Padmasree Warrior, our Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering, shared some thoughts earlier this month on women in technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Padma joined Google’s Marissa Mayer, Hunch’s Caterina Fake and CNET’s Lindsey Turrentine on this CNET sponsored panel. The takeaways are for both men and women:
Padma said that liberation from guilt is an important choice to make. Earlier in her career, she felt guilty at work about not being with her child but she also felt guilty when she had to miss customer meetings to be home with her child. Regardless of the decision, she learned not to be guilty about the decision.
In this day and age, you can be yourself at work. Caterina Fake commented that in the 80s, businesswomen adopted the “Sigourney Weaver” uniform of heels, suits with shoulder pads and speaking in a low voice. Now, you no longer need to conform to a single image to be taken seriously. Marissa had a great line: “you can wear ruffles… or you can be a jock”
Burnout was a meaty topic that Marissa Mayer introduced by saying that working long hours is not what causes burnout. Resentment is what causes burnout. She asks each of her employees to tell her what they need in order not to be resentful. For one employee it was not missing Tuesday night dinners with his college friends. For another, it wasn’t what Marissa assumed it was. It was not the 1am calls with Bangalore. Instead, it was missing her children’s soccer games and recitals.
Marissa said it’s the manager’s job to protect those important moments and she does. If the entire team is working Tuesday night, she’ll usher her young employee out the door. If someone asks Katie to stay another 5 minutes right before a recital, Marissa will intervene and send Katie on her way. Understanding that resentment is different for each person is key. Needs change over time, so it’s important to check in regularly.
At the end of the Q&A session, Susie Wee, VP and CTEO of Collaboration and Communication at Cisco, popped up with a question about technology and experience design. Have a listen to their responses (and the rest of the panel) in the video above.