Interview with Peggy Johnson, Executive VP of Business Development
Hi. Thanks so much for joining us today for gals we are thrilled, to have Peggy Johnson here with us thanks so much for joining us Peggy absolutely. Looking forward to it so Peggy. I had the honor of getting to work in Peggy's. Division, previously, and just absolutely fell. In love with her leadership style so I'm so thrilled to get to be here to talk with you today Peggy. Is actually our executive, vice president of business development so. Would, you mind telling everybody a little bit about what that role is sure. It's, basically. In one word it's about growth for, the company in all different, aspects, so. If you think about growth, there's really two types of growth organic. Growth that's what we do internally to, move the products forward, and then. In organic, growth which is kind of a step change that, we can do to. Kind, of bend the growth curve if you will and accelerate, it and in. Organic growth is what we're, largely focused. On in, biz, dev and that. Is usually done through three, different levers, that we can pull I like to think of them as levers because, I sort of that's, the thing that it makes the acceleration. Go and those. Are partnerships. Investments. And acquisitions, and so, we're involved in aspects, of all of those and, any, single, one can, give. You that step change that, will sort, of change the growth curve and just, you, know whether it's bring more, monthly, active users to. A product bring, a whole new. Addressable. Market, in another area maybe open, a global market, that was untapped, before, any. Of those things that's. How we would you, know try to achieve more growth and that, role actually you're you sit on Sonya's leadership team as well I do I do the SLT yeah and was Business Development at, that level before or, is that kind of a newer chef yeah that's interesting so it wasn't before it was generally. Embedded, in the, divisions, before in the product teams it was really siloed previously, a little bit yeah and and, there. There, was reasons, for that but what. We were doing, was missing, anything that crossed, the groups and so. Just before I arrived, in, 2014. Toward the end of 2014. Satya. Had made the decision to pull bizdev out, from, the teams and bring it to the corporate level and, that, then allowed the teams the, bizdev folks, to look across the company when they were doing a deal and maybe tap into some other areas to do more. Complex, but maybe more holistic deal for the company and we're, also trying, to achieve what Satya likes to call the global Maxima, what is the most value, that we can get out, of a particular partnership, or investment, if, we look broadly, across the company versus, maybe just one group you know Xbox, or Windows, or office, and that's, had, a quite, a change in how, we how.
We Have, relate related. To the industry how the industry, looks back at us I, think, they look, back. At us now as Microsoft, versus. Maybe one or more of the separate that, makes that makes so much sense where yeah yeah I didn't, even see that previously, in my history here within the company where you, know it wouldn't aligns his particular. Team's vision but it was so the right thing for Microsoft, to do and so now seeing the, shift that you've been able to lead where you know you see, that investment and not focus even if it's not, that short-term strategy, for someone exactly. And I think it's opened up new opportunities for us that we maybe missed before or we didn't really have the ability to get across the line yeah, because the groups were deeply embedded in you. Know underneath the product teams and so, it's had, its, it's brought us some surprising, new partnerships, some. Great. New. Companies. That we've acquired along the way but also our Microsoft ventures group, which we didn't have previously, so let's talk about ventures, because that was something that you really helped to establish and create can you explain what Microsoft, ventures is yeah so, it's our early-stage venture. Fund that, we can, use, to I like, to say get a peek under the tent of different. Companies it allows, us to take a look at early-stage technologies. That are just evolving, that may someday be. Added. Value to our existing, products, or maybe a new business, line for us and, even. Though we had the ability to, invest and, we did invest usually at later stage, alongside. Commercial. Deals, we. Weren't super. Nimble, with these early stage companies, and with them you have to be nimble that's the way you get into these early stage rounds, and so. The, model, that I liked, was what we had in place at Qualcomm, with Qualcomm Ventures, so. I thought perhaps the best way to implement that would be to. Talk. To the guy, who is renting car come venture it's not guys cash up and at, the time he was looking to make a career change and. He. Came up and we talked about setting, up Microsoft, ventures and, I. Think, it's, sort of his disciplined, approach to these investments. The fact that his group tracks. The investment, so, we don't rely on somebody, in one of the product, teams who. May initially have had the idea but. You know how that goes you get moved, around and, you know you're off into a new area of the company and you don't always have the cycles, to continue to attract that best, investment. Nagaraj, will do that and that bigger picture long, terms exactly. Exactly, and that's been super, helpful and the, other thing that nagaraj has, done is he's taken out a lot of the friction of the investing, of, course we sat down with Amy and went through a process, that we want it to follow and with. Her input and guidance we've, implemented, that process, but, we can turn on a dime if, we need to and, a lot of times you have to with these very fast-moving, startups, to invest so how was that you know be new into the company creating. And and having, this idea, to go off and do this whole new thing like what was that like leading that, that. Charge and that change within within. So. That it was an interesting learning experience, for me because I knew. How to do something like that at, my previous company clearly, I'd been there 25 years you know you kind of know the ropes by then you know how you know things get across the line I did quite know how that happened here, so. I teed it up probably within the first few weeks of being here and there, was a lot of no I don't think so. We've. Done things like that before haven't, been super, pleased with some of the outcomes and, you know it's it's, probably not worth the effort and and. I kept educating, and saying but I think we're missing a. Very. Valuable, piece of input you. Know it can inform our product teams you know they may turn into acquisitions. Over time it. Just gives, us a view, into the industry, that I don't think we have right now now, we were engaged with startups and with the VC community but.
Largely Through, our products, of course we wanted them to use our products, as they're developing, their, products, and technologies, but. We didn't have that deeper engagement that you get with an investment, where were you really part of the team and so. Kinda shift that exactly, towards yeah yeah, to something viable. So, I made a few few. Tries at it and I remember having a discussion, with Brad Smith one day and I said I. Deeply. Believe that, we should have a Microsoft, ventures team, but, I don't quite know how to get it across the line here and he said you know what, at, Microsoft. Rewrite. White, papers white. Papers are can. Be super, informative and, it. Sort of allows you even to put all your thoughts down and and, move. Them around and, get them in a cohesive structure, more. Than a conversation, can do and then. Pitch, it and send. It around a few folks. He, offered to send it around to some of our board members and, at. The end of process. With, many people, helping. To get the paper together we. Did eventually get approval, and we put. The structure and place it largely the same structure, that we had when I was at welcome that. We've mimicked, with Microsoft, ventures very, cool one of the things I loved about that story you just hold is when, I look at you as a leader too I see you lead with such collaboration. Like it just emanates, from your, style and how, you drive your team and but I think also really how you've engaged, business. Development as a strategy, for Microsoft, so where, did where did that, kind of come from within you and why did you kind of adopt that and how have you seen that kind of serve you and the, company yeah. So I am a huge fan of teams and I feel like teams, can. Get more done it per ticket. For. The same thing in fact just, to go, back to a line that I learned early here. I think, was my first week here and SATs ask the SLT to read the book boys in the boat and. He said yeah oh it's fabulous, about the u-dub, crew, team in the early 30s, and this. Sort of you, know amazing, Trek, that they had you, know starting, from really. What was just sort of a pulled together team, and what they were able to do as a team and, there's. A line in there that, talks about the, swing of the boat it's when you get everybody, pulling in the same direction. What. You can accomplish and certainly. Individuals have. Had great, contributions. To the company but. There's something about when you get a team all in the same page all pulling, together that, you can have sort. Of a nonlinear. Value. And back to the company so, I believe, deeply.
In, Teams. And to, be part of a team you have to collaborate and you have to compromise, and, you have to look, across the table and understand, why someone. Might be debating, a point in the way they are and how, it differs from yours, and then the job at hand is you know how to find some consensus, and, I. Just. Feel, so. Deeply that you can get much more done with, collaboration. And teamwork then. You, know to have people. Duking it out and then one winning that's a zero-sum game and I feel like you. Know then you have two people spending a lot of cycles and only, one comes to fruition we're in a team you have a lot of people spending a lot of cycles and then you get the nonlinear, output that's, so fascinating and I think it's it's, so interesting to see I think as Satya has come in with the Li with the leadership team I think as well and just to see the shift in momentum in the company change you, can see that shift, and that value. That's kind of being driven there are there are there key things that you push your leadership team and that you're trying to drive through your team that, you think like. Create, that collaboration. Dynamic. Right yeah. So you. Know sort of going back to the time when I. Had one of my first conversations. With Satya, we talked about partnership. And what partnering. Means and, I've kind of embraced. Just, sort of loosely embraced some principles, around that, that, I shared with my team when I first got here and I said you know this is the way we're going to partner going forward and to, me it aligned. What I also. Heard from sati on one of my first discussions, with him about he wanted to really change the way that, we were partnering, that it. Had kind of been a zero-sum, game in the past somebody wins somebody loses and. For. Me a partnership, is all about having. Each. Side, have, value, otherwise it becomes unstable and then you don't have a partnership someone just wins, a. Partnership. So, which. Works short term but as I the long term that company, right that's, just it's, not it's not viable exactly. And. If you need it short term I get that that's that can be a strategy at times but, longer-term you want to build this trusted. Relationship, that you can call on I always, say in good times and in bad, because. It's, in those times. Of adversity when, maybe you need that partnership, even more and you want to know that there's trust there and if you've got to land, a difficult, message if you've got a base of trust it's so much easier and you can keep growing from there it doesn't mean you've, just erased everything you know you've got something to go on so for. Me I like. First. And foremost, for there to be a level of respect, when, you're dealing with any partner and. That came. Out early on when I was asked to work, with Samsung, and try. And find a solution there, Satya. Talks about this in the book but some, of the back story was when I first came I said okay, you know my first job here is to try and find. A resolution because. Both sides. Samsung. And Microsoft, had had been in sort, of a battle and and it was to try and find resolution so, when. I started, in there was a lot of sense, that they're. Difficult to work with we'll, never be able to find a solution we. Should just you know move. On there there was a lot of that and I said well tell me about that and the. Stories were about you know eight. Years ago this, and this happened I'm like eight years ago those that's a lifetime ago different, group. Of people probably retired. Place yeah let's. Just start over let's see if we could just start over and so. It's, so it's about having respect, for your opponent. And not thinking. Of them you know as. Adversarial. And. They're never gonna change its about wait, a second put yourself in Samsung's shoes it's.
A Pretty amazing company, I mean look at the troubles they've been through recently and they're flying, high and it, you know so they're, doing something right, and you have to put yourself in their shoes and say why. Are, they. In. A in a dispute, with us what what are the reasons, what our core reasons, and if you can understand, those and, have. Respect, for why they have that opinion. Then. You have a platform, to try and solve for, it you're you start speaking that same language exactly, exactly, and that. That's first, and foremost the thing you have to do I think you have to listen we, have to be very good listeners i if. I had, a superpower which I don't know that I have any superpowers, but, if I had one it would be listening which. I learned from being part of a big family but, listening. Is the other thing you really have to, hear. Them out understand. What they're trying to solve for not. Just say I've got this fantastic thing it'll help you it's like what, do you need and. Let me see if I can find a way to help you so, listening is another very. Very which again is so interesting, because it's such the, opposite, of what you see commonly, demonstrated within, the tech space as kind of a key leadership, value right yeah so again I think it's so fascinating to, see you, come in and lead so differently, and yield such high results for the company well, it goes to fact, is you, know focus on growth mindset, going from being a know-it-all, company. To learn it all company, because of your know-it-all company, you do the the former thing where you going to say this is what you need and I know why, you need it and here's what, you're going to do with it and. If. You take a step back and say you know what problems, do. You have and, and let, me see if I can help solve it so you're learning, about them you're spending time putting in energies and cycles on that, process, first and then, coming, up with a solution and, you know you might not have a solution there might be some things that are just too difficult or for. Whatever reason, you're not able to goes all in at the time goals don't align and then that's, when transparency, comes in you just say you know what it's. Not gonna I don't think we we can find a common, ground here but let's, part ways. In on good terms and you know maybe at another time there's, a shift in the industry is shifting timing, something that. As, a catalyst, to bring us back together again door's always open right right, super important, so when you think back to you. Know your early days your childhood, even what were what were some of your first introductions. To technology, and what were you really passionate, about as a kid like did you think you'd end up you, know working out a large tech company, and and and doing this type of work were you running the lemonade stands or I was I was really in the stands. I guess. My, very. First job, that I thought I would be was a nun really. Yeah really good, Catholic school okay I like the outfits, they wore I, like the whole hoodie thing that they were I, know that's not the right word but that was fascinating, oh yeah you know the power that I had interesting. But. Um that, was first grade and then when I met Johnny Lucetta in the second grade that all went out the window and I said okay I'm not gonna be a nun but um, I I do think I, sort, of some, adversity. That I went through when I was younger that sort, of led me to be a reader and then being a just, a you.
Know I read all the time I would read under the covers at night with a flashlight it was one of those kids, but. It but I did, that because I was pretty, sick when I was a kid for several, years yeah it wasn't it, was a life-threatening, but I had really. Severe anemia, oh wow, and which. Is sort of a lack of iron and, that, caused me to be just. Not to have a lot of energy, and so a lot of times I would get. Sick with colds easily like I had sort of a low immune. System, and so I was home a lot and when, I was home I would read and I would just read read read read read and that. Was sort of the start of, my, interest, in math, and science and things like that I remember I was a weird kid I remember asking my mom you. Know she would say you want me to bring you a magazine from, from the store when I was at home and I'd say no can you bring me one of those math books but, the math workbooks. I'd. Rather do that and. But. You know just having that time so, much time out. Of school I just, read all the time we were isolated and, were isolated, yeah and so. That, then just sort of led, me to an interest, and a love for math and science and and things along those lines very cool and did you intend to go into math and science, and college or what was your kind of plan there no um in, high, school I had a great high school in Los Angeles that had. A super. Good. Set. Of parents. That really. Pushed. On the curricula, so we had, you. Could take several years of. Upper level math. Sciences. Several. Years of chemistry physics, it was above. And beyond the California, curricular put it that way and it was the set of parents who were if it's just public school but they did a great job of influencing. The Christmas mom's man they were good. Good. So. I took full advantage of, all that I remember, actually going into high school we had the choice the older kids didn't have a choice I had to go to Catholic High School but by the time the younger kids I had 15. 14. Brothers oh my god, big lamb scene Wow. And when we got to the younger five we, had the choice of going to Catholic school or public school and one, of my older, sisters, weighed in on my mom and said don't, send peg, to the Catholic, school because they she like she knew I liked math and sciences, and she, said you should send her to the public school because they've got a stronger, curriculum, she, also was she ended up being a math major at UCLA yeah. And so she influenced. That decision, and I ended up going to the public school where I got all these great courses okay, so I have to pause there for a second 14, brothers and yes sir what. Is that like crazy. A little bit, so. It was two families, and, I, was part of a big family eight kids and my. Father passed away when I was young and I was a second, youngest and I. Was not, quite three but I had a sister who was nine months old I mean super young Wow, so my mom has, eight kids now from nine, months and his honor - 17 yeah and she's on her own so my older brother who was 17 really. Stepped in and became, our dad for. Several years and you know amazing job, at 17 the kid grew up super fast, but. Then about. Three, or four years later. Maybe yeah close to four years later someone. In our big Catholic, Church decides. To set. My mom up with, a man in the church whose wife had died from, cancer and, had. Seven kids and they. It, was interesting the age ranges, were you know about the same we always the same Catholic, school in fact my. Stepsister. Now was my, classmate, and then you know from one, day to the next she became my sister it. Was a lot of fun though and we all they. My parents dated for a couple years they ended up getting married we all moved into a house in, Los, Angeles yeah and it. Was a little crazy but my mom was adamant. That we wouldn't be that crazy house full of kids, so, she's I don't know how you cannot be the crazy, with, it she, had a regime you, know and we, had different duties, and, you. You know you couldn't, miss those duties and so, she, she ran it like a army. Do, you think part of that unique collaboration.
Piece Came from back then would half absolutely, I need to move it, yeah. You had to respect other people's, privates. Privacy. And you had so many people in one house and you had to learn to live with all of these personalities we. Had from, one in spectrum to the other under, that roof and so, we had to be able to get. Along in, you. Know without you. Know move. It out we had to you so. Do you still come together for how they do things in fact in. A week, and a half I'm, gonna have our family Christmas party down. In San Diego and so the whole family which still largely lives between LA and San Diego will. Get together at my house, and it's. About like just the immediate family and their, partners, and their kids and some of their kids have kids is about. It's, about almost a hundred fifty people oh yeah, that's, amazing, it's very I love that big yeah it's a lot of fun and Santa comes and the whole, the, whole thing so, jumping. Back to high school where your, older sister helped, you know push that you have to make that choice so you ended up going to high school taking. The science and the math and, then you headed into college what did you intend to study in college um business like all my older brothers and sisters many, of them. Went, off and pursued. A business degree so I went. To my advisor in high school and she said well what do you want to be and I said I think I want, to go into business and she said check next, you know like 4,000. Kids at my high school so it was like she was glad I knew what I wanted to be and I was gonna give her any choice like this is the easy one yeah, it sounds good you can make money you, know it's not English exactly. Yeah, so but I know you knowing. You I know that you graduated, with a degree in engineering yeah where, did that shift, how did that happen so um so. My parents had two roles you had to go to college and you. Had to pay for it yourself okay actually, neither of my parents went to college but, they knew the importance, of a college education and they, knew they couldn't pay for 15, kids to go to college so, like okay get, out there and work and go to college so that largely. Left public, colleges. Which back. Then in California, were fairly, cheap on a per unit basis, so you it was achievable, you could actually put yourself through college it's a bit harder to do these days now but, then you could and so. I chose, San Diego State which was just, a little bit further from home but.
Still Close enough I could drive home on the weekends if I needed to do the laundry that. Sort of stuff so. Off. I went and, got, a job and, you. Know was most, of the way through my, freshman. Year, pursuing. A business degree when. My. Job had, me deliver a package over to the engineering department, and apparently. Just before I walked in the. To admin. Assistants, we're talking, about gosh you know there's never any women down this hallway and how. Would we get more, women here what could we do to attract more women and they. Heard, me coming down you know those long linoleum, floors it's. Like I had sandals on or flip-flops, or something they could hear it was a woman's footsteps, and so when, I opened the door there these two big beaming faces, they're, like hello, no. Come on in. Engineers. You're packing and she went what's. Going on they. You know they anyways, they sit. Me down and they start working on me right away you know they started asking me peppering, me with questions what. I was studying did. I like math and science what did I want to be and, then. They said, at. One point have, you ever ever, considered. A degree in engineering and, frankly, I haven't because, I didn't. Even know what engineers did to tell you the truth I mean there weren't engineers, in my family, I didn't I wonder. - my parents friends were engineers I had no idea what they did. Actually. My grandfather was an engineer but, a trained engineer on the amtrak like all the Irish they worked on the railroads. That's. What he did that's so in my mind thinking, yet I know it's not driving trains anymore but I don't really know what it is what's the possibility, what are the possibilities, and they started. To detail, what. An engineering, degree, could, offer and no one had ever said, those things to me no one had ever sort. Of made it come to life I I just, had, no idea and. Then. At one point one, of them said the world will be your oyster if you pursue, this and that just resonated, with me and so. I said okay well I better get back to work now you know it's been about 15 minutes with him went. Back to work and it just kind of weighed on me all night I was thinking about it thinking about it and the next day I woke up and said I'm gonna change my major to engineering and I went. Wow. And. Turned. In my application, and. Really. Never saw those ladies again but they had such a change, you know totally. Change the trajectory of my life by. Pursuing, engineering, and, it. Was it, was amazing just, that you know those little brushes. Against, people that sometimes do, that where they just send you off in a new direction that's, what that did how fascinating, no how was it jumping in and switching majors in that space did you did, you find it welcoming, was it really overwhelming, at the time yeah, not super welcoming, I remember, that there weren't very many women at all I was generally, the only woman in every class I walked into and. I'm, quiet anyway and and so I tended to be quiet in the classrooms, and, it. Was a little tough I had teachers tell me maybe, engineering, isn't for you and almost, convinced me of it and and I think no you know I'm gonna stick with it and just.
Kind Of kept plotting, away I. Liked. The challenge of it I liked the problem-solving, of it and so it interested. Me and just. In comparison with some of my sort. Of the the. Classes. I had to take just. To get my degree I can't think of the name of it but the ones like. The. Choir Deborah's I realized yes yeah, the required classes I was, so much more interested in my engineering classes then, just you know those classes you have to take and I thought there's, something here. And I, I'm. Just gonna stick with it I don't know where it's gonna take me but I'm gonna stick with it and. Eventually. Ran into kind of a small pot. Of women that we used and, one guy we used to all study. Together and that, is really what, helped, get me through I mean, now they have more organized groups, like that and on college campuses but back then it, was just by chance we kind of ran into each other and, started. To study together and, it. Was sort, of the my. Go-to group, when when any of us were struggling in a class or, with a particular teacher or a topic we. Knew we could always tap into that group and. Great. Yeah, great group of friends so what did you what was your first job out of college then we're well. It was actually during college I had an internship at General Electric oh yeah, in their military electronics. Division and, essentially. It was coding, anti-submarine. Warfare systems. For, surface ships so. These were the systems, that would launch, missiles. After. Detecting. Submarines. And so the missiles would actually go up and then underwater, and, at. The submarine it, was kind of super fascinating, because no, this will date me but it goes back to the time. Of when the book their Hunt. For Red October came, out and, that was happening at the same time and, so you know it was like, seems, so real life coming you know kid, came to life in the book with my daily job and, it was super. Interesting, and I. Loved. The job frankly, and I worked down on the naval base in San Diego and when. You, when. You hold a certain title, it's. Interesting on the naval base they actually give you a naval, title. Oh and. I want, to say it was lieutenant something, this is terrible because I'm not terribly, good at my, naval terms but I had a title that, when you came. On to the naval base you could park in a certain area access. To certain cafeterias, so that was all really cool. So, that was part, of it but, the the. Main. Job, really the, main headquarters, was, back in Syracuse New York and so we traveled back there back and forth a lot to. Syracuse, to run our code on these very. Purpose-built. Machines, that went on surface, ships and. That. The only way you could really test your code you could simulate it at, the labs in San Diego but you had to run it on the target machine and, so. That kept, me going back and forth to Syracuse, which is very, cold in the wintertime I don't know you've ever been there I have but it's, I, think it's one of the quote though for me coming from Los Angeles and San Diego it, was definitely one of the coolest places I've ever been in my life and, it. Was either snowing. Or about to snow almost, every time I visit it there, so. I knew eventually the job was going to be. On the East Coast and likely, in Syracuse, and I. Started, down the, path of they, kind of had a management training school. At GE called the C course and then. I thought you know I just don't know I don't know if I really want to live the. Rest of my life on the East Coast I know like big career decision, I had nothing to do with the job it sounds like I don't think I want to live in the snow, the life balance of work like this part is important, I want to stay here in the Sun so. I ended, up. Starting. Looking for a job okay I was actually my husband who had just married at the time, just. Out of college, we got married and he, said you should look at this company called Qualcomm, because he had had an internship, at linkable, which is one of the companies that the, owners of Qualcomm, had, started, oh look a bit and it sort of fed into, Qualcomm. And so it, was back like it was like in the newspaper the newspaper ad, and not. Like today with LinkedIn. And, I, thought okay I'm gonna answer the ad, got, an interview Hardison interview of my life oh really down yeah really what was so challenging just it, was it was a solid.
I Think it's probably a lot like interviews, here, for engineers, but. It. Was nothing like my GE. In, view that. I had gone through and so it was it was a it, was like a solid, day actually, was three days but every day you'd, go in from from, eight to about six, and you know you had different people each, time and I well it, was he had heavier thinking, had on every minute. Did, it I did I remember one thing they asked was solve X. To the solve for X to the y equal Y to the X there's. Actually multiple solutions, to that and. It. Was sort, of hey you know just, like any good interview, question it was sort of how you came about coming, up with those solutions and going through the whole process that they were testing. And so, that. Was a pretty hard one but so, how did you adapt them to life at Qualcomm how was that was it I'm guessing it wasn't on the East Coast it wasn't San, Diego thankfully. It. Was quite a bit different because I would say it was more like and. It was a new company then it only had a couple hundred people, it, was more like a start-up you'd see today you know fast, moving everybody, did, whatever they needed to do to get the job done people were several, hats and I. Loved, it where, I would say GE was probably more bureaucratic, a little bit more defined I, had, a job and they would say this is your job it's very narrow you can go very deep on it but this is your job at. A Qualcomm. I got to wear all these hats you know any on, any given day you were sometimes. The systems engineer and sometimes you're in the lab coding, and you know was so I got to really, experience, a broad range of engineering. Roles. In. A single job which I loved so. But. Then at, some point I made the decision after a conversation with one of our managers to jump, over to the business side and, that. Was, really where I found my true passion sort, of that mix of Technology, and business very cool and it's great that you have that engineering, background to then partner, with that business savvy yeah because it's like the same sort of thing you're solving for problems. So you gotta find a solution whether, it's a business problem, or an engineering problem and, come. Up with a solution that you know it's good for both sides going back to the partnership principles, and I, just loved it I loved being in front of the customer, you know one of the things I've gotten to hear. You talk about that really impressed me with your kind of career, background, is that kind of change that you helped lead at Qualcomm. When. Kind, of earlier in your career you, write and hands around so and and, looked around and said I'm not sure if this is right for me so can you share a little bit about that. Experience and, where you were at and yeah and of what you led there so, certainly at that time you, know the, number. Of females. In engineering, at Qualcomm reflected, what, we were graduating which was not very many I want. To say it was and I feel like it was under 10% in, EE, and it was hiring Comp Sci at the time but in EE, it was fairly, low numbers, and so. Basically. Rarely. Did I see another woman, you know I was on a team all men really. Saw any, any. Women in engineering. But, the ones I did I banded, together with. Same. Way, that I did in, college but. I remember, going through the review, process we had two reviews a year to review cycles, a year and I it, was like the same theme all the time we. Love your work but you. Need to speak up more on we want to hear from you more in them in meetings and you.
Just Have to get more aggressive you just have to get in there and fight it out and. That's. How you're going to be successful here and I remember after about the third time that happened, I thought I came home and I said to my husband I just don't think. That. Engineering. Is a career that I can be, successful in because here's, the things I'm not doing that apparently, I have to do to. Be successful here and. So I very narrow, specification of, what it was like the certain set of attributes, that I did, it have even, and, I tried to put them into place and it not not very successfully. I try, to be more assertive and aggressive and, whenever I did I sort of surprised, people and they. Thought, I was mad and I'm like I'm just doing what you told me to do and you know very, awkwardly, doing it so. Finally, I just said I you, know I think I'm gonna have to leave and had a conversation with, my manager, at the time and. He said don't leave we, need to figure this out and I, have to say you know that was years, and years ago early, in my career at. Qualcomm, which I, was out for 25 years so you, can do the math it was a long time ago before. All of the, the current talk of stem and how to retain, women and this. Manager, recognized. That, we had an. Imperfect. System of readings, at the company and and, you. Know with my input and his work we went to HR and, we said we've just got to change this system and we've, gotta broaden the attributes, that are part, of what you, think is a successful, leader and a successful, employee in, the engineering department then. This set here which was literally, it said you know assertive. Being in sort of a meetings these were the sorts of things that they said. Were were absolute. Musts and so, we did that and. Everything. Got better after that you know it was sort of like a sigh of relief I, knew how I would be rated going forward I knew I knew, frankly, yet by that time what, I felt. I was good, at and where, I could really shine and add value to the company and said thankfully. Now I just get a concentrate on those things I don't have to be something I'm not, and I stopped spending all those cycles, on trying, to be something that I wasn't I think that's so amazing because not only did you carve out a path for success for yourself but for so many other individuals, not just women even right but people, just with those different personalities, just to kind of bring their voices to the table and just quiet man yeah exactly people who are shy introverted. And people, of different nationalities show. Up differently and, right so so, how do you think like when you look at that 25, years that Qualcomm them like how do you think obviously. You would have walked out the door if that I would didn't happen but when, you think about just looking, at your career but also the shift in the company like like. How. Do I mean that must just feel so proud for you so to think, about that that, you helped leave that dynamic, and partner with your. Manager at the time yeah and, I you know I go back to that group of women I because, I don't want to take, credit for that it was really having, having. A group of, people. Who were sort of in the same boat and and, said, you know how do i navigate this, and having sort of a safe place to ask that question how. Do i navigate this, you know how do i navigate that, engineering, leader that that, is you. Know super. Short and and and doesn't give me the time to to express my opinion, how. Do I do that and these, women at. Qualcomm. In, fact we used to get together and. A group called the sweet fest only. Because all we did was eat a bunch of cake and cookies and candy and things like but, that's what we did and, we. Would over cake and cookies and candy we, would discuss, these things and, it, was a, help I think to all of us and then.
They, Then touched, others, and as, they came into this circle. In totally informal was you know completely not read. By HR or anything was just a group of women who got together on a super, regular basis so I'd say almost every about every other months we would get together for. Sweet fest and that was our support. System I guess and it's, still going on today in fact I'm headed, down to San Diego and they said can you do sweet fast. That's. Created. That now fast forward you were actually named last year as Business. Insider's, most powerful, female engineer of the year congratulations. So amazing, to see that like what, are some of those other shifts. That you've seen in the industry you, know yeah. First, of all I'm completely humbled, by that because I look at that list and say wow I have no idea how I got on this list because they. Our own Lily Chang was on that list I mean it's an amazing. List of women, across the industry. You. Know I think the, shift has been that. We're shining a light on things, instead. Of just, saying you, know the. Advice that I used to be given early my career was just be more like that you know just change yeah, go go you change, your problem you go change and now, we're, saying wait a second, that's how, can we be more inclusive and that. That is what resonated, so much with me actually when I first came to the company because, there. Was that discussion, that was going on and while we're not perfect, and I know we're not where we need, to be we're, getting, there right we're shining a light on all those dark corners saying what. You know how can I make you the best that, you can be at, the company rather, than saying Katie you need to change all these things and, that's. That's, where our focus should be it said you spent so many cycles trying to change, and then maybe you're not even successful. Why not say you know what Katie does well let's shine a light on that and I love that because I see you do that within your team you know I felt being within your group like I saw that, happened many times where he would where he would help lift up others within the team and not in areas where you, even needed to do it where we wouldn't have even known had you hadn't taken that opportunity but that was one of those things that gave, me such respect for you as a leader is those moments where you, went out and lifted us up and we never would have known had, you not right and and that's, what really gave me so much respect for you as a leaders that icon you do really constantly, do that okay thank you but I also think it gives you confidence to, be yourself and that's important. Because when you're yourself you're gonna do your best work that was, gnarly and I think there really has been such a sea change within Microsoft, within the last few years you know I absolutely, yeah I'm about. Within even sake as yes my inside focus, I think it's huge, yeah yeah and I think it's you, know I feel like there's momentum behind it now that you know like as soon as people bring these ideas to light everyone. Starts to shake their heads and be like okay this is the same thing yeah we need to go investigate this right and so things, instantly, pick up more energy yeah I've seen changes. Just in my little, world of BD across. The teams you know we were doing as we talked about being, diverse and inclusive, sometimes. Those can be words until, you actually put them into action and see the value like why do we want to be diverse and inclusive what is the value, and I. Feel, like over the last couple of years we've, crossed, a big, bridge there, where, everybody, gets it now they go I know why because you know what diversity. Brings this diversity, of thought you get these opinions. That. Come in that you would have never thought of if you're all you. Know I always say a team of all Peggy Johnson's will make a product that Peggy Johnson will know yeah but, no one else well and so, if we can have more, opinions. And thoughts on things and have good healthy debates and have environments where those debates are allowed. And permitted per, missable and you feel comfortable you've. Got to build a better product and, when you build a better product you sell more of them so it's you, know it's not only the a good thing to be diverse inclusive but there's good business reasons for that well yeah they're an even Harvard Business Review recently has, been in several articles about the, statistical, analysis, behind teams, that are more diverse and inclusive and they're, actually performing better so I love seeing that data come to, show those results yeah so one of the things I love about what you're doing as well is the work around like computer education week that yeah than last week, and.
So What what are you doing within that space so. How. Deep are Toby who runs code.org who I met early on when I was here. Asked. Me to help him kick off the. Start of computer education week and it, was so much fun because he also had, Susan. Wojcicki from YouTube and, Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook and then. Melinda, was going to make it but ended up having a conflict but she had a great video I mean it was fantastic. So authentic. And, but. The. Common, denominator there, was all women on, the stage to get out and. Hadi was so funny he got on stage I mean he, started the whole thing he's, just kudos, to him for everything he's done for introducing, coding, into, schools but he was on stage for a nanosecond, and said look I'm gonna hand it over to my emcee it was a woman and off, it went and it, was a fun day of. Just. Again highlighting, the, value of, bringing. Coding, opportunities, to every child in every school across, the. Globe and, we. Democratizing. It yeah the numbers were stunning there was a lot of teachers in attendance, they were talking about you. Know how, they've had this big sea. Change in their, ability, to get, computer science teachers on campus to, to. Have to bring coding. Access, to more and more kids and younger and younger kids and you, know whatever you go into it's good to know how good there's good. What. Is just that logic, skillset so exactly, and, we'll make sure to put links below for. Anyone that's interested in that so I wanna we've gotten to hear so much about your journey I want to end with you just a message. Like if you can talk to younger women out there who. Were early in career what what would you kind of message to them I would say be your authentic self because it took me several years before I'd learn into that but, once I did that was really when my career, took off and just own who you are. If you're talkative. And assertive that's okay too it's, just on who you are because, that, is where, you're gonna you, know have, the most to offer within. That space that you're most comfortable with fantastic you can't get better than that so well thank you so much for joining us and, I hope you all enjoyed the video thanks thank you.