Women in Leadership 2: Ivonne Valdes

Ivonne Valdes is a Transformational Global sales leader with more than 30 years of expertise in Mission Critical Datacenter, Enterprise and Cloud. Her drive to keep learning helps her passionately identify market opportunities and develop precision GTM strategies to transform and accelerate business. She is currently in charge of the company’s top segment—with customers such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple.

With a career spanning 35 years, you have amassed a wealth of experience in the technology sector. Tell us about your journey so far, some of the biggest challenges and the most rewarding parts.

I have always approached life as a journey of development and growth versus a destination. My biggest challenge was also my breakthrough. I learned early in my career that having a life plan is key and to read between the lines. When I moved to Silicon Valley in the early 80’s I became fascinated with technology and the semiconductor industry. I decided to work in this industry. Well, one slight challenge, all the job postings required an engineering degree and I had a clinical psychology degree. Back in the day, jobs were posted in the newspaper. There was a product management position with a leading semiconductor company. The key responsibilities were around customer management, order scheduling, communication etc. nothing that truly required an engineering degree in my humble opinion (remember read between the lines). However, I figured I needed to learn their business, to get considered. I enlisted my neighbor to tutor me on semiconductor technologies, trends etc. In parallel, I called the recruiter for 40 days until I got him to agree to get me in for an interview. The rest is history. I got the job!

Diversity and inclusion is a prevalent topic in companies and in conferences. Do you think women have enough opportunities and awareness about the various options that our industry presents to them?

I believe there is a cornucopia of opportunities. However, the only way to know is to educate yourself on what is happening in the market, go network, attend conferences and ask questions. Don’t just focus on your cu rrent position, give yourself the permission to invest 30 minutes a week to read or network. I say give yourself permission because we are all busy, but you need to make time for your own personal development. It’s your career so OWN IT! Be visible, interested and present.

You recently won the first D&I Inclusion Champion Award by iMasons. Can you talk about your involvement with iMasons and what this recognition means to you?

I have the pleasure of serving as chair of the Infrastructure Masons Hispanic/LatinX members group, and recruited my colleague and friend Claudia Massey, Vice President Global Business Operations, to be vice chair. Our goal is to create a collaborative ecosystem within the Hispanic community to drive digital infrastructure awareness. 

We have five simple straightforward objectives:

  • Create a community of DC professionals, educational institutions
  • and employers
  • Drive awareness, collaboration and link people to opportunities
  • Partner with local schools
  • Align with industry leaders
  • Attract, retain and develop the next generation of infrastructure leaders

iMasons is comprised of individuals who truly want to make a difference in the world. Diversity and inclusion are not just words, they are part of our core. We are tirelessly working to recruit, retain and develop the next group of digital leaders.

Valdes with her family

With regards to the award, I am truly humbled and honored to have been nominated by my peers and selected by iMasons. That evening will be imprinted in my memory forever. It was very emotional and moving for myself and my family. As Verna Myers says, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” At Infrastructure Masons, we are all DANCING!

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