“As a working mom, you never feel you are doing enough– not enough time with your children, not enough time with your work, and definitely not enough time with your significant other. After many years of barely “making it work,” I now live by two important rules to keep my sanity: 1) prioritize, and 2) ask for help.”
Years in Tech Industry? 20
Who or what inspired your career in tech?
I didn’t have anyone inspire me to have a career in tech, but I grew up watching my father run marketing for a large airline. That’s what lit up my interest in marketing. I’m a believer that if you have a passion with what you sell or market, you can sell or market anything. A turning point for me was when I was marketing Java. The problems it was solving worldwide were really awe-inspiring, and the developers behind it who were creating new innovations were even more amazing. That’s what led me to the path I’m on today.
What’s been your best life or career “hack” ever?
I have worked my whole adult life, and the only extended time off I have taken was when I had my three very active children. I am often asked, “How do you do it?” and I typically answer, “I just make it work.” What I really want to say is that I’m so busy, I don’t even have time to think about how I do it. As a working mom, you never feel you are doing enough– not enough time with your children, not enough time with your work, and definitely not enough time with your significant other. After many years of barely “making it work,” I now live by two important rules to keep my sanity: 1) prioritize, and 2) ask for help. I also love the app, Evernote. It keeps me organized at work and at home.
What’s been your greatest career challenge?
My greatest career challenge was starting at Salesforce.com when it had 3,300 employees and watching it grow to over 10,000 employees in less than 4 years. Launching large new initiatives such as Force.com and Chatter.com had its challenges in terms of getting visibility,, getting multi-executive agreement and executing plans. Three things supported my success at Salesforce, no matter what the challenges were: 1) my passion for solving a problem; 2) having my team/co-workers agree on a path to take; and 3) over-communication—there is no such thing!
Your biggest career success?
My biggest career success to date is not just one thing. My reputation of being strategic and getting things done over my whole career has been my biggest success.
Who are your role models?
My mom, who instilled in me that I could do anything I wanted to do and that, no matter how difficult things get, there is always a solution. Sometimes the solution is not one you like, but it will eventually get resolved and you will move on and learn from it.
What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work?
I love to travel and try new types of food with my family. I also spend lots of time on the weekends at my kids’ swim meets, and hockey, basketball and football games.
Flats, heels or kicks?
Best career advice book? Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Who are the women in tech that you most admire?
Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. I admire their strength and vision to transform big brands and infuse culture in their organizations. They are also “firsts” for women in terms of serving on the executive team of large successful corporations and balancing a family along the way.