10 Questions with a Director of Operations

10 Questions with a Director of Operations

Cat Pham is the director of operations for consumer solutions in Western Digital’s Flash Business Unit. She’s a well-traveled Bay Area native who enjoys cooking different ethnic foods and volunteering her time at church and with a nonprofit organization that services homeless youth in Silicon Valley. Her 3-year-old daughter also keeps her on her toes as she cycles through being every Disney princess.    

What does a director of operations do? 

I am responsible for creative design, production, and program management. I am also responsible for all things related to executing and delivering consumer product launches, sustaining activities, and campaigns. 

What do you need to get your day started right?

My 3-year-old daughter’s cooperation when getting her ready for preschool.

What’s the most stressful part of your day?

Any time when I can’t help people fast enough. Arguably, the most important thing I do is to pave a clear path for our team to get their jobs done. The faster I can clear obstacles, the more successful the team can be. 

WFH or in office?

Hybrid. I appreciate the flexibility. I love interacting with people in person, but I also love wearing stretchy lounge pants on days I work at home. 

What’s your favorite item on your desk?

My plants that I’ve surprisingly kept alive.

What’s your secret productivity hack?

Whenever possible, I try to complete my action item immediately. Otherwise, I’ll add it to my list of to-dos, and it may get shuffled around when I prioritize my workload. 

If you were to describe your leadership as a genre of movie, what genre would it be? 

Adventure. I view everything I work on as a journey. I’m often faced with exploring things that I haven’t done before or figuring out who I should be doing it with.  

If you could work in any other role at WD, what role would you choose? Why?

The food catering staff. I like to feed people.

What do you wish you would have known at the beginning of your career?

You need to be your own advocate. 

Are there any guiding principles or mantras that you live by?

Leave things better off than when you found them. 

Artwork by Anqi Qiao