Gone are the days of the “job ladder” – following one linear path for your entire career. Instead, professionals today tend to create their own adventure by gaining experience across a wider range of disciplines.
Lynn Elwood, VP of Cloud & Services Solutions, is a prime example of this. Lynn’s desire to be challenged and try new things was met with the opportunity to do just that at OpenText™. She has worked at OpenText in a variety of roles over the last 18 years, including product development, product management, product marketing, and professional services over the past 18 years here.
As a strong female leader, she’s also passionate about helping other women to thrive, and about OpenText’s commitment to improving gender diversity in the tech space.
We interviewed Lynn about her career development, tips on how to get ahead as a female professional in tech, and some of the Women in Technology initiatives happening at OpenText.
Can you tell us about your career journey with OpenText so far?
Definitely, happy to do so.
I started in product development at Hummingbird, a company that OpenText acquired back in 2006, leading a development group for a content management product called OpenText™ eDOCS. When OpenText acquired Hummingbird, they offered me a different type of role, working on the Microsoft Alliance team to strengthen our product management and marketing within that partnership. Over time, I emerged into a product marketing leadership role for our ECM and Enterprise solutions.
A few years later, we began to focus more on cloud offerings for our customers. I was offered the position of market strategy lead for this new area – largely due to my background in cloud, and because I’d worked with so many cross-functional projects globally during my career.
Following my time leading the go-to-market strategy for cloud, I transitioned to my current role in Professional Services. My role today is geared towards leading our enablement and go-to-market efforts within Professional Services. In other words, my team ensures our Professional Services organization can consistently excel at what they do – giving our customers the best service possible.
Wow! Quite a journey. What is it about OpenText that motivated you to stay and develop your career here over the years?
OpenText has always provided me with the chance to try new things! I need new challenges to really enjoy my work, and the company has always delivered on that front.
Beyond that, the people here are wonderful. I’ve been able to work with all sorts of great colleagues from around the world to achieve exciting goals. People at OpenText are really open-minded; we’re not adverse to change.
As a company, we look to learn from the past and make our products and processes better, which is really important to me. I think it would be pretty tough to get bored here!
Can you tell us more about gender diversity and Women in Technology initiatives at OpenText?
OpenText has always been a strong employer for women in technology – even before we had a formal program or focus on Women in Technology initiatives. In my experience, I’ve always been judged for the strength of my ideas and contributions. It’s always been about what each of us brings to the table, regardless of gender or background.
In fact, the diversity of our employees is seen as a strength by our leadership team because it means we have a wider array of perspectives and point of view, all offering input on our products and strategies. Leaders here honestly believe that the best business outcomes come from diverse teams.
I’ve seen a lot of women grow in their careers here at OpenText, and I’m incredibly excited to see that we’re rolling out more initiatives to really boost the opportunities available to women.
For instance, each year we have a delegation of nominated female employees who attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and we run International Women’s Day activities around the world. This year, we proudly hosted a Women in Technology Summit at our Enterprise World event, helping to drive the conversation and create real change together.
The Women in Technology Summit is something really special. We’ve had some great speakers covering a range of topics from how to foster a diverse and inclusive environment, to how to excel as a woman in tech.
Another Women in Technology initiative that’s near and dear to me is the OpenText Female Leaders in Professional Services (FLIPS for short) group. I started this group six months ago with encouragement from executive leadership, and I think we have so much potential to influence positive change.
FLIPS is North American based so far but will be expanding to Europe this year. We meet monthly to talk about how we’re doing in terms of gender diversity, hiring, and growth of female talent. It provides an opportunity for busy, female leaders from different parts of the business to share knowledge and advice.
Longer term, I hope FLIPS will be about sharing information, helping people to understand roles they may aspire to and find meaningful career growth. I’d also like this to lead to mentorship opportunities for women across the organization, within and beyond Professional Services.
Great to hear about these initiatives, Lynn. To close out, we were wondering if you have any specific tips for women looking to develop and grow meaningful careers in tech today?
I would say to make sure you’re seeking out the right company or environment for you to be able to excel in. Be mindful of the company character and growth potential when you’re choosing employment opportunities. There are more and more great companies out there focusing on diversity and inclusion that will give you opportunities to reach your full potential.
Another tip I’d share is to let yourself step outside your comfort zone. In my career, I’ve taken many leaps. As women, I think we can sometimes lack confidence to take on new challenges; but saying “yes”, bringing passion and working together with diverse teams has proven successful for me throughout my career. Keep your options open and believe in yourself!