Just two years ago – when Box was a whole lot smaller – the women in our company could fit at one lunch table, and often did. These lunchtime gatherings became a place for us to bond and learn from each other, and as Box expanded rapidly, so did the group.
These days, we’re known as the Box Women’s Network, and we’re more active than ever before.
On May 15, BWN hosted a leadership development event featuring four Box all-stars: Karen Appleton (VP of Business Development), Jen Grant (VP of Marketing), Lesley Young (VP of Sales) and Whitney Tidmarsh Bouck (General Manager of Enterprise).
The audience included new and old-school Boxers female and male – here are some of the key takeaways:
Karen Appleton joined Box when the team was seven scruffy college kids working out of a garage. Thanks to Karen and the rest of BD, Box today has partnerships with heavy-hitters like Dell, HP, NetSuite and Jive. She had plenty of options prior to joining Box, but trusted her gut about our company going big. She took a chance and, as a result, is now running one of the best Business Development teams in the Valley. Bottom line: You can't make it to the top if you don't take risks.
Know What You’re Good at
Before Jen Grant worked in technology, Box’s VP of Marketing used to sing and act with a traveling company. Early in her career, she wanted to pursue theater, but eventually realized that where she really excelled was behind the scenes, bringing productions together on the business side. She decided take her smarts to the tech world, and is now kicking ass as the leader of a fast-growing marketing team. It's important to understand what you're good at early on in your career; once you know your strengths, you can leverage them to quickly rise to the top.
Whitney Tidmarsh Bouck started out as an engineer at Oracle (fun fact: she worked alongside Marc Benioff) and has held many high-level roles in tech companies. When asked about the glass ceiling, Whitney told the group that the glass ceiling only exists if you believe it exists. Instead of focusing on your obstacles, take charge of your career and commit yourself to success. If you have a seat at the table – take it. And if you don’t, make one.
Lesley Young, now a Sales VP at Box, started her career selling furniture door to door. She was curious about the companies she was selling to, and ultimately realized that that was where she wanted to be. Lesley and the rest of the panel encouraged the audience to continue to learn, always be curious and to always ask questions. Never make the mistake of thinking the snagging of an executive spot is the finish line. Thinking you know everything is the easiest way to fall behind the competition.
We look forward to many other inspiring events sponsored by the Women’s Network. Special thanks to Jasmin Pamukcu for co-authoring this post.