Our Meet the Hiring Manager series allows you to get to know the people who grow teams at VMware. You’ll learn about our hiring managers’ career paths and what they look for in candidates during the interview process. This week we’d like you to meet Elena Luk’yanenko, read on to get to know Elena.
- Job title: Director, Azure VMware Solution Sales, Asia Pacific & Japan
- Years at VMware: 11 months
- First job: I got my first real job when I was 20. I lived in Ukraine back then and was studying full time for my degree in Finance. I got a job with Israeli airlines as a security officer and I was working night shifts. My main responsibility was to prevent a terrorist attack on passengers, crew or the aircraft. My favorite part of the job, besides cheap tickets, was talking to passengers. I had about 10 min to have a conversation with a passenger to find out their “travel story” and identify their “threat level” before they check into the flight. This is where I learnt the art of non-verbal communications and the art of asking questions.
- Fun fact: When I lived in China, I got on the reality TV show “The Amazing Race: China Rush.” I did it with my friend Tameka. It was truly once in a lifetime experience! Nearly a month we travelled across China visiting amazingly beautiful places and competing with 11 other teams for one million dollars and a trip around the world. Although we didn’t win, that experience has taught me the importance of open communication, team work and making allies.
- Favorite social distancing activity: You have probably heard that you are the average of the five people closest to you. I truly believe in the power of collective wisdom, and I found that one of the ways to tap into this wisdom is through online mastermind groups. I regularly participate in masterminds and organize my own. This is how I make friends and foster meaningful connections these days.
VMware Careers: Tell us about your career journey to date?
Elena: Prior to joining VMware, I worked in Microsoft for nearly a decade. There I held a variety of leadership roles establishing and growing cloud business in Asia. I started in Microsoft in Shanghai, China in their Global Customer Support organization. I established their presence and tone of voice across multiple social media platforms in Asia in nine different languages. After that, I relocated to Singapore to start the first Microsoft Customer Success team in APAC helping strategic customers adopt Yammer and Office 365 services to improve their collaboration and productivity. Two years after that, I moved to the exciting world of Microsoft Azure! Back then I was leading Azure sales in Asia. I was responsible for shaping global and regional sales strategy and delivering on sales priorities in the region – revenue, customer acquisition, growth acceleration in strategic accounts, incubation of new Azure services, etc.
Most recently I was a part of the Corporate Development team, as a Cloud & AI Business Development Lead for developed markets in Asia. I was driving high-impact partnerships with digital natives and regional ISVs as well as helping Microsoft Product Group to acquire new capabilities for upcoming cloud offerings.
Previous to Microsoft, I worked in a global consultancy firm in China as the Group Marketing Director, and earlier I worked for a Malaysian government organization as their representative in Eastern Europe.
VMware Careers: How is VMware different from any other tech company you have worked for in the past?
Elena: When I was deciding to join VMware, company culture was one of my top decision-making factors. Coming from Microsoft, where we went through an amazing cultural transformation under the leadership of Satya Nadella, I couldn’t imagine working for a company that was not aligned with my personal values and my mission. I was pleasantly surprised by how similar VMware and Microsoft cultures were. VMware culture combines everything any millennial or Gen Z values in an employer – innovation, respect, trust, autonomy, collaboration, diversity & inclusion, flexibility, care for the community, care for the environment and all this backed up by passion and execution.
VMware Careers: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Elena: My 2-year-old, who wakes up before 5:30am every single day! 😊 Other than that, it’s curiosity that gets me out of bed. I am curious about what the new day brings, who are the people that I will meet, what experiences I will have, and what I can do to become better today than I was yesterday.
VMware Careers: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned as you moved upwards in your career?
Elena: When it comes to advancing in your career, doing your job well is just 50% of success. The other 50% comes from visibility your great work gets inside and outside of your organization. This is why it’s essential for everyone to build and maintain their personal brand and actively network not only within your organization but also externally.
VMware Careers: What makes the team you lead so effective?
Elena: My team consists of Azure VMware Solution (AVS) sales specialists and cloud solution architects. Together we are an entrepreneurial group of people, who are passionate about helping customers with their digital transformation efforts through the accelerated path to the cloud. AVS offers the easiest and fastest path to the cloud for customers with existing VMware SDDC. Once our customers shift their infrastructure to public cloud, they save costs and innovate faster, while maintaining enterprise control.
At the same time, we are also helping VMware to transform into a cloud-based SaaS business, showcasing a customer-centric and consumption-oriented mindset. As we work with our customers and partners, we get a unique perspective on how we need to adjust our Go-To-Market (GTM) and operational practices to serve them better.
Everyone on my team is a self-starter (take ownership) and a team player (drive execution in a collaborative manner). We connect on a weekly basis to share wins, learnings, and exchange best practices, building on top of each other’s ideas and supporting each other to succeed.
VMware Careers: What advice do you have for people, especially women who are looking to grow their careers in the Technology industry?
Elena: For anyone who is growing their career in the tech industry my advice is to stay relevant and up to date. The technology and trends are constantly changing, the world is changing as well, that’s why it’s important to invest in continuous learning and seek new ways to solve problems in a more effective and efficient way.
For women specifically, my advice is to find your voice and speak up! It’s very easy to feel shy or intimidated navigating the industry, that is still heavily dominated by men, but do know that sharing your unique perspective can make a difference not only for your career but for businesses as well as the world. Join professional women communities in your region or online, leverage collective wisdom and the power of the network to propel in your career. And last, but not least, stop being a perfectionist! Know your strengths and keep developing them. Lean on others to compensate for your weaknesses.
Could you see yourself working for a manager like Elena? Click on the below links to browse open roles on her team.
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