Wendy BahrWendy Bahr leads Rubrik’s MSP and Partner Channels, Hardware and Software Alliances, Inside Sales and Professional Services teams.

She is responsible for driving strategic alignment that accelerates the company’s global growth and drives best-in-class customer and partner satisfaction. Prior to joining Rubrik, Wendy served as the Senior Vice President of the Global Partner Organisation at Cisco Systems, Inc.

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

I started my career in IT as a trainer, transitioning into sales and then into executive roles both on the direct and indirect sales globally.  Presently, I am the Chief Commercial Officer at Rubrik, a global cloud data management company.  We enable our customers to tackle the toughest enterprise data management challenges and unlock new value from their data.

In my role, I am responsible for the global sales acceleration team which consists of our channel partners, global system integrators, managed service providers, hardware and software alliances as well as our inside sales and renewal teams.  Our mission is to be a force multiplier to drive scale, productivity, and growth at velocity through the partner ecosystem.

We have a relentless focus on our customers and their success.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No.  My plan was to show up, stand up, speak up and tackle any opportunity where I could show impact and drive significant results.

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

I have had many challenges in my career and have always relied on my friends, family, and advisors to help me ensure that I was seeing the big picture and making the right trade offs in my career journey.  One of the biggest challenges of working in a male dominated tech industry was gaining opportunities to interview for larger leadership roles.

One example was early in my career.  I was a first line manager and I wanted to interview to replace my boss – who was moving on to a larger role in a different division.  Whilst we had an excellent relationship, and I was highly rated, he suggested that it was ‘not my turn’ and that a male peer of mine was ‘lined up’ for that role.  After spending the weekend considering his comments, I went back on Monday and suggested it would be good ‘practice’ for me to go through the interview process for any future opportunities that became available – He reluctantly agreed to put me forward for consideration. I prepared like crazy and put my best foot forward.  Ultimately, I was selected for the role and I learned an important lesson. While the person exiting the role may have influence, the hiring manager makes the final call.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

The successful transition from an executive global leadership role at a $50B company to the Chief Commercial Officer of a pre-IPO technology disruptor and unicorn has been one of my greatest achievements.  But, what I am most proud of is hiring and developing talent on my team.  I am always so excited when people who have worked for me and in my organisations gain valuable skills that allow them to progress in their careers.  Nothing is more gratifying than hearing that the experience they gained while a part of my team made it possible for them to advance their careers and pay it forward.

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

Saying yes when asked to take on new tasks, even when I had to learn on the job.  Also, taking risks and gravitating to opportunities where I felt I could have the biggest impact.  In sales my peers would often shy away from opportunities to take on teams who were underperforming – I welcomed those opportunities to rebuild a team, demonstrate success and over achieve our goals.

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

 First, you need to be a constant learner as tech is evolving faster than ever before.  Keeping pace with the latest trends, tech and customer expectations is critical.  Second, for me it was about diversifying my skill set. I have sold into every segment (Enterprise, Commercial, State and Local, Federal and Service Provider), held roles in direct and indirect sales and made personal trade offs – such as moving my family to have the opportunity to gain global experience.

This diversity of experience and skill set helped me grow my career.

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

Fortunately, the barriers are coming down, but we still have work to do.  You cannot underestimate the power of networking and relationships in this field.  As more and more women join the tech industry, we and our male supporters need to be vocal in ensuring hiring opportunities have a diverse set of candidates to consider.

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

Ensure the culture of your company supports an inclusive environment.  The ‘old boy’ network is not an appealing environment for women, or any minority, to thrive in.  A culture that welcomes a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and opinions will be a culture that produces more effective and higher performing teams.

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?

Increase awareness of the opportunities in tech.  Starting in middle school, the tech industry gets the reputation of being predominantly a male dominated engineering role.  There is such an amazing diversity of roles in technology and I believe we can attract more women to tech if they are aware of the possibilities that exist.

For example, at Rubrik, we have Sales Development Representative roles that prospect and work closely with our field sellers to drive demand and create customer prospects – This is a perfect entry level sales role which can build the skills necessary to become a field seller.

Currently 35% of my SDR roles globally are female and 25% are underrepresented minorities. These employees become the basis of a future diverse candidate list for many roles within Rubrik.

What resources do you recommend for women working in technology?

I believe it is necessary to feed your soul by networking and learning on a regular basis.  Attending conferences that do that keeps me energised and motivated to keep pushing ahead.  Over the years some of my favourites have included:  Grace Hopper Celebration, Women in Technology Summit, Simmons Leadership Conference, and the Johnson Women in Technology Conference.

Even in the age of COVID-19, the opportunity to attend these conferences virtually can provide the education, motivation and inspiration needed to accelerate your career.

WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here