Six years ago, the concept of “cloud computing” was not readily accepted in the technology industry, and many were skeptical. I was tasked to help lead this transformation and shape this raw concept into a reality for Microsoft. It took a lot of hard work, collaboration, and persistence, but we accomplished our goal. Today, cloud computing adoption is underway and is no longer a question of if, but when.

Today, I am head of marketing for the North America region at Level 3 Communications. Together, my team and I are responsible for defining the regional growth strategy by key market segments, creating customer-focused marketing campaigns, and driving return on marketing investments to deliver financial results.

These are the things that have resonated most with me throughout my career:
Be adaptable. I’ve worked in the technology sector for my entire career and if there is one thing that’s constant, it’s change. The competitive advantages your company have one day can be replaced by your competitors’ the next. It’s crucial to be adaptable and have the tenacity and the resiliency to try things multiple times and ways.
Take risks. I attribute much of my success to being courageous and having the willingness to accept challenges. Although taking risks may not always result in the desired outcome, it’s the lessons learned and how you persevere that matters.

Prioritize. When I was accepted into the Executive MBA program at Cornell University, I was worried about my ability to complete the program while still performing well at work. I did not get a lot of sleep in those eighteen months, but was able to achieve my goals by making adjustments and setting expectations with others. When you are overwhelmed, it’s best to take it gradually.

Bring people with you. Throughout my career, I was fortunate to have others help me. It is important to me to help others in return by creating a learning environment and mentoring others.

Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?

Many have helped me along the way. It would be difficult to pick just one. However, they all have something in common. They encourage me to take on big challenges; offer me support when I need it; remind me of what I have achieved when I’m being too self-critical; and celebrate my successes with me.

Has discrimination affected you as a woman in the workplace? How did you deal with it?

Growing up in Hong Kong with English as a second language, I wasn’t as familiar with American pop culture topics like music or sports. I made extra efforts to learn the culture to join in on conversations, and picked up new hobbies along the way.