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International Women’s Day – Karen Krivaa

Women in Big Data is spotlighting 8 amazing women on March 8th, International Women’s Day.
Karen Krivaa, VP Marketing at GigaSpaces, comes from a solid high-tech foundation and over 20 years of marketing experience in product and portfolio solutions marketing. With her dynamic energy, executive vision and belief in “team”, Karen executes data-driven strategies while strengthening the GigaSpaces brand. She is responsible for driving strategic marketing planning and execution, as well as awareness and customer acquisition efforts across all channels and branding. Prior to joining GigaSpaces, Karen held leadership positions in companies including RADVISION, Alvarion, NICE and Applied Materials.

I have always been surrounded by science and technology with a major emphasis on continuous learning, thanks to my parents, who were high school science teachers. Our family dinner conversations were a strange combination of the latest baseball scores and player trades along with subjects like genetics, biomedical ethics and everything you ever needed to know about dissections, how to whiff chemicals, the theory of evolution and more. Family trips included fossil hunting and berry picking, and our family pets ranged from salamanders and iguanas to guinea pigs, cats and dogs. So it’s really no surprise that throughout my journey as a marketeer I have been drawn towards innovation—from video over IP (before there were internet connections in meeting rooms ?), wireless broadband, video surveillance solutions, customer experience software, and semiconductors to my current position as VP Marketing at GigaSpaces, an innovative enterprise software company with an in-memory big data analytics processing platform.

It’s been a non-stop journey of learning new industries and technologies, and it’s what makes me happy.

Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, is perfectly aligned with today’s rapidly changing technology environment—especially in the marketing field. What worked yesterday probably won’t succeed today, and if we remain stagnant and unwilling to adjust strategies, then the chances of achieving desired outcomes are basically nil. If you speak with my colleagues, they will tell you that I constantly say “let’s look at ourselves in the mirror and see what needs to be changed and improved.” You can never stop improving and trying new things, analyzing results from different angles. Lessons learned from mistakes (there have been many) and adopting best practices from your peers (shout out to my mentors) can only strengthen you as a professional. After 20+ years in high-tech, I guess that I can say that I have learned quite a lot by adopting these practices.

Motivations and Challenges

Building cohesive teams that work together for a common cause, knowing that we can rely on each other when the s&^% hits the fan, and knowing that we can celebrate success together (preferably with dry red wine) is what motivates me on a daily basis. Team is everything.

The main challenge that I have difficulty dealing with is time: finding time to stop and analyze in order to adjust strategy and work plans; finding time to think out-of-the box and be creative; and finding time to appreciate my team and colleagues. Most important from my perspective is finding time to invest in personal fulfillment—hobbies, family and friends, and learning something new every day.

What Makes Me Upset

Women today still do not have the same opportunities as men, especially in high tech. Unconscious bias remains a global challenge, and this is clearly backed by the low number of women in leadership and board member positions. This bothers me. Can change this trend? I believe we can, but it will take time and persistence. Hopefully my two daughters will have an improved experience as they enter into the workforce. Gender should not make a difference—passion and results should.

A Short Message

From iguanas to big data, my passion for science and innovation has taken me on an incredible journey. I have learned that you can achieve anything you want to, in any field, if you focus and invest the necessary effort. So my message is that nothing and no one can stop you when it comes to fulfilling your dreams, and I hope that one day all women will feel the same way.

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