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In Their Own Words: Winter 2019 LOV Honorable Mentions

Lisa Melsted

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, here to read about EMEA Winner Susi Martinez Bouza and here to reach about APAC Winner Tim Kleingeld.

Alice Ward[/caption] Alice Ward, Sr. Manager IT Solutions Delivery – Americas LOV Honorable Mention

Alice Ward is a Senior Manager in the IT Department in NetApp’s Sunnyvale office. Alice’s nomination was supported by numerous members of her team who praised her management style and her ability to keep projects and upgrades on course. Alice’s team appreciates her transparency and how she looks out for team, often making sure they are fed when projects go late into the evening or taking the time to understand the personal concerns of individuals on the team. Alice’s nomination also mentioned her community involvement as a member of NetApp’s WIT organization and as a board member of a local charter school.

Here are some excerpts from her nomination:

“Alice successfully manages a large team of IT developers across many technical areas. Alice leads her team by example. She is always calm and respectful no matter how pressurized the situation. She Is an excellent listener and ensures that everyone has an opportunity to express their ideas.  She understands the issues and leads to the team to a consensus and compromise by focusing on delivering the required business capability in the best technical approach that is feasible given the financial and time constraints.”

“One of her direct reports describes Alice as ‘the most inspirational, motivated manager I have ever seen.’  Alice always has a passion for helping others, motivating teams and providing resources for better solutions.”

“At the business level, Alice is very transparent and honest in describing the business ramifications of alternative technical approaches.  She takes the time to assess project risks and alternatives, then works with the business to select the best strategies and solutions to deliver new solutions.  Her approach builds a partnership mindset between the business and technical team that ensures a good working environment for her team.”

Here’s what Alice had to say about her LOV Honorable Mention:

How long have you been at NetApp and what’s your day to day role here?

I’ve been at NetApp for six years and I’m a Solution Delivery Manager in IT. The teams that I’ve worked with are supporting and enhancing customer service applications. Currently I’m focused on our SAP CRM and some of our remote support tools that process ASAP messages and provide and facilitate customer core files and other use cases where we are helping customers solve their problems.

I’ve also worked in previous roles mostly on the NetApp support site. My team was enhancing and supporting the application and making improvements, sometimes some major re-designs and we implement the EDO chatbot and some other technical pages.

What did if feel like when you heard you had received an LOV Award Honorable Mention?

 I was very surprised and proud. I really feel that it’s never one person, it’s the team that does these things. Although I appreciate the recognition, I would not say that I alone deserve it. I think my teammates and my staff are great, and they make me look good!

How do you try to live the NetApp values on a daily basis?

My basic operating tenets are to be respectful of everyone and try to understand where they’re coming from. I think another important thing it’s wearing your NetApp hat as opposed to your IT hat or the hat of your organization—trying to look at the bigger pictures of what’s the best for NetApp and for NetApp’s customers.

There’s going to be conflicts and times when people just plain don’t agree, and the key is to sit down and talk through it and find the middle ground. And sometimes you just have to decide and agree that it is what it is. It’s really just about creating a space for open dialogue and understanding one another’s point of view. And then sometimes, it’s reminding people that everybody has their perspective and it’s influenced by what organization you work in or what you’re trying to accomplish short term. But we’re all probably NetApp stockholders, so what would you want to tell a senior exec or someone buying NetApp stock about how we resolved this issue—what would be the right thing with the greater good in mind?

How does it feel to be recognized by your peers for what you do?

It’s very exciting and humbling. I’m still not sure I deserve it because I feel like it’s a team thing and the people around you make a big difference in how effective you can be, so I would definitely share the recognition.

What’s your favorite thing about NetApp’s culture?

There are probably two things. One, as I’ve already expressed, is respect for all and for everybody as individuals. And then I think as a manager, having the ability to make judgments about how you lead and work with your team. Having a lot of liberty in that is a treat for me; I have had other places where I’ve worked that hasn’t been the case. I find that here I’m able to do the best to accomplish more because I can apply my own judgment and my own knowledge and relationship with that person to help them either address their problems or help them become more effective. I have a lot of tools and freedom in that.   Saravana Kumar[/caption] Saravana Kumar, MTS, QA – APAC LOV Honorable Mention

Based out of NetApp Bangalore, Saravana Kumar works with the QA team. Saravana’s nominators mentioned his approachable nature as his leadership on a large QA project, as well as his ability to remove obstacles when necessary.

“Because of his leadership, continuous guidance and support, the QA team was able to successfully finish seven milestones. This is an ongoing activity and his guidance will keep the team moving ahead in right direction.”

​“When someone approaches Saravana for any issue, Saravana has either a solution for it or provides  proper guidance, which can help in getting the issue resolved. He takes care of every team member properly and is always ready to guide and help.”

“If anyone has any technical or non-technical doubt then he can easily discuss these things without hesitation with Saravana at any time, and Saravana explains that at his level best without judging the person.”

Saravana had this to say about his LOV Honorable Mention:

How long have you been at NetApp and what is your day to day role here?

I have been associated with NetApp for almost sic years (2011 - 2015, between one year gap 2017 - till date).

Presently, I’m leading CBS Catalog QA and enabling the team to deliver the product with high quality by providing all technical aspects.

 What did it feel like to hear that you’d received an LOV Honorable Mention?

I was flying the moment I got the mail! I’m happy to be helpful to the team and was excited.

 How do you try to live the NetApp values on a daily basis?

Interacting with all stakeholders by representing as a lead for getting necessary approvals (Leadership) and also enabling QA to meet all deliverables by unblocking the team (Teamwork) and also proving all technical aspects (Get things done).

 How does it feel to be recognized by your peers for what you do?

 I’m really happy to be part of this team because of our leaders and their direction.

What’s your favorite thing about NetApp’s culture?

NetApp is very transparent with employees, and also the work culture is very impressive.

Jane Thompson[/caption] Jane Thompson, Director, Demand Centre Marketing EMEA & APAC – EMEA LOV Honorable Mention

Jane Thompson is based in the UK and is responsible for demand marketing in EMEA and APAC. Jane’s nominators praised her in particular for her ability to get things done and advance projects. She also received kudos for her ability to create simple processes that are repeatable and scalable, rather than being one-off solutions. In addition, she’s always willing to help outside of her immediate team to provide guidance for the entire EMEA marketing team.

Here’s what Jane’s nominators had to say:

“She's not only leading her own team, she's providing guidance and leadership to her peers and anyone within the EMEA Marketing organization. She is a role model for leadership. Always showing a great attitude and a willingness to help!”

“She's getting involved whenever her help and expertise is needed. Still, she seems to have all information on top of her head and asks and answers questions without a second hesitation. Even when she's traveling, which happens a lot, she is always reachable and will continue giving her all to push projects further.”

“Jane is very result-driven and she's relentless when it comes to advancing and finishing projects, even if the obstacles seem insurmountable. She keeps ploughing through without hesitation, finding new ways to tackle said obstacles and to getting to the result expected.”

In her own words, Jane describes what it’s like to receive the EMEA LOV Honorable Mention:

How long have you been at NetApp and what is your day to day role here?

I joined NetApp with the SolidFire Acquisition – this was nearly three years ago.  A lot has changed since then. I’m now heading up a really exciting part of NetApp’s Marketing transformation strategy by setting up and running a Marketing Demand Center of Excellence for EMEA and APAC.

 What did it feel like to hear that you’d received an LOV Honorable Mention?

 It was honestly a “WOW” moment. I felt very honored and humbled that someone had nominated me. 

How do you try to live the NetApp values on a daily basis?

 I have always lived by the principle of ‘treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.’ This aligns perfectly into NetApp’s values of trust and integrity, and I am constantly striving for optimization, simplification and, ultimately, just getting things done.  I like to lead by example, push the boundaries with new ideas and strategies and inspire people to do the same.

How does it feel to be recognized by your peers for what you do?

Really good. We all work so hard that it is so nice to know that people took the time to do this and that they appreciate the efforts.   

What’s your favorite thing about NetApp’s culture?

We are a corporate organization with the heart of a start-up. We encourage and empower our teams to strive for the best for our customers, partners and employees. 

Lisa Melsted

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.

View all Posts by Lisa Melsted

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