We work hard every day to #PowerOn, and in honor of this year’s International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re recognizing and celebrating our woman leaders who are an inspiration to us. Last year, TrustRadius awarded SolarWinds the 2022 Tech Cares Award for our commitment to significant corporate social responsibility initiatives and robust diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, and we will continue to do so in 2023. We’re committed to fostering a gender-equal workplace by challenging gender stereotypes, calling out discrimination, drawing attention to bias, and seeking out inclusion at work and in our communities. We have two Solarian Spotlights – the first on our inspirational female leaders and the second on our spectacular female tech stars.
For our first spotlight, I connected with several female leaders to learn more about them, where they find inspiration, and tips they have for other women navigating a corporate environment. As we are always focusing on our CARE values of being Collaborative, Accountable, Ready, and Empathetic, these female leaders all uphold the values and are considerate in every interaction they have. In addition, each is a part of why our Women@SolarWinds employee resource group is strong.
In this Solarian Spotlight, I am going to highlight several of our female leaders and include their answers to the questions we asked. For each question, we heard from at least two leaders. Each response leaves us thankful we count them as Solarians and have the opportunity to work together.
What is one thing inspiring you or keeping you motivated when you stumble off track?
Erin Wolf, Lead Account Executive
By surrounding myself with positive, encouraging, motivating people, as well as reading and listening to life-changing content, I am inspired each day to pursue excellence, both personally and professionally. Being grateful for my blessings & shining JOY into others keeps me motivated when I stumble off track. The journey/the storm will only strengthen me as I move forward, keeping a positive attitude as adversity can lead to success.
Kristin Halbrook, Senior Director, Accounting
While growing up, my single-widowed mother raised three children independently, which meant that the necessities were covered, but there was little room for anything extra. The life-changing benefits that SolarWinds has provided my family are what keep me motivated. I learned from my mom long ago to count my blessings and be grateful. When things get crazy, it is good to put into perspective the blessing of an amazing job although challenging at times. I want the best for my family and the things I was never able to pursue as a child. I work hard to ensure my children don't experience the same. I am always counting my blessings!
What is something you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Stephanie Pike, Vice President, Marketing
I wish I would have known more about the way the business runs financially, which drives many decisions. Grasping COGS, SG&A, and pricing would have helped me position my projects or ideas more effectively to leadership.
Jeanne DeFelice, Director, Learning and Development
You are never the smartest person in the room, regardless of your position or educational background. There are always valuable things you can learn from anyone who is contributing to the conversation – if you allow them the space to share and are willing to consider other/different perspectives.
Onna Baldwin, Principal Recruiter
Do the little things without being asked. Roll up your sleeves and do the work. Go the extra step to deliver the best experience for your client – it just might make all the difference.
What three things do you believe future women leaders must do/develop to be successful?
Summer Jowett, Director, Customer Service
Embrace the opportunities you are given – you never know where they will lead.
Figure out your "why" power because your why power is greater than your willpower.
Lean into your past experiences to provide clarity for the future.
Ashley Irwin, Director, Channel Sales
Comparison is the thief of joy and will get in the way of your growth. Measure yourself based on what you want to accomplish to make an impact, not by what others do.
Surround yourself with good people who will tell you the good and bad, these re people who are invested in your success and growth. If you see someone who you want to learn from, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them for advice, help, mentorship.
Meet people where they are, and be kind.
What is a key lesson you’ve learned that you would like to pass on to future women leaders?
Neha Ratkalkar, Senior Director, People partner
To always wear the most important thing - CONFIDENCE! It is very important to help you navigate through situations of all kinds; and push yourself outside your comfort zone for enhanced growth. It helps you speak your mind and stand for what you believe in appropriately while remaining humble. I have learned to tune myself to “internalize and go.” I focus on what I want to achieve rather than overwhelming myself by looking at things glass half full than empty. This keeps me going against all odds.
Lily McKay, Principal Lead, Learning, and Development
Own your impact and take chances! I suffer from Impostor Syndrome, as so many people do, but I've found that accepting praise and allowing it to fuel me rather than focusing on (what I think) I can't do, keeps me far more engaged and energized. And, if you're trying something new and the praise isn't there to fuel you just yet, go for it! You'll learn more than you would have just sitting in the passenger seat, and, I promise, the trying gets easier every time you do it.
Sometimes the hardest lessons are learned from errors. Can you share your best, worst, or funniest mistake you've made and what you learned from it?
Anna Wilkins, Vice President, Global Sales Execution
I was up for my first Director role at Dell in 2013. I was the favorite for the role and was told I was getting the role. At the 11th hour, there was a new executive leader hired, and he picked someone else over me. I had not cast a wide enough net of champions and therefore missed out on a promotion. This was one of the hardest lessons I have ever learned.
Renee Gray, Senior Director, Program Management
As a first-year marketing manager here at SolarWinds, I was responsible for an email communication to our customers that included their individual SWIDs. And despite thorough testing with our email team, a backend system error caused the wrong SWIDs to be sent to our customers resulting in a serious security issue. It was this “trial by fire” that offered me early career lessons in vulnerability, accountability, and credibility and helped to shape me into the leader I am today.
Learn more about SolarWinds
At SolarWinds, we CARE. Our core values are Collaborative, Accountable, Ready, and Empathetic. We pride ourselves on embodying these values when working with customers, shareholders, partners, other employees, and the communities in which we live. We’re thankful for all Solarians, but this month, we are especially thankful for our outstanding female leaders, embodying our values and leading the future of female leaders. To learn more about our Women@SolarWinds employee resource group, check out this video.
SolarWinds continues to grow across all sites and departments (engineering, IT, marketing, and sales), constantly adding new positions. Our Global Internship Program partners with students early in their careers in collaborative research and development work, work-study opportunities, and specialized learning activities. If you’re interested in working for an industry leader and joining a culture focused on learning and collaboration, check out our career opportunities.