Women of Purpose

One of the agenda items at VMworld San Francisco was the Women of Purpose event that was held on the afternoon of Tuesday 28th August.  I had attended the event at VMworld 2010 and was astonished on arrival at the Marriott Marquis to see nearly 400 women in the room!  Carl Eschenbach had already started the proceedings and it was refreshing to see a senior executive from VMware opening the proceedings, especially as the opening video ended with Carl and his twin daughters chanting ‘Girl Power’!

Carl Eschenbach, COO VMware, delivering the opening welcome Women of Purpose, 2012


The agenda continued with an executive cloud panel discussion and whilst really informative from a business perspective, it was really interesting to hear some of the challenges these ladies had overcome, in the face of adversity, to being the successful businesswomen they are today.  The panel included:

Shohreh Abedi, CIO, Farmers Insurance Group

Sheh Bertram, CTO & EVP, Zions Bancorporation

Cindy Cortell, Director of IT, Major League Baseball Network

Karyl K. Innis, CEO, Author and Executive Coach – Keynote Speaker

Marivi Stuchinsky, AVP, Enterprise Infrastructure Services, Molina Healthcare

Lynne Wilson, VP of Cloud Solutions, Perceptive Software, a Lexmark Company

We were then treated to a “Smart, but..” keynote from Karyl K. Innis, executive coach.  Her talk was very enlightening and, at times, very funny, particularly the audience participation of one of the ladies’ impression of driving a car on stage!  Karyl has trademarked Smart, but…  and I can see why after listening to her.  I think we’ve all said at some time, “Bill is really smart, but..” and Karyl has a unique way of identifying career mistakes and helping people to overcome them.

I attended the event with my old VMware colleague and long-term friend, VCP numero uno, Susan Gudenkauf, her own success in the face of personal adversity is an inspiration in itself.  If you know Susan then you know what I mean by this.  If you don’t know her, then listen to this interview by TrainSignal!

I really encourage women in IT to join the LinkedIn group and, if you can, attend Women of Purpose 2013 at VMworld.  A big thank you and congratulations to the founders of this wonderful initiative,  Sonal Patel and JJ DiGeronimo.