Our Meet the Hiring Manager series lets you 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. This week we’d like you to meet Pam Cocca.
- Job title: Vice President, IT Colleague Experience and Technology
- Years at VMware: 4 years, 11 months
- First job: My first paying job was at Burger King. I lasted two weeks because I hated the brown uniforms (so unstylish for my 15-year-old self!). I went to work at A&W instead immediately after that, where the uniforms were not so terrible!!
- Favorite fun activity: Playing Ticket to Ride with family back home in Canada – thanks to technology like Zoom, the 2500 miles just melted away.
VMware Careers: Tell us about your career journey to date.
Pam: It’s been over twenty years since I made the leap into IT, and wow, what a ride it’s been! As a young twenty-something recently out of school with a husband and two young kids, I remember not being too sure what it was that I wanted to do when I “grew up.” As I scanned the newspaper (yes, the newspaper!) for jobs available in our area, I came across a job posting for an IT desktop support position. I had no experience in desktop support, but I had a passion for learning and helping others. I had also recently read a book about TCP/IP and was fascinated to learn how computers talked to one another (who knew?!). Despite my lack of experience and in-depth technical knowledge, I took a chance and applied for the position. Not only did I get the job, but looking back over twenty years after moving from technical support roles to various leadership positions within IT, I can’t believe how fortunate I am to be where I am now.
When I started my career in desktop support, I had hardly any technical experience, but I had a passion for learning new things and helping others. In addition, I was innately curious about the world of technology. As I gained more technical knowledge and experience, I progressed from desktop support to sys admin roles supporting technologies like Microsoft Exchange, Citrix, various VMware products, and many others. I considered pursuing a career in networking and IT security, but shortly after completing my CISSP certification, I ended up in a (junior) leadership role and discovered that my true passion was leading people and teams. Working in a male-dominated field hasn’t always been easy as a woman. However, working for VMware, a company whose values align closely with mine and that encourages me to bring my authentic self to work daily, I’ve overcome many challenges along the way.
I started working at VMware almost five years ago, initially leading our Colleague Support team in the AMER region. I was promoted to Senior Director in early 2021, taking on responsibility for the support team in EMEA as well. Recently, I was promoted to VP of Colleague Experience & Technology in August of 2022. Today I have the privilege of leading a team of exceptional individuals doing fantastic work, constantly reminding me about what made me fall in love with this profession in the first place.
VMware Careers: How is VMware different from any other tech company where you previously worked?
Pam: I had never worked for a tech company before working at VMware. I worked in the non-profit industry for about ten years before joining VMware, and it was a bit of a culture shock at first. It felt strange not to be constantly operating on a shoestring budget, but I think that all those years of ‘doing more with less’ set me up for success in any future role I’d have. One of the things I love about working at VMware is the company’s focus on DEI. Something that never seemed to be much of a priority at my previous companies, and yet it’s so essential in building high-performance teams to have many diverse perspectives.
VMware Careers: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Pam: I get bored quickly, especially when things become routine or I feel like what I’m doing isn’t making a difference, so what gets me out of bed in the morning is knowing that my role presents new challenges every day. That, and the fact that I have a chance to positively influence IT experiences for all VMware colleagues through my work.
VMware Careers: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned as you move upwards in your career?
Pam: I learned early on (thankfully) that whether moving up or otherwise, you need to find something that interests you and that you are passionate about. The rest will take care of itself. If you stay too long in a job you don’t love, you will eventually burn out and get ‘stuck,’ and neither of those feels very good. The second thing that took a little longer to learn is that you can’t do everything alone as you move up! You need to get really good at empowering others and leveraging their talents. You cannot take on more and continue to excel in what you do if you don’t let go of something. Surround yourself with great people and empower them to do what they do best! It’s good for you and good for them.
VMware Careers: What makes the team you lead so effective?
Pam: Our team is responsible for delivering the technology and services that VMware colleagues need to do their best work and deliver on the company’s priorities. The whole team is hyper-focused on the colleague experience and removing friction at every possible touch point. Everything from enabling a seamless day-one onboarding experience, getting a replacement laptop, reaching out to our support team for help, and providing the best tools to facilitate collaboration and productivity across an incredibly distributed workforce. We are constantly looking at all these things and more. The end goal is clear to everyone on the team: enable colleagues to do their best work by delivering a delightful technology experience.
VMware Careers: If someone reading this was coming to interview with you tomorrow, what interview tips would you give them?
Pam: I would break it down into these four pieces of advice.
1. Know what you are passionate about and how it connects to the work.
2. Research the company and know why you want to come and work with us.
3. Be yourself – it’s obvious when people tell you what they think you want to hear.
4. Ask lots of questions; you are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing you.
Browse open roles on our Colleague Support team here.
Learn more about #VMwareLife by following our VMware Careers social channels below!