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Katherine Fordon: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2018

Congratulations Katherine Fordon, the winner of our 2018 Emerging Executive of the Year award. We will be honoring Katherine (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Thursday, Nov 15 at the Santa Clara Marriott. RSVP to celebrate with us!

Katherine Fordon is a Bay Area communications professional with 16 years of experience helping companies market and communicate their messages to their employees and the world. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, Katherine went on to work as a sports writer for the Longmont Times-Call (formerly known as the Daily Times-Call). A move to Chicago led Katherine into the field of public relations where she worked on the world-famous “got milk?” mobile marketing tour and represented well-known companies and organizations, such as Turtle Wax, Rubbermaid, GLAD, USG, John G. Shedd Aquarium and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), as well as Fortune 500 clients, including Whirlpool Corporation and Skil Power Tools (Robert Bosch GmbH). After agency life, Katherine spent almost a decade running her own communications consulting business, Katherine Fordon Public Relations (KFPR), helping Bay Area companies and agencies with their communications needs. Katherine is currently the Director of Corporate Communications for Wilbur-Ellis, a San Francisco-based company. Passionate about women’s rights and equality, Katherine is a board member of Women of Wilbur-Ellis, the Company’s first business resource group, a member of Watermark’s Emerging Executive Advisory Council and a volunteer for Courageous Women Association’s Career Development and Economic Empowerment Program. Katherine also serves as a board member for Diablo Valley Montessori School. When she’s not working, Katherine enjoys spending time with her husband and two children exploring all the wonderful food, music, culture and nature in the Bay Area and beyond.

Most Valuable Lesson

It’s a pretty basic and fundamental lesson, but more important than ever in our digital world: Never burn a bridge. Everything comes back to haunt you, good or bad.

Advice for 20-Year-Old Self

Stop. Breathe. And know that this is just a moment, is a small space in time where work or life – or both – are crazy. Life is constantly going to throw you curve balls and the innings never end. Just take them one at a time and lean into those pitches, don’t step out of the batter’s box.

Smartest Career Move

Walking away from running my own consulting business to go back inhouse with a single company. I was leaving behind freedom to choose my clients, choose the people I would work with, set my pay and decide my own hours. However, what I gained was so much more. I gained a team that is focused on a single goal. I gained exposure to markets and industries that I never would have in my own consulting business. I gained a boss who not only cares about my career, but cares about my family and my life outside of work as well.

Secret Ingredient for Growth and Success

Being myself. For so long, I tried to fit inside these personalities that I thought my manager or supervisor wanted in the role. Only when I truly was myself did I start to see growth and change. That growth and change, leads to success.

Tags:  Emerging Executives  Leadership  Make Your Mark  Women 

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Ana Pinczuk: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 8, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2018

Congratulations Ana Pinczuk, the winner of our 2018 Development award. We will be honoring Ana (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Thursday, Nov 15 at the Santa Clara Marriott. RSVP to celebrate with us!

Ana Pinczuki was President and General Manager for HPE Pointnext, HPE’s $7B+ services business until August 2018. She led a team of 25,000 IT experts responsible for driving customer’s digital transformation journeys including Hybrid IT and Intelligent edge consulting, professional and operational services. Previously, Ana was the Chief Product Officer at Veritas where she was responsible for driving a $2.5B products organization, including the Veritas Information Availability, Information Management, Backup and Recovery and Appliances portfolios. Prior to joining Veritas, Ana spent 15 years at Cisco where she held various roles including SVP, Global Services Sales, Services COO and SVP, Global Services Support. Ana also spent nine years in the Cisco Development Organization driving Engineering groups, including Cisco’s high-end routing platform and IOS product management and software development. Ana started her career at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a systems engineer and held numerous roles there, including Vice President responsible for deploying AT&T’s Internet backbone. Ana is a member of the International Women’s Forum, Anita Borg Institute, Cornell Computer and Information Sciences Advisory Board, and Carnegie Mellon Engineering Advisory Board. She is also the recipient of numerous awards including Fortune’s 2018 and 2017 Top 50 Latinas, 2016 Women of Influence Award, 2017 and 2016 HITEC 100, 2014 Corporate Index (Top 25 Hispanics), 2013 Latina Style Executive of the Year, and 2013 TWIN Award. Ana holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, a Master of Technology Management degree from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, and a Master of Science Degree in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Smartest Career Move

I've reinvented myself several times, whether it's going from an engineering centric role to business development or sales, shifting technologies, size of companies, geographic location, etc. One of the smartest career moves I made was when I moved from AT&T to Cisco. Looking back, it was a crazy decision. I was 7.5 months pregnant, had spent 15 years at AT&T on the East Coast, was a Vice President with a thriving career. I moved with a 2 year old and newborn to California, took a demotion to a Senior Director into a position that was very new at the company, and had to restart at a new company. Yet it was the best decision ever! I learned a new market, was a small fish in a bigger pond (very grounding experience), had to prove myself once again, and learned to make choices to balance personal and professional goals. Most of all, I learned to trust my instincts and to be agile in new situations. It has served me well throughout my career.

Favorite Mentor (and Mentee)

My favorite mentor is my husband. He is very grounded and gives me the best advice (even when I want to ignore it). I am an extroverted person that is always multitasking in many areas of my life - work, kids, parents, community, for profit or non-profit boards, etc. He's helped me think beyond a career path but truly how to think about success, with career being just one part of that.

I have so many mentees that I've enjoyed mentoring. I've had one mentee at Cisco that has progressed from individual contributor to an executive. I was not easy with my advice to him but I was very honest. He listened, took it in, and has really grown as a leader. He's taught me how to be a better listener and work with feedback to improve oneself. I had one mentee at HPE who was also a reverse mentor. I was able to give her advice about what to do in her role as a new services seller, and she helped me immensely with feedback from the ground - truly what was going on in the field.

Personal Hero

My mom is my personal hero. She got her PhD in the 60s in Biology at a time when there were few women (specially married women with a child) pursuing PhDs. She has an amazing disposition, has been a wonderful mom, wife and role model, and is still a professor at almost 80! I aim to be as great a human as she is.

Tags:  Development  Leadership  Make Your Mark  Women 

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Brandi Galvin Morandi: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2018

Congratulations Brandi Galvin Morandi, the winner of our 2018 Connection award. We will be honoring Brandi (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Thursday, Nov 15 at the Santa Clara Marriott. RSVP to celebrate with us!

Brandi Galvin Morandi is the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Equinix, the global interconnection and data center company. Brandi leads a global organization, responsible for legal and regulatory compliance matters, governmental affairs and corporate governance, including working closely with the Equinix Board of Directors. Under her leadership, her organization has grown to support a business generating over $5 billion in revenues annually. Brandi has led the successful consummation of numerous acquisitions and joint ventures nationally and internationally and has also led the internal and external legal teams to complete over $27 billion in equity and debt financings.

When Brandi co-founded the Equinix Woman’s Leadership Network 10 years ago, her goal was not to separate women from men, but to help elevate them towards equality. This is why her Connection Award is so fitting as this year, the EWLN further branched into the leadership space across the world to bring leaders together to take immediate action in removing gender bias. Through practicing inclusion and driving action through top leaders, the discussion and awareness about where the opportunities for Equinix exist has become a top priority for our incoming CEO.

Secret Ingredient to Success

Empowerment for all employees, by creating an environment where every individual is given the opportunity to bring their best to work. This is facilitated by identifying and removing barriers for my team, by giving everyone a voice, and thinking through representation and opportunity across my diverse global team. In addition to this, I also believes that taking people with you on a journey makes you more successful. Once you find yourself gaining traction and being recognized for your contributions and success, look around and figure out who you can bring with you.

Advice for 20-Year-Old Self

Recognize the power of your own voice earlier. Everyone brings a unique set of skills, experiences, and backgrounds to the table and the unique assets are the biggest contribution to a company. In finding your own voice, also have confidence in yourself and take risks. Raising your hand and trying new things is not always easy, but the more you do it, the easier it feels to try something new.

Personal Hero

My personal hero is Ruth Bader Ginsburg who said, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you”. RBG inspired me through her methodical approach and looking at the long view. She strategically chipped away at equality over decades, and used her voice to create an easier path for those behind her.

Personal Mantra

Teamwork and humility.

Tags:  Advocacy  Leadership  Make Your Mark  Women 

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René Shimada Siegel: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 1, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2018

Congratulations René Shimada Siegel, the winner of our 2018 Advocacy award. We will be honoring Women Who Code (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Thursday, Nov 15 at the Santa Clara Marriott. RSVP to celebrate with us!

René Shimada Siegel is extremely passionate about empowering colleagues and advocating for the next generation of communicators. She is the founder and CEO of Connext, Silicon Valley’s marketing and communications consultancy. For two decades, her company has made life easier for hundreds of technology clients with specialized consultants ranging from recent grads to senior strategists. René also passes on her real-world experience to students as a public relations professor at San Jose State University and is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship, career strategies, and personal branding. She currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Lucas College of Business at San Jose State University, and will be a featured speaker at the 2018 Public Relations Society of America International Conference. As an entrepreneur, René’s been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Working Mother, Newsweek Japan, CNBC, and Dan Pink’s Free Agent Nation, among others. She’s also been a regular columnist for Inc.com.

Smartest Career Move

Rebranding our 20 year old company last year was risky as hell. Will the team follow? Will our clients get it? Is this really the right direction? YES! We’ve elevated our brand, separated ourselves from our competitors, and changed more lives along the way. We now live in this amazingly cool space that is the convergence of The Gig Economy and Generations XYZ. And it’s a ton of fun!

Admired Mentor or Muse

My daughter Arielle is my mentor. Her impending birth was the catalyst for leaving my corporate job to build the life I wanted for my family. While in college, she was a catalyst to help us see the gap between college students and recent graduates, and the Silicon Valley corporate teams that need them. Now, we bridge that gap. She continually pushes me outside my comfort zone and inspires me with confidence. Her advice and opinions are unfiltered, on point, and the smack-in-the-face that I need sometimes to stay current and not become a dinosaur.

Quotes to Live By

Best Work. Best Life. Everyone deserves both.

Personal Heros

My hero is Dominic Prado for three reasons. What he does, the way he does it, and the way he lives his life. Dom joined us as a summer marketing intern and became our entire marketing department. As a business leader I have purpose and passion but struggled to articulate a powerful vision and voice. My hero riffed with me, challenged me, nudged me forward with quiet strength and fearless instincts. With no prior experience, he rebranded our entire company with a new name, logo, website, social media. But then he did so much more. He’s made my vision come to life in ways I never expected. Dom has overcome unexpected challenges with such grace. Because of him, I look at the world in a totally different way. It’s all about what is possible.

Tags:  Advocacy  Leadership  Make Your Mark  Women 

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Rami Elghandour: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2018

Congratulations Rami Elghandour, the winner of our 2018 Bill Campbell award. We will be honoring Women Who Code (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Thursday, Nov 15 at the Santa Clara Marriott. RSVP to celebrate with us!

Rami Elghandour joined Nevro in 2012, has served as Nevro’s Chief Business Officer, and currently serves as President and CEO of the company. Prior to joining Nevro, Rami was an investor with Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC), where he led several investments including Nevro Series B Financing. During his tenure, Rami served on the Board of Directors of several private companies, including Nevro’s, and led strategic initiatives in the development and management of JJDC’s portfolio. Prior to joining JJDC, Rami worked for Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, Inc. (acquired by St. Jude Medical, Inc.), where he led firmware design and development on several implantable spinal cord stimulators. Rami received a MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rutgers University School of Engineering.

Secret Ingredient for Growth and Success

 My secret ingredient for growth and success has been building exceptional teams. At the heart of doing that is creating a culture where everybody matters and where diversity and inclusion are part of the organizational fabric. With women representing over half of the managers at Nevro and one third of the Management team, our exceptional team is reliant on having the best talent and that is reflected in its diversity. What’s your favorite quote, saying or personal mantra?

Quotes to Live By

 My favorite quote is “my mother always told me If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope. Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.’ This quote is very reminiscent of how my mother, who is an incredibly brave and independent woman, set my expectations. She taught me to believe in myself in the same way that Watermark inspires women to believe in their potential and aspire to greater heights. That mission certainly inspired me and I’ve sincerely enjoyed partnering with Watermark to contribute towards fulfilling it.

Tags:  allies  leadership  Make Your Mark  men  women 

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Women Who Code: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 25, 2018
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2018

Congratulations Women Who Code, the winner of our 2018 Impact award. We will be honoring Women Who Code (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Thursday, Nov 15 at the Santa Clara Marriott. RSVP to celebrate with us!

Women Who Code (WWCode) is an international nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. WWCode is building a world where women are proportionally representative as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members and software engineers. The organization has executed more than 7,000 free technical events around the world, garnered a membership exceeding 137,000, and has a presence in 20 countries. Help empower even more women to advance in tech with the training and community they need to succeed by supporting WWCode. Learn more at womenwhocode.com.

Alaina Percival is Chief Executive Officer of Women Who Code, a global nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. Under Alaina’s leadership, Women Who Code has grown to serve more than 137,000 women in 20 countries and 60 cities across the globe. This thriving movement offers more than 1,700 free technical and leadership events, per year. In addition to her role at Women Who Code, Percival is an accomplished tech speaker, appearing at WSJ.d Live, CodeMotion Milan, Grace Hopper, Columbia University’s Social Enterprise, MIT’s Venture Capital and Innovation Conference and more. Alaina has been interviewed by Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Wired, and other publications across the globe to share her expertise on best practices for increasing diversity in tech. Prior to Women Who Code, Alaina worked at PUMA's headquarters in Germany, as well as Riviera Partners and Snip.it, acquired by Yahoo. Alaina is also an Angel Investor and CodePath Advisor.

Secret Ingredient for Growth and Success

 Grit combined with focus. It’s the willingness to do absolutely everything in a company, from marketing and design to compliance and taxes, and also find experts you can pass it on to. It’s also really important to never give up, because things aren't always successful, and you have to constantly face the risk of failure if you want to eventually succeed.

Impact from Mentorship

 I am so incredibly proud of the work we are doing in this area at Women Who Code. The Global Leadership program we have developed scales mentoring, with Directors empowering members to take on Leadership roles in our Networks, and them empowering other members to become Leaders in a constant cycle of success. That’s important because being a WWCode Leader opens them up to new opportunities to speak at conferences, and mentor others, and that allows them to level up and become leaders in their local tech community quickly, often within a year of taking part in the program.

Quotes to Live By

 “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - TS Eliot

Personal Heros

 Personally, my mom is my hero, for too many reasons to list. But professionally, it’s Richard Branson, because he’s able to be humble despite all of his achievements. He’s able to build global organizations that are all connected through the Brand DNA that is Virgin, and still, have a wanderlust and a sense of adventure that is really incredible in this world. I also really admire that he believes in giving back to the community.

Tags:  Leadership  Make Your Mark  women 

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October 11: International Day of the Girl

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 11, 2018

Today is October 11th, International Day of the Girl. In the spirit of supporting girls as our next generation of leaders, we would like to share this article from our allies, Girls Leadership


CLOSING THE GAP: UNDERSTANDING HOW GIRLS OF COLOR BECOME LEADERS

EACH OCTOBER 11TH WE CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL. According to UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. There are 1.1 billion girls today, a powerful constituency for shaping a sustainable world that’s better for everyone. They are brimming with talent and creativity. But their dreams and potential are often thwarted by discrimination, violence and lack of equal opportunities. There are glaring gaps in data and knowledge about the specific needs and challenges that girls face. That’s why we’re designing the first research study to explore how young women of color achieve their fullest potential as leaders, what’s holding them back, and why cultivating leadership for girls of color is crucial to workplace equity, inclusion, and innovation.

Download the PDF

Research shows that girls of color are the hungriest to lead — yet they are vastly underrepresented as women in managerial and professional positions. Until now there has been no major study of girls of color and leadership, including the barriers that prevent them from entering the pipeline, and the assets that help them become leaders. Girls Leadership is partnering with Genentech, The New York Women’s Foundation, Airbnb, Paul Weiss, Morgan Stanley, and the Billie Jean King Leadership Institute to design and field this study. We’ll share out data with schools and organizations to help them serve girls across differences of race, culture, and socioeconomics. The study’s results will help corporations understand the leadership paths of *all* employees, assist girl-serving organizations in identifying leaders, and start a national conversation on girls of color and leadership.

SUPPORT GIRLS LEADERSHIP’S RESEARCH TO MAKE EVERY DAY A DAY OF THE GIRL

Donate today

(originally published at Girls Leadership, 2018)

Tags:  Diversity  Girl  Inclusive  Leadership  Women 

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Thank You Dr. Ford for Moving Us Forward

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 8, 2018
To Dr. Ford,

We want to thank you for the courage, honesty and selflessness you demonstrated over the last few weeks. While the decision didn’t go as many of us hoped this is by no means an entire loss. What you did, Dr., is turned up the mic for so many who don’t have a platform from which to speak. You woke up hundreds of thousands of people to a problem that is a regular occurrence in the workplace, schools, and homes around the world.

Now it is our turn as a country to step up for you and the countless others who suffer in silence. We as women have got to start standing up for one another. In the workplace we can be sure to encourage the quiet to speak up. We can mentor a newcomer to find their way. We can shine a light on brilliance when we see it. We can support women who strive to land leadership positions and can vote them onto Boards. Finally, we can listen and collaborate with those of opposing views and find a solution that works for all thereby demonstrating the power of a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Women and men need to have a conversation with their daughters, nieces, grand-daughters and hear what their day to day life is like as that the behavior that Dr. Ford experienced is seriously on the rise.
 
But it doesn’t have to. So what can we do?

We can remember in November. We can vote and get the hearts, minds and voices representative of today’s world, not that of an era gone by to make the decisions that will affect generations to come. Will everyone agree? No but that isn’t the point. Diversity of thought is the goal as that is what leads to innovation and iteration as a country. And that is what KEEPS America great.

Tags:  leadership  women 

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Taking Action: Getting Techical Women into the C-Suite

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 20, 2018
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2018

Register for Watermark's Advancing Technical Women with CCL. This is a day and a half in-person workshop in San Francisco on December 4-5, 2018. Join our informational webinar on October 2 for more information.

By Watermark Partner: Patty Burke, Center for Creative Leadership

Women in STEM careers are heroic!  They brave biases and fight stereotypes that are much worse than those of us in non-technical careers.   In many cases they are the only woman in their graduating class, and once they enter the workforce, they are one of the few women in their engineering group or technical lab.  At some point the ‘bro culture’ gets too frustrating, and they don’t stay to reap the benefits of their investment.  CCL and Watermark are partnering on a new leadership development experience to break this cycle.

The Promotion Pipeline is a Trickle

The statistics for women dropping out of engineering careers are alarming:  career lifespans for technical women are less than most goldfish!   According to recent research from the  National Center for Women in Technology, women in SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) leave their careers after 5-10 years, while the goldfish in your tanks survives for 10-15 years. 

No wonder there’s no pipeline of women ready to move into CTO, VP Engineering or Chief Scientist roles:

  • Women with STEM degrees are less likely than male counterparts to work in STEM jobs. 
  • More than half the women in STEM fields leave for other careers – and almost a third leave within their first year on the job.
  • Those who stay peak about 10 years into their career – failing to move into senior management or the executive suite

The bottom line: Though women continue to make gains across the broader economy, they remain dramatically underrepresented in STEM positions.

Breaking the Cycle---Promoting Technical Women

Research from CCL and Watermark on What Women Want in the Workplace shows the incredible value of women at work, so it’s even more important to give technical women every opportunity to succeed.   A group of us with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) from Silicon Valley decided to tackle this 2 years ago and began looking at the root causes and the knowledge and tools women need to break this cycle.  With input from the local chapter of IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE), we developed Advancing Technical Women (ATW) a unique 5-month on-line and face-to-face  leadership development journey designed to help women succeed and get promoted in STEM careers.  ATW content is based on CCL and industry research – a critical requirement with this audience of skeptical technologists. 

After 5 pilots and 120+ participants, CCL surveys are showing an exciting impact on the careers of technical women:

  • 92% Better equipped to advance in my career

  • 86%  Achieved better results as a leader

  • 79%  Improved visibility in my organization

  •  37% Promoted!  (higher level position or expanded scope of work)

One woman had the confidence to ask to have the engineering team of an acquired company report to her, and she got it!! 

Stretch Assignments:  The Path to Promotion

Not surprisingly, one of the most important requirements is access to stretch assignments.  Women often miss out on those big challenges because of unconscious (or conscious!) bias.  Bosses assume they won’t travel, they can’t move, or they are unable to manage major 24/7 projects with global teams because of family obligations.  Getting these assignments are a must for advancement and promotion, as well as job satisfaction.  In Advancing Technical Women, participants understand the research and tools for acquiring and succeeding at stretch assignments and develop action plans for getting projects that challenge them and lead to promotions.

CCL and Watermark’s Advancing Technical Women is a 5-month Learning Journey beginning in late November, with the 1.5 day on-site session in San Francisco on December 4-5, 2018.  Register here, or contact me or Kate Byrne for more information.

We are also hosting a complimentary Informational Webinar About Advancing Technical Women on October 2, 2018 to learn more about the course, REGISTER TODAY.

From pay inequality to appalling #metoo behavior, challenges for women in the workplace are top of mind for most of us and we’re taking action drive change. The Center for Creative Leadership is excited to be partnering with Watermark to change the equation for technical women too.

Tags:  CCL  Leadership  Leadership Skills  STEM  tech  women 

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