Lean In and Level It UP

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LeanInApril12a

FountainBlue’s April 12 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Lean In and Level It Up’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such an inspiring and accomplished panel to speak on this month’s topic. They represented a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds and experiences, yet they had much in common:

  • They juggle as much as the rest of us between work and life.
  • They try to plan as best as they can, and roll with whatever life has to offer when the plan doesn’t work out.
  • They are humbly human, and grateful for all those who helped them to level up to where they are in life and work.
  • They are reaching today to become an increasingly better version of themselves.

Below is some advice they have on how to support each other, and reach for what we’re seeking in life and at work.

  • Embrace and create new opportunities as they arise. 
  • Have the self-awareness to know what you want and the courage to reach for it.
  • Build the network of others to support you in the journey. It’s not just the obvious senior executives who can help you. The people who can help you come from many backgrounds and they are above, below, beside and within you.
  • Know your value-add. Grow that value-add. Communicate that value-add.
  • Be open to the opportunities which arise from failures and mis-steps. They provide the greatest learning opportunities.
  • Be clear on your priorities. Make proactive choices to respect those priorities.
  • Be clear on your expectations of yourself and others. Communicate clearly and regularly to ensure a clear understanding of expectations, especially as it evolves.
  • Know yourself and what you need. But be flexible enough to bend, but not compliant enough to break under the will of others and their agenda. Your own needs are also important.
  • Be clear on what you’re seeking, direct on how you ask for it, and collaborative on how you deliver it. 
  • Learn from people who can show you how something should be done.
  • Create a work and role you enjoy and look forward to. One where you can stretch and grow and contribute. Shift the role and responsibilities as needed to ensure that you remain happy and satisfied.
  • Be yourself. Your full self. The best version of yourself.
  • Grow a network with people who have your back. People who would stand by you in the good times and more so in the bad times. 
  • It’s OK not to want to level up. Lean in to help others get to where they want to go, even if he/she doesn’t want to level up.
  • Create calm from chaos.
  • Be resilient and persistent. 
  • Shoot for the stars. You might reach the moon.
  • Don’t be a fair-weather friend. Don’t hang around with people who are fair weather friends.

The bottom line is that regardless of whether you want to level up, choose to be a good person. Make the tough choices in alignment with that choice, even if that means you’re not going to level up to a position you’re seeking. Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Synaptics and our panelists for FountainBlue’s April 12 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Lean In and Level It Up’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue; Director Vonzos Partners
  • Panelist Deepika Bajaj, Serial CMO and Vonzos EIR
  • Panelist Sharmistha Das, Director, HCM Applications Development, Oracle
  • Panelist Carina Fang, Director, IoT Program Management, Synaptics
  • Panelist Christina Lewis, MBA, Finance Director, Devices BU, Western Digital
  • Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, VP of Marketing, Panzura

with opening remarks by Jean Boufarhat, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Synaptics and Tamara Lucero, Director; Inside Sales / S&OP, at Synaptics.


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