NetApp’s Living Our Values (LOV) Awards, a peer-nominated and peer-judged recognition program, is the highest honor NetApp employees can receive. These semiannual awards recognize three winners and up to six honorable mentions worldwide who embody the company values. Ingrained into day-to-day work, NetApp’s seven values are: Leadership, Trust & Integrity, Simplicity, Adaptability, Teamwork & Synergy, Go Beyond and Get Things Done. Each winner is brought to Sunnyvale for a Company All Hands, where they are thanked by the CEO. NetApp also gives a gift of $5,000 in each winner’s name to the charity of their choice. Click here to read about Winter 2018 Americas LOV Winner Aaron Gaudet.
There’s often a common refrain among NetApp’s LOV Award winners—and that refrain is: “I was just doing my job. I wasn’t doing anything special.”
Susi Martinez Bouza, a Business Process Architect based in Amsterdam, is one of our many LOV Award winners who has sung this refrain. “I’m getting awarded for doing my job,” she says. “Because that’s what I’ve been trying to do for all these years; do the best I can with whatever I do and then try to help people along the way with whatever I can. That seems to be very normal and natural, but I guess somebody thought that required some more attention. I was very surprised [when I heard about the award].”
What usually sets LOV winners apart though is the way they go about doing their jobs—by embodying how we do business at NetApp and by demonstrating that they are Living Our Values every day.
Susi’s nominators lauded her, in particular, for demonstrating the company values of Trust & Integrity, Teamwork & Synergy and Getting Things Done. For her part, Susi says her approach to doing things is pretty simple. First, she says she tries to understand what the objectives are for any project she’s working on. Because her position is very deadline driven, she also tends to work with a sense of urgency. And she says she always tries to do what’s right for the team and the company.
“Whatever process I’m working on, I try to understand what is the outcome that everybody is working toward. In the line of business I’m in, whenever we’re getting pulled in, it’s often time to execute and it has to happen yesterday. I try to do things the right way, doing what’s right for NetApp but also having a sense of urgency to get it done. That’s typically the challenge. You can be all perfect about it, but you don’t have the time you need to do it perfectly, so I try to expedite as well as get things done in the right way. That’s how I try to approach everything I do and what I try to use as a guideline in anything I do at NetApp,” she says.
A 13-year veteran of the company, Susi’s career at NetApp began in the Finance department as a finance program manager where she was instrumental in setting up the B2B order-processing system for key distribution partners in EMEA and the U.S., as well as laying the foundation to support the creation of the OM Team in EMEA. Today, Susi works on enabling new business models for the company, building out and implementing various commerce processes and systems as part of the Strategic Enablement Team in Operations under Michael Giannini and Bill Berg.
“My team focuses on quoting to invoicing end-to-end, but as part of the larger team, we look at the broader process on the commerce side enabling NetApp to market a new product or bring in a new company when we do mergers and acquisitions to ensure that all processes and systems are set up and integrated in the right way so we can offer and sell our products to customers, be it direct or through our partners,” she says.
As such, Susi works with various constituents across the company, from OM reps to leaders, she says. In particular, Susi’s nominators called out her work on a few specific projects. One of these is the work she has done on the company’s quoting tool over the years. Part of the original team that introduced and designed the application, Susi says her team works closely with other teams to integrate new functionality into the tool when needed or make sure the tool works with other internal tools on the backend.
As her nomination notes, Susi has been an integral part of many of the enhancement projects for the tool. “Over the last six years, Susi has delivered countless defect fixes and enhancements to the system. Last FY18 alone, she was responsible for 21 implemented changes and supervised a further 23. She was either a leader of or key stakeholder for 13 projects and three initiatives that her team completed. She has become a trusted member of the Strategic Enablement team and is respected by all her many stakeholders around the business.”
Susi has also been instrumental in helping the company make a changeover in how we do business in Japan, changing the tax structure and transitioning from selling our products in U.S. dollars to Japanese yen. According to Susi, the changeover affected not just the selling process, but also how the product is shipped and how the pricing is structured. With many moving parts, Susi says the project was not only quite complex but “very interesting.” As part of the initiative, she spent two weeks with the team in Japan helping to make the process go smoothly and enabling the team to make the changes in the allotted timeframe.
“It was very, very rewarding to try to help the teams out and try to get everything done in the right way to have the proper set ups in Japan,” Susi says. “I hadn’t had the chance to travel to APAC for work, and it was great.”
Susi’s LOV nominators said her efforts as part of the project were crucial. “As a key leader within the business, Susi ensured the team came together to overcome the challenges they faced and implement a successful solution,” they noted.
In addition to these two projects, Susi was also commended for her work on the company’s Joint Venture with Lenovo. For that project, she says there was a lot of cross-functional coordination done not only within NetApp but with Lenovo to make sure the teams “built the right construct to support a new company.”
As her nomination noted, “Susi took responsibility to lead and complete the Business Requirements Documents [BRD] needed for the Lenovo Joint Venture implementation. In a very short space of time, together with the Process Architecture team, she collected all the inputs necessary to complete the BRD, each of which were critical to enabling the Joint Venture to operate from Day 1 and transact quotes through to invoices…Susi will have played a large part in the success of the Joint Venture before it even launches.”
Although Susi eschews the spotlight and says she’s not very keen on the publicity that comes with being an LOV Award winner, she believes there are lots of opportunities for employees at NetApp and she appreciates the friendliness and camaraderie of the people here. She also appreciates that NetApp is a place where employees can bring up issues and be candid about what they think.
“I do appreciate very much that you have the opportunity to engage, to participate and be heard at NetApp,” she says.
In her free time, Susi says she enjoys reading fiction (in her native Spanish no less!) and spending time with friends and family. And she intends to share her $5,000 donation with a fellow NetApp colleague, Mei Zhang, who founded a charitable organization in 2014 called Stay In School that helps Kenyan girls get an education. Susi says that for her, to be able to give such a generous amount to charity as part of her award is the most valuable part of receiving the LOV Award.
“Everything in life for me starts with the opportunity to get the right education, so I think that’s really important to ensure we enable girls that might not have the chance to go to school and as a result are not be able to grow as a person or in their career. I think that’s very, very important that we ensure we enable them.”
Lisa Melsted develops culture strategies and content for NetApp’s Employee Engagement team. A tech industry veteran with more than 15 years’ experience in various communications and marketing roles, she holds Master’s degrees in Creative Non-Fiction from Emerson College and English from the University of Iowa. She has also written articles about technology for publications such as Forbes BrandVoice and TechPageOne.