I’ve always wanted to be a part of something that would provide me the opportunity to make a positive impact on people. I grew up in Northern California surrounded by entrepreneurs making bold moves to create and build companies that would forever change the technology industry. I knew I wanted to do something where I could drive change and make a material impact. I was focused on going to medical school due to the innovation happening in the medical industry. An opportunity presented itself to relocate from California to Georgia, where I began my career in telecommunications. There is a direct correlation between the tech and medical sectors. The industries are inextricably linked in that advancements in the medical field would not be possible without technological developments. Innovation is the foundation of where the world’s economy excels.
After more than 20 years in technology and digital infrastructure, I’ve concluded this is my passion. I thrive in dynamic environments where things are constantly evolving, there is always something new to learn or discover. Data center infrastructure is the core of any business enterprise providing computing, storage, and connectivity. In the U.S. alone, there are over 2,700 data centers. By 2027, the global data center market is estimated to reach over $288 billion. Advancements, including 5G connectivity, are revolutionizing the world with faster speeds, increased capacity, and ultra-low latency. 5G networks will advance the development of autonomous vehicles, gaming, telemedicine, and the Internet of Things (IoT). With the emergence of 5G, edge computing will play a vital role in developing data centers in the future. With an increasing number of people adopting smart solutions, the demand for edge computing will increase. Data centers are at the cusp of innovation, the forefront of all things new. They are the heart of any organization.
Professional Interests & Drive
I am passionate about advancing innovation within the technology space, constantly learning, absorbing, and educating myself and others — being valued and leveraged as a subject matter expert at the forefront of the telecom industry. I feel like I am an entrepreneur. In my role as Chief Revenue Officer, I have the amazing opportunity to create the blueprint and strategic plan, which paves the way for our company and my team to increase revenue and experience accelerated growth.
The technology space is a dynamic industry that thrives because of change. Tech is responsible for transforming culture, the way we live, changing the existing systems we utilize, directly impacting our economy. It is the fuel that forges the world ahead with innovations to improve and positively impact people’s lives, both nationally and globally. In technology, the reach is far, the impact is significant, and the effect is momentous. I am as excited to be in the tech industry as I was at the onset of my career.
Mentors & Influencers
I’ve been fortunate to have a few influential people in my life. One mentor who significantly impacted my career trajectory was Dan Caruso, the former CEO at Zayo. Dan is the epitome of a true entrepreneur and embodies all the characteristics, including inspiration, wisdom, tenacity, passion, and most of all — vision.
Dan built an environment allowing people to push past their comfort zones, set high expectations, and reinforce the importance of accountability to promote growth both professionally and personally. He taught and, most importantly, led by example. At Zayo, Dan spearheaded programs for employees to support their professional goals with rotational, academic, and mentorship programs to build and foster employees to not only follow but excel within their careers. He is about transformation with the understanding that change is constant, flexibility is essential, fear is not an option, and the only choice is to pay it forward by paving the way for others to realize their full potential. On the other side, he was tough and constructive in his critiques and feedback, understanding that we all can improve and learn.
Mentoring helps you to grow as a person by introducing diverse ways of thinking, challenging yourself, and sharing the lessons you learned along the way. Dan certainly fulfilled this for me, and for that, I am grateful and feel I would not be where I am today without his leadership.
Mentorship is pivotal. I feel it is my responsibility to support and advance the careers of young women in technology. Empowering women and implementing initiatives in the hiring, training, and education of all employees, is essential. In recent years, there has been an increase in corporate awareness around diversity, equality, and inclusion initiatives, which is a step in the right direction, but there is room for improvement.
Education is an essential piece of the puzzle. I am on the advisory council for Infrastructure Masons (iMasons), a global, nonprofit, professional association whose mission is to make a better-connected world, and enhance educational opportunities, championing diversity and inclusion for everyone.
By 2022, Deloitte Global predicts sizeable global technology firms will employ nearly 33% of women. The needle is slightly on an uptick year over year, but change does not happen overnight. Allyship of men in leadership roles along with their women peers is important. Women with diverse backgrounds provide fresh perspectives and different approaches necessary in today’s landscape.
Admired Leaders & Trailblazers
One of the women trailblazers I admire is Carla Harris. I was inspired by a speech that was made during the 2016 MAKERS Conference, by Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley’s vice chairman, wealth management, managing director, and senior client advisor. Carla spoke about how she took control of her career and personal brand by reinventing herself, changing the way people perceived her. She came to this realization after being passed up for promotions. It turned out people thought she was not tough enough. Carla knew this was not true and decided to change her narrative. She took a few steps back and evaluated what was limiting her success. It came down to professional and relationship currency. Both are equally important when climbing the corporate ladder and, therefore, need to be in balance. Relationship currency is investments you make to build relationships with people at work by networking and promoting yourself. Professional currency is an achievement by hitting your numbers or your deliverables directly related to your core responsibilities at work.
Some professionals, especially women, feel that they will get recognition and be promoted if they keep their heads down and work hard. This is where relationship currency and professional currency come into play. Working on one while ignoring the other will not work. Both need to be fostered and nurtured to achieve the outcome you desire. The difficulty with professional currency is the bar is constantly being raised. The other issue is that you miss what is happening around you when you keep your head down and do not nurture relationships. You will find your peers may get that promotion despite doing less work since they’ve invested time in relationships and their personal brand to achieve their goals. Carla Harris’ ideology resonated with me then and rings true to me today.
Advancing Gender Parity
If I had to sum it up in one word, it would have to be authenticity. Always be authentic and aware of who you are and what you stand for. Being genuine allows you to express yourself and develop deep-rooted connections and relationships. Additionally, it brings openness and the opportunity to see the potential in new challenges while understanding your strengths and weaknesses.
The general advice I would give girls and women pursuing a career in tech is to believe in themselves. Don’t let fear stand in your way. Find mentors to help guide you and pave the way to help you reach your goals. And never forget, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Take chances in life to get ahead, fulfill your dreams, and reach your goals.
Leading the Next Generation
The answer is twofold. The first challenge is how to get more young girls interested in entering the tech field. The answer is simple. Early introduction is critical. Organizations and educators need to introduce tech careers to female students in middle and high school. Introducing prominent women in tech roles to young female students will inspire them to choose a tech path in college and enter the tech field. Secondly, organizations in the tech industry need to implement strategies focused on creating an inclusive environment for women. The saying it comes from the top is true. Men and women in leadership roles should be expanding gender diversity. Diversity efforts need to be integrated into company policies and HR practices and must be incorporated into your company pillars and values where leaders across the business are responsible for identifying, supporting, and advancing women. Leaders must invest in women, give them highly visible projects, assign executive coaches outside of the company, offer special training, creating a support system to nurture and build women up to succeed and thrive.
We should mentor women in our companies, mapping out paths, making introductions to higher-ups, fostering relationships, and building their connections. The quote, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” resonates with me in this instance. If young women do not see themselves reflected in the technology industry, they cannot dream, visualize, or act on it. Equal opportunities and diversity should be a pillar, a driver in all organizations to formulate a productive environment, find the balance needed for progress to alter preconceived ideas, and change the world.