“Every journey inevitably has roadblocks,” says Christine Puccio. She is the VP of Global Cloud Alliances & GTM Programs at F5 Networks. She is known for her expertise in SAP and putting countless efforts on relationship management, strategic planning, and precise execution.
Christine encourages every woman to make choices that will help her to create access to learning, opportunities, and growth. She asserts “I overcome my challenges by taking risks: this sometimes means diving into unknown situations where risks are high or not identiﬁed but with the conﬁdence in me to come out successful on the other end.”
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Insights Success and Christine Puccio:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proﬁcient leader in the IT and Cloud sector.
My entry into IT began at the age of 25 working for Lockheed Martin. I had studied accounting in college and with Lockheed Martin, I had realized my dream of working for a Fortune 100 company. Soon thereafter, I was offered a job with sales at Paciﬁc Bell Internet Services. After six months on the job, I would begin to outperform my quotas and quickly move into a lead role. In this role, I was always in the top three of ten sales agents on the company’s sales whiteboard. Thus began my journey as a leader in the dynamic IT and Cloud sector. Throughout my 25 year career, I have embraced different roles in sales, marketing, contracting, and partnering, across companies like Sun Microsystems, RedHat, and NGINIX, which was acquired by F5 Networks. This work has allowed me to work with SAP, Google, AWS and other software companies which have given me immense insight into market requirements and competition.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience?
Diversiﬁcation of offering starts with a cloud journey assessment. Because of my accounting background, I look at numbers around usage, impact and savings. Most of the companies we work with at F5 are in varying stages of cloud adoption. My barometer is to do an assessment of how much investment customers are willing to make to adopt cloud technologies. My method of engagement is driving mutual partnerships with an eye for strategic impact and digital transformation with cloud technologies. This is always a collaborative effort that usually consists of product engineering, marketing, sales, support, customer success and our cloud alliance partner to create a joint solution to make the adoption journey smooth for the customer.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle the competition in the market?
Customer service is the new formula for winning in the marketplace today. The good old strategy of overthrowing the competition by comparing yourself to them only generates free press for the other team. My approach is to highlight F5’s unique features to our customers. In this regard, a thorough internal assessment is crucial in the market where competition is inevitably high. Another unique business practice I advocate for is leveraging resources outside the company I work for. If there is scope for collaboration with an organization in the ﬁeld, which will ultimately enhance the industry, we should utilize the opportunity.
What are the vital traits that every businesswoman should possess?
A journey of over two decades through an industry helps evolve your thinking process. Earlier in my career, I was shy, reserved and kept things to myself. I did not think it was important to voice my opinions. As time passed and I moved up the ladder, my perspective shifted considerably. My leadership encompasses the opinions and insights I bring to the table along with opinions and insights that I have learned from others. It’s important to me to invite our team to think differently and to illustrate a different point of view. These ideas help us to reach higher and for management to have greater success in achieving organizational goals.
Have you in any way contributed towards the cause of Women in Cloud?
As a leader in the world’s fastest industry, you need to participate in an active community to keep you grounded, focused and to expand your network. I am a strategic advisor to Women in Cloud, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to bringing $1 billion in economic access to women-led STEM businesses by 2030. My introduction to the community was through an acquaintance, which led me to connect with Chaitra Vedullapalli (President & Cofounder, WiC). Chaitra recognized the expertise I could bring on board and encouraged me to contribute to the community through collaboration, storytelling and coaching other women.
What are your insights on “The myth of meritocracy”?
And how it could bring a change in today’s business arena? Statistics show that tapping into a diverse workforce makes good business sense. I am very fortunate to have worked for multiple companies that believe good ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, regardless of one’s job title. I have always been a champion for diversity and inclusion. In 2017, I successfully launched neurodiversity at Red Hat – the ﬁrst neurodiversity program in the company’s history. I’m also an advocate for my autistic daughter. In this respect, I’ve spent over a decade working within U.S. legal and education systems to give autistic children the best life possible. The lack of diversity in the technology sector is a topic garnering increasing scrutiny. It’s critical that we incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into corporate culture and business practices. Diversity coupled with a meritocratic culture will bring in many perspectives and ideas to inspire innovation.
How do you cope up with capricious IT and other technological trends to boost your personal growth?
Technology is ever-changing, so you have to be willing and able to change with the times and to keep up with the needs of your clients. I follow inﬂuencers, spend time reading, talk with customers and partners to keep up. For my work, I have been featured in the media by Bloomberg, NBC15, Wharton Business School, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. Given my industry expertise, I was recently quoted in the book You had me at Hello World alongside technology executives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. I continue to stay well versed in the constant news surrounding my industry.
What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
In the future, I see myself continuing to work on transformational projects. After all these years in the industry across various organizations I have the knowledge to contribute to solving complex problems and to equip people with ideas, and information to drive digital transformation.