The Silicon Valley Business Journal recently announced their list of the 2018 Women of Influence. We were pleased to see them recognize our CIO, Renée McKaskle. Renée is representative of the many women who have a significant role in driving business and social outcomes at Hitachi Vantara. For this blog post I thought that I would mention just a few of the women of Hitachi Vantara that I work with on a regular basis. There are many more across the different business units and geos within Hitachi Vantara and many of them share the same characteristics as these four women. They know how to innovate, lead, and give back to others.
Renée McKaskle is senior vice president and Chief Information Officer of Hitachi Vantara and is responsible for developing and implementing information technology initiatives that align with the Hitachi Vantara mission. Since she came in as our CIO, over two years ago, she has digitally transformed what was a typical IT organization with its many silos of operations into a dynamic, Agile team focused on business outcomes. Now with cross functional teams, including business as well as IT functions, working together, using iterative Agile sprints; IT can focus on relevant business outcomes and deliver it more efficiently. We are partnering for data centers and offer IT as a Service to our business units and to sister Hitachi companies in the Americas out of a shared facility in Denver. An example of the effectiveness of this new Agile approach to IT occurred last September, when we integrated Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Pentaho, and Hitachi Insights group into Hitachi Vantara, and were able to integrate and switch over our electronic systems and service desks worldwide as we followed the sun across the Geo’s, in less than 30 hours! Renée is not only actively engaged in our overall corporate digital transformation, she also meets frequently with our customers to share experiences with their CIOs and provides feedback to our marketing and development teams so that we understand the challenges that they face.
Prior to Hitachi Data Systems, she held CIO positions at SC Johnson and Sons and Symantec Corporation and Senior IT leadership roles at Oracle and PeopleSoft. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA, and a master’s degree in information systems from the University of Texas. Renée says that she was very privileged when she was growing up since no one ever told her that there were any limitations to her aspirations. She is a strong advocate of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs and careers for girls and women to give them the confidence to do what inspires them.
Mary Ann Gallo, Chief Communications Officer for Hitachi Vantara, leads the global organization responsible for driving the Hitachi Vantara Brand. Mary Ann began her career as a radio and television reporter/anchor and leverages the real time, storytelling skills that she developed there to engage people in her successful branding efforts. One of her recent accomplishments has been in leading the transformation of the former Hitachi Data Systems brand along with the integration of Hitachi Pentaho and Hitachi Insights brands into what is now Hitachi Vantara. Forming an Agile team across all the functions in these three organization and our parent Hitachi company, her team was able to accomplish the rebranding in 6 months! It would take most companies over a year to go through this process, but with a nimble approach, with clear direction, strategic milestones, small sprints and a committed team, the transformation came together quickly and smoothly.
Mary Ann has 20 -plus years in marketing and journalism fields in technology companies with executive roles at companies like VMware and Edelman. She has completed executive leadership programs at the Dartmouth Tuck School of business, IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland and the WOMEN Unlimited Lead Program. She is an avid proponent of diversity issues and founded the Women of Hitachi program. Outside of work Mary Ann serves on the Board of Advisors for U-Jam Fitness, an athletic dance fitness program featured at fitness centers around the world. She is also the mother of two teenage daughters.
Ke (Linda) Xu is the vice president of Emerging Solutions and Cloud Services Marketing for Hitachi Vantara. Linda and her team define the Go-To-Market strategy and execution for object storage, file sync and share, content intelligence, data protection and cloud services and solution. She also has responsibility for vertical markets like Financial Services. That is a lot of territory to cover but Linda is a problem solver and is very versatile in addressing new markets and technologies. At one time when we had a major change in our Hitachi Academy, she stepped in and managed the transition in addition to her regular job in product marketing. She is also the co-author of Cloud Storage for Dummies. All these accomplishments are amazing to me since she was born and raised in China before she came to the U.S. to earn an MBA in Finance and Marketing at the University of Michigan Ross School of business.
She began her career In China as a Public Relations Manager for AT&T China. Today, she is widely sought after as a key note speaker at business conferences, especially in Asia Pacific where women look to her as a role model. Linda tells me that what motivates her is to be a role model for her daughter. She learned so much from her mother who accomplished her career ambitions while playing an active role when Linda grew up, loving, determined, and supportive. That shaped Linda into who she is today, and she hopes that her daughter can feel the same way when she grows up. Like many of the women of Hitachi Vantara, while work is important, their families are their priority.
Technology companies usually hire experienced new hires who can step in and be productive, day one. Ana Sanchez joined us as an intern in 2013 and we hired her right out of the University of San Diego in 2014. She started in sales, and is currently a Global Partner Marketing Manager, leading global programs and business development opportunities with Hitachi’s key alliances and top technology companies such as Intel and SAP. She has been a seven-time recipient of Hitachi’s Kaitakusha Seishin (Pioneering Spirit) Award, 2013-2018, for her innovative pioneering spirit in developing and leading business development programs. In 2015 she was recognized as part of Forbes Under 30 Network and contributed to Forbes’ 7 Habits of Successful Under 30’s.
As impressive as her contributions are to the business, she has taken a leadership role in working to develop others. Ana is a co-founder of Women of Hitachi Mentorship Program which is based on propelling women toward careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). This program now serves women representing over five Hitachi Companies across every geography. She is a Core team member, women of Hitachi Board, working to extend the Women of Hitachi beyond its current state. She is also on the Scholarship Board of the University of San Diego which is focused on identifying candidates based on their commitment to making a longstanding impact at USD. Ana is representative of the younger generation of women, committed to Social Innovation, and taking an early leadership role in driving business outcomes.
While Hitachi is a well-established company, over 107 years old, Hitachi Vantara is less than 1 year old, formed to help Hitachi deliver transformative digital solutions to our customers as we expand beyond cloud to IoT. Key to our success will be the culture that we develop as Hitachi Vantara. Diversity needs to be a foundation for this culture and the women of Hitachi Vantara are putting their stamp on this foundation.