It was a wonderful honor to be named to Silicon Valley Business Journal 100 Women of Influence just over a week ago; one that will help greatly with accelerating my initiatives for cloud safety—not just for business, but also for us all.

And for the honor, I owe much thanks to many incredible mentors who have believed in me and for the immense opportunities they have provided me.

Somehow, in the wonderful write-up, the reference to Monique Morrow, my amazing manager, whose mentorship I have been extremely lucky to have for close to a year now, was omitted. While I am working to get that corrected, it is only fitting that I should also pay tribute to Monique here, too. Monique has impressive achievements that range from being an inventor to the recipient of many prestigious industry leadership awards to working tirelessly to advancing women in the workforce. You can read more at http://blogs.cisco.com/diversity/women-of-impacts-2015-fearless-female-monique-morrow.

However, what I admire most about Monique is her zest for life, her love of people and the tenacity to do what she loves most. It’s these endearing and important qualities that embody most what it means to be a Woman of Influence to me. The digital revolution and an increasingly busier workplace have led to more grandiose expectations of the way our lives should be and what success might look like. As I get the opportunity to meet with young women in schools and university over the coming year, my message will be:

  1. Do what you love and focus on making a positive impact to someone else’s life. You don’t have to have a massive following on Twitter or Facebook or be a speaker at conference events. In fact, I would argue that those who are not necessarily focused on building up a huge digital following probably have far more impactful lives.
  2. Be kind and generous with your own self-rating. In a recent, passing conversation with a recruiter, who was determined to find a female candidate for a CTO role, she asked me how I would rate my skillset based on the position description. I told her I had 3 out of the 5 skills— that was the response she received from most of the women she spoke to but most of the men claimed they had all 5 skills. She said most men give themselves greater credit for their skills than women do their own.
  3. Don’t kill yourself trying to do everything. Leading a balanced life in which family and recreational interests are a priority is so important.

I believe that there has never been a better time for women to succeed in industry than now. There are so many programs and initiatives dedicated to fostering women in technology. I so look forward to seeing what the next generation of women has in store for our industry.


Evelyn de Souza

Cloud Data Governance Leader

Chief Technology and Architecture Office