016.
Retirement didn’t last long as I was recruited to VMware in June of 2017, to help expand the Healthcare Vertical within VMware as the VP Healthcare North America. I have the honour to manage an outstanding team that has spent the last two years focused on building and selling vertical relevant solutions utilizing the VMware platform to improve outcomes in healthcare through increased efficiencies, innovation and thought leadership.
VMware Careers: How is VMware different from any other tech company you have worked for?
Michael Robinson: VMware is very similar in many ways to other tech companies I have worked for. There are obvious challenges around diversity and the competition for talent. However, I believe that VMware from the very top of the organization is committed to changing some of those dynamics.
VMware has built a 20-year reputation as an innovator and disruptor in the marketplace. That has allowed us to build a culture where we encourage and support an entrepreneurial spirit, even inside a $10 billion organization.
VMware Careers: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned as you moved upwards in your career?
Michael Robinson: If there is one lesson that resonated with me over the course of my career itis that performance is a given. However, relationships are key to advancing your career and building a community of knowledge with your contributions and potential. I have found that even where you are not aware people are observing and potentially advocating for you.
Relationships also allow you to have an impact through influence. I have always admired leaders who had the ability to inspire and influence those that were aligned but not in their direct line of responsibility.
VMware Careers: As a leader of a large organization in VMware how do you practice fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce?
Michael Robinson: I have always been a huge advocate for diversity and inclusion. Diversity starts with representation, making sure we have teams that are as diverse as possible. When you have diverse teams you also have an expanded network that will allow us to source more widely. During the last six months, we posted fourteen requisitions. Nine of those requisitions were filled by diverse candidates and 80% of all requisitions with at least one diverse candidate interviewed were ultimately filled by a diverse candidate. We are very intentional to ensure we have a diverse candidate pool before we conduct final interview loops and also ensure there is diverse representation from an interviewer perspective.
Creating an inclusive environment builds on diversity in the organization. Inclusion requires that we are able to bring our authentic selves to work. It requires open and respectful communication. Respecting differences and using those differences to drive innovation into the work we do.
Learn more about VMware’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.
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