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Hold on to your seats and get ready to feel the power! In honor of International Women’s Day, we asked the ladies at VeloCloud, now part of VMware, about who has inspired them in their career and the advice they would give to future women in tech. Here is what they had to say.

What advice do you have for women looking to develop a career in tech?

 

Connie Chung, Legal Director

Own your seat at the table – you’ve earned it and deserve to be there. Make your opinions known and don’t let imposter syndrome take over. Try new things and always take opportunities to grow. I’ve noticed that women generally have been taught to talk deferentially. Some comments are posed with a slight lilt at the end (almost like a question as if seeking approval).  If we want to make a comment heard, we should talk with authority (like a declarative sentence rather than as a question); otherwise, the comment doesn’t convey assurance and confidence. While I have generally talked this way (and my position confers some benefits), I think it’s good for women to be aware that talking with authority makes a difference (and makes a bigger impact).

 

Sasha Emmerling, Sr. Director of Marketing

Now is an exciting time to be a woman in technology. I am very happy that VMware is leading the tech companies by having a formal Diversity & Inclusion program and celebrating the power of human difference. Tech has traditionally been male-dominated but the tide is turning. My advice is two-fold. First, be true to who you are: if you want to be a developer, do not get intimidated walking into a room full of male engineers. You are in a business meeting and have something to say, say it—do not back down simply because someone else has a louder voice; after all, every voice matters, and the whole room will be better to learn what you have to say! Secondly, drive excellence. A passionate and results-driven approach will help accelerate you in your career as a strong woman in technology!

 

Nacime Karami, Director of Telco Sales

As a woman working in technology, my advice would be to never stop learning or growing.  Being immersed in technology means working in a fast-paced environment which is always evolving, and one should never get too comfortable or complacent.  In fact, it has been said that when you’re feeling uncomfortable, it could mean that you are stretching your capabilities and growing. So, my recommendation is “get uncomfortable!” I always strive to learn new things, to take on more and to continue growing (while helping others achieve the same).  I am often uncomfortable and forced out of my comfort zone.  It can be challenging but learning and growing every day is super rewarding.  I love my job, company and partners because they always push me and help foster continued growth.  There’s a plethora of information and resources that you can devour anytime so take advantage of it, take risks and just go for it.  No one can limit you but yourself and through learning as well as hard work, the sky truly is the limit.  If I could end with words to live by it would be to make sure you laugh hard and work hard every day

Tell us about a woman/women who inspired you in your career.

 

Connie Chung, Legal Director

Amy Olli, VMware’s GC, is inspiring to me because not only does she manage a large legal organization, she is finding ways to develop her people. I recently participated in a NextGen program (a program to develop future leaders), which was designed to help us develop certain skills.  We learned about business chemistry types, how to navigate organization dynamics and had sessions focused on enhancing and improving our public speaking skills and had the opportunity to present utilizing these skills.

 

Torsha Banerjee, Engineering Manager, R&D Dataplane

My Mom: for always imbibing the right priorities in me and my sister–education, degree, be fearless, be independent. Marriage, husband, in laws were never part of our discussions until I actually got married.

 

Sasha Emmerling, Sr. Director of Marketing

I have the pleasure and honor to be working with a group of amazing women here at VMware. Each of them inspires me in different ways. Some use their expertise to mentor others, some show uncompromising dedication not just to work but to using their time and experience as a force for good in other areas of their lives, some – on a daily basis – drive their business relentlessly while still finding time to learn new things and expand their horizons. I can keep going! And, most importantly, they all – we all – support each other and stand strong to help our business grow.

 

Jessica Janis, Sr. Marketing Manager

It would have to be my mom, Sharon Janis. She was a positive role model for me both as a career woman and a mother. She worked her way up the ladder from a secretary to become the Alaskan Chief of Realty for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) service. Along the way, she carved out her own path in an environment when there were few women leaders in government. Among numerous other contributions in her decades-long government career, she was responsible for land purchases that helped protect our valuable lands and magnificent animals from exploitation so they could be preserved and protected, untouched for generations. She also worked on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) implementation issues at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and FWS. ANCSA, signed into law in 1971, was the largest land claims settlement in United States history. ANCSA was intended to resolve issues surrounding aboriginal land claims in Alaska, as well as to stimulate economic development throughout Alaska. In 2001, she received the Distinguished Service Award “…for her expertise and perspective on the laws, regulations, and policies governing Alaska…Janis’ vision and guidance pioneered the computerization of land status on Alaskan refuges using the Geographic Information Systems which allowed the Service to become a leader among agencies in providing maps and conducting analysis in support of acquisition and management of Federal lands in Alaska. She also implemented the first land acquisition program using the Land and Water Conservation Fund combined with the civil and criminal Exxon Valdez Oil Spill funds, purchasing over 260,000 acres in the National Wildlife Refuge System in Alaska.”

All the while, she managed to raise 6 daughters and stay not only sane, but fun-loving and inspirational. Love you, Mom!

 

Nacime Karami, Director of Telco Sales

One woman who always stood out to me is Padmasree Warrior. Her reputation most certainly precedes her in that she’s incredibly smart, thoughtful, humble and kind.  She’s been mentioned in Fortune and Forbes and has been called a powerful, global influential leader in science and technology.  She has received many accolades, writes Haiku and is a self-proclaimed poet.  If you research her you will see that she is not only inspiring but very down to earth and a humanitarian. What I love about Padmasree is that although she continues to hold high profile positions, she also gives back to the community.  She not only maintains a fulltime workload as a mother and an executive, but she also sits on the board of directors for several companies while taking time to focus on empowering international women in technology. I will continue to follow Mrs. Warrior and aspire to be just as prominent, caring and successful as a PROUD woman in technology.

 

Rosa Lear, Director of Marketing

Growing up in a very remote and isolated town where very few people are educated beyond high school or leave the area, I turned to books as an escape. In turn, those books opened up a world of possibilities beyond the bubble I lived in and made me realize that I can and should strive for more. In particular, the heroines in these books inspired me with their fierceness, their strength, their drive for change, and their ability to succeed in spite of all the obstacles and “no’s” they encountered along the way. So, on this day celebrating women, I’d like to thank Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austin, Judy Bloom, Danielle Steel, Margaret Mitchell, and the countless others who’s books I devoured as a young, impressionable girl. You changed my life path and led me to where I am today. Thank you!

 

Jannae Oliver, Sr. Manager, Route-to-Market Success

Oprah Winfrey. Oprah was born poor. Very poor. In fact, no one in her household was fully literate. When it came time to put her name on her birth certificate Orpah (a biblical name) became Oprah because of this. From these poor beginnings she sprouted and became successful knowing there was one thing she could do very well. Talk! This inspired me because I always felt that there is so much power in verbal communication. If one can articulate clearly, the sky is the limit. I try to remember this about Oprah and myself when I’m having a down day. It takes all kinds and all skills (even talking) to make a successful team!

Share a quote from a woman that continues to inspire you.

 

Torsha Banerjee, Engineering Manager R&D Dataplane

“If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.” – Melinda Gates.

 

Jessica Janis, Sr. Marketing Manager

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

 

Nacime Karami, Director of Telco Sales

Padmasree Warrior’s advice, which I think is awesome, is as follows:

  • Be authentic & approachable
  • Mentor and coach others
  • Be out there and “lean in” to opportunities
  • Forget “balance” as it conjures up conflict so think of it more as an integration (work, family, self, community)
  • Avoid guilt – make decisions and be happy! “Go with it!”
  • Think long-term and focus on relationship quality
  • Be happy with your decisions

 

Rosa Lear, Director of Marketing

“Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t.” – Michelle Obama.

 

Jannae Oliver, Sr. Manager, Route-to-Market Success

“Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.