WiBD and Hortonworks Host DataWorks Summit Lunch & Discussion

Dataworks Panel Participants

On June 13, Hortonworks teamed up with The Women in Big Data Forum to sponsor a lunch and panel discussion at the DataWorks Summit.

Wei Wang, Senior Director of Product Marketing @ Hortonworks moderated the panel. Wei opened the panel discussion with a brief introduction to the speakers and the Women in Big Data Initiative. We had a great lineup of speakers from across the industry and the session was extremely well attended – the audience included both men and women, especially a large of group of students from Girls Who Code. Great food, engaging discussion and an awesome sponsor who has been supporting the Women in Big Data forum since its inception in 2015 – Thank you HortonWorks!

For those who couldn’t join us @DataWorks, here is a summary of the panel discussion. Speakers included:
Anu Jain – Sr Director, Big Data Platforms, Tools and Products, Target
Tendu Yogurtcu – CTO, Syncsort
Suja Viswesan – Sr. Engineering Manager, Big Data Platform, LinkedIn
Alison Biggan – Global Head of Product/Industry Marketing, SAP
Radhika Rangarajan – Co-Founder of Women in Big Data Forum, Director of Big Data Technologies, Intel
Moderator:
Wei Wang – Senior Director, Product Marketing, Hortonworks

 Click here for more biographical information on the panel participants

Questions and Answers:

Q: What are the most important trends in Big Data today?

  • Anu: ML/DL, Robotics.
  • Suja: AI, ML/D and Spark.
  • Radhika: Deep Learning on Big Data, with frameworks such as BigDL.
  • Alison: Power of data from multiple sources and how it connects with the business, technology is advancing ahead of customers so bringing customer value is key.
  • Tendu: Gender diversity, cloud, gaming industry has pushed change, automating processes for data scientists.

Q: What was the pivotal moment in your career  that brought you to your current role?

  • Tendu: Syncsort creates data driven products, she stepped up to become GM, products and then CTO where she has learned about sales and marketing.
  • Alison: Came to SAP via acquisition (Crystal Reports then Business Objects), she left the company to re-position herself to return for a promotion.
  • Radhika: The Only word for No is No: she wanted to go from being an individual contributor to a manager. She was told to the PE path but she wanted the management path. She wrote a JD including ROI, pitched her proposal and has been on that path since.
  • Suja: Started as an intern at IBM, wanted to be a manager in 5 years, went to IBM manager training and realized after the training she was not ready. She worked for another 2 years, felt she would be ready in 6 months but took an assignment earlier as her manager felt she was ready and should be out of her comfort zone.
  • Anu: Focused on BI and became a principal architect. Her boss left and she took his role.  Her new boss realized that she had both the IQ and the EQ to be a good manager.

Q: How did you meet the career challenges you faced?

  • Radhika: Lost her boss-mentor and negotiated a rotation into a job  (a lateral move in an adjacent area) to showcase her skills before she landed her desired role.
  • Alison: Left Business Objects, moved around SAP, her mentor (now CEO Marketo) left and she had to build her brand outside of the group she was in.

Audience Question: How did you fit into a company culture that is usually Bro-mance based?

  • Suja: Have to build the bridge, she does happy hour with LI-mates.
  • Radhika: Networking is key, all of us are time-pressed, but network @ work, during lunch hour if possible.

Audience Question: How do you keep up with the changing technology of Big Data?

  • Anu: Reading, Coursera, Udacity, sponsers Friday hack-a-thons in her group.
  • Suja: Surround yourself with smart people.
  • Alison: Stay connected to trends.

Q: How do you balance work and life?

  • Anu: Has 2 kids, so she starts early and ends early, works out at night, makes sure kids have good food and may work at night.
  • Suja: Boundaries are key as she works to live and is not committing to be on 24/7.
  • Radhika: Block evening hours for family; she does log back into work after kids go to bed;
  • Alision: Early to rise and early to bed schedule, she does email first thing in the morning, attends to her kids and does not subscribe to fire drills: ranks importance of a task in 10 mins, 10 days, 10 months, 10 years.
  • Tendu: Boundaries, no phone during family dinner, incorporates when she can for example brought her son along to this business trip and he is going to Tech Museum camp.

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