Women Leading Innovation



FountainBlue’s October 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Leading Innovation. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have such courageous and accomplished women on our panel, who come from many different educational levels, corporate and technical backgrounds, and frames of reference. 

As women leading innovation in a variety of industries, technologies and roles, they provided a higher level picture of what it takes to bring something new into an organization, to change the status-quo/the way things are done, and to bring a disparate range of stakeholders to the same agenda. Their advice for moving the needle forward is summarized in the points below.

  1. Focus on the needs of the customer and the trends of the market. Technology’s role is as an enabler.
  2. With that said, it takes integration and management of the most flexible, scalable technologies in order to address the needs of the customer.
  3. So get the best people working with the most current technologies to ensure the viability, performance and scalability of the solution and learn to speak in a language they understand.
  4. Innovation must be blessed from the leaders within the organization, in both words and actions. Work with a company whose leaders walk their talk around innovation, and identify projects which lets you contribute to the company’s innovation edge, engaging a wide range of stakeholders.
  5. It’s never easy to embrace change and chaos and conflict, yet these are all inherent requirements for innovation. Successful innovation leaders effectively manage through the process, facilitating alignment towards common goals.
  6. Know first why you want to innovate, by understanding market trends and customer needs. Then know what your team and organization can do to best serve that need, and how that need is best delivered by whom, with measurable results.
  7. Take a long-term view on innovation. Be resilient and persistent enough to work through the ‘nos’ and the failures. Fail fast and fail forward, progressing new learnings and new and deeper relationships as you go.
  8. It’s a challenge to make old technology fit into our new needs, yet it’s fundamental to the success of organizations.
  9. Make it intuitive and easy for people to use powerful technologies, for the customers of the future make be broader, more demanding AND less tech-savvy.
  10. Carpe diem – seize the day. What’s blocking you from doing what you could possibly do is the lack of confidence that you will succeed the first time. Re-set your expectations – try with little incremental steps to enlarge your objectives, goals, role and contributions.

In the end, innovation is about leaders who think differently about how things are done. Leaders who focus on the needs of others and delivering scalable results, engaging a broad range of internal partners and stakeholders. 

Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s October 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Women Leading Innovation and our gracious hosts at Aruba.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO FountainBlue, Producer When She Speaks Series, Coach, Adviser and Consultant
  • Panelist Jae Sook (Jun) Evans, VP Global Cloud Operations, Saba
  • Panelist Sujatha Mandava, Senior Director, Aruba
  • Panelist Adriane McFetridge, VP, Payment Software Services, Verifone
  • Panelist Gayathri Radhakrishnan, Director Strategy & Corporate Development, Dell Software
  • Panelist Shweta Saraf, SW Engineering Lead, Cisco
  • Panelist Navrina Singh, Director of Product Management, Qualcomm, ImpaQt


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