Archive for the ‘When She Speaks’ Category

Building a Culture of Trust

April 9, 2021

FountainBlue’s April 9 When She Speaks women in leadership series program, on the topic of ‘Building a Culture of Trust’. We were fortunate to have a seasoned and varied range of panelists to speak on the very timely question of building a culture of trust.Building trust has been especially important as leaders at all levels are dealing with many uncertainties and challenges with the pandemic and its aftermath. Below is a summary of our learnings from the panel discussion.
Trust is essential for leadership and management. It is something that’s slow-to-earn, and quick-to-lose, which makes the stakes high. A team, a company, an individual can’t thrive and succeed unless he/she/they/we have the trust of the many others in their circle. Below are best practices for building trust.


Be Worthy of the Trust

  • Be credible. Work hard. Be clear on what’s required and consistently exceed expectations.
  • Be authentic, sincere, honest and true. Your character will help you build trust.
  • Own up to your mistakes, and be willing to humbly learn from them.
  • Be vulnerable about what you can and can’t do, and persistent about learning what you need to do to perform well.
  • Be courageous and bold, especially when you are uncomfortably doing what you know to be right by others.
  • Do the right thing. Do right by others. Do this consistently. Especially when it’s hard. 
  • Share a vision for what’s next, especially when so much is uncertain. 
  • Consistently walk the talk and talk the walk, building a brand worthy of the trust of others.

Be Other-Focused

  • Listen well and deeply to what the other is saying so that you can understand both the needs and the motivation.
  • Relationships matter. Be sincere, transparent and direct with your communications and act like those relationships matter.
  • Be empathetic and supportive of others. Manage and communicate with grace. We are all working and living in strange, uncertain and at times difficult circumstances. 

Be Collaborative

  • Identify and work toward that common ground, in concert with an ecosystem of others.
  • Set high expectations for yourself and others, and communicate how each stakeholder benefits from collaboratively working toward a common goal.
  • Value those who think and speak and act differently, and invite them to collaborate. 

Keeping Learning and Excelling

  • Be self-aware enough to know yourself and your own strengths and limitations. Keep reaching for stars from there.
  • Never settle – keep reaching and learning and making things better for yourself, your team, your customer, your partners.
  • Assertively make a stand for divergent viewpoints and input. Graciously invite others to do the same.
  • Embrace the opportunities to feel uncomfortable. 
  • The measure of a (wo)man is not just how they behave when they succeed but also how they learn and grow when they don’t.

Be Strategic

  • Ask the ‘why’ before the ‘what’. Make sure that the ‘what’ always aligns with the why.
  • Don’t let the ‘how’ interfere with the ‘what’. 

The bottom line throughout the conversation is to be credible – to provide a constancy amongst the change, the all-in support of others which helps all to reach confidently for what’s next.

Be the Brand You Seek to Be

March 12, 2021

FountainBlue’s March 12 When She Speaks women in leadership series program, on the topic of ‘Be the Brand You Seek to Be’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Maxim and our esteemed panelists. We were fortunate to have a remarkably talented and centered group of panelists to speak on our panel on the topic of ‘Be the Brand You Seek to Be’. Below are notes from the discussion.

Know Yourself and Be True to Yourself

  • Make the time to know what you’re good at (skills), what you like to do (passion), what the market needs are (market), and find the intersection between the three.
  • Know your values and honor them in your interactions, doing right by others, well for your company. 

Evolve, Learn and Grow with Your Brand

  • Know where the customers and markets are going and evolve your strategy and your brand to meet these emerging needs.
  • Don’t expect perfection from yourself or from others, but do expect to learn from your experiences, both good and bad.

Take Ownership of Your Brand

  • Proactively define your brand, rather than have others define it for you/make assumptions about you.
  • Proactively address any stains you might have on your brand, making amends, re-building perceptions and relationships where necessary.
  • Align intentions and perceptions.
  • How you respond to a scenario will speak to your brand.
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Be Other-Centric and Results-Focused

  • Build broad and deep relationships. 
  • Understand the needs and motivations of others and collaborate with others to deliver results.
  • Be the person who consistently delivers results, preferably in a wide range of circumstances.

As we look to a future which will be more collaborative, more connected, more immersive, more digital, more socially conscious, it’s more important than ever that our brand is Open, Resilient, Persistent and Resourceful.

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Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s March 12 When She Speaks women in leadership series program, on the topic of ‘Be the Brand You Seek to Be’ and our hosts at Maxim.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Marie Le, Chief Marketing Officer, Good Deeds
  • Panelist Laura Owen, Chief Human Resource Officer, Maxim Integrated
  • Panelist Krista Pavlakos, Senior Director, Marketing Communications & Demand Creation, Renesas Electronics
  • Panelist Monika Thakur, Vice President, SaaS Engineering, Oracle
  • with opening remarks by Karthi Gopalan, Product Line Director, Mobile Power BU, Maxim Integrated and
  • closing remarks by Cara Bilinski, Executive Director, IT PMO, Maxim Integrated

Career Agility in the Age of Digital

February 12, 2021

FountainBlue’s February 12 When She Speaks women in leadership series program was on the topic of ‘Career Agility in the Age of Digital’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Lam Research and our esteemed panelists.

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We were fortunate to have a remarkably talented and centered group of panelists to speak on the career agility topic. They had a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, but agreed on many things about career agility.

  • Embrace opportunities for continuous learning.
    • ‘Learn from every opportunity, good or not so good.’
  • Know yourself – what your skills are, what you’re looking for, what you enjoy doing, how you’d like to grow, what’s fulfilling for you. This increases the likelihood that you will seek a role which best fits your current and projected needs.
    • ‘Know what you don’t know, what you don’t like.’
  • Seize the opportunities to stretch yourself so that you can grow strategically in a direction which meets your needs.
    • ‘Make the unexpected stepping stones to what’s next.’
  • Solve a problem presented by your team or organization, even if it’s not your problem to solve, even if you don’t yet have the skills to solve the problem.
    • Become known as someone who has the skills to solve a problem, not someone with a specific title.
  • Work for a greater purpose a deeper cause.
    • Be a passionate world-changer, working with people who also want to make a difference.
  • Stop comparing yourself negatively to others. Be uniquely you.
    • ‘Pretend that your career path to date is something that you meant to do, even if it’s not.’
  • Accept that you are where you are, where you are meant to be. There’s time to reach higher, be better in specific ways.
    • Make each career step an opportunity to learn about yourself and make a difference for the team and organization.
  • Work with leaders and colleagues you like and respect.
    • Build relationships with quality people and deliver results consistently for them.
  • Never settle.

The bottom line is that the pace of business, the pace of technology is rapidly increasing, and we must all be resilient enough to withstand the ugly side of change and agile, courageous and bold enough to keep reaching for what’s next despite the shifting landscape.

Resources:

We Are ALL ONE

January 15, 2021

We were fortunate to have such an inspirational, fun, passionate and diverse set of women leaders for FountainBlue’s January 15 When She Speaks program on the ‘We Are ALL ONE’ topic. Our panelists shared their wisdom about how to be agile and lean during challenging times, how to embrace the opportunity in any challenge.

Their resilient and growth-minded leadership in a time of great change really helped themselves, their teams and their organizations to rise to the next level, even while others struggled.

Their focus on the people side of change, their focus on how to be more other-centric and empathic because of the extra burdens brought on by that change has really set them apart as leaders of leaders.

Their emphasis on humbly being curious, embracing the diverse perspectives of others helps them to be more nimble and agile in managing through change, in anticipating the implications of the change.

Below is a compilation of advice for leaders who want to build more collaboration, more inclusivity, especially during times of great change.

  • Be human, be vulnerable, be candid and authentic. When change is pervasive running deep, lean into each other as colleagues, as teammates.
  • Challenge yourself and others to reach for stars, even when it’s a scary thought. Help each other learn from the inevitable mis-steps, and support each other in taking additional steps forward.
  • Stretch the capabilities and offerings of your team, focusing on how you can help other teams and customers. 
  • Build connections within and outside your organization so that you can better understand a broader point of view, and get input and feedback from people outside your standard network.
  • Step up, step in to lead when there is chaos, when there is an opportunity. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait for the title. Don’t do it just for the compensation. Don’t do it just for the credit. Do it because you can, because it helps others, because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Be empathetic and supportive and make others feel important and valued.
  • Invite out-of-the-box creative thinking.
  • Provide yourself grace and acceptance. Indulge in guilty pleasures. Find joy in the little things.
  • Take every opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Use your time wisely. Be especially selective with what you do in your own spare time. 
  • Practice resiliency every day. Help others celebrate resiliency in themselves as well.

The boundaries have permanently blurred between work and life. Proactively managing these fuzzy boundaries will help leaders at all levels plan and respond to the next normal, which doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

In addition, the waterfall of change may be just an indication of the level and speed of changes to come. Fortune will reward the open, the agile, the lean, as it has our panelists.

Men Who Open Doors

December 11, 2020

FountainBlue’s December 11 When She Speaks program was on the topic of Men Who Open Doors. We were fortunate to have such inspirational, passionate and diverse men for today’s When She Speaks program on the Men Who Open Doors topic. They spoke passionately about why they are committed to the cause of including women and those with diverse background, and the business benefits for doing so. Each panelist was nominated by awesome women leaders who benefited from their support. In general, these men shared many common qualities.

  • They are authentic, passionate and driven leaders committed to driving the business and empowering their people.
  • They have a wide range of perspectives and wisdom, earned from deep and diverse experience.
  • As inspiring and committed leaders, they are continually involved in participating deeply and giving back passionately.
  • They are each exceptional leaders, extraordinary fathers who put their people first – in thoughts, words and actions.
  • Their focus is not just on the individual women and men who would benefit from their support and sponsorship, but also for the product, for the team, for the organization as a whole.
  • Although they are respectful of those in charge, they are creative and resourceful in making their point and shifting the needle forward to create more impact.

Although they represented different companies and role, they each spoke to the business imperative of embracing diversity within their teams, their organizations.

  • Leveling the playing field will help put the best candidates in the best roles.
  • If the focus is on shareholder value, then having a diverse workforce consistently reflects improved shareholder value.
  • Having diversity of thought is a great cure for Groupthink, which is clearly and consistently a barrier to innovation and even problem solving and decision-making.
  • Doing the right thing builds culture, builds trust, builds credibility.
  • Speaking authentically for choices made around doing the right thing builds confidence and loyalty within and outside the organization.
  • Women are generally more engaged and committed to an organization and role, as reflected by corporate surveys. (Perhaps men feel equally passionate and committed, but may be less likely to show it with actions/commitment/tasks.)
  • The injustice of a double-standard is a blow to corporate culture.
  • Complex problems need to be solved by diverse teams. 

Below are some best practices shared to help companies open more doors for women and those with diverse backgrounds.

  • Giving everyone a chance to succeed and perform will raise the waters for all. 
  • Hiring gritty go-getters is many times better than hiring someone who checks off all the qualifications boxes.
  • Err on the side of asking uncomfortable questions. Pushing our assumptions and biases in a respectful way is a critical part of fostering change in a good way.
  • Consider using return-ship programs to recruit women who might be interested in returning to the workforce after taking a life-detour for example.
  • Sympathy and words are not enough. Actions will speak more loudly.
  • Alignment of thoughts, words and actions is an imperative if you want others to genuinely below in the commitment to the diversity cause.
  • Consider leveraging an internship program with diverse candidates and hiring graduates from these programs.
  • Hire the best candidate, the best athlete for the role.
  • Put your neck on the line if you need to. Making a stand for a candidate who delivers will speak volumes for yourself, for the candidate, and hopefully for your bottom line.
  • Build the self confidence of all your candidates, whether they are from diverse or more standard backgrounds.

The bottom line is that these men truly open doors for others in all senses of the word. Their integrity, their passion, their results shine through, inspiring us by example, and highlighting successes worthy of replication.

Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s December 11 Men Who Open Doors program, our hosts at Coupa Software and our nominating professionals.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Chris Allexandre, Senior Vice President & Executive, Renesas  
  • Panelist Ronald Goossens, Senior Director of Marketing, ASML 
  • Panelist Gabe Perez, VP Coupa West Sales, Coupa Software
  • Panelist Sajid Sadi, Vice President of Research, Head – Think Tank Team, Samsung
  • Panelist Nathan Sheranian, Senior Director Human Resources, Freshworks 
  • with opening remarks provided by Sheryl Chamberlain, Director Alliances, Coupa Software, Board Chair Coupa Empower
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Ways to Lead

November 16, 2020
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FountainBlue’s November 13 Ways to Lead program. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Pure Storage and our esteemed panelists: 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Niki Armstrong, Vice President, Global Employment, Compliance & Litigation, Pure Storage
  • Panelist Sheryl Chamberlain, Board Chair Empower (Coupa Woman’s Program) and Global and Regional System Integrator Alliances, Coupa Software 
  • Panelist Karthi Gopalan, Product Line Director, Mobile Power BU, Maxim
  • with opening remarks by Ellen Lail, Regional Sales Director, Commercial, Pure Storage

Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds, educational paths and perspectives, but here are their top ten views on ways to lead.

  1. Leadership comes from many paths, from many directions. Defining your own leadership style will take much self-reflection, vast and deep support from many sources, an inquisitive mind willing to learn continuously, as well as the willingness to grow from both successes and challenges.
  2. Sometimes leadership opportunities are ones you aggressively and strategically pursue. Sometimes they appear to fall on your lap because others around you have faith in you. Either way, when presented with that leadership opportunity, be open to learning and growing, receptive to sponsors and networks of support, curious about the importance of the task at hand, and flexible about how you work with others to accomplish these goals.
  3. Leaders tend to integrate the data from the outside – from market, customer, business, people and other data – and collaborate with others to create strategies and approaches which may transcend the traditional modus operandi. The best of these leaders sell these transformational ideas into the mainstream, providing exceptional win-win-opportunities for all.
  4. Leaders define success not just by the business results, but also by the impact on the people they touch, which often transcends today’s business metrics.
  5. Leadership development invariably involves going off a planned course. Although the role, industry, or work may vary (the HOW a leader leads), the leadership path meanders around the core values, principles and skills for each leader (the WHO a leader is).  
  6. No leader is perfect. The best leaders learn most when they have been less than perfect.
  7. Leaders get their support and inspiration from many other people, resources and networks in their lives, surrounding themselves with positive and supportive others. 
  8. Leaders are the first to pay it forward, supporting those around them to also reach higher. 
  9. Leadership takes both confidence and courage. You can gain confidence by working with others and gaining skills. But courage must come from deep inside you, and a commitment to aim for something higher, with the grit and perseverance to succeed in making it happen, the fortitude and strength to try again despite the failures.
  10. Leadership is a practice which is enhanced through diverse experiences. Embrace the opportunities in front of you, and share your learnings in CSR, public speaking, board seats and volunteering.

We will conclude by saying the people are inspired and humbled when the principled leader speaks. They challenge us to embrace and support ourselves as we are, while we also strive for our greater selves. We respond with goosebumps, feeling the truth of the message, and the energy and optimism to reach for our own small star in the sky.

2020 Mentorship Best Practices

November 6, 2020

FountainBlue’s November 6 When She Speaks program featured our Annual Mentorship Best Practices program. 

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds in our panel. Although each panelist was unique in her perspective, all speakers had much in common.

  • Their passion for mentorship, learning and growing runs wide and deep. They practice it in their thinking, speaking and in their actions, embracing opportunities for continuous learning within and outside the work environment.
  • They are each complex individuals with many dominant skills, but also open and eager to learn new and even scary things, if it’s an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to serve others.
  • They are each strategic while being tactical, team players while also very independent, open and trusting while also savvy and methodical.

Below is a compilation of best practices they shared in the panel discussion.

  • Each company, each leader has a different way of running a mentorship program. There are no right answers, but each solution keeps involving and improving, getting feedback and input from committed participants.
  • Implementing successful programs takes dedication and collaboration, to ensure that there is a process for matching mentors and mentees, a format for maintaining communications between pairs and across the program, a commitment for the funding and resources to grow a program, and an expectation to continue communicating and learning from successes and challenges, in the interest of continuous improvement.
  • Build a culture which builds people up, facilitates connections between people who work toward a common goal. 
  • Although there’s a need for structure to support the building of networks within and outside an organization, also embrace the opportunity which come from fluidity and creativity and random connections, which could lead to leadership and innovation outcomes.
  • Align the executive team to a people-first mindset, in thoughts, words and actions. 
  • Reward committed staff and volunteers putting structures and systems in place organically, to best serve the community. 
  • Serve the needs of the customers – the mentees and the mentors who want to contribute to their own growth and that of others.
  • Create a solution which is scalable and flexible, with a host of resources to support all involved across the globe.

These are the values mentors and mentees admire in others:

  • Humility
  • Trust
  • Candor
  • Humor
  • Openness
  • Vulnerability
  • Courageous/Strength

This is what our mentors and mentees would tell their 21-year-old self:

  • Don’t expect every experience to be a positive one, but do commit to persevering through the good and the bad.
  • Be the Advocate that you seek. You are in the best position to advocate for yourself.
  • Ask for More of what you’re seeking. It will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll get it.
  • Pursue your goals – reach higher than you think you can and keep raising the bar for yourself.
  • Have patience with yourself. And with those around you. 
  • Make the goal is worthy of the journey.
  • Listen to and learn from everyone’s story. 
  • When you’re stuck, ask for help. Being independence, but being inter-dependent makes everyone better.
  • Assume that you will be evolving across roles, across companies, across geographies and keep your network and your education growing as you evolve.
  • You’re already a better leader than you think you are. You’re enough just as you are.  

Here’s a shout-out to all the mentors and mentees and coaches and sponsors out there – those who are investing in their own growth, and that of all they touch. May the energy come full circle back to you.


Please join me in thanking our hosts at Micron and our panelists for FountainBlue’s 2020 Annual Mentorship Best Practices program.

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  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • with opening remarks by Buffie Main, Global Executive and Leadership Development Senior Program Manager, Micron
  • Mentors:
    • Amber Barber, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Global chairperson, Women in Global Operations ERG, Lam Research
    • Nancy Mason, Supply Chain Manager, NVIDIA
    • Gayathri Radhakrishnan, Director Venture Capital – AI Fund, Micron
    • Sandy Yu, Global Director, Product Strategy and Success, Oracle
    • Mentees:
      • Megan Cibula, Industrial Engineering Supervisor, Lam Research
      • Bambi DeLaRosa, Healthcare AI Principal Investigator and OHSU collaborator, Micron
      • Priyanka Kukade, Senior Design Verification Engineer, NVIDIA
      • Madeline Walsh, Senior Program Associate, Oracle Corporate Citizenship 

Who Moved My Cheese

October 9, 2020

FountainBlue’s October 9 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Aruba, and our esteemed panelists: 

Who Moved My Cheese – Sona, Win, Kim, Nicole, Partha, Linda
  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Win Chang, Western Region Public Sector State and Local Sales Consulting Director, Oracle
  • Panelist Sona Mahavni, Director – SW Engineering, Aruba HPE
  • Panelist Nicole Sharratt, VP of User Experience, FICO
  • Panelist Kim Willetts, Senior Director, Global Brion Division, ASML
  • with opening remarks and panel participation by Partha Narasimhan, CTO, Aruba HPE

Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, companies and roles. Because of the many amazing accomplishments they’ve shared and their amazing stories of perseverance and success, I have dubbed them the BTDT (been there, done that) – then Be Humble, Be BOLD panel. They humbly and eloquently shared their wisdom around change with us. 

Take a Long-Term View

  • Accept change as a part of life. Embrace the opportunities it unfolds for you, and those around you.
  • Plan for a marathon, not a sprint. Create structure and boundaries to make sure that you have the strength, balance, perseverance and willpower to remain strong and centered.

Seize the Opportunity in the Chaos

  • Accept circumstances for what they are, but embrace the circumstances to make opportunity. 
  • Every crisis has two elements – Danger and Opportunity. 
  • Be bold – go for it. Embrace failures as learning lessons and seize the day.
  • Be open and curious about what’s next, what’s new. Never settle into complacency.
  • Ask yourself how this challenge with the pandemic, or any challenge really, levels the playing field and opens up new ways of doing things better or differently.

Be a People Person 

  • It always boils down the the people around you and how they can each rise up in the midst of change, under extraordinary circumstances. 
  • The human spirit is stronger than we all realize. People accomplish the impossible every day.
  • Put people first in your mind, in your words, but most of all, in your actions.
  • Be positive, supportive and empathetic to others. Choose kindness and support. Everyone is going through so much in these uncertain times.

Unite People in Community, Align Them on Purpose

  • Share your humanity with others.
  • Create platforms and community to unite people, to align them to common causes at work and in life.
  • Accept that change is hard and help people help each other to address changes.
  • Be a force for good. Make a stand for others, for values, for principles. 

Leverage Technology as a Tool to Connect and Create

  • Use tools to build social connections even during a pandemic.
  • Show your empathy and authenticity regularly through through technologies and processes.

The bottom line is that through this change, we have remained productive to date, but we need to take care of our physical and mental health and build connections and community, plus leverage technology to maintain that productivity. 

Notes are available online at  and bios are online at .

CNBC, Oct 2020: What the Workforce will look like in 2025 as it morphs due to the pandemic 

Excerpt from the CNBC October article mentioned in the program:

A recent Boston Consulting Group study of 12,000 employees in the U.S., Germany and India found that productivity can be maintained surprisingly well in a virtual or hybrid work setting. This may be a result of many factors. Without long commutes, small talk with colleagues and leisurely coffees in the break room, many workers — especially those who don’t have to worry about child care — are getting more done.

Companies, too, are discovering that processes and procedures they previously took for granted — from lengthy meetings to regular status updates — are less essential than once imagined. And though some executives are concerned about burnout as working from home continues, they are enjoying the gains for now.

But key to success is tracking the pulse of employee sentiment. When analyzing the data, BCG found four factors that correlate with employees reporting continued or even enhanced productivity on collaborative tasks: social connectivity, mental health, physical health and workplace tools.

What the workforce will look like in 2025 as it morphs due to pandemic
PUBLISHED TUE, OCT 6 202010:05 AM UPDATED WED, OCT 7 202010:00 AM EDT
Lori Ioannou @LORIIOANNOU1

Embracing the Creative in a Tech-philic World

September 11, 2020

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September 11 When She Speaks Program: Embracing the Creative in a Tech-Philic World

FountainBlue’s September 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Embracing the Creative in a Tech-philic World’. Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, companies and roles. Although they were each unique and accomplished, they had much in common.

  • Each chose a technical/science educational path, yet each made the proactive choice to go into more creative and business-focused roles.
  • Each has focused on solving critical, difficult problems, working with both technologists and creatives, and found a way to translate between the two sides when there were conflicts and misunderstandings.
  • Each is entrepreneurial, creatively solving problems in new ways, yet each is also process-oriented as she implements solutions.
  • Each is customer-centric, curious about the customer problems, the customer experiences. Each insisted in getting a first-hand connection to those customers so that she can better deliver solutions that serve the customers’ needs, providing a flow that is useful and easy to navigate for the customer.

Below is a compilation of advice and best practices on how to be creative in a tech-philic world.
It’s the Age of the Customer

  • Focus on the gaps and the pain points. Find out what your team/company is doing to address that pain point and how the customers are responding to these solutions. Then work from there.
  • Because technology is moving so fast, and solutions are getting so inter-related and complex, it’s often easier to design a solution based on the problem identified by a customer rather than innovating for the sake of innovating, without knowing if it serves a current pain point/need.

Know yourself

  • Know what you’re good at, what you want and reach for it.
  • Know how you work with others across the team and beyond, and learn how to work with others not-like-you.
  • Make sure that your current roles and responsibilities are a personality fit for you.

Challenge yourself

  • Never settle. Keep reaching for what’s next, what can bring out more learnings for you, more value for the customer, for your team and company, especially when it makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Choose excellence, even if it means you have to work really hard to get there.
  • Persevere and learn as you go. Don’t expect to be always right, but do expect to be always learning.
  • Don’t always adopt someone else’s best practice. Do the research on what works for you and fold in also things that work for others which might also work for you.
  • Invite yourself to dream of practical innovations which meet customer needs today and also in the future.
  • Creatively consider how AI and IoT solutions can transcend industries not traditionally known for their tech.
  • Get noticed for the exceptional work you consistently deliver, the impossible problems you routinely solve.
  • Plan-fully and collaboratively plan a future for your product and team so that it has maximum impact on customers and markets.

Be a translator

  • Teams and companies need both creatives and technologists. Translating Geek-speak to Biz-speak and vice versa adds value to all involved.
  • Translate what Customers are saying to you so that both Creatives and Techies understand. Speak also to the Executives so they also understand how everyone is collaborating to deliver products and services.

Empower Others

  • Work with the Creatives to understand the Techies and vice versa, and help all to adopt a ONE TEAM mindset.

The bottom line is to be strategic and customer-focused. Ask yourself the Why of everything, then ask the What and the So What for Which audience.
Your network matters, if you want to make that lasting impact. Prove your value and you will secure additional sponsorship and mentorship and continue to drive high-profile initiatives and generate results.

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at Texas Instruments, and our esteemed panelists for FountainBlue’s September 11 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Embracing the Creative in a Tech-philic World’.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Hope Bovenzi, Sector General Manager for Automotive Infotainment, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Revathi Narayanan, Chief Of Staff, Compute and Networking BU, Micron
  • Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, Head of Platform Product Marketing, Freshworks
  • Panelist Charu Roy, Senior Director, Product Management Fusion PLM, Oracle
  • Panelist Urvashi Sheth, Senior Vice President Client Services, Intermedia

One of the Onlys

August 14, 2020
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FountainBlue’s August 14 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘One of the Onlys’.

Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, companies and roles. Although they were each unique and accomplished, they had much in common.

  • They had strong relationships with key family members who helped them feel confident from a young age.
  • They create and facilitate a culture of support, a mindset of abundance at work and with their team.
  • They are confident in their uniqueness and celebrate their own individuality. They encourage and inspire others to do the same.
  • They are introspective and self-aware while also being communicative and engaging and direct.
  • They are so quotable, relatable and amusing!
Below is a compilation of their advice.
  • Be courageous enough to try new things and say ‘yes’ to opportunities which would stretch their own abilities.
  • Broaden your definition of what excellence looks like, for excellence comes in many shapes and sizes.
  • Be collaborative as often as you can, but be willing to adopt a command and control mindset if you need to do so for the good of the product, the team, the company.
  • Err on the side of helping and supporting and mentoring others.
  • Learn from your failures and be stronger and braver and more courageous because you’ve learned how to fail well.
  • Be authentic, genuine and sincere, humble and modest. But these qualities don’t mean that you should let others take credit for the work you perform.
  • Don’t let others classify you by your gender, race, background, education, (fill in the blank). Be uniquely, unequivocally, unapologetically yourself.
  • Take every opportunity to explore your own blind spots, to learn more about yourself and about others.
  • Consistently persevere and overcome extraordinary obstacles.
  • When you fail, have your left brain (the logical side) learn from the failure, and manage your right brain (the feeling side) so that you can be courageous enough to try again, even if you’re again risking failure.
  • Understand that everyone experiences a different sense of reality, and that everyone’s reality is absolutely real to them. Do what you can to expand your own version of reality, and help them to see a broader reality as well, if they invite you to do so.
We will conclude by saying that our panelists are all originals, each unique in their approaches to leading and managing. They inspired us with their stories and gave us much to think about how we can more gently embrace and nurture ourselves.
Aug14Panel

Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s August 14 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘One of the Onlys’ and our hosts at Lam Research, and our esteemed panelists: 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Antoinette Hamilton, Global Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Lam Research
  • Panelist Indira Joshi, Head of Technical Marketing, Emerging Memory Solutions, Micron
  • Panelist Monika Thakur, Vice President, Product Management, Oracle
  • Panelist Lisa Violet, Chief Auditor, Varo Money