Archive for the ‘When She Speaks’ Category

Local Input, Global Impact

May 14, 2019

 

FountainBlue’s May 10 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Local Input, Global Impact‘.  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 were each as adept at prescribing and creating the future of an organization as they were at inspiring everyone to contribute to a common cause. They were as passionate about delivering bottom-line results as they were about motivating all stakeholders to contribute personally and professionally to that cause.

As the speed of technology and markets continue to evolve rapidly, change is inevitable. Keeping ahead of change is imperative. Below are thoughts on how to amplify local impact to maximize global impact in order to keep up with this change.

  • Plan strategically for the necessary market changes. 
    • Help individual people make shifts to people and technology strategies to keep up with market forces. 
    • Communicate succinctly, strategically and tactically so that your message is heard, and that the appropriate actions follow.
    • Design and implement collaborative solutions to specific problem statements.
  • Help people embrace the unique value they bring to the table.
    • Develop the ‘as-you-are’, ‘full-self’ culture which accepts people for who they are, and invite them to fully engage and contribute.
    • Respect others for their differences. Be open to how they view the world.
    • Acknowledge people for what they contribute for each project. 
    • Speak in a language the other person understands, even if it’s foreign to you.
    • Be humble, authentic, transparent, vulnerable and sincere. 
  • Welcome diverse ways of thinking, acting and being in your local groups.
    • Never impose your values on others.
    • Empower others to open minds, doors and networks.
    • Help people identify and share their own unique perspectives.
    • Shine the light on the problem without offending transgressors.
    • Collaborate with others to help ensure all voices are heard and welcomed.
  • Help people manage themselves so that they can consistently bring their best selves to work.
  • Engage the support of all stakeholders in strategic, specific and ongoing ways.
    • Enlist support from the top-down and from the bottom up.
    • Be the role model for others. Invite others at all levels to also model the way.
    • Celebrate bottom line successes. 
    • Measure and report on cultural impact.
    • Drive results in the short term. Provide ongoing efforts for the long term.
    • Tell a story that will inspire and motivate others to also get involved.

The bottom line is that Thinking about local impact is a necessary foundation. Speaking about it adds credibility and focus. But taking action and providing resources and support to make it happen in specific ways will get Local People Engaged, leading to Global Impact.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Oracle and our panelists for FountainBlue’s May 10 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Local Input, Global Impact’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Markia Archuleta, Vice President of Oracle’s Advanced Customer Services (ACS), Oracle
  • Panelist Marc Gregorio, Executive Director of Human Resources for Asia Factory Operations, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Gayathri Radhakrishnan, Venture Partner, Impact Venture Capital
  • Panelist Shobhana Viswanathan, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Automation Anywhere
  • with introduction by David Ortiz, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Oracle and male VP from Oracle with passion for D&I.

See bios at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/localglobal.

Lean In and Level It UP

April 12, 2019

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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.

Difficult Conversations

March 19, 2019

FountainBlue’s March 15 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ Difficult Conversations – Bring Them On’.

We were fortunate to have such a diverse and powerful group of panelists who so succinctly and candidly shared their thoughts on how and why to conduct difficult conversations. It was also amazing to have such a strong showing of executives – male and female – representing a top-down, bottom-up support for diversity, inclusion and leadership from our host company!

We began by talking about why difficult conversations are needed, and how having a diverse population and an open leads to better business results.

But change takes time, and having those ‘difficult‘ conversations to facilitate necessary change is not an ‘easy‘ task, by definition. Below are some thoughts on how we can each find a comfortable way to have that difficult conversation:

  • There’s no magic formula for being confident and courageous. Each of our panelists had different backgrounds and upbringings, but we all had to overcome some kind of adversity at an early age. 
  • In the examples provided, it was often the case where others did nothing, yet the panelists chose to think, say or do that difficult thing. Sometimes that brought the desired result in short order. Often it did not. But regardless of the result, it was a learning and a step forward.
  • Choose to be assertive, but only when it makes sense. But be plan-ful when you make that choice as there will certainly be consequences.
  • Build a network of supporters and mentors and sponsors who will support you through easy and difficult conversations.
  • Understand the motivations and mindset of those who don’t think like you – regardless of whether there will be a difficult conversation.
  • Along those same lines, even when you think someone is very similar to you, there may at some point be a difficult conversation at some point.
  • Focus on the facts and data rather than on the feelings and emotions. 
  • With that said, with difficult conversations, emotions will likely run high – either yours or others’! So know yourself and your own buttons and triggers and proactively manage that. Know where the other party is coming from and manage from there.
  • Practice the 90-second rule – if you let someone vent emotionally for 90 seconds, they may feel heard and you may get real information to help you plan. The trick is to not get angry and defensive during the tirade.
  • Make, grow and maintain relationships before, during and after the necessary difficult conversations. 
  • Be your candid, authentic, unique self. It’s good enough.
  • Be humble and inquisitive, especially when that other person makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Be open to a reality you didn’t consider when you adopted your current position. 

Sometimes, having a difficult conversation is not enough. Walking points include:

  • Lack of respect for the other party
  • Loss of trust between the parties
  • Mis-alignment on goals
  • Too much delta between the parties

We closed with the full topic of the conversation – Difficult Conversations – Bring Them On. For they are a necessary part of our personal growth, and the growth of our team, company and industry. Lead On!


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Maxim Integrated and our panelists for FountainBlue’s March 15 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ Difficult Conversations – Bring Them On’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Laura Bermudez, Senior Director of Software Engineering, Carta 
  • Panelist Rosie Cofre, Belonging and Diversity, Principal, Workday 
  • Panelist Diana Finucane, Sr. HR Business Partner, Lam Research
  • Panelist Tracy Laboy, Executive Director of HR, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Adriane McFetridge, Director of Engineering, Netflix
  • Panelist Lori Kate (Calise) Smith, Director, Marketing Programs, Machine Learning (ML), ARM

with opening remarks by Ed Medlin, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer at Maxim and closing remarks by Dino Anderson, Executive Director of L&D, D&I at Maxim.

Negotiating

February 18, 2019

Feb15PanelFountainBlue’s February 15 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ Negotiating for a Win-Win’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such a spunky, amusing and seasoned panel. Although they had a wide range of educational backgrounds and professional experiences, they had much in common.

  • They are confident, strong and passionate, honest and hardworking team players. 
  • They each have a track record of success negotiating on a wide range of projects, working with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • They strive to understand objectives and perspectives and work collaboratively for a win-win whenever possible.
  • They learn from both successes and failures, from all others around them. 
  • They are persuasive leaders who know the facts and leverage the data to realize a common goal.
  • They are well-networked leaders with a hard-earned, high-impact brand.

Below are some best practices shared:

  • Know yourself well, and what’s important to you and why. Then you can negotiate best for the things that matter most to you.
  • Do your homework before the negotiation. 
    • Know what you’re willing and not willing to do and what the overarching goals are and why.
    • Research who’s involved and what their background and motivations might be. This might be done online (LinkedIn and Google are your friends) or it might be a conversation with those-in-the-know.
  • Be clear on where you can give a little and where you can’t be flexible. 
  • Bundle the issues together, rather than make it a single point of negotiation. It’s easier to manage a give-and-take from there.
  • Know your walking point. Adopt a strategy on what would happen if you reach that walking point.
  • Collaborate with your own team to strategize on how to work a negotiation. Collaborate with the other team to help ensure a win-win.
  • Play different roles (like good guy/bad guy) to help manage a negotiation.
  • Manage your emotions.
    • Don’t take things personally.
    • Take a time-out/break if things become productive.
    • If things get personally, try to re-set to a new and more social environment, like coffee on the side.
    • Be curious about the high emotions of the other party.
    • Accept and acclimate to the things that might push your buttons. 
    • Listen more than you speak.
    • Don’t insist on a resolution when emotions run high.
    • Silence is your friend.
  • Make time for in-person conversations or phone calls or videos calls.
  • Men might find it easier to negotiate on their own behalf, but women might find it easier to negotiate on behalf of someone else.

I’ll close with the input of our executives as they launched our event today – keeping being that agent of change by connecting with, engaging with, and learning from each other, in community, about everything, including how to better negotiate for a win-win. 


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Western Digital and our panelists:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Charlotte Falla, Vice President and General Counsel, Samsung Research America
  • Panelist Nancy Gilbert, Director Pilot Operations, Lam Research
  • Panelist Windi Hary, Senior Vice President Global Clinical, Quality and Regulatory Affairs, HeartFlow, Inc
  • Panelist Angela D. Roach, Executive Director, Associate General Counsel – Employment and Immigration, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Kristin Robinson, Director and Senior Legal Counsel, Ethics & Compliance, Western Digital

with opening remarks by Siva Sivaram, Executive Vice President, Memory Technology and Roger Crockett, Vice President, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Liming Wang, VP of Finance, Manufacturing Finance and Christina Lewis, MBA, Finance Director, Devices BU at Western Digital. See bios at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/negotiation2019.

Communicate, Connect and Engage

January 22, 2019

FountainBlue’s January 18, 2019 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘ The Convergence of Technologies’.   

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We were fortunate to have such a range of leaders on our panel, representing a range of professional and educational backgrounds, a range of rows and companies. They shared a passion for the need to communicate, connect and engage, and agreed:

  • Solid Communication is core to all successful relationships, all successful projects. Communication must be open, transparent, authentic and clear, as well as bi-directional, direct and ongoing. This is generally not easy, but always required.
  • Connections between people help make communication easier, even when difficult topics must be broached. 
  • Successful engagement leads to improved communications, improved connections, and successful metrics. 
  • Improved communication and connections can also lead to improved engagement.

Below are some best practices for communicating, connecting and engaging with others:

  • Be Strategic
    • Look not just at the words and actions, but also be curious about the intentions and motivations of other parties.
    • Insist on civility, but reach for a true connection.
    • Consider your ecosystem of stakeholders and each audience within that stakeholder set. Strategize your communications and actions based on your research.
    • Focus on measuring the impact of your engagement programs.
  • Be Open
    • Be open and compassionate and curious, especially when someone looks and seems different than you, especially when she/he might disagree with you.
    • Be empathetic to others and their situations. Try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
    • Be vulnerable and receptive. Others are more likely to communicate, connect and engage with you that way. 
    • Step outside your comfort zone.
  • Be Empathetic
    • Be aware of not just what you say but how you say it. 
    • How you make the other person feel is even more important than being right. (Maya Angelou)
    • Speak to the whole person. Others are just as complicated and complex as we are ourselves!
    • Build trust
    • Try to bring your best self forward at all times, but expect that this can’t happen all the time. Forgive yourself and others when you’re/they are not coming across as their best self.
  • Empower Others
    • Empower others to plan and strategize to improve communication, connection and engagement.
    • Inspire and empower others around you, no matter where you sit at the table, even if you don’t have a seat at the table.

In conclusion, our inspiring panelists shared a common message: Keep reaching for stars. Never settle. The impossible can only happen to those who truly believe it can.


Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s January 18, 2019 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘ The Convergence of Technologies’, and our gracious hosts at Samsung.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Megan Cheek, HR Director, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Lucia Soares, Managing Director, Health247 Inc. 
  • Panelist Sarah Tapia, Director of Talent Acquisition, Samsung Research America
  • Panelist Erin Yeaman, Senior Director of HR, Lam Research
  • Panelist Julia Zhu, Engineering Program Manager, Cisco

with opening remarks by Joon Lee, President, Samsung Research America and closing remarks by Roxanne dos Santos, Senior Manager, HR Operations, Samsung Research America

See bios and details at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/engage

Convergence of Technologies

December 12, 2018

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FountainBlue’s December 7 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘The Convergence of Technologies’.  

We were fortunate to have such a range of leaders on our panel, who were all able to blur the lines, shake up our thinking around both leadership and innovation! Although they represent a broad swath of backgrounds and industries, they have much in common:

  • They are passionate about continuous learning, in search of a greater self.
  • They embrace opportunities to stretch themselves, and accept that they can’t be perfect, but they can learn from every opportunity.
  • They are curious about technology, and its ability to solve the problems of the customer.

They agree that many factors are leading to the convergence of technologies, including:

  • the established global network and infrastructure and communication channels
  • the preponderance of technologies we count on every day, across teams, companies, industries, countries
  • the proliferation of data generated by hardware and software solutions
  • the empowered users who keep raising the bar for personalized solutions for their everyday problems

The challenges to tech leaders are immense as technologies converge.

  • How do you invent and innovate faster and better in less time, with higher quality?
  • How do you collaborate and innovate while retaining your IP and core value?
  • How do you apply successful solutions in one sector to another sector?

But there are opportunities ahead as technologies and solutions converge.

  • Embrace open source technologies which are standardized.
  • Build win-win collaborations with trusted partners.
  • Empower select partners and customers to help define their needs and potential solutions.
  • Leverage the volumes of data to manage your innovations and solutions.
  • Embrace ML, AI, IoT, Edge and other solutions – they are our future.
  • Wellness and health will be top-of-mind for customers of all sizes and needs. 

The following is advice from our esteemed panel on how to lead and innovate in these exciting times.

  • Have the confidence to keep reaching forward, the humility to know your value, the wisdom and self-awareness to listen to and integrate feedback and learnings.
  • Be a part of the solution, allowing more diverse perspectives, including your own, to be part of the critical conversations which will define the future of a program/product/solution.
  • Know and embrace who you are, where you fit in as technologies converge. Have confident that leaders will be needed as robots/machines/software/hardware can’t run the world on its own.
  • Respect the data, but look for the implications of that data, and the actions and decisions which should take place based on that report.
  • Know your boundaries and enforce those boundaries so that you can stay on course for being the type of leader you want to be.
  • Own your destiny. Know how your choices will support your own health and welfare – a necessary and foundational part of making that difference.

The bottom line is that it takes a village of leaders and innovators to perpetuate this convergence of technologies. Be part of the solution!


Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s December 7 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘The Convergence of Technologies,’ and our generous hosts at Flex. 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Gayathri Badrinath, Digital Health Entrepreneur and former Head of Global Marketing Services, Siemens Healthineers
  • Panelist Katherine Brown, Director of Manufacturing Engineering, Lam Research
  • Panelist Karthi Gopalan, Product Line Director, Mobile Power BU, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Sabitha Krishnamurthy, Director of Software Development, Enterprise Business Unit, Cisco
  • Panelist Mahsa Nakhjiri, Sr. Director Connectivity Center of Excellence, Innovation Technology & Integration, Flex
  • with opening remarks provided by Suruchi Sharma, VP of Corporate Strategy, Flex

See bios and details at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/convergence

Welcoming the Gift of Feedback

November 10, 2018

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FountainBlue’s November 9 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a broad range of panelists representing different educational and professional backgrounds and experience. They shared their thoughts on feedback warmly and openly.

It’s great when you give or receive good feedback for a job well done, and also great when you give or receive constructive feedback for a job which wasn’t well done. However, watch out when you’re getting good feedback for a mediocre effort – because the praise or award might not have meaning, AND the motivation to do better would suffer.

Watch also for the other type of error – when you get negative feedback for a job well done. If that happens, perhaps there’s a political motivation where someone wants to undermine someone else or take credit for their work. 

To mitigate these and other problems with feedback, ask questions and seek clarity so you understand what the feedback is, and what you can specifically do to improve.

It’s also important to understand the motivations of parties – the one giving and the one receiving the feedback. Once you understand the motivations, focus also on how to best communicate a constructive, productive message.

The focus must be on achieving measurable results, even if difficult and awkward conversations must take place. To give feedback well, be prepared with specific information and data to support the input. To receive feedback well, be open-minded and curious, while managing your own emotional reactions to the feedback.

Below is some specific advice around feedback.

  • Millennials seek feedback more often than those from other generations. They welcome templates and coaching and continuously strive to bring their best selves to work, which makes it easy to provide feedback in some ways. However, it can also be a problem when their over-eagerness or their focus on generating immediate results either brings mediocre results or offends others on the team with more experience. Respect is something that people of all generations seek, and feedback can help members of each generation be more respectful of those from other generations.
  • Providing feedback to men is different than providing feedback to women. Men tend to be more resilient, less sensitive, and have more vivid memories of the positive feedback over the negative feedback. Perhaps some women could learn from their more resilient example.
  • It’s a difficult situation when someone is using feedback to serve their own ends, rather than providing feedback as a gift to help someone else to grow. To help address this situation if it happens to you, seek independent parties who can help you understand the motivations and actions of all involved. Strategize on how best to address the core issue, even if it means having to leave the leader or the team.

The bottom line is that life is a journey, and feedback is a gift which helps make that journey more fulfilling, helping you become your best self. Be selective about who you include in that journey, and open enough to receive that feedback. Be resilient and courageous enough to receive and learn from difficult feedback, if it’s productive for your personal and professional growth.

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at San Jose City College and our panelists for FountainBlue’s November 9 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Cynthia Dote, Director of Engineering, Pure Storage
  • Panelist Dana Gharda, Director, Global University Recruiting & Programs, Lam Research
  • Panelist Nivedita Ojha, Senior Director, Product Management, IoT, Mobile, Cloud, Citrix
  • Panelist Lena Tran, Ed.D., MBA, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Innovation, San Jose City College

See bios and invitation at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/feedback

Making Decisions That Count

October 16, 2018

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FountainBlue’s October 12 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Making Decisions That Count’! Below are notes from the conversation.

It’s not easy to make the right decision every time, all the time. We were fortunate to have a wide range of viewpoints about making decisions. Below is a compilation of advice and suggestions from an engaging and experienced panel.

Listen and Learn

  • Judgment for making great decisions comes with time and experience. Embrace every opportunity to learn. Be open to learning from those who know more than you do – that’s almost everyone else!
  • Embrace every opportunity to teach others what you know, and learn interesting new things from others.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Don’t expect to make all decisions on your own every time. In fact, that probably wouldn’t work too well for most people.

Be Strategic

  • Adopt a top-down strategy for making decisions (how do you stay on top of the hill) and a bottom-up strategy for executing on that strategy (what will help keep us there).
  • Recognize that not all decisions are created equal and respond accordingly.
  • Err on the side of decisiveness.

Be Open

  • Many people in tech are trained to be rational. But those in tech must also be accepting of those who are more creative, less rational. It would help with making quality decisions.
  • Be willing to pivot from a decision if the data and response warrants a change.

Manage Yourself

  • Manage the emotional part of your experience, so that the logical, left-brained side of you can focus on the facts.
  • Make important decisions when you have good energy and mindset.
  • Don’t be pressured into making a decision urgently, especially when there’s a lot at stake.
  • Trust yourself and your gut. But also point to the data to back your decision.
  • Don’t second-guess yourself after a decision has been made. 

Focus on Relationships

  • Build relationships of trust, making motivations clear. Treat others as you would have them treat you, especially when making tough decisions.
  • Take the time to know the motivations of other people and groups you’re working with. Work collaboratively to make decisions which benefit everyone in the short term and for the long term.

The bottom line is that all decisions matter, but relationships are even more important. Make decisions with that in mind, focusing on the goals, while also honoring the people involved.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ForeScout and our panelists for FountainBlue’s October 12 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Making Decisions That Count’! 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Monica Bajaj, Director of Engineering, Perforce Software
  • Panelist Kerstin Ewelt, Head of Marketing, Quora in German, Quora
  • Panelist Jennifer Geisler, VP Marketing, ForeScout
  • Panelist Bhavya Vaidya, Director Supply Chain, Lam Research

Digital Innovation

September 26, 2018

FountainBlue’s September 21 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Customer-Led Digital Innovation, When She Speaks in East Bay! Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such a diverse panel of leaders with decades of deep experience integrating digital solutions into work challenges. Although they represented a wide range of educational and professional experience, they had much in common.

  • A passionate curiosity for solving complex problems efficiently, so that everyone benefits.
  • A customer-first mindset which helped them lobby for solutions to meet the needs of their customers.
  • A flexible and versatile approach to work situations, and the courage to reach for what’s next.

Below is a summary of advice on how to lead digital transformation in your company.

  • Lead the digital transformation initiatives in your company.
    • Embrace opportunities to lead digital transformation for it will help set your company apart.
    • Accept your team and partners for where they are, yet help them reach for a simpler, more elegant way to solve pervasive problems.
    • Work with people across product, sales, marketing, engineering, etc.,
    • It’s going to be difficult for some people to embrace digital solutions. Work with leaders at all levels to help everyone elegantly transition to the right digital solution.
  • Be strategic.
    • Research market trends. Understand use cases around digital transformation. Adopt strategies which might work for yourself and your company.
    • Change is happening rapidly, and digital transformation is inevitable. Respond accordingly.
    • Be visionary about the possibilities, agile around the implementation.
    • Focus on the intended result. Automate the processes to help deliver measurable progress.
  • Focus on the data.
    • Know what you’re measuring and why. Know how you’re measuring it, and report on the data. Tweak the plan as needed.
    • Leverage the data to efficiently create personalized solutions, products and reports for individual customers.
    • Aggregate findngs between customers so you have a larger general understanding of each type of customer.
  • Be customer-oriented.
    • Create an engaging, immersive, memorable experience for the customer.
    • Be ever customer-focused, and make the time to understand their current and anticipated needs.
    • Make your offering simple, your workflow intuitive and easy-to-use.
    • Have a detailed profile of your target customer and design a solution which would resonate for him/her.
  • Understand the market trends.
    • Embrace a subscription economy, where the focus will be more about the data and the service rather than about the product.
  • Accept that there will be an increasing level of automation, but know that there will always be a need for versatile and talented humans.
    • Relationships need to be developed and maintained between humans.
    • The creative edge will always belong to humans.
    • It will take a human to represent different viewpoints and constituencies.
    • Only a human can take responsibility for a project – not a machine or robot or tool.

As we look for what’s next, there’s a hope that it will make life easier, and a fear that it will make parenting and managing more difficult. Go forth with hope that we can leverage the best of the Age of Digital, the Age of the Empowered Customer.

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at Five9 and our panelists for FountainBlue’s September 21 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Customer-Led Digital Innovation, When She Speaks in East Bay:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Carla Di Castro, Technology Sourcing Leader, Workday
  • Panelist Maranda Dziekonski, Vice President of Customer Success, Pared
  • Panelist Niki Hall, VP Corporate Marketing, Five9
  • Panelist Sri Mudigere, Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Product Management, Customer Insights & Experience Design, Wells Fargo 

Showcasing Collaborative Innovation

September 20, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 3.40.43 PMFountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Showcasing Collaborative Innovation’! We were fortunate to have a large range of perspectives on our panel on the collaborative innovation topic. Our panelists represented the wide range of roles, levels and functions across tech companies small and large, and even representing different industries. But they also had much in common.

  • They explored many different classes, roles, and responsibilities, bravely trying new things and courageously delivering results in a wide range of contexts.
  • They have decades of experience, witnessing and contributing to the evolution of technology.
  • They pay close attention to the needs of the customer, and deliver what the customer is looking for.
  • They pay close attention to the market trends and advise their customers based on what they see with the market trends.
  • They are in alignment with the strategic direction for the organization and its leaders. In fact, they have chosen their role and company as they were inspired by same.

The way we do business is very different than it used to be.

  • Innovation is everywhere – in universities, at standards bodies, through start-ups, in Open Source solutions.
  • The problems today are much more pervasive, much larger, much more global than they used to be.
  • It no longer works to be the only local offering as the world has become flatter, so everyone can easily get anything from anywhere.
  • It’s becoming more expensive to solve even simple problems.

They each exclaimed in different ways about the pace of change, the rate of change, the constancy of change. Collaboration helps each of them to best cope with this change.

  • Collaboration enables people to specialize in specific technologies, partnering with others.
  • Collaboration helps companies address multiple market segments, again partnering with others.
  • Collaborative Innovation helps companies to differentiate themselves, focusing on their core value-add, and partnering with others to deliver complementary offerings.
  • Collaboration allows others to vet and trouble-shoot a solution, before it goes to market.
  • Collaboration helps all parties to consider additional applications for existing and known solutions.
  • Collaboration helps with product planning and implementation by identifying more corner cases.
  • There is less likely to be group-thinking when you are collaborating with a range of partners.

Below is advice on how to make your collaborative innovation projects more likely to succeed.

  • Gather a wide range of partners and collaborators.
  • Encourage brainstorming sessions.
  • Get all perspectives on the table, even from those who are not generally vocal.
  • Empower and engage all participants.
  • Encourage all to submit ideas and input, even if they are not involved in the project.
  • Consider that a solution for one problem may contain ideas and technologies which could be applicable to a totally separate problem.
  • Be bold and persistent, resilient and positive.
  • Have the hard and difficult conversations to stretch your own comfort zone and that of others.

It was fascinating to see how each of our esteemed panelists looked at innovation from a different perspective, yet each delivered a new and better product, process, solution, technology. 


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TI and our panelists for  FountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Showcasing Collaborative Innovation’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Mary Emerton, Vice President, Manufacturing, Nutanix
  • Panelist Padmaja Nimmagadda, Applications Program Manager, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Laura Patton, VP,  Customer Solutions, Flex
  • Panelist Sangeeta Ramakrishnan, Distinguished Engineer, Cisco
  • Panelist Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice, Comcast
  • Panelist Jeremy Yaeger, MGTS Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments