How Do You Entertain Yourself?

This summer, I’ve noticed a shift in my consumption of entertainment. With longer days at hand alongside some vacation time, I’ve enjoyed exploring the entertainment options available to me, largely media delivered through my laptop or my iPad. Didn’t everyone used to plop down on the couch with one person wielding the remote control, bringing up the cable menu and debating about what to watch? Nowadays in my family’s house, our TV is rarely on, with the exceptions being Warriors games, the Super Bowl, and the Oscars. Instead, sometimes we sit on the couch next to each other with each of us watching programming of our choosing on our own devices. Sometimes my husband will be watching one miniseries while I stream another. It feels as though we each have our own channels with our own preferences. I’m wondering: does anyone rely on traditional “programming” anymore?

The whole notion of watching TV together has changed. The differentiation of everything is possible now, and a lot of the programming delivered is handled in such a way that content is king. No one binge watches movies, which are a complete experience in 2.5 hours. Instead, we have the ongoing experience of lengthy seasons of shows ranging from politics, like House of Cards, to history like The Tudors, to fantasy, like Game of Thrones, that we can watch and re-watch from the convenience of our devices. The experience of watching the latest season is akin to the hype that builds for a new movie, but it’s not just a one-time experience: it repeats, week after week, until the season is complete. If you’re like me, you binge-watch more on weekends or vacation time, at your own convenience, no longer beholden to a specific viewing time or place or to DVRs, which I believe will soon become as obsolete as VHS and even DVD players. We want our leisure viewing to be delivered on-demand when it’s convenient and desirable for us, and entertainment providers have delivered.

To me, this shift in entertainment consumption in favor of our comfort and convenience is akin to the shift I see in the workforce in favor of the same. Increasingly mobile, flexible workforces seek to maximize their workday alongside maximizing their flexibility  for the rest of their life or lifestyle, including leisure time pursuits like watching the latest miniseries. Flexibility is the wave of the 21st century, and I believe we’ll be seeing more and more entertainment trends catering to our desire to have what we want to watch or to play at our fingertips when we’re ready, wherever we are.

2016 Wrap-up

Since posting this summer reading list in August, I’ve been rounding out the year with some more thought pieces, many of the themes of which will carry forward into the New Year. Here’s what I’ve shared in publications recently:

On Fortune Insider:

Never Let a Know-It-All Mentor You

The First Step to Building a Strong Personal Brand

On LinkedIn:

Why I Seek My Own Counsel: #AdviceThatSticks

5 Tips for Surviving Your First Start-Up

An #OpenLetter to Leaders of Modern Workplaces

My #BestWorkDay Balances Productivity and Creativity

The Value of Qualitative Questions

On the Huffington Post:

Why It Was So Worth It to Stick with STEAM

On CBS Pulse:

Tackling the Lack of Gender Diversity in Tech Leadership

Also, my alma mater, Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, ran a lovely profile on me in December here.

2016 has been a challenging year for many people and companies, let alone for our country, and I believe that 2017 will bring even more change. As I write in the New Year, I’ll be focused on change as I write about innovation, diversity in technology leadership, entrepreneurship, and more. Best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season.

Summer Reading: Recent Publications

It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down! Many of you are prepping for back-to-school as others are gearing up for one last vacation before hitting the ground running this fall. It’s been a while since I updated my recent publications, and, especially because some of these might be relevant to your autumn plans, I cobbled together this reading list for your poolside perusal. Enjoy!

For your Inspiration:

More Women of Inspiration

Passion and Purpose at the Forbes Women’s Summit

Helpful Advice:

Four Considerations when Plotting a Career Move

Five Ways to Get Your Ideas Heard

If I Were 22: Five Things I’d Do with Hindsight

Four Filters for Choosing Co-Founders

Ideas to Improve your Workplace:

Ways to Advance and Maintain Diversity in our Workplaces

My Ideal Workplace Blends a Culture of Results + Risk-Taking

Best Practices for Better Pay Equity

Nine Ways to Combat Unconscious Bias in Hiring

Three Characteristics of a Great Team

Food for Thought:

Your iPhone as a Matter of National Security

Imagining IoT in 2025

Collaboration Is the New Communication

Voice Interfaces Are the Next Big Thing

Silicon Valley is the Next Hollywood

5 Resolutions to Restore Body & Soul


Best Practices for Better Pay Equity

A handful of recent events exposing gender-based pay inequity has seemed to bring the  issue into the headlines to stay.  A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported on House of Cards star Robin Wright’s battle with Netflix to negotiate pay on par with that of her male co-star, Kevin Spacey. Last month, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team alleged pay discrimination in a complaint they filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission highlighting striking salary and bonus differences between the hugely successful women’s soccer team and the markedly less successful men’s team. And the plight of high-profile women CEOs like Marissa Meyer and Ursula Burns — who stepped down from Xerox a few days ago — suggests that the shrinking ranks of Fortune 500 women CEOs will soon shrink even further. Today, there are only 19. If that number is any kind of bellwether for pay equity, it’s not encouraging. The time is long overdue for leveling the playing field between women’s and men’s pay, now and forever — not only for movie stars and on the soccer pitch, but in corporate boardrooms and everywhere in between.

It’s likely that your own company has a pay equity issue. Most do. In 2015, there was a 21% pay gap between women’s earnings and men’s, meaning that for every dollar a man made, a woman made only 79 cents for the same work. Whether you’re leading a company or on the lowest rung of the totem pole working for one, and whether you are a woman or a man, this is an issue that affects you. The sentiment in your workplace is at stake. To create a culture of fairness and respect, and to maintain a happy and productive workforce, Jane cannot be making less than John. Workers talk. If you are not paying equally, they will know. And they will not be motivated to do their best work if they are being treated unequally. I don’t doubt that discrimination complaints will be on the rise with national attention on this issue. So, what can you do?

For starters, make sure that you pay both women and men fairly for the work they perform. Equal pay is not just about equal wages, either. Make sure to count bonuses, performance payments, and discretionary pay, too. Put in place best practices to ensure successful pay equity. Five specific ideas include:

  • Have transparent policies and practices in place with regard to pay structures.
  • Audit those policies regularly to make sure that, even inadvertently, your company is not paying workers unequally for equal work. I admire how Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and SVP Leyla Seka are spearheading efforts at their 10,000+ person company to track pay across gender to ensure fairness.
  • Consider flexible and mobile work arrangements and how those will help all people at your company to succeed and to thrive better. It is my gut-feel that with more gender balance in the workplace, pay inequity will cease. This has everything to do with attracting and maintaining a diverse workforce.
  • Combat unconscious bias in hiring in order to secure that diverse workforce. Getting things right from the start of the process of staffing your company is critical. Describe jobs fairly. Hire accordingly. Pay based on the skills sought and decide that as much as possible before even interviewing candidates.

These are some ideas to move toward the only acceptable solution of equal pay for equal work. Money isn’t everything, though. In fact, I credit my own success in part to focusing less on pay and more on opportunities and goals. After all, success isn’t only defined in terms of a bank account.

A friend saw Abby Wambach, former FIFA women’s World Cup champion and two-time Olympic medalist and U.S. coach, speak on soccer’s pay equity case recently. When asked what she’d do differently, Abby said she’d have asked for more earlier on in her career. She’d have raised her hand, asked specific questions with regard to the numbers involved, pushed for more when she was winning. But we’re not all emboldened by a national — or international — stage like Abby. As a woman leader in tech, this is my moment to spearhead, to ask the difficult questions, to pursue equity in every way. Especially for young women in tech, we have to make sure that you’re coming to us on a level playing field with the men, whether you’re playing soccer or building an interface or practicing medicine. Pay inequality is everywhere, but it doesn’t have to take us until 2059 to achieve pay equality. We can ensure a better and more diverse workplace by acting now.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn on June 27, 2016.

Five Ways to Get Your Ideas Heard

As an EVP of Innovation, I know that having the latest and greatest technology stems from the ability of my team to bring forth the ideas that make our technology cutting-edge. With a variety of backgrounds and personalities on a team, it’s important for me as a leader to be able to tune in to even the quietest, most introverted team member. Along with that, I aim to instill in my teams the tools for them to advocate for things that are important to them. Sometimes they have great ideas, and the success of those ideas is only as great as their ability to have those ideas heard. These skills can be learned. As such, here are Five Ways to Get Your Ideas Heard:

Make sure your idea is relevant. Know your company’s priorities, and focus on ways that you can improve upon those priorities. Do your research and be prepared to present reasons regarding how your idea will help to advance innovation at your company. This may be a big idea regarding a new technical avenue for the whole venture or a small suggestion about how to foster better interactions among employees. Know your audience and tailor your message appropriately.

Have reasons “why” and “why not.” Selling your idea can’t be focused solely on what it can do to help the company or the product progress. Consider both benefits and risks. When someone brings me an idea, they are often excited to talk about from where the idea came and what it can do to make the world a better place. When I ask the reasons that we should not pursue the idea, though, too often that question hasn’t been considered, or only financial impact has been considered. Considering risk isn’t a negative. It’s a sign that an employee is being thoughtful and thorough, which is critically important to the success of an idea.

Be excited, not nervous. Passion is everything. When my employees have innovative ideas, I want to hear them. When they are tentative and nervous, it becomes easy to doubt their commitment to their idea. There is no hiding passion. It becomes infectious and a force that drives a lot of great work and change. People will buy into ideas a lot sooner and deeper as excitement launches, builds, and sustains something new.

Use action verbs. Be succinct, direct, and do not soften your presentation with words like “I think” or “I believe.” I’d rather hear “this will make a difference because” than “I think this will make a difference.” If you have a great idea, you have contemplated the impact. Sell it with confidence.

Let it go. Your idea is your gift to your team or company, and you have to be willing to let it go from your grasp in order for it to become more successful than if you were to continue working on it alone. Let others expand on your idea or even modify it as appropriate. Or, if your idea falls flat, let that go, too. Not every idea is going to be a winning one. Don’t let that deter you from making the effort to present it, though.

The best, most innovative ideas come from those who are willing to take the risk to make the suggestion — and, when they do, they’re ready to present their ideas in a well-researched, passionate, effective way. This is how great ideas are heard best. A lot of hard work goes into coming up with ideas to present in the first place, and that’s a skill I try to find in employees I hire: curiosity and passion for inventiveness. Great innovation flows from great, effective team players who know how to advocate for change.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn on June 16, 2016.

If I Were 22: Five Things I’d Do with Hindsight

They say hindsight is 20/20. Given the benefit of looking back, if I were 22 and fresh out of college again, I’d give myself some valuable advice, including:

Do what you want to do. Truth be told, I always lived my life this way. I pursued what I wanted to pursue from a very young age. I didn’t worry about who I was gender-wise, and my parents raised me in a gender-neutral way. Women shouldn’t avoid roles they consider to be primarily male, nor vice-versa. Your passion for doing what you love will be part of what breaks stereotypes in the long run.

Pick a path and stick to it (unless your intention is to experiment). You have to invest a lot of time and energy to get really good at what you do, and that’s how you get someplace with your career. Early on, things are rarely easy. Be forewarned: if something looks like a low-hanging fruit, it probably is. Don’t go for “easy.” Go for a consistent direction, ideally trending upward. You may have to compromise sometimes, but you have to have your goals and remain true to them. Think long-term. Keep your eyes on your goals and work hard to get there.

Focus less on compensation/money and more on your experience. You should definitely advocate for your fair pay. At the same time, pay shouldn’t be the only reason you take a job. Focus on what you want to do and on becoming successful in what you believe you have talent in. If you pursue that, money will come. To be successful in title or in salary, you have to be able to believe you’re doing the right thing. Sometimes the tradeoff for pay is valuable experience that will lead toward what you want to do. It’s not as simple as dollars equating to work-satisfaction or to success. Ask for what you can ask for, compensation-wise, but be mindful of how that sits in the big picture of achieving your dreams — which hopefully aren’t only money-focused. At only 22, you have a lot of years to fill, and you’ll fill them best if they’re fulfilling, which is not only money-related.

Balance your time. When I became a mom, I subconsciously feared saying “I have to go and pick up my son” or “I have to take my son to the doctor today.” I was worried that I’d be perceived as somehow less committed to my work if I had family obligations. In retrospect, that’s ridiculous; family needs are a part of everyone’s lives. Having a great work life and a great family life are doable more than ever know with flexible, mobile tools in-hand to work from anywhere. This isn’t to say that everyone needs to be “always on,” but, when unexpected things arise, it is a great convenience to be able to juggle our lives a little more seamlessly thanks to handy tools.

Be yourself, and believe in yourself. Successful people will tell you that there is no “fake it ‘til you make it.” There are all sorts of resources on how to do things like someone else did in order to climb the ladder faster and higher, and those will not help you as much as all things described above that are unique to you: do what you want to do, pick your path and stick to it, stay experience-focused, and balance your time with regard to all things that matter in your life. Believe that you are worth a good career and a good life, and make choices reflective of that. When you do those things, that’s how you will not only get ahead but also is how you’ll feel good about yourself while doing it.

We all have our own unique life experiences, and no one person’s journey can be a roadmap for someone else’s. By sharing my own personal insights, I hope that I’ve shed some light that might help some young women, especially, consider their many options. The best advice I can give is to listen to your gut. Mine has often spoken loudest in both best- and worst-case scenarios, even at “only” 22.

This post originally appeared on Linkedin on May 16, 2016.

More Women of Inspiration

While the news frequently (and rightly) covers the significant gender divide in high tech, there are no shortage of high-impact women leaders. When we celebrate these women who are doing amazing things in positions of high tech leadership, I believe the industry will be a lot more attractive to future generations of women.

If I were to gather a group of women leaders to serve as role models to today’s college-aged women who are aspiring to careers in high tech, whom would I choose? A year ago, I wrote about five women of inspiration: Donna Horton Novitsky, Amal Johnson, Victoria Treyger, Heidi Roizen, and Leyla Seka. This year, I would like to pay homage to five more Women of Inspiration whom I am fortunate to know, including:

Janice Durbin Chaffin: Janice has over 30 years of high tech experience. She led Norton’s consumer security business to over $2B in revenues with 2000+ employees while demonstrating revenue growth for 17 straight quarters. She also served as the first Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Symantec and, as part of their C-suite team, helped to grow Symantec from $1B to $6B in revenue. Prior to that, at HP, she was a founding member of the HP9000 enterprise server business and later became the P&L responsible general manager of the $5B+ business with over 4000 employees worldwide. She now serves on the Boards of Synopsys,, and PTC. Janice is known for her skill in developing executive and management talent. I also know her to be amazingly good at connecting people.

Nancy Schoendorf: Nancy was one of the first female venture capitalists. She is now Partner Emeritus at Mohr Davidow, which she joined in 1993. Prior to joining Mohr Davidow, she had 17 years of experience in high tech, including 10 years at HP where she ran operating systems projects including HP-UX and its real-time extensions as engineering section manager. She serves on the boards of Shuttefly, Infusionsoft,, NOMi, Panasas, and 1to1 Venture Partners. Nancy and I have something rare in common: she and I both studied Computer Science as undergraduates at a time when it was highly unusual for women to do so. I met Nancy the first time I was raising money as an entrepreneur and was impressed with how well she listened and how easy it was to share my thoughts and ideas with her.

Carol Carpenter: Carol is CEO of ElasticBox, an end-to-end DevOps solution that enables continuous delivery of apps to any cloud. She has over 20 years of tech leadership experience including as CMO of ClearSlide before ElasticBox. She serves on the Board of Dice Holdings. Carol’s lifelong passion is to deliver innovative products that transform businesses. Carol credits another amazing woman, Barbara Cardillo, the VP of Product Marketing at Apple Computer, for inspiring her career in high tech leadership, citing Barbara’s focus on the importance of integrity, authenticity, and empathy as a leader.  Carol has a “take no prisoners” attitude.  She is right there with her team, leading and supporting them.

Claudia Fan Munce: Claudia founded the Venture Capital Group at IBM, where she served for over 30 years. Now she is a Venture Advisor for NEA. She is a board member of the National Venture Capital Association, chairwoman of the board of Global Corporate Venturing, board member of Bank of the West / BNP Paribas, board member of Best Buy, and an advisory board member of numerous other global venture capital organizations. She is a pioneer thought leader in the corporate venture community and is widely published in that realm. Claudia has opened up IBM doors for many young companies to help them find their way to the right channels within IBM.

Yoky Matsuoka: Yoky is a robotics expert with a PhD from MIT. She co-founded Google’s X Lab and is the former head of technology for Nest. This year, Yoky joined Apple to help further the company’s wellness initiatives, including HealthKit, ResearchKit, and CareKit. I met Yoky when we appeared on a panel together at Haas and was impressed right away by her extreme intelligence. News reported that just as she was poised to take a significant role at Twitter last year, she battled a life-threatening illness. What an inspiration she is to have come back from that to lead wellness initiatives at Apple!  The first time you meet Yoky, you know that she is a brilliant technologist and innovator.

These ten women all together form an impressive group with whom I’d love to have a dinner table conversation about the future. I’d ask these women for their thoughts on gender-neutral workplaces, and I’d also ask them how they’d encourage future generations of women to follow in our footsteps.

What questions would you ask this group, and who would you add to the list?

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn on May 9, 2016.