Customer Success Technical Account Management (TAM)

A Woman’s World: VMware Spotlight on Alicia Thompson

“When I was very little I was full of energy so my parents were like, ‘What can we do with her because she’s waking up on the weekends very early?’ We had a very close friend that was a computer professor, and he was running his own business, so every Saturday morning, I was attending class when I was only nine years old and I was creating folders and directories and running commands. And that’s how it started.”

Though Alicia Thompson’s tech journey started earlier than most, she quickly turned her expertise into a successful IT career. She joined VMware as a Senior Technical Account Manager last fall, working with customers in Brisbane, Australia to implement VMware solutions. 

From customer to customer supporter

Alicia eventually advanced past basic computer lessons and began to think more seriously about tech as a career. A brief stint in economics quickly made her realize finance wasn’t for her, so she went back to IT and took her first tech job at 18.

She was first introduced to VMware technology 17 years ago as a VMware customer in Argentina, where she was born and raised. While she moved to New Zealand 11 years ago, then to Australia last year, her regular interactions with VMware technology remained consistent and led her to accept a TAM position in November.

She enjoys helping customers identify the best VMware solutions for their businesses and navigating them through product challenges, which she feels uniquely positioned to handle as a long-time VMware user herself. When it comes to the technical aspects of the role, she works hard to continue growing her IT expertise — which she’s done by earning her VCPs in Data Center Virtualization and Network Virtualization, among other certifications, and recertifying herself annually.

“I’m a very passionate person about technology and resolving problems. I think now that I’m on the other side of the world, because I used to be a customer on the other side and it’s very important to have someone that you can trust and is an advocate, I completely understand your problems and how to evolve.”

Her favorite memories in tech revolve around hands-on work with customers around the world, including a project she traveled to Canada to work on as a young professional.

Overcoming doubters

Alicia is pleased with how her career in IT has progressed and taken her on new adventures, but she acknowledges that it didn’t come easy as a woman in the field.

She credits one of her first mentors with seeing her potential and helping her get a foot in the door. “He really trusted me that I was capable to do more things and started to obviously delegate more things and to explore more other technologies, and I’m never gonna forget him. He gave me the big opportunity because I was in a position that I wanted to grow but nobody was letting me explore or getting that position because, at the beginning of my career, it was male-predominant, so there was no room for us. So this person was like, ‘No, I want diversity because if the team is diverse, we have more ideas, it will get better.’”

However, she still finds that, like many other women in IT, her skills come under more scrutiny than those of her male colleagues. “They’re always testing how knowledgeable you are. That’s what’s always happening, at least in this part of the world, all the time. Like, ‘Do you really know?’ And I feel like sometimes they’ll be persuaded because when some man comes into the room, they’re not going to ask the same questions.”

Her response? “I don’t need to prove that I know. I know that I know. So it’s just giving them the time to know you, and don’t stress like ‘Oh no, I need to answer every single question.’ Because the reality is it’s impossible to know everything. They don’t know everything as well.”

She feels confident about the future for women in tech, including at VMware, and hopes to see more IT companies work toward achieving an equal balance of male and female staff. “I’ve seen a big change. Just the idea of having that 50/50, it’s promising and I think that there are more groups that are advocates for women that encourage the younger [women] to become IT professionals. Don’t be afraid and let them know that technology can be fun as well.”

Great opportunities will come your way

“Women in tech, we are unicorns, and we are hard to find, and we are kind of unique, so we’re amazing.”

When she’s not at work, you’ll find Alicia enjoying time outdoors, riding her bike, or spending time with family. She’s careful to plan her time at the beginning of each week, allowing her to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

She doesn’t necessarily encourage other aspiring tech professionals to start their careers at age 9, but she hopes they’ll take the time to try out different fields, whether technical or not, to see what motivates them. “Just explore, just play, and if you enjoy that’s maybe what you will follow,” she recommended.

“Just follow your dreams and understand that we have different stages in our lives. So you have to be patient; the great opportunities will come sooner or later.”

Looking for more?

In honor of International Women’s Month, VMware is shining a spotlight on some of our remarkable employees. Check out the rest of the “A Woman’s World” blog series for inspirational stories of women like Alicia, Aneesah Abdul Kadhar, Jamie Lewis, and Gina Chaney.


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