Fireside Chat with Alumna Ana Pinczuk of Cisco & Dr. Stuart Evans, Discussing Fast Paced Innovation-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fireside Chat with Alumna Ana Pinczuk of Cisco & Dr. Stuart Evans, Discussing Fast Paced Innovation

Dr. Stuart Evans, Ana Pinczuk (MS SM '10), and Krishna Mohan (MS SE '12)
Dr. Stuart Evans, Ana Pinczuk (MS SM '10), and Krishna Mohan (MS SE '12)

Carnegie Mellon University's San Francisco Bay Area Alumni Chapter hosted another event in the series of popular Gateway to Silicon Valley Fireside Chats October 9, featuring Ana Pinczuk, Senior Vice President at Cisco Systems.

Silicon Valley campus alumnus Krishna Mohan (MS SE '12), President of the chapter, was the host for the evening, introducing Dr. Stuart Evans, Distinguished Service Professor at CMU-SV, and guest of honor Pinczuk, a 2010 graduate of CMU-SV's Software Management program.

The talk centered on the fast paced innovations happening today and how companies can strategize and execute in this environment. "The years of having 3-year strategy plans are gone. What you envision now, in three years, it's going to be completely different" Pinczuk said. She stressed the need to have a clear and dynamic strategy with an execution path for the team.

Evans noted the IT driven innovation emerging in the high tech industry today is due to a convergence of cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies. And with the advent of these new technologies, customers today want business services to be delivered anywhere, anytime. Together, that is leading to a more collaborative work environment as opposed to the traditional command and control model, Pinczuk observed.

Additionally, understanding the Social Mobile Analytics Cloud stack is critical for the success of any business, both presenters and audience members agreed. The next wave of innovations will be seen in the Internet of Things. The key takeaway for the audience — those at the Silicon Valley campus and remote participants from San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh and New York — was that companies today must collaborate and partner with each other to innovate together and move up the customer value chain.

Evans and Pinczuk also discussed the role of women in technology, noting that the need for diversity is felt more today because of the collaborative nature of work. Pinczuk said that when she was leading Cisco's services organization, she and her team wanted to bring about a more flattened and collaborative model for customer support, and having a diverse team played a key role in achieving that goal. "A lot of thought leadership came from having that set of diverse people wanting to show want they know," she explained.

"I think employees genuinely feel they get more productivity, loyalty and service from women at work as compared to men" Evans added. All the attendees agreed that the need of the hour is for a culture and environment that can provide an unbiased platform for women to be considered for executive roles.

The event culminated in a highly interactive question and answer session. The audience asked questions on a variety of topics including women in executive roles, challenges faced by executives in today's dynamic environment and Ana's take on the disruptive technologies in networking, including SDN.

The Gateway to Silicon Valley Series Fireside Chats are sponsored by CMU's Silicon Valley campus and the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the CMU alumni association, created to connect CMU students, faculty and alumni, investors, venture capitalists, and alumni around the world with industry leaders, allowing them to share ideas about innovation and entrepreneurship, both hallmarks of CMU and its academic programs.

—Article written by CMU alumna Mayuri Kulkarni