Jung-Kyu McCannJung-Kyu McCann brings more than 20 years of legal expertise to Druva, having represented public and private companies of all sizes.

She joined Druva from Broadcom, where she served as Associate General Counsel, focusing on corporate matters and strategic transactions.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am a first generation Korean-American – my mother and father are both from South Korea. My mum studied chemical engineering in Korea and immigrated to the United States on a scholarship to the University of Iowa, where she was one of the first women to graduate with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. My mum has worked as a chemical engineer for as long as I can remember, so I grew up in a family where women were expected to pursue their own successful careers.

I have been a lawyer for more than 20 years, representing public and private companies of all sizes. Before Druva, I focused on corporate matters and strategic transactions at Broadcom, including its attempted hostile takeover of Qualcomm and CA Technologies acquisition. I also spent time at Apple, focusing on corporate finance and treasury matters and building its corporate governance framework. I started my legal career with more than a decade at Shearman & Sterling in New York and California.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

From a young age, I knew I would either go to law school or medical school. Even though both of my parents are chemical engineers, I knew I would not pursue that path. After growing up mixing foul-smelling thick liquids in my bathtub, while my mum discussed viscosity and pH levels, I knew chemical engineering was not for me. Law school served as my default choice since I was also squeamish around blood (still am today). My oldest brother also went to law school and I always looked up to him, so my path was pretty clear.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

A law firm is a very fast moving, competitive environment, full of ambitious motivated people. I had three children while working at the law firm, and each time I returned to work, I felt a sense of surprise (especially after my third child) as partners assumed that I was no longer committed to long days, late nights and long-term constant travel. I started to realise that I was being sidelined from the high profile (aka more desirable) projects that often lead to more visibility, career progression and promotions.

After years of moving up the ladder, it felt like I had to prove myself all over again each time I returned from maternity leave. I had to work harder and longer than my peers to prove I was still very much interested in my own career progression and being part of the competitive law firm environment.

The reality is this is still the case for many women, not only in law firms but in tech companies too.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’ve been blessed with opportunities to work on deals that make headlines and cover stories in the newspapers. However, my most rewarding achievement is building relationships that last a lifetime. Over the years, I have built teams that eventually move on to other jobs, but then seek to work together again in the same place . These people are very capable and have achieved success in their careers, and yet they continue to want to work together. The collaboration and camaraderie – that feeling of choosing the people you want to be in a fox hole with – without a doubt it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also the thing I’m most proud of.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

The ability to build genuine lasting relationships. That includes the senior executives who have mentored me, and the junior colleagues I’ve had the opportunity to mentor. Spending time and effort nurturing relationships has had a huge impact on my career – these people recommended me for new jobs and vouched for my character and integrity. As I became more senior, my credentials and technical skills were largely assumed. I’ve found that companies focus on “cultural fit” and that is when your network – the people you’ve spent years with nurturing relationships – support you, often leading to new opportunities.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Firstly, find your passion – what technology are you most passionate about? Next, find a role that gives you an opportunity to learn and grow, including a well-respected manager who will give you opportunities to learn new things within a supportive team. But don’t depend entirely on others to learn. Dedicate time to learning on your own, because business moves quickly and technologies evolve constantly. If you show initiative, that you can lead a project and run with it, then you’ll find more opportunities coming your way.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

The biggest barrier to success for women in tech is the lack of women in tech. Companies can expand where they are looking for talent and hire more women into technical roles. There is a plethora of organisations that support diverse female candidates for technical and non-technical roles in tech companies, such as Grace Hopper and various Women in Tech initiatives. Companies can also encourage their female employees to form affinity groups that can sponsor outside speakers or create other initiatives that facilitate the recruitment, development and retention of women at their organisations.

It is also important for companies to support STEM programmes in schools, such as Girls Who Code, in order to create a robust pipeline of women who are passionate about technology and see themselves succeeding in tech companies.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Companies can offer opportunities for their employees to have more direct interaction with senior leadership. For example, a few senior leaders may offer to have a small group lunch once a month with female employees. I think supporting women in tech involves men and women – that is what I see at Druva. Companies can bring various speakers (male and female) to talk about their careers in tech, particularly speakers that may have faced challenges or taken non-traditional career paths.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I think it’s very interesting to consider instituting something like the “Rooney Rule”. The Rooney Rule is a National Football League (American football) policy that requires league teams to interview at least one ethnic-minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. I don’t like the idea of hiring quotas, because I think it comes with an assumption that candidates are less qualified, but the Rooney Rule gives individuals an opportunity – a foot in the door. It’s then up to each individual to prove themself and earn the position.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Creativity Inc. by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull – my favorite book on leadership because it emphasises that everyone is always learning and should be open to feedback from all levels.

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson – this book reminds me that it is more fun when success is not guaranteed. It is more rewarding when we are forced to take chances, live with the consequences, and move forward.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – if we could all live and die as gracefully as he did. . .

I don’t really listen to podcasts. I am surrounded by words, talking and listening, all day. When I’m driving, I usually enjoy silence.

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