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Enterprise Software and the Role of the CIO: An Interview with Mark Templeton of Workspot

Mark Templeton spent more than twenty years at Citrix Systems before leaving in 2015. Since then, he has served as an executive and board member at numerous companies in tech and beyond. In 2020, he joined C2C partner Workspot as Chairman and Director, which soon brought him into the C2C community as a guest at in-person events hosted in collaboration with Workspot. Mark’s years of experience and expertise as a leader in the IT space make his presence in our community a singular benefit to our members. To make that experience and expertise available to the rest of the C2C membership, we sat down with Mark for a wide-ranging conversation about the current enterprise software market and what software CIOs can do to help their businesses scale for long-term success. What's the most important trend currently defining the enterprise software/services market? We’re looking at a world now, if you're a CIO, where you have to have an opinion about the things you can control and the things you can’t, and how each of those contributes to the platform on which your business is built. That means you have to build systems that have the agility and flexibility and resilience to things that are out of your control, whether it’s a hurricane, a flood, any of these sort of geophysical things. Having a community of like-minded individuals to rely on is also important. Groups like C2C bring together technology and cloud users from across the globe to identify the latest trends on a daily basis. One ongoing discussion is about how the acceleration of enterprise SaaS across every segment in enterprise computing has become the reality. I think most enterprise CIOs have embraced it at some level, but it’s actually accelerating and picking up speed. What’s behind this acceleration of SaaS in recent years is of course the pandemic, and evolving work styles. Another huge element is the maturing of hyperscale clouds. It’s been amazing what’s happened in just the last five years in terms of the number of new services and what’s possible. The C2C community and team has facilitated discussions on this issue and will continue to do so as this issue gains steam. What makes this trend so significant? Consumerization of software is at the heart of driving and changing IT mindsets from meeting the minimum to actually going beyond and providing a consumer-like experience when it comes to enterprise computing. By adopting this “consume it yourself approach” it allows ITs energy, budget, etc. to be directed at business solutions to drive growth, reduce costs, increase velocity, protect IP, engage, retain talent, and more. Which vendors are leading this field? The one Google Cloud customer that’s a standout to me is Equifax. I served on the board of directors of Equifax for about ten years, including through the breach, and we had all of our own data centers and infrastructure, and we really were underestimating two things: our ability to stay ahead of the hackers and the bad guys and the role of hyperscale clouds when it came to security - which still holds true for lots of IT organizations. We came to understand that our less than ten global data centers were a fraction of the footprint and attack vector size of Google Cloud. Every day Google Cloud is attacked a thousand times more than our data centers, and as a result, as we all know, seeing attacks, detecting attacks, understanding attacks is what allows you to get ahead.We realized at Equifax we were never going to replicate that kind of a security model and competency, so we decided to go all in on Google Cloud, and not only has it created an amazing security consciousness and capability, it’s also allowed the company to create new business models. Equifax has been able to build a very sizable incremental business on Google Cloud as well as really accelerate the security profile of all of the existing business, so they’re definitely a leader.Some other examples are Intel and AMD, both of whom are C2C Global partners, because compute is a core part of any hyperscale cloud. Because of the AI and ML and the need to pipeline process tremendous amounts of data collaboratively across CPUs and GPUs, all of a sudden now, the network has become the new backplane for the worldwide computer.There are a lot of winners in the areas of enterprise SaaS and systems of record like ERP, HR, CRM, Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, etc. One that’s near and dear to my heart is the whole idea of the enterprise PC becoming a SaaS offering. That’s called a Cloud PC, and there leaders in Microsoft, Amazon, and Workspot, where all of a sudden with a PC computing utility you can use appliance-like devices for access, do it anywhere, and get a PC and workstation-like experience on them. There are new leaders being minted every single day that are too numerous to list. How should a CIO approach this trend? I think the first big approach the CIO has to take is to drive a mindset of change and growth, and do that by rejecting the inexorable power of inertia. Inertia is the number one thing that keeps organizations from embracing change. if you don’t have a CIO that’s got that tone at the top, everything else becomes difficult.CIOs must also embrace enterprise SaaS and dig in with the SaaS provider to understand how it’s built, because it does matter. You have to insist on cloud-native, because so many legacy ISVs have moved to the cloud with a lift-and-shift model, and the lift-and-shift model lacks a whole bunch of the native capabilities that clouds offer, like elasticity, like being very resilient to failure, and more.The third thing is not to adopt hybrid as a permanent state. The reason not to buy it is––I use this example: a plug-in hybrid. It has electric engines and it has gasoline engines. All of a sudden you took an automobile that has a hundred thousand parts and now you have a hundred and twenty-five thousand parts. That’s not the way to increase availability and reliability and lower costs. It’s about eliminating moving parts, so that’s why hybrid is a transitional tool in my opinion.The fourth thing in terms of approach is you’ve got to exist on multicloud support. You have to deeply inspect the cyber characteristics, and the readiness of the offering around cyber. And then I would sort of wrap up with something I think is close to the top of the list, and that is insist on full observability and transparency. That means you’ve got to really look at the telemetry that the SaaS offering has so that it can feed systems and allow you to answer the kind of business questions you need to answer when you’re at the C-suite table. Service levels around costs, around what systems are in greater use and what systems are in lesser use. There are just a lot of these business questions that I think today are pretty difficult for IT CIOs to answer which is why we rely on communities like C2C to connect and find answers. Extra Credit:  


Women in Cloud: Meet Clair Hur

Please introduce yourself: My name is Clair and I’m a Senior Program Manager at Vimeo. I work with C-suite, multi-country product leads, and PMO managers to produce meaningful organizational change. I also deliver business critical initiatives at an enterprise scale and my expertise is in digital transformation, process redesign, and revenue optimization. I currently live in Manhattan with my husband, and I’m originally from Korea. You have a diverse background from working in design to consulting, how did you find yourself in tech? When my father got third stage cancer, I was 17 and education was a luxury. It took away my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, and I had to work 2 jobs to be the breadwinner of my home. When I was 19, I submitted a 1200-word article to the Korea Times' Thoughts for Times section. The Korea IT Times Editor in Chief took notice of my work and scouted me as a reporter while I was taking online University classes. I learned from the world’s tech leaders and served as a media partner to over 200 IT companies to promote their products and services online. I promised myself that once my baby sister graduated college, I’d pursue a Master’s program with my own savings, and it took me 10 years to reach that goal. From all the schools I applied to, Parsons School of Design offered me a merit-based scholarship, and I chose to study strategic design and management, allowing me to dive deep into different methods of design thinking and managing creative work. This time in my life came with a few different challenges, as I applied to 320 companies and revised my resume 221 times. However, each time I received a rejection letter, I’d dissect the job description and dedicate myself to self-improvement. New knowledge and certifications led to the project opportunities with Nike, Delonghi, and Toyota’s design and engineering teams. In 2018, PWC gave me an opportunity by the time I gained 6 certifications, including, The Wharton School Financial and Business Modeling, PMP, CSM, and Google Adwords. By the time I completed the Lean Six Sigma course, I was led to the tech industry, Vimeo.  How has Google Cloud made an impact on you? Google Cloud has always been my amplifier. In 2022 at Vimeo, the principal engineer of the hosting Ops team designed a new container solution with our Core Services and Video Platform team to cost-effectively store large video files at Vimeo. We selected Google to be our partner for this endeavor when we were using multiple regional storage solutions. Through the Google Cloud STS service, we migrated large legacy video files into a new bucket safely in less than 3 months. The principal engineers of Google partnered with our video platform, core services, and hosting ops teams to assess risks and proactively manage them. The success of this complex project, in partnership with the best teams of both parties, resulted in substantial cost savings. A shout out to Dave Stoner’s team at Google! Additionally, in 2005, I was a reporter at the Korea IT Times.  We had a competitive advantage for being the nation’s first English IT specialized online/offline journal. However, the business couldn’t sustain itself with new technological advances. When my paycheck fell behind, I suggested to the CEO to redesign our website to meet Google News requirements. At that time, we had to rebuild the entire website for our English content to syndicate to Google News. We did this for the first time in Korea, and what this meant was an increase in sponsorship by 200% and revenue by six folds. When our media partners exhibited at the international fairs, they could share the article link in the follow up email rather than distributing the paper kits. Google has always been a powerful tool in my life and has been a driving force to help solve critical issues.  What does being a leader mean to you?I think sometimes I struggle to define that myself. It used to be about “Am I doing enough for others? Am I dedicating enough time for them?” I thought those were the qualities of a leader. When I think about the term today, I believe it’s rooted in company growth. The challenge here is to be the force of nature as a leader that can empower others to reach their own destiny while also balancing the needs of a team. I think rather than always being the person who relies on facts, guidelines and analysis, I’m learning to embrace my natural feminine identity in the progress of striving for effective communication. When faced with a challenge or obstacle in life, how do you handle it? To be honest, being in the United States has really helped. Failures and obstacles are viewed as a part of the journey rather than a form of shame. However, in the culture I grew up in, mistakes were viewed harshly. As an immigrant from a different country, I struggle with  questioning myself and my expectations. When this happens, I turn to music or running. A recent hobby of mine has been writing TV show scripts, and I realized that writing helps me to look into the bad moments of a day from a bird’s eye view. It’s very therapeutic and helps me to understand that whatever is happening is just a part of season one.  If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would that be?I would tell myself that when there is a will, there's a path. When I was younger, I always had a will but keeping faith was a challenge. Life felt giant, and everyday felt like I was never excellent enough to become successful, when really, I didn’t have a definition of success. I’d tell myself to create a vision, get credentials, and never stop learning. In my case, every time I was about to give up, someone always found me and led me closer to my ambition, and they took notice of  my track record dedicated to continuous improvement. I believe you shouldn’t stop being an eternal student. Continuously seek wisdom through knowledge, and have faith that the perfect award awaits you.  How would you like to see organizations celebrate female talent?I was recently very inspired by an event titled “I Am Remarkable.” Culturally, we grow up hearing that modesty is the best virtue. Especially when you are a woman, the better job security is there when we nail the back scene supporter role. It was an emotional event for me to witness because these amazing women celebrated their wins from small to big, and were being vulnerable while also empowering each other. It made me want to create more time and space to participate in these events to nurture my own confidence so that I can be more comfortable in my own skin. The remarkable women were building a strong community by recognizing greatness in others, and I'd love to belong to more communities like this to inspire meaningful changes in the world.  What is your favorite aspect of working with other women?Women together are like “stars aligned” in my perception. I once belonged to a certain type of culture where men with a higher title would serve the role of a “hero” of a team. We have great female leaders that joined Vimeo from Google and Amazon for our key product areas. Our presence helped mixed groups at Vimeo to shine brighter together. Sometimes I imagine us looking like a Saggitarius together, other days like an Aquarius––here when the stars are aligned, we constantly ask each other what can be done by the work function or at the leadership level to remove impediments and overcome any limitations for the simple mission: enable the power of video. We bring balanced perceptions, empowerment, and strong will to accomplish our mission together.    Who are your role models? Currently, the CEO of Vimeo, Anjali Sud, and CFO Gillian Munson have deeply inspired me. I’ve never seen such strong leaders who empower us with smart management who are also furiously vulnerable with us and display humility. This is the first time in my career where I am working for or with a female C-Suite. Recently, when Anjali spoke in our Town Hall that times like this define who we truly are and how together we can become stronger, I dearly missed my Japanese grandmother. She was devoted and positive throughout all crises, including post-war family loss and rebuilding. She has been a true role model in my heart.  For young women going into the tech space, what advice would you give them?First, you need to find and understand your interest, then connect it to tech areas where you could make an impact. I’d recommend researching what you have to accomplish in terms of credentials to get into that market, and I’d also narrow down the search to areas that you’d be interested in learning more about as well. There are many online courses available that will provide you with a glimpse of University professors teaching different topics that will help you strengthen that interest. Once you’ve narrowed it down, take a look at the job descriptions in that field, because it is like a cheat sheet for where you want to go! Dissect the requirements and see which ones you can tackle currently and map out the ones that you can achieve in the future. There are small, tactful hints you can catch in job descriptions that are quite actionable now and will make you feel like you’re working towards your end goal. Dream on! Want to read similar articles? Check out these other interviews with women in Cloud: Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana Shankar

Categories:Careers in CloudNetworkingCloud OperationsGoogle Cloud PartnersInterview

Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana Shankar

Please introduce yourself! My name is Shobana Shankar and I’ve currently been at Google for 5 years leading the ISV Sales Specialist team. I have been in a few previous roles at Google, such as initiatives related to resellers. However, the current focus right now is on ISVs. There is a lot of growth expected over the next few years for us in this area, which is very exciting!  What were some of your hobbies and interests growing up that you think led to your current career path? I have had hobbies and interests all over the map. Growing up, I was highly involved in competitive sports. Track and field as well as volleyball were some of my favorites. I was also working towards joining the Olympics team during high school. Overall, I played a lot of sports for my district and for my state. I never really saw a classroom on a daily basis because all I wanted to do was be out there playing sports. The competitiveness, team dynamics, and the end goal of winning a game is what really drove me towards athletics. After my dad moved to the United States, my passions eventually switched. I found myself becoming involved with dancing. From hip-hop, modern contemporary, and Bollywood, I indulged myself in many different styles of dance.I’ve also always been interested in math and science, which naturally led me to pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer systems engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I was the only female in my class as well, but found myself very excited about the subject. I think teamwork, collaborating, and the idea of winning together are fundamental values that I have carried throughout my personal and professional life. I think of my team and I as one driving force trying to figure out how to succeed together, and my background in sports is what instilled my beliefs about team dynamics.  What advice would you give women that are trying to break into this industry?I think any woman who wants to break out into this industry would benefit from finding a mentor. My mentor helped me to navigate difficult situations that I faced and I was able to follow the example of someone that I looked up to. They can also help you navigate the industry and connect you with people who can help you succeed. I also believe that representation is very important. There are now a lot of female leaders in the tech industry and success stories that are published and discussed, as well as success stories involving women. I think following those stories will inspire others to chase their dreams and eliminate any self-limiting beliefs. Believe in yourself and your passions and it will take you far!  How can the tech industry demonstrate that it truly values female talent? I think there have been a lot of good changes that will continue to help. Organizations continuing to highlight female talent and creating an inclusive as well as equitable environment by celebrating the successes of women is making a positive impact. This also goes back to representation and showing women that this can be done and that they have the ability to do it themselves. Outside of that, Google is doing some amazing initiatives as well that involve promoting a culture that empowers female talent.  What is your favorite aspect of working at Google Cloud?The people, hands down! The talent here is unmatchable, which leads to a great culture. There is a word we have here at Google, which is “Googleyness.” It’s hard to define at times, and everyone has their own unique perception of it. However, I think it’s a combination of grit and passion as well as doing things the right way. At Google, it is more about how you do it than what you do, which I think fosters a lot of positive energy and promotes collaboration.  Could you share an empowering story that highlights being a woman in tech?Jim Anderson built a women’s community within the partner channel in our group that gets together on a monthly or quarterly basis. The group is rooted in sharing each other’s stories and how we’re navigating different environments as women. I shared a story as a part of the kickoff that was about me almost quitting full-time work to take care of my children. After the kickoff, I  received so many messages from other women who shared a similar story. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves, and we often tend to hide things that are going on, especially when you’re a mom. There’s so many scenarios that involve work and family that can often be stressful. I think it’s important to remember that there are many other people going through something similar who are trying to juggle 100 responsibilities at the same time. Having a supportive community and talking about it is what truly makes a positive difference.  As a woman, how do you balance being career-oriented with other aspects of your life?I wish I had a magical answer for that question. It is not always the easiest, but I think taking it one day at a time is important. Thinking about your overarching goals and having a good support system is also helpful. When I just had my kids, COVID hit very hard, and I went from working in an office everyday to being fully remote with two small children, which was quite difficult. It was the leaders who made the difference during that time. For example, when I wanted to quit, It was the leaders who suggested taking two months to figure out what worked for me in terms of my working style. Within the first month, I was able to determine what would work for me, and it was the support from leadership that provided me with that flexibility.  How did you realize Google Cloud was a good fit for you?I’ve always looked at Google as a great company to work for, since the beginning of my career. It’s known for its great talent, and we’ve all had a chance to use their products. Google Cloud reached out to me when I was working at a startup in San Francisco. Someone I worked with at Cisco who was at Google at the time reached out to me about the role. The interview process also reassured my positive perception of Google. The questions that were asked as well as discussing the culture demonstrated that Google truly cares about hiring the right leaders and people. The ground-breaking technology and amazing culture is why I know I’m at the right place.  What advice would you give to women in tech who are still early in their career journey?Network! Look at people who are successful in the areas that you might have an interest in. Meet as many people as possible, explore different avenues, and definitely lock in that mentor. Have an open mind when meeting people, especially in tech. Networking can make a huge difference as you progress in your career and are looking for different transitions.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud StrategyCareers in CloudNetworkingInterview

The Why and the How of AI and ML Insights: An Interview with Pythian CTO Paul Lewis

On August 11, 2022, C2C will host 2Gather: Chicago, the Google Cloud customer community’s first in-person event in the Chicago area. Moderated by Lilah Jones, Head of Corp Sales, Central US, Google Cloud, the event program will feature speakers Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce, and Pythian CTO Paul Lewis. The panel will discuss the technical and business advantages of using AI and ML on Google Cloud. In advance of the event, we reached out to Paul Lewis, an engaged and active member of our community who joins us from our foundational platinum partner Pythian, to discuss AI and ML insights, connecting business and technical collaborators, and the value of a peer-to-peer Google Cloud community. Pythian has received significant industry recognition for its data solutions. To what extent today does a data solution necessarily require an AI or ML component? It is fair to say that most data solutions have a “why,” and that why is because I’m trying to create some sort of insight. Insight might be for the purpose of creating a new customer experience, or creating some insight for efficiency, or monetizing the value of a current set of offerings, and that insight requires a combination of three things: I need to find where the data is in my core systems from my third party, I need to create analytical value in a data platform, and I need to use AI and ML algorithms to source out that piece of insight which I’ll use to make a decision. So it has all three of those components. I’d argue that if you’re starting with the end, starting with the insight, all of that technology and process is required to deliver on it. You spoke with C2C earlier this year about cloud security and the shared roles of businesses and cloud providers. When working with systems and processes that are largely automated, what cloud security considerations arise? Cloud security requires the assumption that you are going to bring your algorithms to the data versus the data to the algorithms––a really big shift from exporting data out of a production system into your laptop, producing your algorithms in your API of choice, and then sending that algorithm back up to be both trained and tested. Now it’s about training and testing in the cloud, which has access directly to those data sets internally and externally. So that’s the big shift. Moving where you’re actually both developing your model, training your model, and creating inference or executing on that model. It is the best bet to do that in the cloud.A big problem in healthcare, as you can imagine, is sharing information across organizations. Since data sharing is required to make complex diagnostic decisions, I need to be able to package up that information from a diagnostics perspective, share it amongst a group of people, and then that prediction can come together. Multiple practitioners can participate in the model development, multiple practitioners can provide input into the model and the training, and then infer it for the purpose of new patients coming in. On August 11, at 2Gather: Chicago, you’ll be speaking alongside Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, and Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce. As a CTO, how does speaking alongside both technical and business professionals influence the kind of discussion you’re able to have? My conversations tend to be balancing the difference between why and how. On the business side, what are ultimately the business goals we’re trying to achieve? It tends to boil down to something like data monetization. Now, monetization could simply mean selling your data, it could mean creating a better insight on your customers, maybe as customer segmentation, maybe it’s wrapping a non-data related product with a data-related product. Like a checking account alongside an ability to predict spending behavior changes over time. Or it might be internal, making better MNA decisions or creating some sort of efficiency in a process, or just making general business decisions better or cleaner in a sense.So, you can take that why and say, ‘well, that why can be delivered on a variety of hows.’ A how can be as simple as a query and as complex as the entire data engineering chain. And that’s the bridge between the why and the how. Not only does the data engineer or data architect get a better appreciation for the type of business decisions I need to be able to make based on this work, but the business person gets to understand the potential difficulties of making that actually true. Do you think that most customers come to a peer-to-peer panel discussion with a why or a how in mind? Yes. Very rarely is it unanswered questions. Very rarely is it, ‘I know I have some nuggets of gold here, could you possibly look into my pot and see if there’s anything interesting?’ That might have been true five years ago, but people are much more well-read, definitely on the business and the technology side. There has to be a why, and if there has to be a why, there’s one too many potential hows. What’s our best bet to the how? Data engineers, data modelers, and data scientists are the go-to person to hire. In fact it’s so complex that I now need partnerships of talent, so I might now know that I need a junior, senior, or intermediate scientist, because I don’t have that background. I don’t have that expertise, so I’ve got to lean on partnerships in order to figure that out. Is being able to find the right why for the right how what makes a community of Google Cloud customers uniquely valuable? Exactly. It’s also sharing in our expertise. There’s this huge assumption that I just have to acquire the expertise to deliver on my particular why or how, that I just need to learn Python in twenty-one days, that I just need to get another data modeler to understand what a bill is, what a person is, what a patient is, what a checking account is, but the reality is you have to balance expertise with experience. You could hire a bunch of people or train up your existing staff, but if they’ve never done it before, that’s where you need partnerships. That’s why you need a community. That’s why you need to be able to talk to your peers. That’s why you need to have these kinds of conversations, to balance what I think I can do with what’s actually possible, or what’s been done before. Are there any particular conversations you’re hoping to have at the event in Chicago? Yeah, absolutely. The conversations I’m looking to have are unique or interesting whys that I think could be compelling across a variety of industries. What I find most interesting isn’t that two retail chains have the same customer segmentation problem, it’s that you can take a customer segmentation retail and apply that to manufacturing of cookies. So, something we can reuse across these industries, because in my opinion these industry solutions are going to be on the forefront of the whys. I’m going to be able to download cookie client segmentation and then augment it for my needs. I don’t have to invent it going forward. Do you have any final thoughts to share with the Google Cloud customer community? I’m really looking forward to this particular event. It’s rare that we get to have real peer-to-peer conversations, so I’m absolutely looking forward to it, and Google’s a nice space to do it in, so, that’s always a bonus. Are you based in Chicago? Do you need to find a how for your why, or vice versa? Join Paul, the C2C Team, and the rest of our distinguished speakers at 2Gather: Chicago on August 11! Register here:  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningC2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud PartnersInterview

Women in Cloud: Ayu Ginanti

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Ayu Ginanti, APJ Cloud Lead at Intel, a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Foundational Platinum Partner of C2C. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? My name is Ayu (pronounced Aah-you), and I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sydney, Australia, has been my second home since 2015, and I love it here.I’m a Cloud Lead at Intel⁠—the “chip queen” of Silicon Valley⁠—where I help companies get the best out of their cloud consumption. I work closely with cloud providers like Google Cloud to drive value optimization on all Intel technologies.I’m also a baker and a wedding cake artist. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? My educational background is actually in communications and business, but I always gravitated toward technology. All of my theses had a strong emphasis on technology and that interest followed me to the professional world. I’m proud of the plurality of my tech career and I particularly love being part of pioneering teams or businesses. I was one of the first 10 employees in Google Indonesia. I then pivoted to cloud and relocated to Sydney to join Google Cloud Australia. And now being the first Cloud Lead at Intel, I have a big responsibility in driving Intel’s technology leadership in cloud and breaking the perception that Intel is just a “PC-centric company”.When it comes to certifications, I earned many at a professional level that were related to my job. I was AdWords certified and also passed the Google Analytics and YouTube certifications when I was part of the Google Adwords team. There’s probably greater emphasis on certifications in the cloud world—I even participated as a beta tester in the Google Cloud Digital Leader certification when it was released last year.In general, I like learning new things. When I don’t have any cloud exams or internal cloud trainings to work on, I like to do short courses or executive education on the topics I’m interested in. I did one on “Driving organizational change” last year, and I’m enrolling in an AI course this May to help me with my job and learn new things that I’m curious about and may be beneficial either now or in the future. How did you get started with Google Cloud? I joined Google Cloud before Google Cloud even carried that name. I was part of the “OG” Google for Work, and our core focus at that time was selling the SaaS offerings of Google Workspace. Back then, it was called Google Apps for Work, then they rebranded as GSuite, and then as Google Workspace. I’ve seen the full transformation of that company.When they pivoted their focus to Google Cloud Platform, I was one of the brave souls who believed that was the right path for the company, and that lined up with what I saw as the right path for my career. While it was very disruptive at the time, I believed there were so many opportunities ahead. And to be honest, Google Cloud circa 2017 was tough! We went through so many changes, starting in that phase of very minimal awareness among IT professionals just getting started, going through a rebrand, and bringing on a new CEO. Imagine still learning about the basics of load balancing and egress and trying to convince the customers that these were the right solutions for them. I was one of the people who would pick up the phone and say, “I’m from Google Cloud,” and they would usually say, “Google what? I’ve never heard of it,” or say I had the wrong number and hang up on me. It was a stressful time when your salary, your performance review, and your career depend on it.But I’m grateful that I had supportive teammates. We were all going through the same thing, helped each other learn, sat on calls together, and always shared feedback. That support was one of the key reasons we thrived and progressed through it all.Before I left Google Cloud, I realized how rewarding it was despite the stress. We grew a multi-million dollar business from a literal zero. The cherry on the cake is those teammates I had support from are now my closest friends and my then-manager is now a mentor I look up to. It has come full circle. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? Looking back on my experience, I believe work still needs to be done when it comes to breaking bias—not only in the tech world, but just generally being a woman and especially being a woman of color. I’ve experienced microaggressions where as a woman, clients would refuse to talk to me and only wanted to communicate with my male colleagues even though I was the sales rep responsible for the account. I’ve also been asked multiple times if I can create a new name for myself, or anglicize my name to make it more friendly for English speakers. My first name is only three letters, so it’s really not difficult. My late grandpa named me and I love my name, so I’m not changing it for anyone.Awareness was really low when it came to unconscious bias and microaggressions. It affected me in a way that I felt I had to work twice as hard to prove myself to people, or to feel that I belong in the industry. But I know now I’m not responsible for anyone’s distorted perception of me, and I know I can stand in my own light and my own truth and still work hard. I realized that when I work with the right people in the right environment, it’s all worth it, because they don’t see me just as a woman of color in tech—they see me as a dedicated rockstar.Those who have a great work ethic and a passion for what they do—regardless of their gender, race, appearance, sexual orientation, or ethnicity—are the ones who end up running the company in the future. Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? With the caliber of people hired at Intel or at Google—all very smart, humble, cool people—I have wondered if I belong, or if I’m a fake. If I had to give pro tips on getting rid of that imposter feeling, they would be these three things:First is to surround myself with supportive people who see my worth. Sometimes we forget that we aren’t imposters, or fakes; we’re actually quite remarkable. Google has an #IamRemarkable program to remind not only women, but all minority groups, that they are remarkable.Second is an area I still have to work on, which is: don’t forget to reward yourself. I grew up in an environment where I was told to be humble and just get on with it, and adulthood inherits those ideas. But we have to actively celebrate in order to feel the full force of our successes and accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but find something that is meaningful to you. I do little things like taking myself out to dinner, sharing my accomplishments with my friends, or buying myself a little something. We should recognize our wins, no matter how small. Back when I started at Google Cloud and a customer wanted a second meeting, we saw that as a big win. We would celebrate and clap on the floor where we worked. It releases that feel-good dopamine and motivates us to accomplish even more. It’s easy to overlook that.And third is very actionable⁠⁠—you have to be careful about social media. I got very specific in curating my LinkedIn feed; I suggest unfollowing anyone or anything that brings you down. Sometimes, LinkedIn can make us feel like we’re behind, so curating our feed can nurture our souls. Focus on the informational and inspirational content that actually feeds your best self, gives you grace, and helps you work toward your vision. Life is finite; you don’t need toxic content filling it.  How do you want to change the world? This question really makes me ponder. I’m one of those people who has a vision board to plan for my dreams and leave a legacy, like speaking at a TedX, or starting a school, or building a walking suspension bridge to connect rural areas in Indonesia. But I look at the world we live in now and those ambitions and empowering ideas on my vision board feel disingenuous. We’re still recovering from the trauma of the pandemic, and we’re seeing news of war and extreme weather events. “We’re told to put on our own oxygen masks before helping other people, so I’m working on that.” We’re told to put on our own oxygen masks before helping other people, so I’m working on that. What I really want to do is spend my time working on things that matter in the cloud space and being with the people I love the most. I want to spend more time with my partner, who I’ve only seen four times since 2020 because of border closures. I want to make up for lost time with family and friends who I haven’t seen for three years. I feel like I’ve had a rough couple of years with that separation. That doesn’t mean I’m not ambitious anymore, but it’s hard to plan for audacious goals when basic needs haven’t been met. Once I’m there, then let’s talk about changing the world, but in the meantime, while I’m on that track I hope I can inspire a soul or two. Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? Do it!There’s still a perception that tech companies are strictly full of “nerdy, techy developers,” or that you have to be an Ivy League graduate to make it. But that’s wrong. There are plenty of opportunities working at tech companies like Intel in marketing, human resources, sales, program management, analytics, operations, and the list goes on. It all depends on how driven you are and what your interests are. “As an example from years ago, I made a prototype of a chatbot to automate an online dating conversation… It was a bit complicated, which I liked, and it was a fun project to learn how to use Google Cloud’s Dialogflow and the components behind it. ” As an example from years ago, I made a prototype of a chatbot to automate an online dating conversation. My intent was to save time for busy girls like me and my friends who don’t have time to talk, so the chatbot would answer to potential suitors. Once it hit a certain milestone, it was passed to the real “agent,” similar to customer service bots screening conversations before passing it on to an actual person. It was a bit complicated, which I liked, and it was a fun project to learn how to use Google Cloud’s Dialogflow and the components behind it. But, I also learned about the ethics behind AI, and realized how this wasn’t the most ethical solution, so it wasn’t something to fully pursue.The bottom line is, in order to thrive in a tech company, always find ways to keep learning. Be inquisitive, even if you’re just doing fun projects for yourself a few nights each week. The industry is constantly changing, so keep your skills fresh to stay ahead of the game.  Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I believe we’ll have a stronger synergy and collaboration between Intel and Google Cloud this year. There are women and male allies in APAC who are focused on bringing in the best and the most innovative solutions to our diverse organization of customers. At the end of the day, representation matters. It’s critical for cognitive diversity to create a space for motivated employees and customers. Google and Intel are seen as leaders in the industry, well-placed in showcasing that women have equal opportunities of succeeding in the tech world. We’re paving the way for future generations to thrive and change things up. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology.  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Nerissa Penfold

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Nerissa Penfold, Head of Sales at Google Cloud. Nerissa leads the Corporate Traditional (Mid-Market) Sales team for Google Cloud Australia and NZ. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? I’ve been at Google for over ten years, and at Google Cloud for just over a year now. I currently lead a sales team that works with customers in the mid-market segment to transform their businesses with cloud technologies. Depending on the audience, I might also share my passion for supporting all forms of diversity and inclusion. Outside my core role I am the Allyship Lead for Pride at Google, which is one of many Employee Resource Groups at Google.Outside of work, I’m the mother of two spirited boys, and we live in Sydney, Australia. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? People talk about “falling into something,” and that’s definitely what happened to me in tech. My undergraduate degree was in psychology, and I did further studies in psychology and journalism. But between university and achieving my goal of traveling overseas, I was looking for a job and found myself at Getronics, an information and communication technology services provider. It was there I discovered that technology really has the potential to deliver amazing outcomes to customers and end users. It also opened up a lot of career possibilities for me. I learned that sales also interested me, and so I began my journey in tech sales. I just recently started a new role, so I’m going slowly, but I’m working on the Cloud Digital Leader certification. This is aimed at business users, and I’m looking forward to completing it. In addition, over the last ten years, I’ve been lucky to have access to all the training and enablement that Google offers. It’s ongoing and necessary to keep up with all the advancements in our solutions and products. How did you get started with Google Cloud? Most of my career before joining Google was in tech sales, like software development, application development, web development, or systems integration. I brought that experience with me to Google, where I worked for so long using AdWords, YouTube, Google Ad Manager, and other internal systems which are all underpinned by Google Cloud technologies. I always knew that one day I would find myself at Google Cloud. It was always a goal of mine to take Google Cloud to the world. I made the switch a year ago and joined the Google Cloud partner team for Australia and New Zealand. This year I transitioned to my current role leading the mid-market sales team, where we work with traditional corporate companies, helping them to transform their businesses using cloud technologies. I love being a part of Google Cloud and working with customers to have a real impact on their businesses. While there are some differences from the rest of Google, there is also an element of familiarity as I’ve been using our products for so long.With respect to my roles in our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), I sort of dabbled. When at Google, I was involved with Women@Google, but last year I stepped up to lead the allyship pillar for our Pride ERG. Diversity and inclusion are definitely big focus areas for Google Cloud. I see the progress we are making every day and there are so many programs and spotlights on all areas of diversity. It’s one of the things that makes Google such a great place to work. It’s not just about the workplace; it’s about building a more inclusive and diverse society generally. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? I don’t know whether it’s specific to technology, but I’ve heard this quote saying that a man will apply to a role when they meet about 80% of the criteria for a job, and a woman will only apply when they meet 120% of the criteria. That preconception holds us back. I definitely doubt my own abilities at times and either assume that someone else will be a better fit or think that I’m not quite the right fit for the role. But I’ve been fortunate to have leaders who will push me to challenge myself or identify opportunities for me that I might not have considered for myself, such as the one I mentioned after university. That was my first role in tech, and it was something that I never would have applied for. I was working in the company’s call center when a leader in the business encouraged me to apply for a role as a technical account manager that he said would be advertised as needing ten to fifteen years of experience. I had no experience and no idea what a technical account manager did, but he said to apply anyway. I went through the process which included a panel interview with three interviewers, which I had never done before, and I got the job. I was lucky enough to have someone tell me, “We recognize your potential and you should go for this.” It really goes to show how important it is to have mentors, sponsors, and other people who fuel your self-belief. While I believe there’s a role for individuals to lift people up, programs like #IamRemarkable also need to continue—there’s great work that people have been doing to foster self-confidence and belief in capable women. There’s still so much to be done to increase representation, inclusion, and a sense of belonging, not just for women, but for other underrepresented minority groups. Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? There’s a lot of debate at the moment about whether imposter syndrome is a thing; Brené Brown, for example, has this view that it’s the system and the structure working as it was intended. I’ve felt it, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily gender specific. I think it’s more overthinking that you maybe don’t have the right experience, or that you’re not technical enough, or finding yourself in those moments where you think, “I have no idea what I’m doing—how did I get here?” So many people feel that way. For me, often, I will try to reflect on things I’ve done in the past in something similar where I’ve succeeded, and use that to calibrate and guide me to what’s possible. Other times, I might think of feedback others have given me, or what someone else has told me I’m good at, and use that to boost my confidence. Sometimes it might be as simple as repeating, “I can do this,” because I know I can. I flip the negative into positive self-talk; if others can do it, why can’t I? How do you want to change the world? Over time, it’s probably changed, and there are so many different elements of life where I think about what I’d like to be doing differently.In a work context, I love working for a company that has sustainability at its core, with the hope that we can leave the world a better place than it is today. At a more granular level, I want to have a meaningful impact on the people I’m working with, whether it’s my peers or people I’m leading, helping to lift them up, providing support and guidance. It can actually change their lives. I want to do things that are worthwhile, rather than going into work everyday just to get through the day. I think that’s really important.Also with my two boys, I want to shape them to be good people and make sure they’re getting a balanced and respectful world view.. They’re at the ages—6 and 8—where they’re starting to see the world differently and form their own views and opinions, and I try to make sure that they’re aware of the way things are and the way things can be. They pick things up from other kids as well; we’re at the point where we have to correct things like language, help them define what’s appropriate, or guide how we speak about other people. Hopefully I have two little people who can help in leaving the world a better place, doing things in a way that’s respectful. Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? The most important thing is to just go for it. Don’t let your self-doubt get in the way.Pick an organization that aligns to your values—a company that you really believe in. If you do that, the rest just takes care of itself. For me, starting a career at Google was something I really wanted to do because I aligned with their vision, mission, and values. Being able to stay at the organization for ten years hasbeen possible because I continue to believe in that, and Google has continued to evolve and deliver awesome products, and has continued to provide opportunities for me to develop and stretch myself. If everyone is able to work somewhere that aligns to their values, it becomes somewhere they love to go. You have a community and build friendships—which is so much more important than just doing a job and going home at the end of the day.It goes back to what I was saying about the employee resource groups. On the tech side, Google started “20% projects” for engineers. But outside of the engineer world, there’s a range of things you can get involved in, and it always comes back to the values of being at a company that gives back to a community. We also have Giving Week, where employees donate money that’s matched by Google to donate to worthy causes. We also have volunteer work days and Google Serve, where people arrange projects and for a whole week people will volunteer and do amazing things together. Over the past years, I’ve organized things like walking dogs at a dog shelter, or helping in a kitten rescue. Other times, these volunteer days are skills-based, like helping elderly people learn how to use the internet or solving challenges for charities using Google tech. That’s what’s inspired me, and if people can find a place that aligns with their values, it can change their lives.  Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I’m optimistic generally, in terms of my role in Google Cloud and the position we’re in. Working with traditional corporate companies, there’s so much opportunity for change and transformation. Google really is the transformation cloud. We’ve got so much exciting stuff ahead of us and so much potential to do impactful things for and with customers.There are so many talented women within Google Cloud and in the partner organizations around us. I think it’s such an inspiring time for women in tech—in Australia and more broadly around the world. There’s so much recognition of female talent and I think a lot is being done to surface that talent, encourage them, and lift people up to be in leadership roles. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology. 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Lynn Comp

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Lynn Comp, Corporate Vice President of Cloud Business Group at AMD, a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Foundational Gold Partner of C2C. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? My story would truly be around the fact that I am in technology because I love problem solving. I love taking on challenges and building a point of view that’s unique from the majority of the industry. My passion is helping people use technology to solve problems, connect with each other, and open new opportunities; I want to make the world a better place and democratize access to information.But I also want to get to know other people. When we’re on camera, there’s a very personal element of being in somebody’s world. One of the things I really do love to ask people about is the environment they’ve created for themselves. So I might ask about something in the room and make those personal connections. You can pull yourself into a camera and just focus on the topic and get down to business, but it’s so much more enjoyable to be able to relate to people on what they love. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? I started doing my own coding and hacking when I was about 14, before it was “cool.” I then ended up getting an electrical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, where I was in a co-op, so every other semester I was off-campus, working at a job, and then I would go back to finish my classes. What’s funny is, while I was working on that degree, thinking I would work on system hardware and motherboard development, what I was doing in all my co-op experience was learning Pascal, C, and C++, coding visual inspection systems for everything from robots all the way through mainframes. I really developed this love for software, and it turns out software was a lot faster to get projects done.When I went into the industry after graduating, I found this sweet spot between hardware and software, working with the customers who were trying to make this bare metal thing do what they wanted to do. So while I thought I was going to be a hardware designer, I ended up as an applications engineer helping customers with firmware, software, and operating systems. They had a vision, and I could deliver the art of figuring out what the computer was thinking. I discovered this knack for fitting the seams between two communities that didn’t necessarily speak the same language.That became my entire career—helping the technologists communicate to humans, and helping the humans figure out how to get the technology to do what they wanted. It’s actually really great experience for interacting with humans and managing people. Very often, a lot of our management and interpersonal interaction at work comes down to understanding language and someone else’s point of view. Because engineering is so flexible, what you learn in college is “how” to learn. You end up having five different careers throughout your entire career journey because technology changes so much.  How did you get started with Google Cloud? My prior role was in the visual processing industry, and I happened to be on a panel at the International Broadcasting Conference. There were hardware partners and software partners, and I was sitting next to someone from Google Cloud. We were talking about the challenges of trying to get video processing done while filming on location, like how to get a server farm in New Zealand for Lord of the Rings, for example. I heard story after story from that person about Google Cloud’s availability, services, and capabilities that were built for that industry. For someone shooting on location who couldn’t get hardware for weeks, they were able to initiate instances with Google Cloud locally and start filming right away so the production schedule didn’t have to wait. It was an incredibly powerful testament, and that conversation inspired me. Even if post-processing is going to require hardware on-site for special effects, having Google’s availability meant that they could continue at the pace of business. If you’ve seen any of the documentaries about making 3D movies, you’ll know there’s a lot of conversation around fighting with technology to get the artist’s vision realized. And I hate to hear that. It breaks my heart every time I hear an artist say, “we couldn’t get the technology to do what we wanted.” For me, storytelling is just being human, and if you can get the technology out of the way of the storytellers, it enables so many other people to use technology and not have to fight with it.What’s so cool about the industry right now is the access to certifications; I think those are the most brilliant thing that Google has done in terms of getting people engaged with the APIs and the developer environments available. Anybody—with or without a university degree—can build up their knowledge and realize it’s something that’s cool, diverse, and evergreen for learning. Yes, it helps in terms of recruiting for who might end up as future Googlers, but at the same time, it creates a lifelong learning environment for multiple generations. I have eighth graders through 50-year-olds working on Google certifications, my son included.And there are so many different facets of Google. There’s the consumer-oriented perspective, like storage and Gmail, that the masses are more familiar with, but there’s also the perspective of what Googlers need to be able to get their jobs done. They’re building engagement with real developers solving real developer problems.  When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? Being a woman in tech means that it’s all down to my intellectual abilities whether or not I am a valuable member of the team. It’s not about how you look, or what you sound like, or your family origin or network. I grew up in not necessarily the wealthiest environment with not the most educated background in my family, and technology has opened up this incredible world. It really is about how you’re helping people solve problems.The other thing I have really appreciated about being a woman in technology is the opportunity to pull together with the community of people on my side. You end up in these really difficult problem situations where you have a customer with lines down, or where your technology is not functioning the way it should. I’m regularly on conference calls with executive leadership where I’m the only woman in the room, and I approach it thinking I have a bunch of brothers in arms that I didn’t have growing up. I’m an only child, but I have a lot of brothers-from-another-mother or sisters-from-another-mister I’ve built relationships with that I wouldn’t otherwise have. Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? I think everybody has imposter syndrome—women especially. Because while you want to “lean in,” you’re doing that at a risk of not mastering the domain. I always have that worry whenever I’m going through the learning process of a new technology or ramping up in a new role. But I challenge myself to do things I haven’t done before, even if it comes with the fears of, “What if I can’t learn this? What if I can’t figure this out?” There’s a well-known dynamic in technology—or generally any industry—where women will look at the qualifications for a job and if they don’t check every single box, they won’t apply. Whereas men will apply if they check a third of them. That’s indicative of imposter syndrome. We often don’t allow ourselves to take as many risks, and when we do take risks we have a lot more fears and anxiety, so we tend to overwork to make up for not having mastered something. Look at your own career. Maybe you took on a role you thought would go up in flames, but instead you did this amazing thing. Having people or journals or “sunshine folders” to remind you of your own history and how difficult things are at every new start is absolutely critical. We get in our own heads and talk ourselves off cliffs, so we need to have people who can remind us that we made it and we can make it again.  How do you want to change the world? I’m responsible for helping AMD position itself in the cloud business, and what I absolutely love about the work we’re doing is that cloud technology allows people to work in a more natural way while breaking traditional geographical boundaries.What’s also amazing is a lot of the development tools and languages don’t require an engineering degree. Those tools make room to really think about what business problems can be solved or what new experiences can be created. It’s advancing the ability for technology to be a tool, not something that people have to fight against to accomplish what they want to get done.Coming from a long semiconductor background and having done a lot of coding, I tended to code down to the hardware and make things as optimized as possible. But what is optimal is in the eye of the beholder. If you look at the no-code camp’s vantage point, for example, their priority isn’t creating the tightest loops and cycles from one piece of hardware. They’re focused on how they can solve a legitimate business problem for their organization as fast as possible, and no-code might be a means for them to do that.  Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? My first piece of advice would be to get both practical experience and a good general-purpose degree that can open up doors. For example, it helps to have Google Cloud certifications plus a degree for certain roles. There are some people who start out saying they want to do computer security and manage to draw a straight line through CISO, but there are a lot of other people who change domains. I have a son that’s in cybersecurity; that’s a meaningful problem and a challenging space. The coding that he’s learning right now is not the coding that I learned years ago, but I can still work through problems with him because the “learning of learning” is what you retain. I went between hardware, software, operating systems, and Java; I meandered just based on wanting to do something new. Think about your baseline. If you do computer science and have a few certifications, and if in three years you decide you don’t want to do cybersecurity, you can switch to game programming, or database programming, or any other doors you can keep open with every move you make.Second, you need to anticipate that what you start in is something that’s meaningful to you. The beauty of technology is that you don’t have to decide what you want to do for 30 years; you don’t have to have it all figured out. You do need to have a passion and an interest for the next four to five years. Then, stay curious. Continue to really understand what the dynamics are in your industry and what’s coming up that’s going to change it. Stay ahead of that. You have to keep learning over and over again. We spend a lot of time at work; if you can’t figure out what has meaning for you, you’re going to have to find it. Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I’m very optimistic about the fact that, despite the statistics, there is more and more continued effort to bring women into the technology field and into STEM. When you look at environments that are more of a melting pot with greater diversity—points of view, origin, culture, or language—you end up having a lot more innovation. It’s challenging because it’s hard to understand others’ journeys, but once the team gels, it makes products and solutions better and more multi-purpose.Even though we haven’t made the strides we’ve been hoping to see––women make up 40% of technology––the effort continues. The prominence of diversity in problem solving is rising in places that desperately need that point of view. I find that women more often want to make a difference outside of just the industry and their career journey. There’s an element of wanting the nights and weekends and time away from family to have a higher purpose than just your job title or the salary you’re bringing home. Women want to know that what they work on matters to people. Women want to be able to say, “this thing I did made a huge difference for people. This moved things forward for a culture, a community, a country, or the world.” There are still reasons to be inspired, so I’m optimistic. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology. 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Chanel Greco

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Chanel Greco, (@chanelgreco), CEO and founder of saperis. Chanel is also one of C2C’s earliest actively participating members and has previously provided support to activities in C2C Connect: DACH. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? Well, first thing is: I have to say my name, because a lot of people aren’t sure how to pronounce it. I’m Chanel Greco (ʃəˈnɛl ˈgrɛkoʊ).Then, I usually say I’m a Google Workspace expert. I’m the CEO and Founder of saperis, a company that helps our customers become Google Workspace pros. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? To give a quick overview, I do not have a classical university degree. I grew up and went to school in Switzerland and we mainly have a system of apprenticeships. I enrolled in an apprenticeship to become an office clerk, working three days per week there and using two other days per week to go to business school.That was my first round of education. After that, I pretty quickly transitioned into IT, taking a lot of extra courses in my free time on weekends learning about computer technology. I also visited a coding bootcamp. So I’ve done a lot of different courses⁠—mainly non-university courses⁠—and have some degrees and certificates from universities in digital marketing and project management, which was useful when I was an IT project manager. I have no specific certifications for any Google Cloud applications, so what I do now has mainly come from a lot of IT experience and learning on the job. How did you get started with Google Cloud? I had used Google Workspace—or as it was known back then, GSuite—in different companies I worked for. Startups in Switzerland sometimes used it, and I also used it when working as a developer. When I was working as a coding teacher at a coding bootcamp, we were asked if we could provide training for Google Apps Script, which is used specifically for scripting light applications in Google Workspace. That’s the first time I came into contact with Google Cloud-based technology; I really stumbled upon it and had no idea what it was. Since it looked like a programming language that I know (Javascript), I instantly said “yes” to hosting the training session. But I really didn’t know what Google Cloud was back then, and only now do I know Apps Script is part of that full platform. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? I definitely have stories. I got into tech about 15-16 years ago at a time before the “Me Too” movement rightfully came up. You can imagine the jokes I heard being the only woman usually in an all-male team. That wasn’t always funny. Sometimes, I was the subject of the jokes, and being very young I didn’t have the courage to speak up and say “that’s not right,” and it wasn’t the professional setting I wanted to work in.It was tough being the only woman on the team. Being made fun of and hearing comments like, “Oh, Chanel has no idea what she’s talking about, but at least she’s cute” is never something you would hear when talking about a male colleague, but it was okay to talk like that about a female colleague.  Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? Imposter syndrome was a very real thing. In my experience, I felt pressure to just go along with things while having no idea what was happening. Being bullied leads to being scared to speak up, and it’s hard to bring up anything in work that you don’t understand or ask someone to further explain what they mean. I very often had the feeling that I must be the only one at the table that wasn’t understanding something, which is where the imposter syndrome comes into play. Only later did I find out that sometimes male colleagues, too, didn’t understand. But they gave me the feeling that they knew everything and I alone knew nothing.Nowadays, it’s different because I have the courage to ask someone to repeat something, or honestly say I didn’t understand something. I can own any lack of knowledge and say, “let me do my homework and I’ll get back to you.”  How do you want to change the world? That’s a big question! I don’t think I want to change the world, but I do want to be the person that another girl or young woman sees and says, “If she made it in tech, I can do it, too.” Before I started my education, I was already very interested in computer technology, but I decided not to go that route because I only knew men signing up for that education. It was also at a time when my parents’ friends had no women in their circle that worked in tech that I could look up to or ask about their experiences.So my big goal is to be visible for all the girls and young women who want to transition into tech and aren’t sure if it’s for them. I want to help them find their route and to be there and say, “Hey, I did it, and I’m no genius. But if I did it, you can, too.” That’s also why I go to women’s hackathons or special sessions dedicated to teaching coding to girls. Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? Very important: believe in yourself.People shy away from tech because they think it’s too complex, or they’re not good at math, or others in the field are much smarter. It’s something that I remember being told—a lot of girls may have heard in school that boys are better at math anyway, so girls should stick to languages or whatever isn’t a typical STEM subject.But if you believe in yourself, it’s not like you can move mountains, but almost! So you can do things yourself that other people wouldn’t give you the potential to do. If you’re interested, don’t listen to the negativity from others and just give it a go. Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? Specifically concerning Google Cloud, you can see that Google puts a lot of effort into diversity. They don’t want to be too exclusive to that typical male, white elite. It’s for everyone and it has a lot of different objectives.Beyond that, it starts from home. It might not be the same tech community as when it started twenty years back, but if every one of us is an example and reaches out to help other people, then we can build better communities to empower more female tech professionals and be more diverse in general.  Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology.  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Erika Bell

 Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community.This interview is with Erika Bell (@Erika APAC Community Mgr), Advisor to Google Cloud Partners and C2C Community Manager. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? My name is Erika Bell (Rodríguez Morillo). I am from Peru originally, but have been living in Australia for 30 years. I am a computer engineer who got into IT enterprise systems and most recently into cloud. I’m proud to have recently joined C2C, and am also the organizer of a community called Google Developer Group.I’ve worked for myself for many years, am the mother of two boys, and live with my husband and near my parents here in Sydney. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? I completed my high school here in Australia, went off to university for computer engineering, and after that got into science and technology research for the Australian Department of Defense. Very quickly—about 18 months into it—I discovered that wasn’t for me, so I switched to consulting and joined Computer Sciences Corporation. I moved from Canberra to Sydney with them, which was always my dream. Once in Sydney I gained experience in what we now call collaboration systems (like Google Workspace). My next few gigs were rolling out these systems for one of the big four banks in Australia, and for big enterprises—oil and gas, transport, and logistics—during a move to London.Before my husband and I were in London for a few years, we took a bit of a career break to travel the world. The break helped me realize the path I wanted to take within IT for my career progression. It was almost as if I could see the next 20 years laid out in front of me and I thought, “there’s got to be more for me here.” How did you get started with Google Cloud? We came back to Australia about 15 years into my experience of enterprise system rollouts. I had a very fortunate opportunity to leave that behind and join what I like to call this “parallel universe” of Google Cloud. I had been seeing that world moving so fast with all this new technology coming in, and in 2016 I joined a Google Cloud Partner consulting company with a side step into the world of marketing. After reporting to CIOs for so many years on transformation projects and trying to make changes within IT departments, it was an easy transition from an audience and persona point of view that I was now having to develop messaging to speak to CIOs again. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? I never really thought about it; my mom and dad were both teachers and they raised me to think I can do anything. I was always very good at math, which is the thing that saved me when I came to Australia because I didn’t have English-speaking skills. But I never thought of myself and my abilities as different. The thing that brought it home for me was in university, where I was enrolled in a formal engineering degree. Walking into my very first lecture theater, I just saw a sea of 150 men and only a handful of women.Automatically, that group of us five women came together. That was my first realization that I was part of a minority group. It was not because of my race; I’m already in one of the furthest places I could go from Peru, and have always felt like a bit of a minority because of that, but never because of gender.In saying that, everyone was very welcoming. I even met my husband there. He was working through the same degree I was and has been my biggest supporter throughout my career. But the girls, of course, I became friends with straight away, and that friendship is for life—one of them is the godmother of my children! There are valuable things that we bring to the table that we might not think much of since it comes so naturally, but the men see that and think highly of it. In a very positive way, we complement each other, and ultimately we’re all in this industry together with so many opportunities ahead of us.  Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? Most definitely. I think that’s human nature, not gender-specific. I’ve always believed that’s just the way our brains are programmed. It only takes listening to a couple of podcasts from experts in this field to know that our brain is programmed to pick on our own faults. One of the best explanations I’ve heard from an audiobook explained it as, “you can have a beautiful garden, but you’ll always see that one weed coming through.” We need to work extra hard to learn to admire the full garden. I give myself reminders for how far I’ve come, am patient with myself in challenging situations, and lean into the growing pains. You don’t feel those pains when you’re in your comfort zone, so it’s a good thing to know you’re putting yourself in situations where you find the courage to try something new.Find mentors. Chat with others to reflect on your journey and learn about others’ stories. Use all these to remind yourself of how powerful you are. How do you want to change the world? Ultimately, I want to bring more equality to everyone (not just women) on things we take for granted. Some people in less fortunate situations don’t have the same access to the technology we have, whether you’re in an emerging economy or in a socio-politically disadvantaged context (like many women are). There’s power in tech to allow people with an inclination for solving problems or designing new products to get people and communities involved. I want to define pathways and connect organizations who also want to change the world and make equality their goal.  Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? When you come into a job, know exactly what’s expected of you, what you need to deliver on, and what the success criteria are. Without that clarity, you can’t bring the best of you to the job.Once you have that, get involved in opportunities that may feel like a side step from what you’ve been asked to achieve. These won’t take you away from those goals, but will help take you above and beyond and might help you discover a passion and really get to know other people. Dive into a side project, find social community work, or organize events. I’ve always found myself in those roles because connecting people is something I enjoy doing. Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I am very optimistic about 2022 because of the last two years we just experienced. If nothing else, it’s made us stronger and brought us all more perspective about each other, and we have grown up a lot. There’s been growth not only by individuals, but by organizations who have made investments in those individuals. I am also so very grateful that my children were old enough to value and appreciate the benefits that come from this shift. My hope is that this recent corporate culture change will be long-lasting into the future.We [Australia and the Asia Pacific region] are a hungry, fast-growing region in many ways. There’s a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of drive, and I’m excited to see the amount of initiatives and growing talent as part of all the jobs Google Cloud has created in this part of the world. It’s a fantastic time to be a woman and to be in the ecosystem of Google Cloud. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology. 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Community Contributor Q&A - Abdel Sghiouar

As we expressed in our recent Q&A with France Team Lead Guillaume Blaquiere, we are always interested in giving C2C community members space to share their expertise on our platform. When Abdel Sghiouar (@boredabdel) reached out to ask about contributing technical content to our website, we asked him a few questions to learn more about him and his work as a Google Cloud Senior Cloud Engineer. Sghiouar has been working for Google for eight years, and his most recent projects have helped him get comfortable with some of the infrastructure products and solutions currently changing the cloud space as we know it, including Serverless, Service Mesh, and Anthos.Read our Q&A with Sghiouar below, and check our website regularly to find his contributions. He is also available on Medium and Twitter. 1. What is your name and current role? What kinds of projects do you work on and/or what kinds of clients do you serve?Abdel Sghiouar, Senior Cloud Engineer at Google Cloud. I'm part of the PSO (Professional Service Organization) of Google Cloud, which provides consulting services to customers. I specialize in GKE, Serverless, Service Mesh, and Cloud-Native Technologies. I’ve worked with big customers like banks and energy companies and also with startups in the last four years in this role, helping them migrate or use Google Cloud. 2. What are your areas of professional expertise and what kinds of topics do you write about?My background is in data centers and infrastructure (I spent 4 years working in a Google data center before joining Cloud). So naturally, Infrastructure is the foundation I work on, and on top of that GKE, Serverless, Service Mesh, and Cloud-Native. 3. What is your relationship to the C2C community and how did you first get involved?I just signed up this year. I host a podcast called The Cloud Careers Podcast (cloudcareers.dev) and someone from C2C reached out last year and asked me to join. I just finally found the time. 4. What do you find most valuable about the C2C community?It's a great place for Google and its customers to come together, discuss ideas, help each other out, and support each other. It gives us Googlers direct access to customers using our products so we can get feedback and bring it back to the product teams. 5. What is a current or future development in the Google Cloud space that you're excited about?GKE, Serverless, and Anthos are products I'm keeping an eye on. They are changing the way people consume Cloud Services, and with the advancement in Edge and Mobile use-cases, these products will play a vital role in Cloud deployments.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C NewsInterview

Community Contributor Q&A: Guillaume Blaquiere

C2C is an open customer community, but every Google Cloud customer has a different skill set and a different role to play in the world of Google Cloud. When one of our members has a unique base of knowledge to share with the broader community, we will go out of our way to feature them on our platform.Guillaume Blaquiere (@guillaume blaquiere), one of C2C’s Team Leads in the France region, is a Google Developer Expert who regularly publishes detailed articles breaking down vital Google Cloud processes and product functions on his personal Medium page. To allow him to share his knowledge more widely, and to make his content immediately accessible to the C2C community, we recently invited Blaquiere to join us as a regular contributor to our platform.Read a brief Q&A with Blaquiere below, and watch this space for his forthcoming posts and more content from contributors in our community. 1. What is your name and current role? What kinds of projects do you work on and/or what kinds of clients do you serve?Guillaume Blaquiere, Google Developer Expert: Cloud, Cloud Data Architect at Accenture. I'm helping customers to build their data strategy and to leverage the power of Google Cloud to get the best from their data (storage, processing, ML, etc.). 2. What are your areas of professional expertise and what kinds of topics do you write about?I'm a Google Developer Expert on Google Cloud and I am an expert in serverless solutions, data storage, and security. 3. What is your relationship to the C2C community and how did you first get involved?I followed the first C2C sessions, especially those with Google Rockstar. I loved the format and the dynamic of the sessions, and I chose to do the same for the French speaking community. I have been co-leading the C2C France community since January 2021 4. What do you find most valuable about the C2C community?The independence from Google Cloud, and also their proximity. We are free to say what we think, but Google Cloud is always here to help us. 5. What is a current or future development in the Google Cloud space that you're excited about?Serverless, and especially Cloud Run. It's possible to tweak it to solve so many use cases. It's a real game changer.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C NewsInterview

Let's Not Talk About Repatriation: Rich Hoyer of SADA on FinOps and Workload Balancing

In early 2021, Rich Hoyer, Director of Customer FinOps for SADA, published an opinion piece in VentureBeat that refuted the findings of an earlier published article about the cost of hosting workloads in the cloud. In his rebuttal, Hoyer called the article (which was written by representatives of Andreessen Horowitz Capital Management) “dead wrong” with regard to its findings about cloud repatriation and costs.Hoyer’s expertise and his views on doing business in the cloud make him an ideal participant for a C2C Global panel discussion taking place on January 20, at which he will appear alongside representatives of Twitter and Etsy to talk about whether or not enterprises should consider moving workloads off the cloud and into data centers. Hoyer predicts the panel conversation will lean away from the concept of repatriation and more toward the concept of balancing workloads.“I don’t think repatriation is the right term,” Hoyer says. “To me, it’s much more a decision of what workloads should be where, so I would phrase it as rebalancing—as more optimally balancing. Repatriation implies that there’s this lifecycle. That’s just not the way it works. How many startups have workloads that are architected from the ground up and not cloud native? You don’t see that. If you’re cloud native, you start using the stuff as cloud native.” The panel discussion will focus on hybrid workloads, he says, with a specific eye toward what works from a cost standpoint for each individual customer. “We want cloud consumers to be successful, and if they have stuff in the cloud that ought not to be there, they’re going to be unhappy with those workloads,” Hoyer says. “That’s not good for us, it’s not good for Google, it’s not good for anybody. We want only things in the cloud that are going to be successful because customers know they’re getting value from it, because that’s what’s going to cause them to expand and grow in the cloud.”From his FinOps viewpoint, Hoyer says he will be advocating for the process of making decisions around managing spend in public cloud, and the disciplines around making decisions in the cloud. “The whole process of trying to get control of this begins with the idea of visibility into what the spend is, and that means you have to have an understanding of how to report against it, how to apply the tooling to do things like anomaly alerting,” he says. I expect the discussion to be less about whether there should be repatriation, and the more constructive discussion to be about the ways to think about how to keep the balance right.”  The overall goal of the panel is to present a process for analyzing workloads. And according to Hoyer, that’s not a one-time process—it’s iterative. “I’ll encourage anyone who has hybrid scenarios—some in the data center and some in the cloud—to be doing iterated looks at that to see what workloads should still be in the cloud,” Hoyer says. “There should be an iteration: Here’s what’s in the cloud today, here’s what’s in the data center today, and in broad terms, are these the right workloads? And then also, when stuff is in the cloud, are we operating it efficiently? And that’s a constant process, because you’ll have workloads that grow from the size they were in the cloud. And we’ll hear that same evaluation from the technology standpoint—are we using the best products in the cloud, and are there things in the data center that ought not to be there?”Be sure to join C2C Global, SADA, Twitter, and Etsy for this important conversation and arm your business with the tools needed to make intelligent and informed decisions about running your workloads and scaling your business. Click the link below to register. 

Categories:Google Cloud StrategyHybrid and MulticloudCloud MigrationStorage and Data TransferInterview

Year-End Reflections: Preparing for The Future of Work With C2C

Throughout the past year, the question of whether, when, and how workplaces will reopen and work will resume onsite has guided decision-making and defined goals for organizations and individuals alike. As the year ends, answers to this question have begun to emerge, but most if not all of us will be defining these goals and making these decisions in and out of the workplace for years to come. As we at C2C look back at the year’s accomplishments and wins, we’re taking stock of the insights we’ve gathered from collaborators and guests regarding the future of work.C2C hosted a series of events this year exploring the future of work, and produced a wealth of on-demand content on the topic. The series began in the Spring, with The Future of Work from an Executive View, a C2C Navigator featuring Peter High, president of Metis Strategy, and Kelly Ducourty, Vice President of GTM strategy at Google Cloud. This high-level conversation covered far-reaching topics including customer needs and business use cases as drivers of innovation, optimizing technology to address challenges unique to remote work, and framing crisis as an opportunity to reset. For an overview of the topics covered, read our post recapping the discussion, or watch High’s keynote presentation below:High and Ducourty also returned for a second conversation on the future of work and company culture, this time joined by Brigette McInnis-Day, VP of HR at Google Cloud:Between events in this Navigator series, C2C sat down with Laurie Klasner of Quantiphi for a one-on-one conversation, also about company culture in the future of work. Klasner highlighted a number of efforts the company took to foster a healthy working culture, including “Zen days” without remote meetings and new programs around wellness and diversity. This conversation is available as an audio recording and as a written article:For the next event in this series, C2C invited Alphabet Global Chief Commercial officer Tom Galizia, MediaAgility CTO Swarraj Kulkarni, Quantiphi Co-founder Ritesh Patel, and SADA CEO Tom Safoian for a panel discussion on the topic of client empathy. Many of interviewer Sabina Bhasin’s questions recalled moments from her conversation with Klausner, particularly regarding Quantiphi’s largely India-based workforce.Patel described the help coming to India from around the world as “very humbling” but noted that the working environment in the country remained “extremely tough.” The four executives described empathy as both a challenge and a necessity of working remotely in a time of crisis, and identified time management, recalibration and resilience as skills they wanted to bring to their workplaces in the future. Watch the full conversation below:Many of the themes that emerged throughout the series came up again in the final event, a panel on employee experience featuring Patti Althen and Rujul Pathak of Workday and Greg Sly of Verizon. Empathy and diversity were raised as central concerns, as were findability, employee empowerment, and implementation of new workplace measures across industry lines. The full conversation is embedded below, and our post-event takeaway summarizes and provides clips of the key moments.These conversations generated valuable insights, but even though the future of work has arrived, many new developments are still to come. What concerns are most pressing for you as a new year approaches? What does the future of work hold for you? Join our community to tell us your story and let us know what kinds of conversations we should be starting next.

Categories:Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Google Cloud PartnersSustainabilitySupply Chain and LogisticsSession RecordingInterview

Your Questions, Answered: Future of Work is About Culture Navigator

Our C2C Navigator, Future of Work: Culture was bursting with questions and comments and we couldn’t cover them all in our session. But, we worked to get your questions answered and we have them ready for your below. Also, if you missed the discussion with Kelly Ducourty, VP, GTM Strategy and Operations in Google Cloud, Brigette McInnis-Day, VP, People Operations, Google Cloud, and Peter High, President at Metis Strategy, Strategist, Lecturer, Podcast Host, and Author, you can watch it on-demand.  C2C Community Questions - Answered  C2C Community:  I’d love to understand what is top of mind as you figure out how to transition to the next phase of work. It is developing and executing a hybrid model, or a full return to the office, or continuing a remote work approach?What role does Google Workspace play?  What about as we all consider the Future of Work, what advice would you give to other organizations thinking about a similar shift? How do you see productivity and collaboration now and in the future?Kelly Ducourty’s answer: Safety and flexibility are what drove our RTO strategy. We have employees who can’t wait to return to the office (I am one of them!) and some who are happy to work remotely. We saw how our Googler rose to the challenge, quickly adapting to new ways of working and I am sure we will see that again once we are starting to return to the office. It will be an adjustment for everyone, but I'm confident that we will all rise to the challenge once again.  REWS teams have been super creative in redesigning the office experienceTechnology is at the core to enable us to provide this flexibility. Google Workspace empowers collaboration no matter where you are working from. At I/O last week we introduced even more solutions and features to make that collaboration even more seamless. Not sure I have strong advice for other companies - there is no one size fits all. As always, I think companies need to evaluate their priorities, their workflows, their culture, their employees' needs.Brigette McInnis-Day’s answer:  As Kelly mentioned, the pandemic has challenged all of us to create an inclusive, equitable and collaborative workplace culture outside of an organization’s physical office environments. While we were navigating how to engage in different ways within Google at the onset of the pandemic, we also had to pivot quickly to change how we engage with our customers and candidates. We didn’t slow down on hiring because we were able to shift all interviews to remove overnight, stay in line with our hiring goals. We’re working to improve technology tools, like Google Workspace, that better enables employees to equally participate and contribute. Not only were we able to quickly shift to virtual engagement through our own technology, we also helped our customers solve challenges of COVID-19 by adopting new ways of working, staying connected, and getting their work done  EXAMPLES: Using video to see how people are thinking and feeling during meetings, docs for true collaboration/transparency. Think about how your culture will need to adapt for a more hybrid work environment. The pandemic has proven that physical office space does not define an organization’s culture alone: culture is a reflection of a company’s mission, values and behaviors - but it’s important to remember it’s not just about values; but the value you bring, and the cultural add that you create in the organization.Reflect: What is the one thing you want to preserve in your culture? Start there. Does your leadership emulate the culture you need? How have crises (such as the pandemic) tested your culture? These are unprecedented, exciting times - we are embarking on the biggest experience of work (work/career/people perspective) that all of us have ever faced. My guidance - let’s allow this to be an experiment, learn from our people, iterate as we go. None of us have all the answers, and we need to be ok with that. Chanel (@chanelgreco)So WFH has made it possible to hire talents from all over the globe. But different countries have different laws, salary averages, etc. How does Google make sure that compensation is fair for everyone, no matter where they are located? Answer: Consistent with how we compensate every employee, compensation is determined in part by the market in their location. Some may see an adjustment if they decide to move depending on the local market where they’re moving from and to. You can learn more about our methodology here.    Andy (@andy.yates) Adding to what Chanel is asking, how is Google handling the immigration and taxation (etc) implications around their 'working from elsewhere' policy? Answer: It is each employee's responsibility to ensure they hold the full and unrestricted right to work where they decide to work. For tax implications, employees will need to consult with their tax advisor.  

Categories:Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

[Listen] Journey to Deployment with Fulfilld: How Google Cloud Microservices Make it Easier to Quickly Deploy and Scale

It’s a dream scenario: choosing your own cloud platform when designing, architecting and building a global cloud enterprise software application. And that’s just where the Fulfilld story begins. Fresh off the launch circuit the SaaS company is breaking the fourth wall and is taking the C2C Google Cloud customer community behind the scenes and along for the ride with their development, engineering to business leadership teams. They’ll candidly share their successes, challenges and your engagement is welcome. This series will be a mix of articles, discussions, on-demand content and even live events where you can bring your questions and comments directly to the teams. To kick off the journey, we begin with understanding who FulFilld is, why they chose to build on Google Cloud and how micro-services are enabling them to quickly deploy features, develop an intelligent enterprise warehouse management platform and support high-volume transactions that can scale globally.  First Things First - Why did you choose Google Cloud?  Michael Pytel, CTO, shared that he and his team is working to deliver an enterprise-grade application that enables a warehouse digital twin using 5G ultra-wide-band powered devices. From supporting high-volume transactions across the globe, to analytics, to machine learning and natural language processing that powers an industry first warehouse digital assistant, Google Cloud Platform became their go-to platform when looking at functionality, pricing, scalability, performance, and innovation.  Listen and Join the Journey  In our first conversation, Pytel and C2C cover the following: What key decisions contributed to choosing a cloud platform for the SaaS application   FullFilld’s requirements for a globally available application Why they need a combination of in-memory databases (Firebase) and traditional SQL-based database (Cloud SQL) Why they were so focused on leveraging the autoscaling features of Kubernetes for application logic  Rather skim? Key questions are shared below along with the full transcript with edits only for clarity. __Michael Pytel, CTO, FullFilld (MP):  Fantastic, Sabina. Thank you so much. I've worked in enterprise applications, really all my adult life. So I started as a night operator supporting an earpiece system called pix. Then I supported JD Edwards and PeopleSoft and then SAP, enterprise ERP and spent the last decade there. Now with FullFilld, we're building a brand new company, and at this brand new company, we create the digital twin, which is really just a digital representation of the physical warehouse...so that you can visually look at how do people move in my warehouse, and how inventory moves in my warehouse, that's our secret sauce. That's our thesis as to why we're going to be successful and we're getting a lot of good feedback for the market on our product today. Sabina, C2C (C2C): So tell me a little bit about that feedback, what's resonating? MP: This is where Google Cloud Platform comes into play, a lot of our customers love that it's very low total cost of ownership. You know, there's no server to deploy on premise. Everything is cellular connected, and Wi Fi connected. So we have that backup, if the customer's Wi Fi network in the warehouse goes down, it falls over to 5G connectivity. So it's a really low cost of ownership, really easy and quick to deploy and our application is auto scaling, which I think is another benefit of Google Cloud Platform, meaning our customers don't need to worry about running out of resources, right? As they grow from a 50-person warehouse to 100-person warehouse and then add the fourth, fifth, seventh and 10th warehouse, the application auto scales on Google Cloud Platform with the customers growth. So they never really have to worry about “am I maxing out the server? Are we over utilized? Is the system going to be slow when I add this new product line?” We don't need to think about this. We can think about the business challenges we have. We don't need to think about server capacity, which I think is a big benefit with running on Google Cloud Platform. C2C:  Yeah, yeah. So talk to me a little bit about that decision, then to go with Google Cloud. That is, did you build knowing that you would use Google Cloud? Or was that something that came up later? Talk to me about that decision.  MP: Yeah, so there's multiple, you know, infrastructure as a service organizations out there, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, you have other providers out there as well, that are smaller, but still very innovative. So we had to find that right mix of brick and mortar stability and investing in new technology, and constantly innovating. When you take a look at Google and their ecosystem, the way that they share knowledge, the way that they share their product roadmap, the way that they create content on YouTube, for developers to watch and articles for us to read. We just felt like, “wow, this is a fantastic organization that's continually innovating, continually pushing the envelope of what they can do and what they can't do.”  Also, enabling startups like us to run an enterprise level application and enterprise grade application at the lowest cost possible [is another benefit]. So, it’s cost optimized, super innovative, great content, great partner program, easy for us to learn and ramp up resources. That was part of my personal scorecard when determining what platform to run on. Google Cloud Platform really just checked all those boxes for us.  C2C: What are you most excited about with Google Cloud?  MP: So personally, you know, their ability to run essentially functions with it for your application and in an auto scaling manner. A lot of cloud providers can run Docker and Kubernetes, so Google has the Google Kubernetes engine and we can run code in the backend on Google Kubernetes engine, and it auto scales. Microsoft can do that, too. And Amazon could do that, too. But then there's this feature in function called Cloud Functions, which even further drives our costs of operating even lower.  And they're really innovative. I can use TypeScript to node and Cloud Functions. This is probably getting, you know, super technical... C2C: ...Our community loves technical, go for it, give us the details! MP:  Fantastic. So, you know, looking at Cloud Functions, we just loved the way that they worked in the function. We loved how they're cost optimized and when users are logging in and using the application, it can auto-scale and grow. I don't need to really take on the management of Kubernetes and Kubernetes clusters and the management of how many nodes are active, I can just use this thing called Cloud Functions. Another thing within Google Cloud platform that we really loved was Firebase. We use a mobile application in the warehouse, where you can picture yourself as a warehouse worker, and a garage door is open, and there's a truck that you have to unload. A lot of times, you're not unloading that truck, and it has pallets and has different products on it and  those products are going to different places, you don't typically unload a truck by yourself, you have a team member and a teammate or a group of people that are going to help unload this truck. So we needed a mobile application that was super responsive, super fast.[For example], I receive 10 baseball gloves that are sitting right in front of me and somebody else grabs another 10 baseball gloves, we need to update each other, letting each other know that we both receive 10, we need to let the backend system know we've got 20 total, and we need that to happen very fast. So we're using Firebase, the cloud-based no SQL data in memory database, we're using Google Flutter to build our mobile application handling authentication there as well. It’s just a very responsive, very fast application because of these cloud technologies. You know, we could have gone a traditional API route with a traditional SQL database, but Firebase has been super responsive for the mobile application making it so that the warehouse worker can just keep working, keep working, keep working and not wait on the application to update the screen. So it's been fantastic so far.  C2C: How does that translate into the business outcomes for your customers or your clients?  MP: So within the supply chain world, there are tremendous pressures to get products to customers, right, we learned we read about this all through COVID. There's more DTC shipping and more direct-to-consumer.Brawney paper towels, Georgia Pacific, they were so used to shipping whole pallet loads to Sam's and Costcos. Now they have to ship individual piece products directly to consumers. This is happening across the industry, so there's just more things, more movements, more activities, more documents in the warehouse. Anything we can do to make sure that the user in the warehouse is supported is not encumbered or you know, they don't view the system as a  bottleneck, they view it as an enabler, that's what makes us look great makes the warehouse worker feel good about their job, meaning they know what to do, they know what they need to do and they can get it done very quickly and they’re waiting for them on the system to process it.So us being very responsive and very quick enables that warehouse worker to do their job effectively throughout the day and enables that organization to do more.That's what we're trying to do is we're trying to make it so the individual warehouse worker can  improve their throughput by 50% by navigating them through the warehouse very effectively using Google's Auto ML and machine learning models for routing in the warehouse.Being super responsive, supporting that worker throughout the day, and just enabling organizations to do more. That’s our goal. C2C:  [Are you ready to compete with Amazon?] MP:  We get this question a lot. Amazon's a massive company and they run a lot of their own software naturally being one of the largest companies on the planet. In North America, there are 40,000 other customers and 40,000 other companies that make a product and need to ship their product to a customer. Our goal is to democratize the technology typically used by large companies and make it available to midsize companies.So being able to create that digital twin of the warehouse, yeah, Amazon already did that. But they have billions and billions of dollars. You know, what about the $200 million manufacturer of equipment in Durango, Colorado or the, you know, the upstart shoe manufacturer, and they're making shoes in the US, and they're selling it directly to consumers?  They want really sophisticated warehouse management application, something that's going to help them be super effective as they move product through the warehouse, reduce collisions, reduce the number of times we touch a product, optimize the picking route, the way that people are walking through there, what if they want that technology and they're not a billion dollar company? What do they do? Well, that's where FullFilld comes in, really trying to democratize that large enterprise level of features and bring it down market into those midsize companies. C2C: It's.. It's really cool...and... that's your that's your why, right? That's your big mission, your core every day. Was this a COVID born decision? Or where did this come from? MP: We definitely founded the company in 2020. We started the company during the pandemic. We saw the need there. But there were also some other cool things that were in the mix here from a technology perspective. There's a technology called ultra wideband, which is not specific to Google or anybody else, but ultra wideband is a location indoor positioning technology that enables us to understand where an object is in a physical space.So there was a convergence of the need, meaning the need was COVID and direct consumer was going to continue to grow and that every analyst agrees, it's going to continue to get even bigger. So we knew that logistics and supply chain space was going to have growing pains. We had this new technology that's being adopted more and more and then we have Google Cloud Platform, which enabled us to stitch it all together. Now we're using machine learning in Google Cloud Platform, to make recommendations to customers on where to store products in their warehouse. Because of this location technology, we understand where the product is and  because of the application we built, we understand what needs to be moved, what are the orders, what are the sales orders, what needs to be moved to the customer. So blending it all together, they're on Google, it's really cool. C2C: [How did the application begin?] MP: When we started the application, we started with a UX design and beta test with a few customers. We created a website, we created the design of the application, we communicated to the market, what we were doing and what we're building. As we were just in the beginning, just starting to build the application, we got pinged from Deloitte in Europe, and they had found us and one of their large retail customers had taken an interest. They said, “Wow, you guys are doing location tracking indoors to make employees more effective in the way that they move inside of the warehouse?” They thought, well, “could I use this in a retail scenario where I've got large retail? I need to move people around at night, because I want to turn my retail stores into warehouses” So while we have to be able to run in multiple data centers around the globe, that obviously, is something Google's very good at. We needed different features and functions within Google available in European data centers right away, which was fantastic. Google already had a partner that also can help us understand some privacy laws in different countries and Google has a lot of information that showed us, you know, or gave us leads on how to handle different privacy and GDPR compliance within European data centers, which was fantastic. So that  was number one, we knew we had to run in multiple data centers, we needed to be multilingual. And again, just tacking on all the little components we needed. We needed an in memory database, we needed an attritional database, we needed to be auto scaling because we wanted to have, you know, really low operational costs, runtime costs. The next thing that we wanted to do was build a world's first natural language digital assistant. So the Siri or Alexa, the Google assistant of the warehouse, meaning I could hold up a device, my Google Pixel, and I could say, “where's my next pick? Where's this material? What's the status of the next delivery? How many more tasks do I have?” Natural language digital assistant on devices in the warehouse specific to my job function and  Google offered that as well, the ability to have a natural language digital assistant in multiple languages. So we were able to use their application to build a digital assistant that can speak Spanish and Swedish and English. As we continue to grow, we can continue to add more languages and be more global. So we definitely knew from the beginning, we wanted to be a global company, and GCP has those features to help us do that. C2C: That's, that's awesome. Thank you for sharing that whole story. That's a nice succinct way of how it started and where you are now to set everybody up. One of the other things that we offer to set up the community with is a solid criteria that can be used when determining the right platform for your application. Are there certain key makers or decision points that you can share for others that are evaluating whether or not they want to build on GCP? MP:  Yeah, that's a good question. The big thing is the developer community and the developer community support, right? If you're transitioning a developer into a platform, are they going to be able to ramp up quickly on the knowledge required? Are they gonna be able to participate? Are they going to be able to have test environments and demo environments, at a very low cost? So that one thing was just developer community and developer community support.  I think Google is very developer friendly and supports developers. The next one was service availability and data center availability. Can I run in all the countries that I need to run?” And Google had that check mark there in terms of innovation, you know, as an organization they have a well thought out roadmap. They clearly communicate to the community what they're building and what they're sunsetting. We need to know, as we're building an application. If we're using a specific technology, what does the roadmap for that technology look like within your company? Is this something you're going to continue forward with? Or is this something you're going to kill and create something new? So as we are betting our futures on different technologies, whether that's Kubernetes or natural language processing, or x, what does that product roadmap look like so I can lay out my product roadmap. I think that Google's doing and has done a very good job of laying out what the roadmaps are in specific use areas. There's always room for improvement, we always want more information, right? I'm never gonna be happy. But that's one thing you need to look at when choosing a cloud provider is, “what does the product roadmaps look like? How far out are they forecasting? And are they meeting the goals that they're setting so that you can plan your product around that company's product roadmap? So product roadmap, developer support, developer adoption, service availability, data center availability, were kind of our top three. C2C:  Yeah, thank you so much. Is there anything else that you wanted to ensure people understood about the FullFilld or why you chose Google Cloud?  Because my last question, then, if there isn't anything, which I'm sure there probably is, is why you are excited about the C2C community and how you see yourself contributing or being a part of the community? MP: In terms of FullFilld, we want to share not only our product and what our product is, what our vision is with the warehouse management logistics community, we are also eager to share how we're building this platform with the development community.We're eager to share our experiences, talk about it out loud, get feedback, and ask good questions. One thing I've learned in my technical career is the more I share, the more I learn and so we are here fulfilled, we definitely want to share everything that we're doing. We want to share how we're building it, where we're building it, our timelines and the functionality that we're using. We're looking forward to engaging with the C2C community to have those open conversations because we're going to learn something that we didn't know. Someone is going to ask a question of, “why did you do that?”  We need to defend it or adapt and move to something else and in. We don't want to build our application in a silo. There's a wonderful community of people out there and specifically within C2C and we want to tap into that community, solicit feedback, solicit ideas and hopefully find some people that want to work for FullFilld in the future. Also, I hope that we are sharing enough information so that as other individuals are out starting their company, building a new platform or building a new application within a larger organization, they can learn from our mistakes, hear about our challenges, and adapt and grow from there. That's, that's what that's really one answer for both questions. C2C: Yeah, that's, that's amazing. Awesome. That's all I got. Do you have other things you wanted to add? MP:  No, thank you so much for the opportunity, support, excited to share and really hope that we get lots of great q&a and questions from the community. C2C: Yeah, me too. Me too. I'm really excited to share this out. And so thank you so much for your time, Michael, and I'm sure we'll talk with you soon.  MP: Yep, see you soon. The Fulflld Journey to Deployment continues with the following events:   

Categories:Application DevelopmentGoogle Cloud StrategyIndustry SolutionsGoogle Cloud StartupsSupply Chain and LogisticsInterview

How Will Company Culture Thrive in the Future of Work?

As companies start putting pen-to-paper for a return-to-work model, companies like Quantiphi are committing to a “flexible future.” But what does that mean for company culture? On May 25, C2C will discuss corporate culture in the future of work with Kelly Ducourty, VP, GTM strategy and operations with Google, Brigette McInnis-Day, VP people operations at Google Cloud, and Peter High of Metis Strategy. They’ll cover questions like:  What does the future hold for work-life integration as we return to the office? How are businesses reconsidering approaches to talent planning, learning, and innovation? What lessons learned over the past year can be used to address wellness and employee burnout? To tap into this more in advance of the Navigator, C2C sat down with Laurie Klausner, global head of marketing at Quantiphi, to discuss what culture means to Quantiphi, a global business with most of its workforce in India. Given the dire situation, and a need to ensure cohesion as a company, Klausner shared how they view culture now, supporting their multicultural team and what the future holds for work-life balance.  Listen to the conversation below.   Full transcript of the conversation below  Sabina Bhasin, C2C Hi, everyone. I'm here with Laurie Klausner from Quantiphi, and we're talking about the future of work culture and how this changed our world. We're going to kick it off by just trying to understand a baseline of what company culture means and what success looks like? Laurie? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi So I think company culture is so imperative in an organization that's growing. So at Quantiphi, one of the first things you'll hear when you join our team is that we refer to ourselves as the Quantiphi family.  I think you don't necessarily know how to take that until you're here for a little while, and you realize that despite geographies, despite timezones, despite people from all different kinds of backgrounds, everybody really cares about each other, much like you hope is happening in a normal family. But it's really a phenomenal part of Quantiphi, and I have actually yet to meet anyone in person. But I still feel like I've really gotten to know people and I think that company culture comes from the four founders all the way down through everyone in the organization. Sabina Bhasin, C2CHow do you think, you know, enabling all these different tools and using Workspace and other ways that have helped you all come together as an organization? How has that sort of behavior in that pivot improved outcomes? And what do you think you guys will continue doing past this phase? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi That was a lot that you just asked there, and I'll try and break it down a little bit. But so in the first part of your question, the tools, so we're a company that's based entirely on all of the G-Suite tools. So I think it was expanding the way we were using them already. So I think Google meet, like you and I are talking right now from two different states, two different places, it makes it very seamless, of course, it's not the same as if we were sitting together over lunch. But I think it's pretty good. It’s pretty easy to understand when someone's talking and you know when there are multiple people on a call, how to make sure you're communicating right or using the raise a hand. So I think as far as getting together, it's a very powerful toolset that we have in front of us. I think we have used it extensively throughout our organization prior to COVID. But I think as far as meetings, I think so many meetings that were in-person have now obviously shifted to being remote and online. I think, initially, people were wary, it's different, right? And I think you always naturally have people who talk more than others who have more confidence. But I think we have found ways to really try and draw people into the conversation, as you would do in person, we're finding ways to do that using the tools. But as far as we use Google Chat, you know, so I mean, you're constantly hearing from people regardless of where they are, and I think that's really been very powerful and allowed our organization that is global, still feel very connected. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, so it sounds like some of those behaviors and those tools will be things that will be used, even if we start moving into more of a hybrid environment. Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, Quantiphi is firmly committed to a flexible future. So our HR team and talent team are putting together what that looks like. But I don't think there will ever be a mandate for most positions at Quantiphi to be five days a week in the office. I think there will be a lot more flexibility. I think what we've learned, and as many organizations have is, you can have people be incredibly productive and work on their own schedules around the sort of parameters that you have dogs, kids conflicts, you know, laundry machines breaking, you know, whatever is going on, people can still do some incredible bodies of work.  Sabina Bhasin, C2CMm-hmm. Yeah, definitely. I think that's one of the biggest lessons that some of these bigger companies have learned. You know, there's been a little bit of a movement from some of the smaller startup companies to say, you know, there is a better way that we can all work together, we can shift things to people's work, preferential work styles, and make we've learned that people can still be credibly productive despite the environments that they're in.  Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi  Yeah, I would just add one. I do think that it's, it's paramount to have flexibility. But I do think there is, there is something missing, and I'm just speaking from my personal experience from having, you know, for over 25 years of typically being in an office and often the headquarters of an organization. I think there are small things that just can't be replicated, and I think, as I said, Quantiphi is doing a great job. We have Zen days to allow people to step back from meetings; you know, we have all kinds of connection points that we've tried to make. But it's still not the same, and in fact, you know, there are a few of us who are past our second shot and past the two-week point, and for the first time, since I've been working, we'll be physically getting together and one of the offices here in Massachusetts.  I’m really excited, even if it's just a handful of people to have that synergy that happens when you're in person that is important. So my hope, my personal hope, you know, for my team, and the way I think that Quantiphi works, and the way we will work with our partners and customers going forward, is that it is a hybrid. A blend of, you have flexibility, and you can accomplish your job, whatever that looks like, but that there is still some mechanism for people to physically get together because I do think other things come out of that that is really valuable. Sabina Bhasin, C2COh, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. I mean, so many of those hallway conversations at times is where the best ideas come up, or, you know, the morning coffee, and you can talk about your days, and you get to know your colleagues as humans. That gives you a little bit more appreciation for the impact they're bringing to the organization, which ultimately leads to better productivity and outcomes.  Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiOur team here in North America, most of our team is based in India, but a fair number of us, a few 100 people are here in North America, and every other Friday we have a T.G.I F. The first part of it is always just dedicated to who's new who joined and, you know, they have to say a fun fact about themselves with their favorite foods are but, then it gets conversations going about, Oh, you like this? Or you want to bungee jump? Oh, I bungee jump, you know. And so then it starts the sidebar conversations that you're right, that normally would just happen in person. So, you know, it's, you know, a mechanism to get there, but not quite the same.  Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, yeah. You touched on something really interesting there. So a lot of your teams are in India, too, right now, right? How are you guys dealing with, you know, the upheaval that your teammates are facing over there and ensuring a strong culture and instill trying to maintain and thrive? From a business perspective? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, we spend a lot of time trying to ensure right that it's true; I think 80 or 85% of our team is based in India. So there are separate peer groups that have been established, really to help with support, specifically around COVID, how to find resources, if people know where oxygen is and what hospitals have room, how to find certain drugs that are needed at this point, and even just support for somebody else to talk to during this time.  Then the company they're really trying to ensure those team members, whether it's themselves who are sick, or somebody directly in their family has support to step away from their roles for a short period of time, with no worry about their roles. Quantiphi consistently makes it clear that taking care of yourself, taking care of your family, that's the most important thing. They’re really trying to ensure that people understand they can take that time and not worry about if I need to take two weeks off because I'm sick, or I'm caring for a parent that my job will be threatened that none of those things are worries at this point. I think that’s really shown compassion as an organization. It's hard to read some of the things going on, and here are some of the numbers of people just on our team who are out sick; it can be very overwhelming. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, absolutely. I mean, how do you then, you know, as a receiver of some of that trauma and like hearing those experiences of your colleagues, like how do you also maintain and continue to thrive and ensure that you're, you know, able to pause and digest that? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiYeah, and I think that's some of what we try and take these monthly Zen days.  The goal here is really to have no meetings on a certain day and really be able to step back and think about what kind of work can I accomplish because I'm not on a call? And also, are there things I can do to help someone else or learn something else? I think that can be really valuable, where we're trying to ensure that even within my marketing team, within our sales team, and within the service delivery, the greater team, that there is an overlap of skills so that somebody can take that time away so we can ensure as best we can, at this time, that we are still having the output that Quantiphi is looking to deliver. So it's tricky, and I think you just, you know, certainly as a team leader myself, you know, we always just have to be cognizant of what somebody is going through. I'm sitting here in Massachusetts, but you know, someone in my team and Bangalore, Mumbai, or Trivandrum, they're experiencing something wholly different. You know, they haven't left their house in 19 days, and food is being delivered. But, you know, it's just you have to think about that, you know, if I'm out walking my dog, I have to realize, you know, I'm lucky, but they haven't had that chance to clear their head. So maybe they need to not join one extra meeting today, you know, to find ways to make sure that they can have some control, and still, you know, be able to focus because it can be hard, it's hard if you really don't have, you know, some outlets that you normally would. Sabina Bhasin, C2COh, my gosh, absolutely. I love that Quantiphi does the Zen days; that’s a really smart way to handle a hybrid environment during a really, you know, bizarre time that has caused a lot of upheavals and in many people's lives. Do you think that that has improved productivity or business outcomes overall, though, having the different tools and different ways to sort of manage all of these other parts that were once thought of as “this is your home life, you leave this here, and you come to work, and you're you are 100% plugged in?”  Now there seems to be a shift in mindset to coming to work as your whole self and will support you in whatever way that looks? Can you talk to us a little bit about how that has improved outcomes in terms of just people feeling like they are valued, so they want to be more productive? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI do think so. I do think there have been so many positive things that have resulted here. We are in the process of adopting Google's #Iamremarkable programming, which is the empowerment of women or underserved voices within an organization. In fact, we have a kickoff session for that starting next week, and we have our first batch of people who are going to go through that training, you know, so I think there are ways to be heard. We also have implemented physical programs. So it's a five or six o'clock on a number of different afternoons, there's sort of stretching, or Pilates, or some dance moves that are all done virtually. One of the women on our team, it was something she had studied in college, and she just sort of raised her hand and said, it could be good, everybody sitting so much, how about if we try these programs? And you know, so it's small things.  Last Friday, we had everybody just making these dance moves together. It's good. No one was recording like this because it wasn't necessarily pretty, but it was really human, and I think you touched on that word a minute ago, right? Everybody was also laughing at the end, too, right? It was it didn't matter if you had the right moves, there were dogs involved in kids, and everybody was just jumping around in their kitchens. It was really great. It was a really terrific program to have some levity, too. I think as far as tools and productivity; I think we have absolutely found that people can be productive anywhere and in any way, right?  I think the one thing that makes me so encouraged about Quantiphi, and the way we are working with our partners, the way we're going to market, the future, is that I see here is that all of the good things will remain everything good that we have gained from you know, this remote time, this time working in a very different environment. Then we'll be able to layer on the things that we're missing, like traveling to see people when it's safe again, being in person; I think all of that will just complement the work structure that we've been able to have for the last year. Sabina Bhasin, C2CIn terms of the future of work and the conversation that we're going to be having with Quantiphi and other partners in June, what do you think some of the topics are going to center around? Can you share with our community anything they should be aware of going into that conversation? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, I mean, I think the conversation with Ritesh and the other leaders that you're going to be able to speak with, I think they're going to hit on so many really important themes.I think the main one is that we will really embrace everything that's worked, right, we everybody's become flexible. Everybody had to go through these pivots, you know, everyone, whether it's from shifting events to shifting the way we meet and communicate. Travel was a very big part of Quantiphi, obviously, as I've mentioned, we're a global company, and both are in person, our customer meetings, our partner meetings, everything was, you know, traveling so you gain some of the ability of not having to necessarily take a trip for one meeting where you would have, and I think people will have more things come together when they do get on a plane. Then when they do, you know, go to a new office, they'll have a number of things set up to make that valuable. I think people will really carve out that time for the connections, where you might travel and then right away hop to get back home. Then, because people have been home, maybe they'll spend a little bit longer. I think some of the other themes are just the way we have learned to embrace these tools. We'll continue to use those. I think the way companies have really set out targets for what's reasonable, it's just it's a little bit different, right? I think we will have to find a way to ensure that people do sort of shut-down at the end of the day, too.  I find that as most of my direct reports are in India, and well, it's fantastic. They're responding to me when I ask a question, a lot of times, I say, “Okay, now, now stop talking to me till tomorrow, because, you know, it's 11 o'clock at night, your time.”It’s great that the technology is there, but I do think we're going to have to find ways to have boundaries so that people don't feel the burden to respond immediately to everything. Maybe it's ways that we'll flag information, you know, messages can come in different ways, if something is truly urgent, versus, “Hey, this was on my mind, so I want to put it in your window, or your email, but you don't have to think about this right away.”  I think we'll have to find a way to be sensitive that people don't feel wrong for walking away from work for some, you know, for periods of time, because that's really important. Sabina Bhasin, C2CI couldn't agree more, and I'm hoping that some of these habits and some of these learnings actually continue, post-pandemic, right, then we don't start defaulting back to what we've always known. That's sort of the concern; I think that many people who are kind of on the execution side of work are thinking about like we've developed different boundaries and habits now. But how long will that last? And will that change? With consulting and traveling coming back, is that pace going to also return, or some of those learnings going to also filter into that? If we've seen that business can still be productive and successful as Quantiphi has been, then is that something that we can ensure for the long term? What do you think? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI do think so. I think that's something that Ritesh will probably cover, but I do think we will see, travel again, but I do think as you said, I think it's going to be different. I think it won't necessarily be Monday to Friday, every week, right? It's interesting, when I first joined, Aasif, one of the founders, and I were talking, and I said it was really weird for me to have, you know, it had been four months since I had been on a plane when I first joined Quantiphi, and I said: “it felt really weird.” It was just a very weird feeling for somebody who traveled very regularly. In the three months before the pandemic, he had made four trips to India, and three other trips, you know, massive travel time, and he said, “for right now, it's a really nice change, right, you're home, and you're grounded, and you know, have time with your family in a very different way and, of course, you're still able to work.”So I think it will look different. I think we will always travel. I think people benefit from being physically together. I think there's a connection that can happen. One thing Ritesh mentioned was, if in a normal sales cycle, or working with a prospect on a normal time we would have four in-person meetings to lead up to a sale. He anticipates it would be more like one or two now that it will be that hybrid we keep talking about. There'll be some meetings just like this, where you and I are talking like this, and then maybe beginning or end of the connection we would meet in person, you know, so I think that's a great thing. I think like we said earlier, I think leveraging all of what's good, and bringing back the things that have really been missed, that just where there's just something missing from the way we connect as people, I think that'll be great if we can get to that balance. As you said, find ways to keep some parameters around it. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, that that sounds good. I'm really looking forward to that conversation with Ritesh and all the other partners that are going to be joining. Well, this has been a really great conversation. Thank you so much, Laurie. Before we wrap up, I am just curious, is there anything else that you wanted to add that we didn't get to yet? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiSo you just use the perfect word in your wrap-up there use the word curious. So that makes me think about we started a program back in February called the curious writer’s contest.What we realized is we have some brilliant thought leaders here at Quantiphi, but there were other voices that we didn’t really hear from. We really wanted them to have a place that they could be heard, whether it was their experience with a customer, whether it's some kind of new programming that they were learning or doing, or just how they were handling COVID, or how they were where they were living and how it was going for them, so, we started this content. We had some simple parameters, but basically, write a blog post for us, it could be about myriad topics, and we would help them wordsmith it; we really just wanted to hear their thoughts. And we have had incredible responses. Of course, we made it a little competitive, we have a leaderboard, and we give out prizes, and we got all kinds of submissions.  From really incredibly heartfelt poems about how this was going to some brilliant really in-depth programming skills that someone's learned, and some of these are now public on our blog. The overwhelming response makes me realize, I think many times people just need to know where they can share, so o I think Quantiphi’s done a good job really trying to hear from everyone, even while we're all remote. I hope that the program will continue running, even if we're seeing each other five days a week; I think it's still nice to have a place that people can go and write and share thoughts in a different way.  Sabina Bhasin, C2CDefinitely, I feel like we could talk all day, and I'm hoping that we get a chance to talk again. Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI hope so too. Yeah.  Sabina Bhasin, C2CSo everybody, be sure to come back and check out our future work is all about the partner perspective; until then, take care. On June 10, Ritesh Patel, Co-Founder of Quantiphi, will join Tony Safoian, CEO of SADA; Swaraj Kulkarni, CTO of MediaAgility and Tom Galizia, Global Chief Commercial Officer Alphabet Google at Deloitte, to discuss client empathy during digital exhaustion. Register here: ​​​​​​https://community.c2cglobal.com/events/the-future-of-work-and-client-empathy-51 

Categories:Google WorkspaceDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Google Cloud PartnersInterview

Dan Stuart, Southwire, on Why Google Cloud Was the Secure Choice

 Transforming a global manufacturing powerhouse, like Southwire, to a cloud provider is a significant decision. But with 30 years of experience in IT and manufacturing to pull from, Dan Stuart knew the right questions to ask to drive the right decision for Southwire as it navigated a cyberattack, refreshed its hardware, and was in growth mode. As a result, in July 2020, Southwire migrated its SAP environment to Google Cloud Platform, setting a benchmark in the industry for successfully moving an entrenched manufacturing business to the cloud. “Southwire is building a foundation for growth and innovation with the cloud, beginning with the migration of its core SAP business systems and services to Google Cloud,” said Rob Enslin, President at Google Cloud. “We’re proud that Southwire has selected Google Cloud to power its digital transformation.”But how was that decision made? Weren’t there concerns about the business, and more importantly, how secure is it? C2C sat down with Stuart, the senior vice president of IT services at Southwire.“So, I was looking at security, scalability, and modernization of our whole industry, which needed to be fast, flexible, and agile,” Stuart recounted. “But I also wanted to replace our current data centers and move into a more standard Cloud Platform cloud environment, and Google was the right one for us.”A bright brick backyard offset Stuart’s tall frame and created a perfect yellow hue surrounding him, perhaps the light or his proud disposition; Stuart’s confidence in the decision beamed through the Google Meet window. After all, the decision was tough and occurred at an even more challenging time for Southwire, but it proved to be profoundly beneficial, especially when it came to security. “When it comes to security, and you look at the competition out there, Google surpasses,” Stuart said. “From the encryption piece of it, right up and down to their security monitoring, they know what they’re doing.” Google Cloud truly does take security seriously. Their data centers are built with custom-designed servers that run their own operating systems for security and performance. With more than 500 security engineers, Google also has the best minds focused on thwarting risks and is focused on continuous improvement. “As we all know, security just keeps getting more complicated and complicated, and having a partner like Google that you know will stay on top of their game is exactly what we needed,” Stuart said.  Completing the Migration  To complete the migration, Southwire ran through four major cycles of testing, which occurred over more than ten weeks and involved more than 4,000 scripts. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they did the entire operation remotely via conference calls and Microsoft® Teams.The move to Google Cloud will ensure that Southwire remains up to date on the latest supported systems, improves security protocols, and provides a solid foundation for future upgrades, tools, and services to benefit both the organization and its customers.“By moving the SAP environment to Google Cloud, this creates a secure, flexible and scalable environment for Southwire to embark on new projects that move the company forward in areas of strategy important to the long-term growth of the company,” Stuart said. Making the Decision Beyond Google Cloud Platform’s reputation, there were a handful of critical decisions and lessons learned. Among them, which will be shared in more detail in the upcoming Navigator, Stuart said the ability to have a fast and seamless migration was the most important.  As they prepared to migrate, the Google Cloud Platform move wasn’t the only major IT project happening. They updated the enhancement pack, the process orchestrator, updated to BW/4HANA. “We didn’t miss a production beat,” Stuart said with emphasis. “We kept on track of our outages at our manufacturing shops, and everything went seamless. Google brought the support; they put the people that needed to be there on this team from the beginning, middle, and at the end.” The 71-year-old manufacturing business just made history. Despite not having any Google experience, they were able to make it happen, and it’s been proven to be a wise decision. Google provided training, education, and a strong governance program, too. But, setting up a governance program earlier in the process is one lesson Stuart can offer others making a lift and shift like this, “Make sure you got the governance in place, make sure you got the right architects helping you build your bill of materials for your deployment of Google and get that training and education upfront for your associates,” Stuart said. “It'll make them more relaxed at knowing what Google's doing, why they're doing it, and what they can expect, and it's helped set the expectations.” Join Us! Stuart sits down with Chief Customer Officer Sean Chinkski for a C2C Navigators discussion on May 18. Register below and bring your questions; Stuart will be answering them live.  

Categories:Google Cloud StrategyIndustry SolutionsHybrid and MulticloudIdentity and SecuritySAPManufacturingInterview

Google Cloud Platform Weekly Newsletter Creator Zdenko Hrček Shares His Career Journey with C2C

The power of community is in its conversation. We know that the best ideas begin amid laughter and grow into success stories through coffee-fueled days and nights among friends. Each month we’ll feature a couple of members and share their journeys. We want to know how you got there, wherever that may be; after all, your journey could help another take their first step. Today we’re featuring GCP Weekly Newsletter creator, Zdenko Hrček aka, @zdenulo. Give me your elevator pitch. What do you do? How do you introduce yourself?  I am a consultant who helps his clients to solve their business problems using Google Cloud. Beyond that, I am publishing a Google Cloud Platform Newsletter every Monday rich with news, articles, and releases related to Google Cloud. Talk to me about your experience and education. What certifications did you get, if any? Do you have plans to add more certificates?  Although I studied material science, my professional career is tied with software development. After working for six years in an insurance company, I decided to work independently, giving me more freedom, flexibility, and opportunities to work on exciting projects.I don’t have any certificates yet, but I would like to get them in the near future, namely Cloud Architect and Data Engineer since that is closest to what I do and I have the most experience with so far. Tell me about the newsletter. Why did you start it? How long does it take to compile? Why do you enjoy it? When I started working as a consultant, I read that publishing a newsletter is an excellent way to build a trusted reputation. Since there wasn’t a newsletter about Google Cloud, besides the monthly official one from Google, I decided to start one.  Over time, I automated many things, but there is still manual work involved, which can take from four to six hours. I go through all the articles I share in the newsletter and write briefs about them and ensure they fit the theme. I enjoy doing it because it keeps me up to date with everything going on around Google Cloud. Another bonus is that it provides structured content for other people interested in Google Cloud.   How did you get started with Google Cloud? I was learning web development around 2010, and I developed a few applications. Still, they run only locally on my computer, so I was looking for options to deploy them on the internet as cheaply as possible. AWS offered one year free for the smallest server, but Google Cloud had a daily free tier which was more suitable for me since I didn’t have extensive experience with using it and I could use it for free all the time. That was the main reason why I started using Google Cloud. Of course, since Google Cloud grew, my use of other products and services increased as well. Do you have a favorite Google Cloud Platform product? Why?  My background is software developer, so I like and use mostly serverless products where I can deploy code or load data and don’t have to worry about other stuff, so my favorite products are Cloud Run, App Engine, Cloud Functions, Cloud Firestore, BigQuery, Cloud Dataflow. Can you tell us about a favorite project you worked on using Google Cloud Platform?  There were a few projects I was working on where data were pulled from various sources, transformed, combined, and with that, providing high value for clients in areas like marketing, customer acquisition, and security._______if you’re doing something google in the Google-verse, get in touch! We’d love to feature you and sharing in the learning. Email Sabina and get in her calendar: sabina@c2cglobal.com 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudInterview

Cai GoGwilt from Ironclad to Discuss Powering Digital Contracting with AI on March 16

 Programming is in Cai GoGwilt’s blood. So when he developed the technology behind Ironclad’s AI-powered contracting solution, it felt like a full circle.  “I was fortunate to be exposed to technology very early,” GoGwilt said. “My grandfather was a programmer before it was cool.”  From creating games on TI-83 graphing calculators to programming computers as a kid, GoGwilt knew technology had the power to change lives, either by bringing joy or by creating efficient data processing. GoGwilt went on to study computer science and physics at MIT, where he also played cello in the university symphony orchestra. Soon he joined Palantir as a software engineer, where he worked in-depth with governments and large institutions. “I was particularly interested in the mission of bringing software to intelligence analysts,” GoGwilt said. “And got interested in legal technology because it’s an area where people could be helped a lot by adopting collaboration tooling.”  GoGwilt met Jason Boehmig, who was working as a lawyer at Fenwick & West LLP, at a legal tech seminar. Together, they built Ironclad, with the vision of modernizing contracting, which has long been difficult, time-consuming, and messy. Their solution? Digital contracting. “Contracts are hard because they’re an inherently human thing,” he said. “There's no good software for negotiating or collaborating on a contract.” Also, as it turns out, lawyers are very similar to software engineers. “I think they think and approach problems very similarly,” GoGwilt said. “For example, the way that lawyers design contracts [is] very similar to the way that engineers think through code. We’re both constantly thinking about edge cases, about what could go wrong, and how we’re going to deal with those things. We’re thinking a lot about how to make something so elegant that it catches a lot of the wrong stuff that I can anticipate today and hopefully even some of the wrong stuff that I can’t foresee.” Ironclad has certainly created “something elegant” by changing contracting from a manual and disjointed black-box to streamlined and integrated data pipelines.  Ironclad began developing its AI solution, among other capabilities, by using Google’s Kubernetes engine when it was still named Google Container Engine. As they continued to build their stack using Google products, they branched into Google AI.  It was a smart move at the right time—just as the pandemic sent everyone scrambling.  “A lot of companies are reevaluating their agreements and trying to figure out where they have commitments and where opportunities for the business are,” he said. “And being able to immediately auto-extract the terms of agreements is becoming critical.” Identifying gaps in the business and speed up decision-making is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.  “Especially in the pandemic, having fast access to this kind of contract data has been critical to our customer base, including those in the healthcare industry who are on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic and those in the restaurant and transportation industries,” GoGwilt said.  GoGwilt is also mindful of the human element as both the problem and the solution.  “AI has great applications in terms of being able to accelerate understanding and extraction of information,” GoGwilt said. “But with that comes some risk of misunderstanding the information or lack of accuracy.” So, Ironclad pairs best-in-class AI with deep domain expertise about contracts, along with empathy for the end-user, to address such challenges. With their latest tool, Smart Import, “alpha users have been able to speed up contract upload by 50% and get three times as much contract data.”  So what’s next?  Simple.“We want to power the world’s contracts,” GoGwilt said. “That’s our mission.”   Join C2C for a Navigator conversation on March 16 with GoGwilt and learn about how they’re using AI to power the world’s contracts and improve efficiencies.  IronClad and GoGwilt will also be sharing the latest advances in contracting at their flagship summit, State of Digital Contracting, on March 25.  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningC2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudContainers and KubernetesIndustry SolutionsInterview

Career Conversations With C2C: Andrada Morar, Google

The power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going. In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating today on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Andrada Morar (@Andrada.Morar), who not only heads C2C on the Google Cloud side, but is also the global head for go-to-market activation for social selling. How would you introduce yourself?  Dubbed the “female version of a bottle of champagne,” Morar began at 12 years old when she worked as a radio journalist in Europe.  Get to know Morar in her own words.   Tell us about your tech path. Morar doesn't have a traditional technical background. Instead, she began her career in communications. Being restless for challenges and eager to learn, Morar challenged herself to make a move into tech. Listen to her explain how she successfully pivoted to B2B technology, even when she thought she would be “bored to death.”   How did you get started with Google Cloud?  Through the encouragement of mentors like Kelly Ducourty, VP of go-to-market strategy and operations at Google, Morar was able to join her dream company. But it was a lot of work getting there— hear how she did it.   Listen below to how she navigated the Google interview process and even got a peek of the infamous Google interview process.  Morar said that a lot of the Google interview process is available on various platforms online, but they tend to ask a lot of behavioral questions. They’re most interested in understanding how you think, rather than how you perform, since your resume and the skills that earned you the interview already demonstrate that. Morar said candidates should also be aware that Google is a data-first organization, so they always ask how candidates will utilize data in their roles and to explain why it matters.  Finally, she recommends that candidates activate their networks and learn from their peers and mentors and seek out referral opportunities.  What does it mean to you to be a woman in tech?  Crediting her parents, Morar never felt “otherness” or the distinction her gender creates in a work setting until moving to the U.S. But it’s where she heard her parents’ advice to never “let anyone else tell me what my story is; I should be the one leading my story.”  Hear about her global experience as a tech woman and how the U.S. could also bridge the gender gap and work toward parity. She also shares tips for navigating awkward moments by “addressing them head-on.  Hear how Morar coaches other women and how to build mentoring relationships.  When asked about statistics, like only 17% of the digital workforce is composed of women or that only 23% of the employees at Google are women, Morar gave an inspiring piece of advice: not to be discouraged, but instead be motivated to prove it wrong.   Have you felt “imposter syndrome?” As you may know, imposter syndrome, as defined by the Harvard Business Review, feels like you’re not worthy of your success. It’s also “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they’re deserving of accolades.” Hear about Morar’s experience with it and why it’s essential to celebrate yourself.  How do you want to change the world? We often hear that people at Google want to change the world, and it’s not about the work but the impact.  So, we had to ask Morar how she wants to change the world. Hear her thoughts on the value a small act can have. Hint: It has nothing to do with technology. Instead, Morar believes in the power of a single small act as an impetus for more small acts, which collectively lead to significant change. So, when she’s walking her dog, she picks up trash she encounters and helps keep the environment clean and thriving.  “That’s something really small, but in my mind, it’s like, if I do something small, maybe somebody else will see it and feel inspired to do the same,” Morar said. “It’s the same with mentoring; if I do this for somebody, maybe they will pass it on because I believe in the collective power.” How can the C2C Community get in touch with you?  Morar is available to connect right here on the platform.  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Career Conversations: How to Succeed in STEM with Kelly Wright from SADA

The power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going. In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating today on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Kelly Wright, Head of Google Workspace Engineering at SADA. C2C: You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself?Kelly Wright (KW): My name is Kelly Wright. I currently lead a team of engineers focused on the implementation of Google Workspace and complementary tools. I have been at SADA for just shy of eight years and have worked as a support engineer, deployment engineer, and sales engineer for Workspace, which allows me to act as an escalation point in our engagements. C2C: Talk to me about your experience and education. What certifications did you get, what did you feel like you needed? KW: I actually have a bachelors’ in mathematics. I took a few CS courses to fulfill the requirements and really fell in love with the puzzles that technology gave me to solve. My first steps into the technology industry were actually in the networking space at a company called Bedroc. During my time there, I worked on networking and telephony projects and some help desk staff augmentation.  In terms of certifications, the needs melded over time. For my first job, I earned my CCNA. As I moved into working with Google Workspace, certifications I’ve found useful include the original G Suite Deployment Certificate, the recently added Professional Collaboration Engineer certification. C2C: How did you get started with Google Cloud? KW: I made a move to SADA and took on the, at the time called, Google Apps for Work support, and ever since, my focus has solely been on Google Apps/G Suite/Workspace as it grew and evolved over the last eight years. C2C: When you think back on your career, what stories can you share to demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech?  KW: There are so many stories. I’m sure we have all experienced something negative, whether from coworkers or externally.  One story that ultimately jolted me into the reality I was trying to walk into casually was at a networking event straight out of college. A professor of mine was able to get me discounted tickets and helped me navigate the waters. I remember one man who looked at my resume and said something to the extent of the following:  “People are going to entertain you at these events because you are a minority here—because you are a woman in a room full of men—but you need to show them what you are capable of; a one-page resume won’t do that. So make sure they remember you for more than just being the only woman at a networking event.”  I remember thinking about how curt the feedback was, but I ultimately believe it helped with my assertiveness, whether I realized it then or not. Especially because that would not be the last time I was the only woman in a room or one of few.  A couple of weeks later, I ran into one of those conference acquaintances at a bookstore, and I picked up the nerve to reintroduce myself. That reintroduction got my resume passed along a couple of hops to the CEO of my first job. However angry I was after that first event, I think it knocked me out of the quiet woman I thought I was supposed to be.  C2C: Have you felt the “imposter syndrome” creep up on you? How do you deal with it?  KW: All the time. A colleague of mine once also pointed out that my perfection syndrome feeds into imposter syndrome. I don’t think it will ever go away and evolves, but with a lot of coaching, self-reflection, and self-affirmation, you can keep it at bay. At my first job, I was the only woman engineer, and there were definitely moments where I would joke that I was picked as the travel partner on trips because that meant the other engineer didn’t have to share a room. But with a lot of self-reflection, I realized quickly that those guys would not have tolerated someone who couldn’t hold their own.   Moving into a leadership role had a big part to play, even though it did take me a bit to get used to it. While I am now in a position to be the escalation point, it was no longer my job to be the absolute expert on every minute detail of a deployment.  Now, though, my imposter syndrome sends me into a sort of hyper attention to the amount of backlog I have, whether in tasks or responding to emails in a timely manner. Especially with the last year of remote working, it has taken a considerable effort not to feel utterly under water, since there have been many times an entire week was filled with meetings with no time to work. I am learning with a lot of coaching to unabashedly set realistic expectations about when I can complete something.   C2C: How do you want to change the world?  KW: My very wise leadership coach asked me one day to think about what the cause of my snarkiness was when I was stressed. Was it because I had too many things on my plate and therefore couldn’t get to them all, or was it because I needed more life—a bike ride, a book, a nap? I should think about what it is that was making me stressed and then plan around it.  If it was a book I needed, being OK to shut down at the end of the day without feeling guilty. If it simply needed to get through some of my backlogs, I had the strength to set expectations when a new task would be prioritized.  If changing the world meant even just normalizing not feeling guilty about saying no to things, that is a small change I would like to make.  C2C: Inspire Me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours?  KW: Find a place where you are given opportunities to thrive and learn and take those opportunities given. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are struggling with something.  ______As a former journalist, I am already ready for a good story. So, tell me a story! Reach me at sabina.bhasin@c2cglobal.com, or comment below.

Categories:Getting Started with Google CloudGoogle WorkspaceC2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Google Cloud CertificationsInterview

Career Conversations with C2C: Su Song, StrataPrime, a Google Cloud Partner

Career Conversations with C2C: Su Song, StrataPrime, a Google Cloud PartnerThe power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going. In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring StrataPrime’s Service Delivery Specialist Su Song, where she helps customers get the most out of their Google products like Workspace. Read about her career journey and path to Google Cloud in her own words.  C2C: Talk to me about your experience and education. What certifications did you get? What did you feel like you needed?  SS: Previously I worked at a renewable energy company for 11 years managing the IT infrastructure and services. This was my first job out of college after completing the computer technology program. I have RedHat certifications, and since joining StrataPrime, a few Google certifications. I still have a lot to catch up on, on the Google side!  C2C: How did you get started with Google Cloud?  SS: At my previous work, we had been using G Suite. I had initiated the migration from a hosted exchange platform. I was also managing some on-prem and hosted RedHat servers which were migrated over to Google Cloud Platform. I also got into Google Cloud by signing up for the legacy G Suite service for my personal domain.   C2C: When you think back on your career, what stories can you share to demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech?  SS: I can’t think of any specific stories that come to mind, but in my 13 years of professional experience, all my teammates and managers have been male. I have mentored a few female students in the past who would mention they were nervous about competing against men, and I’ve always told them to consider being a woman as an advantage, especially when gender parity in a STEM field is a major topic that is being discussed.Do your best and do not be discouraged. I often have to remind myself, too. C2C: Have you felt the imposter syndrome creep up on you? How do you deal with it?  SS: Yes! In such a fast-paced world, I believe it’s something everyone feels. When I feel incompetent, I acknowledge the fact there will always be something that I’m not aware of. I need to push myself to learn and get better every time there is a challenge.It really helps to have a supportive team and community of like-minded professionals as well, so knowledge sharing is something that we do on a daily basis. C2C: How do you want to change the world?  SS: By setting a good example and being vocal when needed. Also, this is a very broad question, haha. I think I can call myself an environmentalist, and that’s where my focus is other than family and work.  C2C: Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours?  SS: Be forward, reach out, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but learn from them. Most of all, enjoy what you do and have fun with it! How can the community best get in touch with you?  Connect with Su Song right here on the platform or on  LinkedIn.  ______As a former journalist, I am already ready for a good story. So, tell me a story! Reach me at sabina.bhasin@c2cglobal.com, or comment below.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Career Conversations With C2C: Heather Tran, SADA, a Google Cloud Partner

The power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going.  In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Heather Tran, West regional lead technical account manager at SADA.  How would you introduce yourself?  Tran has worked as a technical engineer and has authored and edited all Google Cloud internal billing documentation. She is exceptionally knowledgeable about Google Cloud Platform products and services, enabling her to ensure her customers are thriving on the platform. Get to know Tran in her own words.  Tell us about your tech path. Tran doesn't have a traditional technical background. Instead, she began her career as an academic advisor, encouraging students to pursue STEM. Listen to her explain how she successfully pivoted.  What was it like getting started in tech?  After Tran’s brother encouraged her to pursue a tech career, she still had to channel the belief herself and turn a possibility into a reality. Hear her explain how she navigated getting started as peers held more skills and experience, how she found purpose and is now working with clients trying to cure cancer. How did you get started with Google Cloud?  Tran began in mobile app development and soon moved to DevOps engineering. She had an opportunity to go to Apple, where she would have sifted through the Java code of their iTunes product, but instead, she chose Google as a support specialist and worked her way up by earning certifications and seeking training. Learn about the importance of researching certifications to supplement your education and experience. What does it mean to you to be a woman in tech? Have you felt “imposter syndrome?” As you may know, imposter syndrome, as defined by the Harvard Business Review, feels like you’re not worthy of your success. It’s also “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they’re deserving of accolades.”Hear about Tran’s experience with it.  Women are often said to experience this, but others do, too. Some argue that women shouldn’t be said to experience it anymore and change their language. Others say that speaking about it openly will foster more significant support to combat it. Hear about how Tran feels on the issue.   What advice about getting started in a career in Google Cloud?  Tran doesn’t hold back and states that it’s not going to be easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to have a career like hers, too. Hear about what she says to do.   How can the community best get in touch with you?  Connect with Heather Tran on the C2C Community platform or LinkedIn.   As a former journalist, I am already ready for a good story. So, tell me a story! Reach me at sabina.bhasin@c2cglobal.com, or comment below.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Google Cloud PartnersInterview

Career Conversations with C2C: Vijeta Pai, Cloud Demystified

The power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing the journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going. In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Vijeta Pai, program manager and cloud evangelist, who is currently on a mission to demystify the cloud and increase its proliferation and adoption. How did you get started with the Google Cloud?  Pai began as we all do: an intern. She said she earned powerful hands-on experience with data center management and server deployments on Akamai’s network process team. “I became well-versed in the subtle nuances of on-premise infrastructure maintenance, so I started exploring cloud offerings out of sheer curiosity,” Pai said.Like Nina Trankova in the C2C community, Pai turned to Coursera last year and worked to earn a professional certificate on the Google Cloud Platform. The certification course is curated by experts working at Google and arms students with a strong foundation. “That was just the beginning of my journey,”  Pai said, “and I haven’t stopped since.” What makes you a cloud expert? A unique combination of storytelling and technical expertise allows Pai to make cloud computing accessible to anyone. “I want to use my experience to grow and give back to the profession,” Pai said. “I want to make technology accessible, fast, scalable, and reliable.”With a master’s in English literature and a zeal for learning about cloud computing, Pai uses animations and analogies to demystify cloud technology. She aspires to learn something new about cloud every day, not only because of its rapidly evolving, agile nature, but also because she believes in evangelizing products like Kubernetes.    Do you have a favorite product or project? Why? “I’m a die-hard fan of Kubernetes,” Pai said. “I have a favorite anecdote whenever I talk about Kubernetes, which I can elaborate on if anyone is interested. But long story short, I love the portability, simplicity, and speed it offers, along with excellent integration and agility.” To hear the story, connect with Pai on the C2C Community platform.  What certifications do you have? What’s next? In addition to the Google Cloud Platform’s Professional Cloud Architect certification, Pai has a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB), and is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Coming up, Pai wants to work on her AI/ML skills to gain more hands-on experience.Pai loves supporting others on their certification journeys, so she’s open to connecting and sharing her learnings and experiences.  If you could go back and tell yourself a piece of career advice, what would it be? Despite Pai’s achievements and successes, she struggles with the same challenges many women experience, not just in tech, but in careers in general: Imposter syndrome. Feeling like a fraud or not worthy of your success, or as the Harvard Business Review states, it’s when you are “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they’re deserving of accolades.”So, to combat those thoughts, Pai reminds herself to simply celebrate her achievements with pride, “and not give in to the imposter syndrome.” What advice would you have for someone interviewing to be on your team? Building on the idea of believing in yourself and what you can bring, Pai’s advice is simple: “don’t limit your imagination, and don’t be afraid to take a  leap of faith.”As an avid reader, Pai also leans on her favorite author, Rabindranath Tagore, when she needs a boost. “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water,” the Nobel Prize-winning poet wrote.  Why did you choose to join the C2C community?  This is best shared through Pai’s own words: “The vibrant culture, diversity, and wealth of information by the community drove me to join the C2C community,” Pai said. “However, it was my call with Sabina [content manager] and Alex [content production assistant] that sealed the deal. I got a glimpse into the wonderful opportunities, enthusiasm, and vigor exhibited by everyone working towards making the C2C community a better place for all cloud enthusiasts.” How can the community best get in touch with you?  The community can connect with me on LinkedIn or visit Cloud Demystified.  ______As a former journalist, I am already ready for a good story. So, tell me a story! Reach me at sabina.bhasin@c2cglobal.com, or comment below.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Google Cloud CertificationsInterview

Tell Me a Story: How Did You Become a Digital Strategist with Rise Digital?

The power of community is in its conversation. We know that the best ideas begin amid laughter and grow into success stories through coffee-fueled days and nights among friends. With the “Tell Me a Story” series, we want to know how you got there, wherever that may be; after all, your journey could help another take their first step. Today, we bring you a story from Christian Newman, digital strategist at Rise Digital, on being a people-centered, coffee-fueled Google Cloud partner.  How It Started Newman started as a Google Cloud partner in 2017 when he helped TELUS transform its marketing team’s G-Suite into something that exceeded productivity gains and employee engagement expectations.“Everyone felt like part of the same team with access to the same information at the same time as everyone else with no barriers,” Newman recalls, “It was a game-changing experience for me. … I thought, ‘the world needs more of this.’”  How It's Going After 18 years in telecommunications, Newman had left TELUS, his current contract was ending, and he was living through a global pandemic. “I was at a crossroads. Find another full-time job or follow my heart and deliver a solution the world needs now, more than ever: Google Workspace.”Ultimately, Newman grabbed his coffee tumbler and followed his heart to a Google Cloud partnership, and he couldn’t be happier that he did.  What Makes You Stand Out? “My most important skill is connecting with and understanding people,” Newman reveals.That is saying a lot coming from a man who obviously places a lot of value in technical knowledge. He currently holds eight certifications, ranging from Google Workspace Sales to Google for Education Deployment Services to Google Certified IT Support Professional. If there’s something one needs to know about Google Workspace, Newman’s the guy to ask. Despite the current library of Google Cloud knowledge taking up space in his brain and the desire to obtain the Google Certified Collaboration Engineer in the near future, he maintains the most important way to approach this work is by focusing on the people.“Far too often, companies expect technology to drive digital transformation and business results, but if people lack the mindset, skills, and engagement necessary for a successful transformation, … adoption and return on investment will suffer,” Newman warns.Building relationships allows solutions to be tailored to specific client goals, making everyone more successful in the end. Talk Google Cloud Products to Me. Do You Have A Favorite? “Google Meet has got to be my favorite Google Workspace app right now. … It brings us closer together at a time when we’re forced to be far apart and need human connection more than ever.” As a Google Cloud Platform Expert, What Drew You to C2C? “I got involved with C2C to learn from others, develop my skills, be helpful, and work together to meet [the] collective goal of improving lives with Google Workspace,” Newman says. Get Connected Since C2C is all about bringing people together. How can the community best get in touch with you? Visit my website, connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email. Wanna Talk About It?Have a story to share and want to be featured? Email Sabina Bhasin, content manager. Want more C2C content or curious about who we are and why we’re here? Visit our website. 

Categories:Google WorkspaceC2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudGoogle Cloud PartnersInterview