Thought Leadership

A Woman’s World: VMware Spotlight on Susanna Barretta

“My first computer science teacher strongly inspired me and helped me to cultivate this passion. That gradually increased my desire to start applying what I was studying.”

While many young students spend years deciding what career to chase, the decision to pursue tech was an easy one for Susanna Barretta.

After earning her master’s degree in computer science engineering, Susanna’s first job brought her from Naples to Milan where she worked for an IT giant’s local branch for more than a decade. Last fall, she decided it was time to embark on a new challenge — serving as a Senior Technical Account Manager, or TAM, for VMware in Rome.

Discovering new interests

As a teenager, one of Susanna’s first introductions to tech was through a friend who worked in IT and showed her the career possibilities. With the support of her school instructors and family, she developed a passion for tech and chose to study computer science.

Her first full-time role at Microsoft was working as a Partner Technical Consultant, which put her customer service skills to the test. It also tested her confidence, as she was the only woman on her team.

“It was challenging to demonstrate how a woman’s way of approaching things could make an important contribution to a team of only men,” Susanna said. “It was really difficult for the first month, but my manager helped me change the approach and change the vision, and I appreciate his contribution.”

A few years later, Susanna shifted into technical account management, which she felt would balance her areas of expertise. “I love that technical account manager role because it allowed me to combine technical and communication skills,” she noted. She later pursued a role as a Customer Success Account Manager at Microsoft because it too offered the right mix of technical and soft skills.

The right time for a change

After nearly 13 years at Microsoft, Susanna knew it was time for a change. She joined the VMware TAM team in September and now specializes in multi-cloud solutions.

“It’s important for customers to manage different kinds of clouds. I chose VMware for this reason — because it’s a [winning] strategy.”

In addition to her TAM role, Susanna earned her VCP in Data Center Virtualization in November. Joining VMware also connected her with her manager, Ricardo, whom she works with regularly.

“I am proud to be at VMware because I think the company gives value to people, and I have this demonstration from Ricardo every day. This is most important for me and is the reason to change companies. I really appreciate my team because I have all colleagues who are ready to help each other.”

Asked whether she would change anything about her tech journey, she simply said: “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Stay the course, be focused, and have passion

While Susanna is happy with where her career has taken her, she acknowledges the many challenges women face in tech.

One memory she recalled from her time at Microsoft was explaining to a man at a major event that she was a qualified Partner Technical Consultant. She was rebuffed and told that he wanted to speak to a man instead. While she feels that circumstances for some women in tech have changed since then, Susanna finds that women still have to take extra steps to prove their expertise compared to male colleagues.

“It’s a challenge for me because I think we have to demonstrate that women can understand a technology issue, can solve a technology issue, and that sometimes we can give a different approach, a different perception, and often solve the issue in different ways.”

Susanna would be happy to have the chance to guide young female professionals on her team by showing them how she approaches customer challenges.

She encourages other women interested in tech not to give up because it’s difficult. “I think that we need to have tenacity, passion, and we have to be focused on our goal so we can improve our skills.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *