Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges

July 23, 2019 by

Industrial Revolution IT Integration Smart Manufacturing Innovat

FountainBlue’s July 19 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ASML and our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The drive for better, faster, more customized, and higher quality results is fueling advancements in manufacturing. The problems around the next innovations in manufacturing are complex, and the stakes are high.

  • It’s a challenge to integrate a host of software and hardware solutions efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • It’s difficult to provide customized solutions to individual customers and to do so dynamically in volume, within budgets.
  • There are many regulations and policies within companies, across companies, within countries, within industries. What’s more, everything keeps changing, so it’s hard to stay on top of these requirements.
  • It’s of paramount importance to protect the security of the solution, the privacy of the customers. 

There are severe financial, relationship and brand consequences if any of the above is compromised or sub-par. Yet each company must adopt new principles, new ways of doing things to remain relevant.

  • Have a customer-centric mind set. Understand that the best solutions may not be the best science or even the best engineering solutions. It’s what the markets, the customers will adopt and embrace and ultimately pay for.
  • Understand what the problems of the customer and how best to solve their problems at scale, and how to measure results. For example, consider correlating individual sensor readings to downstream measured results.
  • Respect the need for security, the need for privacy for all stakeholders while also consistently delivering quality personalized solutions for customers.
  • Create an ecosystem of stakeholders and collaborate with them to deliver solutions at scale.
  • Take a system design approach and integrate the use of software, hardware, processes and tools in designing advanced manufacturing solutions.
  • Consider adopting simulations (and augmented reality) and modeling when designing advanced manufacturing solutions.
  • Be modular with your design so that you can correct and redirect as needed. 
  • Optimize your supply chain so it’s just in time, leveraging AI to predict what ‘just-in-time’ means.
  • Leverage ML and AI to understand and predict faults, to better anticipate and address problems in general.  

It’s clear from our thought-provoking, interactive conversation that Advanced Manufacturing is the future. And this future will be seized by leaders and companies who are proactive, strategic, collaborative, as represented by the executives in attendance at the roundtable.

Intent-Based Networking

July 19, 2019 by

July19WSSPhoto.jpeg

FountainBlue’s July 19 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Intent-Based Networking. We were fortunate to have such a technical and articulate panel of leaders to speak on the Intent-Based Networking topic. 

Our panelists represented a range of industries, experiences and roles, but were each educated as technologists and each displayed in-depth technical expertise and experience. They made it clear that IBN is inevitably in our future and provided clear examples of how it is impacting us today.

They have each seen the evolution of manual configurations around the network, and witnessed the progression to scripts and programs to manage networks, and then the development of software-defined networks (SDNs), which to this day still help automate the management of networks.

To them, IBN is a progression of this pattern. Software is progressively more leveraged to manage networks, and networking leaders are progressing toward solutions which better focus on the intentions of the customers.

For example, instead of having protocols for every scenario, an IBN approach might focus on the problem a customer would like solved.

Many things need to fall into place before we can smoothly transition to a deeper adoption of IBN.

  • The hardware and software infrastructure must be reliably, pervasively and securely available to all relevant stakeholders. 
  • There must be a level of trust and communication between customers and vendors and partners in order to best understand the customer intent. Plus ongoing clear and transparent communication is needed to ensure smooth development, monitoring, and execution to deliver that custom program.
  • Sufficient data must be available in order to manage create programs which address the needs of the customer.
  • There must be clarity on which party plays which role in the IBN development and management process – the visionary, the creator, the enforcer, the manager.

It’s not clear how and whether some industries and some companies will adopt IBN. But it is clear that there are advantages for leading companies to do so.

  • The amount of available data is mind-bogglingly huge, and will only get larger. IBN will help companies proactively deal with problems as anticipated by customers, rather than reactively respond to a problem, as defined by large (and growing) sets of protocols and rules. 
  • Leveraging AI and ML to deliver solutions based on customer needs will likely lead to deeper relationships, more partnerships, and a better understanding of current and even future needs of the customer.
  • Better understanding patterns and edge cases will help better serve a wider range of customers and their needs.
  • Making predictions based on data patterns will in turn help better deliver results for customers.
  • Each of the points above will increase customer retention and customer acquisition, while also potentially leading to a wider set of offerings for each customer.

The road to adoption will take more leadership, more innovation, more collaboration. The open sharing of solutions, combined with a customer-centric mind-set will help hard-working, smart companies and leaders make progress in embracing the adoption of IBN.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Cisco and our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 19 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Intent-Based Networking.  

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Principal Engineer, Chief Architect’s Office – Development, Cisco
  • Panelist Liliane Peters, Director Configuration & Release Management, Ericsson 
  • Panelist Ranjeeta Singh, VP, GM, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Teradata
  • Panelist Su Tsai, Director of Data Center Networking Services, Cisco IT 

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

Keeping in Front of Change

July 1, 2019 by

Change

Change. It’s a part of life. And it can take your life apart.

If we accept that Change will happen, and probably not in the way you were expecting, we would be better positioned to navigate that change.  I hope this post helps build that Acceptance Mindset.

Clarity – Be clear on what the change is, and how it can, might, will impact you.

1.What is the problem:

  • at the world/global level? Where is it trending? What is the underlying cause?
  • at the industry level? How is it impacting other industries? Where are there inter-connects?
  • at the company level? How is the problem specific to 4. your company as compared to others? What caused this difference? What can be done about it?
  • at the team level? How is your team’s response different than that of other teams? Why is that so? Who can do something about it?
  • at the individual level? How can you manage yourself so that you can see clearly this and all of the above?

2. Be clear on the problem in detail, but also consider the following:

  • What’s the data that proves your position?
  • What data is relevant?
  • How could you verify that data?
  • What does that data mean?

Strategy – Once you’re clear on the change, you can begin strategizing on what to do about it, who is involved in solving that problem, how to make it happen, and what success looks like.

3. Enlist the right stakeholders to drive the strategy around managing the change. Start with *both* the executives in charge *and* the people at all levels who are critical for the project.

4. Working together, describe the problem you’re facing in detail, and its impact on others, the proposed solution with roles, responsibilities of participating stakeholders, timelines and milestones for tasks and projects; resources, information and funding necessary for success; and time-lined, quantifiable results.

5. Strategize on how to overcome objections and obstacles and how to build further ongoing engagement and collaboration.

Execution – Seamlessly, continuously, collaboratively drive execution and momentum.

6. Get ongoing buy-in from all internal and external stakeholders, as expressed by engagement, energy, commitment, results.

7. Proactively manage the egos. Plan for a collaborative, win-win, but expect that many will object to the change, and many may not be able to work with others to manage through the change.

8. Measure and communicate on progress to date.

9. Revisit the problem, strategy and execution.

Acceptance – Don’t fight it, roll with it. 

10. Change is inevitable. Change is personal. The trick is to make it *not* personal, even when it affects you so personally.

Park the emotional impact. Work on understanding the problem well, strategizing on how to manage everyone’s emotional and practical impact through that change, and executing on the plan.

You’re not alone. Helping others navigate through the changes will also help you stay ahead of change.

 

The Future of Autonomous Driving

June 18, 2019 by

AutonomousDriving

FountainBlue’s June 14 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Autonomous Driving’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Vonzos Partners and our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

There was resounding agreement that autonomous driving is a certainty, and agreement also that there are many barriers toward mass adoption.

  • It’s tricky to navigate a world where some cars are autonomous and some aren’t, but if adoption is to take place, policy-makers, drivers, vendors, auto-makers, and all other stakeholders must collaborate on a transition plan. 
  • The stakes are high in dollars and in lives, so all edge cases, corner cases and other scenarios must be planned for. It takes money and time to do this piece well.
  • The sheer volume of data generated by vehicles is mind-boggling. It’s a challenge to figure out how to best leverage the data – the real-time analytics – to optimize for both efficiency and safety.

Below are some highlighted best practices to facilitate this adoption:

  • Plan for small successes which would serve foundational needs for autonomous driving. For example, simulations, artificial intelligence, data analytics will all be foundation solutions necessary for full adoption of autonomous driving. Invest in solutions which can provide these technologies today.
  • Collaboration between stakeholders across geographies, industries, functions, jurisdictions etc., must be formed for adoption to take place. Partnering with insurance companies might be an interesting option as well.
  • Having a neutral party to facilitate collaborations between stakeholders might help forge partnerships and might make it more inclusive.
  • Computer simulations leveraging data might help in the research and design of autonomous vehicles.

Plan for these opportunities also, as we approach adoption of autonomous vehicles:

  • The passengers will have more time on their hands. And they would be willing to pay for mobile internet access, streamed entertainment and work options.
  • Interactivity between riders may provide interesting opportunities.
  • Plan for additional security implications for fully autonomous vehicles.

Below are some predictions by our executives in attendance:

  • Autonomous drivers may leverage highways first as there are fewer challenges around pedestrians, parked cars, road hazards, etc.,
  • The trucking industry might be adopting autonomous driving first as it’s more easily automated and is more profitable than passenger vehicles.

We are at least a decade away from full autonomous driving, but there will be early adopters in several areas. Collaboration and coordination between leaders and innovators is key to exactly how many decades off we are from a future with autonomous driving.

Welcoming the Gift of Feedback

June 17, 2019 by

Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 1.56.35 PM.png

FountainBlue’s June 14 When She Speaks was event on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’. See panelist bios at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/june14feedback. 

Our panelists this month represented a wide range of companies, roles and perspectives, but they shared a passion for leadership and management, and humbly shared their best practices for providing feedback.

Provide impactful feedback:

  • Make feedback specific, sincere, data-based (not personal), and continually, so that others know how to better perform.
  • Aim for ‘SMART’ feedback which is specific, measurable, achievable (or actionable), realistic and time-lined.

Focus on growth and positivity: 

  • Be as open to receiving feedback as you are to providing feedback. Welcome opportunities to grow yourself, while providing learning opportunities for others to also grow.
  • Be positive and constructive rather than negative and judgmental.
  • Empower and enable others to help themselves, to come to their own conclusions and solutions.
  • Adopt a positivity mindset – Find ways to be more positive and constructive with your feedback, while still correcting for inevitable errors.

Be strategic:

  • Recognize the motivations of the other party that’s providing the feedback. Understanding their motivations will help you validate the relevance and legitimacy of the feedback offered.
  • Consider both the strategic and the tactical implications of the feedback offered.
  • Focus on the longer-term performance and development of the person, rather than individual mistakes and errors made.
  • Look for trends on the feedback delivered.
  • Identify and focus on the root cause of problems.

Be Leader-ly:

  • As a leader, own the problem, recognize and coach the team.
  • Listen well before speaking and acting. With that said, err on the side of action.
  • Work collaboratively to solve problems.

Nobody’s perfect. Everyone can benefit from feedback, as long as it’s delivered with positive and constructive intent, and received in the same manner.


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ASML and our panelists for FountainBlue’s June 14 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’:

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Nancy Gilbert, Director of Engineering, Lam Research
  • Panelist Nithya Ruff, Head, Open Source Program Office, Comcast; Board Member, The Linux Foundation 
  • Panelist Jinping Song, SQA Director, ASML
  • Panelist Monika Thakur, Vice President, Cloud Operations, Oracle

The ‘Yes-And’ People

June 7, 2019 by

WhatTheySay

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a translator sometimes? If we ask a direct question, sometimes a ‘yes’ response means ‘no’, a ‘no’ means ‘perhaps’, a ‘but’ could be good and could be not-so-good! Here’s my attempt at translating.

  1. If someone says ‘yes’, sometimes they mean ‘yes’, no problem. That’s easy.
  2. But if someone says ‘yes’, and it doesn’t feel good, maybe it means that they said ‘yes’ only to be polite and nice. If this is the case, and you can confirm it, take their ‘yes’ to actually mean ‘no’.
  3. If someone says ‘yes’, and adds a ‘but’ to it, that means that there are conditions involved. It’s often more important to look at the conditions behind the agreement, and the motivation for the other party to ask for those conditions. Often, it’s not worthwhile to accept those conditions.
  4. If someone says ‘yes’ and adds ‘not now’, it generally means that they are would be happy to do it, but at a different time.
  5. If someone says ‘no’ and means ‘H*CK NO’, it means don’t ask them for something similar in the future, unless something changes. Consider whether you’d like to have this person to be in your network, and also at what recent (or OLD) acts might make them have this mindset.
  6. If someone says ‘no’ and adds a ‘but’, it generally means that they would like to do it, but need a specific condition to be met in order to do it. I’m generally more inclined to make this agreement work than it they say yes with conditions).
  7. If someone says ‘no’ and adds ‘not now’, it means that they can’t now, but they can at a different time. I treat this much like a ‘yes but not now’ response.
  8. If someone says ‘no’ and adds an ‘and’, it generally means that they don’t want to do this, AND there are other things they don’t want to do, or want to be part of. Look closely at what recently has happened, especially if this is a new response. Perhaps a fence can be mended, an ego soothed?
  9. The best case is when someone says ‘yes’, knowing full well the breadth of the agreement and the bigger picture of the project. Moreover, that person has the vision to see a picture beyond what you can see yourself, the drive, energy and skills to make it happen, and the willingness to include you in the ride.
  10. I’ll end by asking you some questions:
    1. How can you get more people with #9 responses in your network?
    2. Who in your current network are giving you the direct and supportive responses to help you grow?
    3. Who else can you include in your network?

Local Input, Global Impact

May 14, 2019 by

 

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.

Blockchain Use Cases

May 7, 2019 by

BlockChain

FountainBlue’s May 3 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Blockchain Use Cases’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Carta and our participating executives in attendance. Below are notes from the conversation. 

A blockchain is a growing list (or ledger) of records consider them ‘blocks’, which are linked together securely using cryptography, and include a timestamp, and transaction data. There’s been a LOT of BUZZ about how blockchain solutions will change the world, and HYPE around bitcoins in particular, hype which has not materialized into huge, sustainable fortunes for most people.

This month’s participating executives shared their thoughts on current and future use cases of the blockchain, and talked about the blockchain challenges and opportunities ahead. Below is a summary of their comments.

Why do you need to use blockchain?

  • Blockchain solutions are most useful when you’re working with two entities who don’t trust each other, but need to engage with each other on a transaction, and also need to trust that the transaction will be executed as agreed by both parties.
  • Blockchain solutions are useful when the buyer or the seller knows more than the other party, AND both parties want to ensure that data and information is fully shared about the negotiated commodity. An example of this is selling used cars. 

Elements of a successful blockchain solution:

  • Core to any successful blockchain solution is the flexible and efficiency management,  ledgering and tracking of assets and their ownership. Defining the smallest units of ‘assets’, the smallest incremental units of these ‘assets’, the number of available ‘units’, the interim and ultimate value of these assets, the definition and conditions for changing ownership, the process for recording ownership shifts, etc., are all of essential importance.
  • Blockchain solutions must include sophisticated cryptographic technology and integration processes so that they are ‘un-hackable’. Both parties must trust that neither can cheat, and that no outside party can interfere. 
  • Blockchain solutions must shore up the weakest elements of a solution as hackers are most likely to focus on breaking in there.
  • Even if a blockchain solution is un-hackable and completely secure, others might be able to triangulate available data and extrapolate implications of that data. 
  • Blockchain solutions must respect the privacy of users.

Thoughts on how to get blockchain solutions adopted:

  • Policy standards must be flexible enough to accept quality blockchain solutions, yet firm enough to discourage corruption and malfeasance. 
  • Technology platforms must be integrated/standardized enough to support vetted blockchain solutions.
  • Banks, corporations, government, church, and other entities must be open enough to consider blockchain use cases. When there are clear and beneficial use cases across sectors, mass adoption will follow.

The Challenges and Opportunities for blockchain use cases:

  • Connect blockchain assets into physical assets (like energy, physical coins, etc.,) to get more stable value columns.
  • Hire people who are technically astute, but also flexible, collaborative, open-minded, creative and willing to learn. They are the ones who will design the blockchain use cases of the future.
  • Change needs to happen at all levels within an organization for fully embrace the benefits of blockchain. 
  • Sometimes it makes sense to build a consortium of parties to ensure the quality of goods exchanged. An example of this is to have tech companies collaborate to ensure that the supply chain for manufacturing is of the highest quality.

The bottom line is that blockchain use cases will be created, and will be adopted and useful, but only: 1) when we need to Trust in the integrity of the data/information; 2) when we want to respect the privacy of the parties; 3) when we want to ensure security of the transaction; 4) when two parties need to exchange assets fairly; and 5) when we need real-time, validated information about the assets we possess.

Resources and Links:

What does it take to lead?

May 1, 2019 by

Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 4.47.24 PM

I am not the typical ‘leader’ – the distinguished, white, male, ivy-school graduate with the privileged background and

exclusive network. And yet I’ve been asked to speak on leadership and innovation for the past two decades. This week, I’m speaking on the topic of – What does it take to lead? I’m profiling an early experience, an early memory, to help everyone think deeply about what it takes to lead, how they are leading well, and what else they can do to fearlessly lead.

When I was five, I lived in Hong Kong and we were assigned so much homework it took me four hours to complete it. So I charmed my uncle into doing it for me. When my teacher asked who did my homework and why, I responded that my uncle did my homework because I thought that four hours of homework was excessive. I got sent back to my seat without a comment. We got much less homework. Everyone looked at me differently after that.

From this example, what does it take to lead?

  1. Self-Awareness.
    • It starts with knowing and understanding yourself and your fit with the circumstances of other people and things around you.
      • Be introspective enough to know yourself well – complete with motivations, strengths and weaknesses. Be curious enough to know others well, complete with motivations, strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Independence.
    • Leaders can think like everyone else does, and act like everyone else does, but they also have their own independent way of thinking and acting.
      • See the possibilities beyond following the status quo.
  3. Idealism.
    • Leaders don’t settle and accept circumstances which they feel are unjust. They are more likely to make a stand for a better world.
      • Which injustices do you face day-to-day? What are you doing about it in big and small thoughts, words and actions?
  4. Empowerment.
    • Leaders are empowered enough to believe that their thoughts, words and actions make a difference – one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time.
      • Change is never a given, but feeling empowered to make a change provides hope for a better world.
  5. Courage.
    • Leaders make a courageous stand for change, and are willing to accept the consequences for their role in fostering change.
      • Courage is not always in-your-face. It’s a subtle charm, a persuasive dialogue, an emotional appeal. Courage may or may not mean overcoming fear – but it does mean thinking, speaking and acting despite any fear you might have.
  6. Engagement.
    • Leaders care about others. They are engaged in the community, passionate for the greater good. If they weren’t they would not act on behalf of everyone else.
      • Be engaged – really care about what you do and who you do it with, regardless of what your leadership responsibilities are.
  7. Collaboration Mindset.
    • Leaders know they can’t do it themselves. They enlist allies, supporters, partners and seek win-for-all solutions.
      • Everyone has a piece of the puzzle. Welcome perspectives that stretch your own view of the problem set.
  8. Resourcefulness.
    • Leaders think outside the box to get ideas, resources and support necessary to foster change.
      • Invite people to complement the resources, plans, technologies you have in place.
  9. Commitment.
    • Leaders are committed to their community, to their cause… in their thinking, in their speaking and in their actions.
      • When you make a decision, be All-In. Don’t waffle and second-guess yourself. Be committed to the cause, unless it no longer makes sense to do so.
  10. Strategic Thinking.
    • Leaders think strategically about the problem, the people, and the solutions. They collaboratively work with players across the ecosystem to resolve the issue.
      • It takes an ethical leader who thinks broadly about problems and empowers a wide range of others to address that same problem from different fronts. There are so many moving pieces and so many players and resources involved. The leader *has* to think strategically on their feet.

What are *your* thoughts on what it takes to lead?

How will you push your *own* leadership potential?

How will you empower *others* to do the same?

Lean In and Level It UP

April 12, 2019 by

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.