Meet Padmasree Warrior, executive at Cisco, world-leader in networking equipment
Hotly-tipped to be next boss of company, once CEO John Chambers retires
Indian-born executive is 57th Most Powerful Woman in the World, according to Forbes
Big on Twitter, with 1.4 million followers, including U.S. President Barack Obama
Editor’s Note: Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time. Each month, we meet two women at the top of their field, exploring their careers, lives and ideas.
Apart from having one of the coolest names in the tech industry, Padmasree Warrior stands out among Silicon Valley’s big-wigs.
The Indian-born woman has been hotly-tipped as the next chief of the world’s largest maker of data networking systems – Cisco Systems – the company behind everything from your computer’s router to wireless access points.
She is currently Cisco’s Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, an organization boasting an eye-watering $47 billion in revenue.
As one of the most influential people working in the technology industry today, it’s little wonder Forbes named Warrior the 57th most powerful woman in the world.
Here are five things you might not know about Warrior, who has also served on the board of Chicago’s prestigious Joffrey Ballet.
She studied chemicals, not computers. Warrior received a degree in chemical engineering in Delhi, before continuing her studies in New York. The young graduate thought she’d eventually go back home to teach – it wasn’t to be.
Warrior took a job at telecommunications company Motorola in 1984, and later joined Cisco in 2007.
“I now run an internet technology company that has nothing to do with chemicals,” she told CNN’s Nina dos Santos. “At no point in life have I waited for the perfect job to show up… because there’s no such thing.”
She planned to stay at Motorola 12 months – and left 23 years later. During her two decades at Motorola, Warrior rose to the ranks of executive vice president. While there, the company was awarded the prestigious 2004 National Medal of Technology and Innovation – the first time in the organization’s history.
In 2014, it’s harder to keep up with new technology than ever before, says Warrior.
“I’ve been in the tech industry for almost 20 years, but I feel right now is probably the most significant time – not only is the pace of change so fast, but the magnitude of change is huge.”
Yes, she does log off – and meditates. Just because you’re leading one of the biggest computer equipment companies on the planet, doesn’t mean you have to be constantly plugged-in.
At the end of each day, mother-of-one Warrior apparently turns off all her electronics and finds 20 minutes to meditate.
She’s a Twitter pro. Warrior has a whopping 1.4 million Twitter followers, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
This is the best career advice she’s ever received: “I was a manager and really thinking about taking the next step to become a director. And I was hesitating, asking myself ‘Is it too much responsibility?’ My husband worked, and we had a young son at home, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to commit.
And my boss at the time, who was making me the offer, said: “You know, sometimes when there’s a door open you just have to push through and walk in.”
Lidz-Ama Appiah, CNN contributed to this piece.