Technology is critical to helping people stay connected in a time when we are asked to keep social isolation. The better IT teams can make this transition successful, the more they can help employees feel empowered. Here are 8 tips from our IT team to yours.

As a precaution to the recent novel coronavirus, more and more companies and governments are either encouraging or have made work-from-home mandatory. IT teams are tasked with leading this transition across data systems, mobile computing devices, applications and new security challenges so employees can feel both connected and productive at home (both are not straightforward tasks).

We’ve gathered a few tips from our own IT team to help your workforce’s transition be more successful. Here are the top eight:

1) Don’t Wait – Start Today (Literally, Right Now)

Most companies today already have part of their workforce working from home, but it’s an entirely different scenario when hundreds, or thousands, of people are connecting remotely to virtual systems at the same time. If your company is still not encouraging working from home, or only partially, use the time now to prepare for the potential – a situation where most employees will need to access applications and data securely from remote locations. Being a step ahead with your data infrastructure, policies and documentation, will help ensure a smooth transition for your business at a critical time.

2) Test It Till You Break It

Test your systems to ensure performance, reliability and scalability. Test application and hardware infrastructure at maximum load; understand how many concurrent connections your VPN can support; send your entire IT team to work from home. Find out where the remote operations gaps are. It’s far better to see what breaks in a test scenario than when your company’s employees depend on it. So, learn in advance where the weak points are and fix them now.

3) Streamline the Muddle of Communication and Security Tools

There is a plethora of virtual meetings, chat, documentation, project and other management tools out there, and likely people are using more than one in your company today (whether authorized or not). This is the time to streamline the official tools employees should be using, ensuring these services can scale (you may need to review your SaaS contracts) and put documentation in place (accessible in a shared repository) on how to install and use them.

4) Get Ready to Monitor With 24/7 Support

With any new situation you’ll need to closely monitor infrastructure to be able to respond to any shortfalls in real time. With employees using an all new technology setup, and many potentially veering from regular daytime working hours (think of those with children at home who will catch up on work late at night), expect to need to provide more IT support than usual, and at different hours of the day.

5) Establish Policies for Laptops, Services, and Peripherals

You’ll need to establish policies for how your company can support employees at home with everything from internet services, to computing devices, or peripherals. Some questions you should explore:

  • How many employees will require a laptop to work from home? How many can you provision?
  • Will the company pay for internet or phone services?
  • What if someone does not have internet services or needs to upgrade speed?
  • What’s the policy on ordering peripherals such as keyboards, monitors, headphone sets, etc.?

6) Create Practical Documentation (and Accessibility)

The more you can support and enable the remote workforce to use the proper tools, the more you can impact the productivity and morale of the business. Prepare with the right documentation to enable everyone to work better – both end users at home and your IT team. Make sure to have a clear place where employees can find how-to guides on installing all the applications and accessibility tools they need. Make sure you have documentation and account accessibility for all IT systems should a core team member be unavailable.

7) Automate. Repeat.

Now is the time to explore what else can be automated in your IT workflows, particularly when it comes to IT tickets and support questions. You’ll be seeing a lot of similar support questions, and tools like AI-enabled chatbots have come a long way to ease the pressure off your team members for commonly asked questions. With working from home possibly an ongoing situation, IT may need to support the business in new channels and undertakings. Anything that can be automated will allow your team to focus on more complex tasks.

8) Set Up a Better Home Office, Together

work from home

Whether it’s tips on how to set up a dedicated work space, to desk ergonomics, working from family-shared spaces, or how to set structured breaks to unplug– you’ll need to help your workforce feel productive and connected from home. Using multiple ways of communication – guides, chats, shared meetings – can not only help people find ways to be more efficient, but also set an example of how to stay better connected in a virtual environment. You can offer a virtual help desk to make communication feel personal, create online ‘rooms’ for water cooler chats, and simply get creative.

Technology is critical to helping people stay connected in a time where we are asked to keep social isolation. These abrupt changes are challenging for both IT infrastructure and employee morale. The better IT teams can make this transition successful the more they can help the workforce feel empowered, find new ways to bond and keep spirits up. We’d like to thank our IT teams for their hard work, innovation and patience in navigating us through our transition! No wonder you’re an award-winning team.

To our readers, we hope you stay healthy, communicate often, and keep washing your hands!

Our One-Question Work From Home Survey

Thanks to the strength of our enterprise product portfolio, Western Digital recently received two important recognitions from the data infrastructure industry! The first honor was being named the categorical Leader in Enterprise HDDs in IT Brand Pulse’s annual Brand Leader Survey for Storage vendors.  In addition, we were selected as one of the winners of Storage magazine and SearchStorage 2019 Products of the Year awards.

We’d like to share a few motivations behind what made our enterprise product portfolio stand out.

Spinning Drives Spin Heads – A Clean Sweep in Enterprise HDDs

When it comes to enterprise data, we’ve been continuously innovating in the areas of areal density and the industry’s highest capacity points – delivering more value and TCO at scale to our customers. Our recent announcements of 18TB CMR and 20TB SMR HDDs are proof points. This innovation helped us be voted the Leader in Enterprise HDDs by IT Brand Pulse.

IT Brand Pulse

Who is IT Brand Pulse, you might wonder? It is a global source for research, data and analysis about data center infrastructure. IT Brand Pulse carried out their annual “Brand Leader Survey for Storage”, which was voted by independent IT professionals. Once the results were tallied, Western Digital won across the board for Enterprise HDDs. These votes further validated our brand’s trust and reputation in the broader data infrastructure industry.

Our Composable Infrastructure Using NVMe-oF™ Stands Alone

In addition to the previous brand leadership survey results, we also celebrated a win for OpenFlex! This is our NVMe-oF platform that enables enterprise customers to disaggregate storage, networking, and compute into shareable resource pools. Specifically, the OpenFlex F3100 Series Fabric Device was named as a winner in the Storage magazine and SearchStorage 2019 Products of the Year awards. The F3100 was a “Silver Winner” in the Hyper-converged and Composable Infrastructures category, and the lone NVMe-oF product honored among this year’s award recipients.

The judges of the award pointed out “how critical NVMe-oF will be to future composable infrastructure designs,” and highlighted the strong performance and density of the platform. These features are combined with the Open Composability API, an open-standards-based, scalable, and intuitive API to improve the adoption of composable infrastructure. Used together, OpenFlex can help IT Managers reduce TCO by up to 40 percent1 when compared to standard hyper-converged infrastructure.

“Western Digital is fully committed to driving ecosystem-wide support and adoption of open composable infrastructure, and OpenFlex is the NVMe-oF foundational building block to help enterprises optimize their data storage environments,” said Kurt Chan, vice president and general manager, Data Center Platforms at Western Digital. “It’s a great honor to have OpenFlex among this year’s Products of the Year award winners as it further validates our innovation and efforts to enable open, next-generation IT infrastructures.”

Building the Backbone of Enterprise Data Infrastructure

It’s great to be recognized for our leadership in storing the world’s data through Enterprise HDDs and our NVMe-oF composable infrastructure platform. But, there’s even more to come from our portfolio, especially when it comes to tiered storage. We’ll continue to develop and execute across the data technology stack – from NAND components to devices to servers and platforms – to enable enterprise data to unlock even more value.

See More Western Digital Innovation:

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  1. Based on internal estimates of utilization efficiencies and component pricing as of July 2018

The way in which we are interacting with the world is changing. Is technology or are humans leading the way?

You don’t need a crystal to foresee the hype around the ‘Edge.’ There is certainly no buzz lacking. Whether it’s data centers in a box, autonomous vehicles, contextual location services or the knight in shining armor that will revitalize commercial real estate[1] – the edge may be foggy, but it’s unquestionably hot!

The pundits seem to agree. Gartner predicts that 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud by 2025 (in comparison to just 10% today).[2] Other industry leaders say edge computing will overtake cloud computing in the next five years.[3] Yet the story is not just about new applications, it’s also about how we interact.

The Way in Which we are Interacting with the World is Changing

Already today, one in four American adultsowns a smart speaker[4] while many mobile users employ voice search on mobile devices.[5] Edge technology aside, what’s interesting about voice search is the fact that how we interact with it is quite different to how we interact using a keyboard – we search differently.

Using traditional search on a desktop or mobile device, we learned to limit our search to concise words that would (hopefully) deliver the best search results. In other words, we adapted our way of interacting to fit how the algorithms of search engines work. With voice-based search, we now engage with smart devices using human-like, conversational language.[6]  Technology has, in fact, adapted to us.

This is the reality of the Edge. Till today we were adapting to technology, now technology is evolving to catch up to us. People, and our behavior, are going to be the driving force to accelerate the Edge’s adoption.

How Machines Interact With Us ⁠— What’s Next?

Most of these advancements have been made possible through machine learning and AI, which enable machines to learn from previous interactions, expand vocabulary, and adapt more and more to human habits and dialogue expectations.

So what’s next? For one thing, how we perceive the world may be changing with VR and AR. With the Edge potentially offloading processing from VR devices, 5G’s ultra-fast wireless connectivity and faster and denser embedded storage options, we could see a plethora of light-weight VR devices of all kinds as well as collaborative AR/VR experiences.

What we’ll also see are different ways of levaraging hand gestures or eye movement tracking. These will allow us to explore an entire new dimension of user interfaces and our ways of interacting will likely continue to push further away from the screen.

All hype aside, latency and bandwidth are genuine constraints for real-time experiences or information systems. The Edge’s benefits are undeniable, and its rise inevitable. We’ve already seen how machines can interact better with fast data in smart manufacturing, health applications, IoT and analytics. Now it’s a question of how they will interact with us.

Is this a good thing that machines are adapting to us? Will it change how humans behave? Let us know in the comments below or share your thoughts on Twitter.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain blog and other posts on this website may contain forward-looking statements, including statements relating to expectations for our product portfolio, the market for our products, product development efforts, and the capacities, capabilities and applications of our products. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, including development challenges or delays, supply chain and logistics issues, changes in markets, demand, global economic conditions and other risks and uncertainties listed in Western Digital Corporation’s most recent quarterly and annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to which your attention is directed. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.









All things data with news and insights on systems and technology that help you capture, preserve, access and transform your data.

At Western Digital, we’re helping make STEAM dreams come true for the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians by partnering with the San Jose Sharks Foundation and Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT). RAFT is a Bay Area-based non-profit that provides teachers with fun and engaging supplemental lesson plans for their students, as well as activity kits, office supplies, and arts and crafts materials.

Western Digital has provided financial support for RAFT’s programs since 2009, so the prospect of helping this great non-profit partner expand their reach and scale was exciting! Together with the Sharks Foundation, a pledge of $100,000 was made to help RAFT build their “Pop-Up Model” van. You can think of it as part-classroom and part science lab on wheels! I was proud to help announce the grant at a local volunteer event, hosted by RAFT. The activity brought together more than 100 volunteers to assemble STEAM project kits for Bay Area students. Take a look at what we accomplished together in just one day!

What We Built in the STEAM Kits

Rows upon rows of volunteers lined up to put together STEAM kits for students. The twist was that these kits, comprised of simple materials that come together to help teach complex concepts, were hockey-themed! One example was the “Car on a Roll” kit which helps K-12 students learn about the concepts of motion, friction, gravity, momentum, and potential vs. kinetic energy; these physics concepts can all be found in a hockey game!  Another kit called the “Glove-a-Phone” is designed to help K-8 learners understand sound, vibration and music — things we hear when the crowd roars for a Sharks goal!

Taking STEAM Kits on a Bay Area Road Trip

The $100,000 Community Assist Grant will be used to take this STEAM show on the road! RAFT will use the funds to build a “Pop-Up Model” van, which will be retrofitted and completed by summer 2020. The van will increase RAFT’s reach and visibility across the Bay Area, including Santa Clara, San Mateo, Monterey, and Alameda counties. Activity kits, curriculum, and training are all planned to be provided for free to teachers and students at applicable Title 1 schools and to extended learning providers throughout the region. By bringing STEAM education into the community, more educators will have access to learning materials that are creative, convenient, and engaging.

Making a Difference in the Bay Area and Beyond

By partnering with the San Jose Sharks Foundation, we’re making a difference in our community. Currently, RAFT serves 8,000 educators and anticipates its “Pop-Up Model” project will reach an additional 250 teachers and serve 2,500 students within the first year. I’m looking forward to the positive impact that our contributions will have in helping students explore their academic dreams!

Learn More:

Milissa leads the Global Giving & Doing programs for Western Digital including, Scholarships and Grants, and Disaster Relief.

Today we’re celebrating! First, our team was named a winner of the CIO 100 award, recognizing the innovative ways in which we use IT to deliver business value. Second, Western Digital’s CIO, Steve Phillpott, has been selected as one of 11 new members of the CIO Hall of Fame, acknowledged for his significant accomplishments as a senior technology leader.

 Suraj Rao, JuneAn Lanigan, and Steve Phillpott - CIO 100 Awards
Suraj Rao, JuneAn Lanigan, and Steve Phillpott

What have we done to deserve these honors? Let me share some insight into how we built our cutting-edge Big Data Analytics Platform.

100 Trillion Data Points, Every Day

Western Digital is celebrating 50 years of innovation this year. We have a rich heritage of ingenuity, operational excellence, and research and development (R&D) capabilities. Today, we continue to transform our company to address the unabated growth of data through technologies, solutions and IP. Yet to do this successfully we needed to rethink what we do with our data, how we approach analytics, and build a data strategy.

In 2014, we established the Big Data Analytics Platform (BDAP), with the goal of helping the company future-proof its infrastructure and take advantage of big-data and fast-data workloads, machine learning modeling and in-stream model inference for more value-add predictive and prescriptive analytics across its global sites.

We’ve had a lot of learnings along our journey. Today,the Big Data Analytics Platform has scaled to consume 100 trillion data points daily for access by 3,000 daily users, 320K daily queries, and 10+PB accessible data across 17+ global manufacturing and engineering sites.

The Big Data Analytics Platform

Our Big Data Analytics Platform can provide near real-time IIoT data streaming at our factories, data transformation and aggregation, fast data search, containers for hosting ML application development, and tiered data storage.

Using cloud native technologies and DevOps best practices, BDAP provides the infrastructure (compute, storage, network), IT services, governance and data quality assurance capabilities necessary to execute advanced analytics and AI/ML use cases in both development (experiments) and production (scaled out execution) environments.

Engineers and data scientists can develop advanced analytics use cases in a manner of days vs. months.

Furthermore, by supporting a variety of workloads, including ML modeling and in-stream model inference for more value-add predictive and prescriptive analytics, it allows engineers and data scientists to develop advanced analytics use cases and robust analytics platforms in a manner of days vs. months.

When IT Makes a Business Impact

IT can play a critical role in a company’s time-to-value processes.  By aggregating, governing and leveraging the power of our data we could enable different stakeholders with rapid learning cycles that can validate both business value and technology feasibility, while allowing the company to quickly develop and execute production-level applications.

Furthermore, the 30+ related business projects that leverage our Big Data Analytics Platform have contributed to an aggregated savings of $200M+, increased productivity and overall faster time-to-market. Making a significant impact on the bottom line.

Data is an imperative business tool that can make a difference, if you know how to use it. I’m delighted that we have been recognized for the impact of the Big Data Analytics Platform in transforming our business. Congratulations to the entire IT team and to Steve. Every day we prove that data makes possible.

Learn more about our Big Data Analytics Platform here

JuneAn Lanigan is Global Head of Enterprise Data Management at Western Digital, with over 25 years leading business and IT teams.

We see India as a land of innovation, with a growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs and tech-savvy users. At the same time, the country is also a data powerhouse, consuming and generating massive data at scale. That presents an intriguing opportunity to us as a leading data technology and infrastructure company. So, we’re investing heavily in our business operations, R&D, and workforce in the country.

To dive in further, two of our top leaders from India sat down with CNBC-TV18, a leading business news channel, to talk about our partnership with the Government of India, guidance on data center “parks”, technology developments, and more. Here’s a look at the top takeaways from their interview.

Note: You can watch the full, five-minute interview here.

Supria Dhanda – Vice President & Country Manager, India

Supria Dhanda, VP and Country Manager of India at Western Digital, poses for a photo.

In her remarks, Supria went into detail on the Data Innovation Bazaar 2020, a digital platform that we helped launch to address national issues in India through the use of data. We had the help of several partners to launch the contest, including from the Government of India: Startup India, Invest India, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and TiEDelhi.

It’s the second year that we’ve had the Data Innovation Bazaar, following our 2019 edition. Last year, Supria noted that we saw over 500 submissions from university students and early stage startups from across India. Their ideas applied to a wide range of social challenges, including affordable healthcare, equitable education, and sustainable transportation. From these submissions, 40 teams were chosen and invited to present their ideas in a bazaar-style format to a panel of experts from academia and industry. Upon further evaluation, the top-3 teams were awarded with cash prizes. The top-10 teams were invited to attend a three-day innovation boot camp with our leadership team at our Bengaluru campus. We profiled seven of these winning teams on our blog last year.

This year, we’re scaling up the program. Specifically, Supria pointed out the newly added “Financial Inclusion” category, to provide sustainable digital services that leverage emerging technologies and data services. In addition, a special prize will be awarded to the top entries from entrepreneurs that happen to be women. Doing so supports diversity and inclusion within the entrepreneur ecosystem in India.

Guruswamy Ganesh – Senior Vice President, Data Storage Products Group

Guruswamy Ganesh, Senior Vice President, Data Storage Products Group at Western Digital, poses for a photo.

Ganesh started out by talking about the move towards data localization in India. The national government is looking to develop a series of “data center parks”, which are multi-tenant, open access data centers. For hyperscalers and cloud providers, data center parks could offer an ecosystem with benefits in cost, reliability, scalability, sustainability, and power. Our role as a neutral, third-party is to guide how these data centers can be built with a robust infrastructure.

These comments led Ganesh to describe the strong investments that we have made in the country. We spend around $200 million per year on research and development in India. Whether research into 112-layer 3D NAND or other types of data technology, we’re always looking at new ways to help people better move their data. Along with this R&D spending, we employ around 2,700 workers in India, which is one of our largest branches outside of the United States.

Ganesh also highlighted a few recent announcements in our SanDisk portfolio. One major launch was our 1TB microSD card. He mentioned that during his early years as an engineer, it was not uncommon for an entire data center to have 1TB in capacity. Now that data is stored in a device the size of a human thumb nail! In addition, we added a new product to our iXpand family – a wireless charger that can automatically backup your photos, videos, and files. Our initial launch in Japan has been well-received, and we have ongoing plans to launch the product in India. Finally, we introduced a dual-drive USB, which makes it easier to move your data between a USB Type-C mobile phone, tablet, or laptop and USB Type-A computer.

Our Future Data Technology in India

We’re all in for India. Our R&D spending consistently tops $200 million per year in the country, with no current plans to slow down. Through university outreach, our recruiting teams are bringing onboard the next generation of scientists, technologists, and innovators. And our partnership with the Government of India will continue to build out and explore new areas of data collaboration. We’re excited to help realize the potential of data in India, and will continue to support growth in the country.

Here’s the Latest from Western Digital in India:

Smart Fleet Management Drives Safety and Reduces Liabilities

We’ve all encountered the distracted driver on the road, either driving too slowly or swinging their car between two lanes, as if they can’t make a decision on where to go. It’s a recurring safety issue we all run into on a daily basis. The use of smart phones has been a big contributor to this in the last couple of years, to a point that insurance companies are now focusing their efforts on monitoring the drivers instead of the vehicles.

Any organization that manages a fleet of commercial vehicles is challenged to deal with reducing the company’s liability and increasing the public safety while managing a growing number of vehicles. It’s impossible to be connected with your drivers at all times without the right infrastructure. It’s no surprise that fleet managers turn to smarter ways of leveraging video and IoT data to monitor their drivers and implement proactive training.

Did We Get the Video?

Typically, that’s the first question asked when something goes wrong on the road. In the fleet management industry, if you don’t get the video you’ve got nothing. And if an accident happens, how quickly can you find the right frame amid the hours of footage? Do you know what camera gives you the best quality and angle? An ideal solution doesn’t just capture the video but captures the event at the best resolution, in suitable light conditions and with additional data that can provide additional valuable information about the event.

The Toolbox of Today – AI, Analytics and IoT

Technology of transportation concept. Communication network.

As accidents can be a complex combination of multiple events, the optimal approach allows for the correlation of video data with IoT data (e.g. speed of the car, location and G-Force indicators of aggressive driving maneuvers) to provide fleet managers with insights and learnings such as identifying whether a specific driver is repeatedly speeding or watching his phone. This type of analytics happens in the data center and leverages historical data to reveal trends or correlate new findings. This allows fleet managers to proactively improve driving behavior through training or intervene faster when bad behavior is identified.

Integrated Intelligence

Building a digital system to deliver such intelligent platforms requires a sophisticated architecture of hardware and software and a deep understanding of analytics across those components.

School bus driver checking multiple aspects of the bus before route.

Today, transportation providers operating fleets of all types and sizes rely on AngelTrax technologies, a Western Digital partner providing an integrated solution to help fleet managers to increase public safety, promote safe driving practices, reduce liability and monitor vehicle movements, but most of all—to get the video. 

With the Vulcan Series CoPilot System by AngelTrax, fleet clients capture interior and exterior views from the windshield plus up to five additional views. The AngelTrax Fleet solution delivers direct coaching to drivers, harnesses powerful data into relevant reports for fleet directors and expedites actionable video clips for visual confirmation of events on the road.

The School Bus Gets Smart

Here are a couple of great examples of how strategic a camera architecture can be in just one vehicle in a fleet. AngelTrax offers a full lineup of HD and IP cameras that were developed for optimal camera coverage for any vehicle type, including a school bus. School bus clients monitor student behavior even in high-back seats with the wide angle HD1700V low profile camera, as seen in the example below.

Diagram of AngelTrax smart video system.

Transit clients strategically place four Parallax cameras inside the bus for an unparalleled 360-degree interior view. With patent-pending technology, each Parallax IP camera captures an extremely wide, 210-degree field of view.

Diagram of AngelTrax smart video system.

In addition to reliable video capture and storage, AngelTrax equips transportation directors with live view, live tracking, driver scoring, smart reports and fleet management tools to increase safety and reduce liability for all types of fleets.

Reliable Storage – Why AngelTrax Depends on Western Digital

AngelTrax has been defining the mobile surveillance industry for 20 years, and from day one, the goal has been to design and deliver the best and most reliable mobile surveillance systems available. Yet one problem has plagued every mobile video surveillance manufacturer over the years: storage reliability.

AngelTrax introduced the Vulcan Series, a comprehensive product line of mobile network video recorders (MNVRs) and mobile digital video recorders (MDVRs) to deliver extreme recording reliability to ensure data is always captured and protected.

AngelTrax chose to partner with us for their integrated solutions as they required a hard drive solution that can store multiple camera channels of video in rugged mobile environments (AngelTrax Vulcan Series). WD Purple™ SD cards are used in Vulcan Series recording units for backup storage, and the WD Purple 3.5-inch drive provides reliable storage in the 16-channel Vulcan Series V16-35 MDVR (coming soon). Built for always-on, high-definition security systems, with a supported workload rate of up to 180 TB/yr[1] and support for up to 64 cameras, our WD Purple drives are optimized for surveillance systems. 

What does it mean to be surveillance-optimized? To start it means the drive has been designed and tested specifically for the needs of the surveillance industry, which are very different than drives created for desktop, NAS or gaming – here you can find out more. 


Helpful Links:

Western Digital

WD Purple:

Data and Surveillance:

AngelTrax Technologies




Stop arm violation cameras:

AngelTrax Fleet:

[1] Workload Rate is defined as the amount of user data transferred to or from the hard drive. Annualized workload rate = TB transferred ✕ (8760 / recorded power-on hours). Workload Rate will vary depending on your hardware and software components and configurations.

Stefaan is sr. director of solutions marketing and strategic alliances at WDC, with 15+ yrs in the data storage and backup industry.

Doing good for the world is not always a straightforward task. Even virtuous projects can be met with obstacles and setbacks. Here’s how the Tyco Cloud solution of our partners at Johnson Controls helped a leading West Coast recycling company to better monitor their recycling donation stations so they can decrease instances of vandalism and theft, and uphold their mission to be sustainable.


Let me first introduce the aforementioned company. This is a leading family-owned recycling business, founded on the principles of protecting the environment and supporting local communities.

Through their partnerships with non-profits, schools and community groups, they recycle clothing, shoes and household textiles, providing both environmental and economic benefits.  Their recycling efforts reduce the amount of landfill waste, and they also assist in funding local programs to ensure their recycled clothing benefits people in their area communities, as well as those in third world countries.  In addition, they work with local organizations to provide recycling education to surrounding communities.

From Vandalism to Theft – The Remote Recycling Challenge

As the organization evolved into a larger company that collected recycled content from metal boxes placed throughout communities, they discovered growing issues with remote locations – mainly with vandalism and theft of donations.  The mess that would be created around donation boxes was also an issue for both the city and property owners. It even led to permitting issues within certain municipalities.

With all these challenges they realized they had to develop a larger, remote donation station that could somehow be monitored. Considering various surveillance options, it was clear NVRs (Network Video Recorder) were out of the question. That’s because the stand-alone units needed to run on as little power as possible, with just a small amount of internet bandwidth.

Outside of sustainability concerns, they wanted a security system that could act as a deterrent to graffiti and other acts of vandalism, while enabling managers to respond immediately to attempted acts of theft or donations left outside the unit.

Using Solar Panels for Self-Powered Surveillance Configuration

Before they could properly monitor their multiple donation stations, the company needed to build units that could support larger amounts of donated goods and find a solution to make them self-powered.

 The solution they came up with was to repurpose 20-foot shipping containers – cool looking and functional.   Each shipping container is equipped with solar panels, two surveillance cameras, and a cellular network to provide internet connectivity. The off-the-grid configuration works because each IP camera connects to Tyco Cloud, a remote video surveillance management system. This allows them remote management capabilities while bypassing the need for a typical onsite NVR or DVR, which would consume a lot of power.

 “We were lucky to find Tyco Cloud from the beginning,” said one of the company’s co-owners. “It’s ability to run off little power, while not using much data or bandwidth was perfect for what we needed.”  The simplicity of Tyco Cloud makes it both easy to apply and to monitor.  “It’s such a simple system to take care of and deploy.”

With dozens of stations and hundreds of cameras, it was imperative that they be able to review footage in real time, to ensure stations were kept clean.  Using Tyco Cloud, as soon as something is left outside a donation station, the company is able to dispatch drivers immediately to pick it up.  In addition, having high availability of high-resolution recordings allow proper investigation of vandalism or theft attempts. 

High Confidence in Video Data with WD Purple™

I’m happy to share that Tyco Cloud utilizes Western Digital’s WD Purple microSD™ cards on all its cloud cameras for parallel video storage.  Our WD Purple cards are designed for surveillance workloads that require continuous recording and longevity. For the customer this means reducing the frequency of card replacements.  They also support a wide operating temperature range, making them particularly suitable for outdoor installations such as these donation stations. 

WD Purple cards work together with Tyco Cloud remote cloud and on-premises storage to ensure high quality video is captured and stored reliably, even in cases where the cellular network can become disrupted. The result is high confidence in the availability of high-quality video for forensic analysis, particularly in cases of investigating vandalism or attempted thefts. 

In addition, Johnson Controls has selected WD Purple surveillance hard drives for most all of their Tyco Cloud gateway systems.  WD Purple drives deliver uncompromising video storage that can handle the extreme demands of high temperature, high write volume, and 24/7 surveillance systems. Perfect for long lasting reliable operation as a key part of the Tyco Cloud solution.  They also come in a variety of capacities so one can best fit the number of cameras and recording resolution needed.

Partnering to Deliver A World-Class Cloud-Based Security Solution

Tyco Cloud’s ease of set-up and dynamic manageability functions, coupled with our reliable video storage, both in the camera and in the gateway, enables users with fast and extremely reliable access to security video.  Together, we’re helping move security to the cloud so more organizations of all sizes can leverage video monitoring in smarter and more sustainable ways.

The Solutions Provider – Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global leader creating a safe, comfortable and sustainable world. Our 105,000 employees create intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions and integrated infrastructure that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities in 150 countries. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. We are committed to helping our customers win everywhere, every day and creating greater value for all of our stakeholders through our strategic focus on buildings. For more information, visit or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.

The Surveillance Storage Provider – Western Digital

Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive. As a leader in data infrastructure, the company is driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data. Our data-centric solutions are comprised of the Western Digital®, G-Technology™, SanDisk®, and WD® brands.  For more information, visit or follow us @westerndigital on Twitter.

Brian Mallari is a Director of Product Marketing for surveillance products at Western Digital Corporation.

As worldwide data growth continues into the zettabyte age at unprecedented rates, it also enables the creation of innovative, performance-sensitive applications that need quick and reliable access to the data using high-performing devices. Increased responsiveness and higher performance in applications translates directly to increased revenues and lower TCOs for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are looking to maximize their return on investments quickly. Moving forward, storage performance will prove to be a differentiator, providing a distinct competitive advantage to the leading adopters.

Thus, SMEs need to redesign their data infrastructure to not only cater to increasing capacity for capturing and storing more data, but also to higher performance for quickly accessing and transforming it. That’s why we’re building off our WD Gold HDDs – enterprise drives that store up to 14 TB of data. I’m excited to announce the WD Gold® Enterprise Class NVMe SSD. With WD Gold SSD, SMEs get access to an NVMe SSD that enables them to expand their storage portfolio and take on more intensive and performance-sensitive workloads.

WD Gold NVMe SSDs Evolve Enterprise Data Management

image of the WD Gold NVMe SSD 7.68TB by Western Digital

The WD Gold NVMe SSD is the performance-driver in a tiered solution with both SSDs and HDDs. Read throughput reaches up to 3,100 MiB/s and write throughput has a maximum rate of 1,800 MiB/s – up to 5X faster than SATA SSDs.1 Those speeds are made better with NVMe and lead to improved system responsiveness and productivity.

Whether using storage arrays or server-based distributed storage systems, SMEs are looking for faster storage and access to data without increasing cost. WD Gold NVMe SSDs fill this need by blending capacity and performance. These drives can store up to 7.68 TB2 and come in an industry-standard U.2/7mm form factor and PCIe Gen 3.1 x4 interface. They can serve as a drop-in replacement to your existing data center drives.

Protection Against Power Loss

Small and medium-sized enterprises are tasked with storing and securing their data around the clock. Downtime in data centers leads to loss in revenues and potential loss of trust with customers. In the event of a power outage, WD Gold NVMe SSDs protect against power loss. That way, you can work with confidence knowing that your data is being safely stored – even if your data center goes temporarily offline.

Enterprise-level data storage needs enterprise-level reliability. WD Gold NVMe SSDs are built for typical SME applications in demanding storage environments. They deliver highly reliable performance, with a maximum of 0.8 DWPD. Each drive is rated up to 2M hours MTBF with a 5-year limited warranty. That way, you can store and access your data consistently with peace of mind.

Delete Sensitive Enterprise Data

Businesses and consumers alike are more mindful when it comes to data privacy. People want to know that their data is only being shared according to their terms. WD Gold NVMe SSDs use secure erase technology to wipe sensitive data quickly and effectively.

Where to Find Your Next NVMe SSD

The WD Gold NVMe SSD will be available in early Q2 2020 for order on the official Western Digital store, our distribution partners, and e-tailers in capacities of 960 GB, 1.92 TB, 3.84 TB, and 7.68 TB.

[1] Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending upon host device, usage conditions, drive capacity, and other factors.

[2] One gigabyte (GB) is equal to 1,000MB (one billion bytes), one terabyte (TB) is equal to 1,000GB (one trillion bytes), and one petabyte (PB) is equal to 1,000 TB. Actual user capacity may be less due to operating environment.

Learn More

Suvodeep is an experienced product marketing manager driving GTM activities for enterprise data storage products.

What makes someone a leader? Does it require a lifetime of experience, education and development, or is it just something a person is born with? These questions might set off an intense conversation and elicit very complex discussions. We asked our leaders from around the world for their thoughts and opinions.

We also wanted to find out what they’re like on a weekend! Away from their critical roles at our sites around the globe, is it time for fun or to get more done? It’s important to know how our leaders challenge themselves and those around them – yet we were also curious to find out how they relax, unwind and spend their downtime.

We asked 14 women four questions about life and leadership:

  1. Define a great leader – what are some traits you think great leaders possess?
  2. What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
  3. How did you differentiate yourself to get where you are in your career?
  4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

What we learned from their answers was the importance of lifelong learning, having confidence in themselves and their teams, and to always tackle challenges and take risks. Here’s a look at what’s truly important for Western Digital’s leaders, whether they’re in a meeting or kicking off a weekend of fun.

Chavalratana “Mam” Puckdinukul – Thailand

Chavalratana Puckdinukul of Western Digital
(Chavalratana Puckdinukul, Human Resources Senior Manager, Photo by Phattrawuth Jaiharn)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

I think the traits of a great leader are integrity, active listening and leading by example.

  • Great leaders should do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Integrity in leaders refers to being honest, trustworthy, and reliable. A leader with integrity acts in accordance with their words and owns up to their mistakes, not hiding them, not blaming the team, or making excuses.
  • Great leaders should listen from their hearts. It’s not enough to simply hear what the team is saying. Listening shows engagement. Employees who feel listened to feel more connected with the company and in turn feel more engaged and motivated to do the best work for the company.
  • Great leaders lead their team by example. People are influenced by a leader’s actions. If a leader wants their team to be positive and productive, then the leader must be clear on what they want from the team, and then make sure their actions support that.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Forget about your gender, please. Unleash your talent and don’t let gender be your obstacle. Capability, ability and the right attitude do not belong to any specific gender. They belong to everyone of every gender and every nationality. No matter who you are, you can be what you want to be. Just bring out the best in yourself, know your own strengths and boldly use them to empower others.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I don’t think that I can differentiate myself.  I’m just a normal person who believes in the power of love. I love what I do and I do what I love. I love everybody that I work with. Every day of my work life is so meaningful to me. I learn new things and get to meet new people every day. I do believe that when you are doing something from your heart, it can bring you success. I’m happiest when I know the work that I’ve done is impacting someone in a positive way.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

Mostly, I stay at home with my family. It’s part of my work-life balance. I work hard on weekdays, so I spend my time with my family on weekends. If it’s a long weekend, we will go camping. Some Saturdays, we will go to a flower market, because I’m learning to plant flowers. I’m just a beginner. A few months ago, I went to the flower market every weekend, because the flowers that I bought always died. Now I have improved a lot, and they all stay alive.

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Ronit Ronen-Karpol – Israel

Ronit Ronen-Karpol of Western Digital
(Ronit Ronen-Karpol, Human Resources Senior Director & Site deputy for Israel site, Photo by Sarah Raanan)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

I believe a great leader should embrace the following skills: first I will emphasize the growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset, with a “can-do” attitude, high motivation, open communication and direct feedback. All have a comprehensive impact on our daily routines, as much as on our strategic decision-making processes.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

I really like the key insights from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, and it’s valuable when it comes to everyone’s life:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with an end in mind.
  3. Put first things first.
  4. Think win-win.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  6. Synergize.
  7. Sharpen the saw. Don’t work yourself to death.

I would personally find these very useful when it comes to a daily practice:

  • Be proactive.
  • Begin with an end in mind.
  • Put first things first.
  • Think win-win.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I have always believed we can make an impact and move the needle when it comes to people. This belief motivated me along my journey! To be part of an effective trusted team with a “can-do” attitude helps tremendously in aiming higher and achieving above and beyond. “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

Having breakfast with my family and Joy, our beloved dog, catching up with everybody on last week, and planning the week ahead. It might sound a bit boring, and yet, during the intense weeks we have, this is exactly what I’m looking forward to.

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Weili Wang – China

Weili Wang of Western Digital
(Weili Wang, Senior Manager, Process Engineering, Photo by Zhizhi Qin)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

A great leader should have confidence. They must guide, encourage and build trust within their team, so the whole team can be successful even in the face of great changes or setbacks.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Professional career planning, Work & life balance, Promoting self-qualification.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

  1. By fully knowing myself, including my personal characteristics, my technical knowledge, abilities and weaknesses;
  2. By understanding my career: a job’s content, technical skill requirements, my role and responsibilities, and the working environment;
  3. By benchmarking the gap between myself and others who were in the same role;
  4. By getting the opportunity to let top management know my career development planning;
  5. By being a good manager for myself – for time, work and life.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

I relax during the weekends. I go walking in the park, or do some simple exercises, or watch TV, or have lunch/dinner with my friends.

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Emi Hatano – Japan

Emi Hatano of Western Digital
(Emi Hatano, Public Relations Manager, Photo by TOPTIA Photography)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

In general, regardless of men or women, great leaders that I respect possess traits including a passion for their work and sincerity. They are positive and they “Think Big.”

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Achieving a prominent role comes from the mindset of always thinking about what the company goal is and how you can contribute to that goal.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I always ask myself, “What else can I do better?” Ask yourself how to lift yourself up from where you are now, and then become creative. I strongly believe if you have an ultimate goal, you have clearly defined strategies, and follow through with a good process, you will never need to doubt yourself in what you are doing.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

On every Saturday at 10 a.m., you can find me at the golf driving range. I take my younger daughter, who is 12 years old, to the range to support her dream of becoming a professional golfer.

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Lori Sundberg – United States

Lori Sundberg of Western Digital
(Lori Sundberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Photo by Nancy Rothstein)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

I am really passionate about leadership. It’s something I think a lot about and something that I personally work on all the time. There are many aspects of great leadership – so I’ll just call out a few:

  • Vision – great leaders have a vision for their team that is aligned with the company vision & mission. They help their team understand how what they do connects to the company in a meaningful way.
  • Recognize and develop talent – great leaders have a great eye for talent and they work hard to help their team members develop, learn and grow.
  • Inclusive – great leaders create an inclusive environment where people really feel they matter and can contribute. 
  • Collaborate – great leaders are also great team members. They share information, minimize personal agendas, help their colleagues succeed and put the company first.
  • Learn continuously – great leaders challenge themselves and learn continuously. They work hard to up their game and be a better leader each and every day.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

  • Develop competence in your chosen discipline or area – learn as much as you can and work to be the best you can be at whatever you choose to do.
  • Be confident – don’t hold back.  Share your ideas and raise your hand for projects and opportunities.
  • Cultivate advocates who know your work and can speak to your abilities and who will give you direct feedback about what you need to work on.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I took risks and raised my hand to work on really hard, challenging initiatives. I chose to be a change agent and established a track record of being able to get hard things done.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

Home, with my boys, having a pancake breakfast dance party. I make chocolate chip pancakes, blast pop music and require anyone wanting a pancake to bust a move. It’s a Saturday morning tradition!

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Milissa Bedell – United States

Milissa Bedell of Western Digital
(Milissa Bedell, Director, Global Giving & Doing, Photo by Renee Bowen)

Define a great leader – what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

I believe the most important trait of a great leader is authenticity. When a leader is authentic that leads to consistency. And when a leader is consistent, that allows trust to build within their organization. With a culture of trust, teams can thrive.

Great leaders lead, but don’t always expect followers. I believe the best of leaders embrace diverse ideas and perspectives and recognize the value of opinions that are different from their own. Ultimately, it is a leader’s role to make decisions, but great is the leader that can integrate ideas brought forth by others as he or she forges the best path forward.

Great leaders allow their people to shine. I am certain everyone reading this has worked in the unfortunate presence of a leader that overshadows the achievements of his or her team and felt the loss of morale it causes. Great leaders are secure enough to give credit where credit is due. 

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

There is a sign hanging in my office that says “Better an Oops Than a What If.” Fear of failure can be tremendously stagnating, so trust yourself to take smart risks! You are guaranteed to make mistakes along the way, but there are lessons learned with each one. And, ultimately, your innovative idea or unique way of looking at a problem will allow you to shine. You just need to be willing to share it!

Know that a step sideways, or even a step that feels backward, will often lead to more growth than staying the course. Gaining diverse experiences will open doors you likely never imagined.

Define your own success and take responsibility for achieving it. Only you know what success looks like for you, and it may not be what your boss, co-workers or even your significant other thinks it is. Identify the milestones you need to achieve your definition of success, and then move towards it. And, when you discover roadblocks (because you will!), know that only you can make the choices required to remove them.

How did you differentiate yourself to get where you are in your career?

I have been fortunate to have had a lot of very different opportunities as I’ve built my career. As those opportunities built one upon the next, there are four things I’ve always strived to be:

  • Passionate. I really enjoy my work, and I am not afraid to let that be noticed. 
  • Open-minded. I love seeking and incorporating different ways of thinking and problem-solving.
  • Self-aware. I work hard to know my strengths and to acknowledge the areas where I should continue to grow.
  • Hardworking. It sounds so simple. But sometimes it’s hard to work when the work is hard.  That’s when I feel most energized.

This isn’t a list of things I’ve done, but rather who I’ve tried to be. I think that’s an important point. For me, it’s about who you are rather than what you’ve done that makes people remember you and builds confidence in what you can achieve.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

I wish I had a really cool answer to this question like you’ll find me at the art studio or training for my next marathon. But in my quest for authenticity, the reality is I am probably catching up on laundry, working on a project around my house or getting the grocery shopping done. Some might see these as mundane chores, but in all honesty, I enjoy taking care of my home and family just as much as I enjoy having a career, so spending time doing these things brings a lot of balance to my life.

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Celeste Cooper – United States

Celeste Cooper of Western Digital
(Celeste Cooper, Chief of Staff, CEO Office, Photo by Nancy Rothstein)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

I believe great leaders possess the following traits. Honesty. Transparency. They have strong values. They’re ethical and purpose-driven, with high EQ. They’re accountable and supportive. They’re decisive, motivational, courageous, diplomatic, self-aware, action-driven, and inquisitive. They’re compassionate and positive in nature. And, they’re confident.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

  1. Speak up! Take ownership of your career. 
  2. Step out of your comfort zone. If it is easy, everyone would be doing it…
  3. Listen more than you talk.
  4. Always keep learning. Whether it is a new technology, a new tool or process, financial accounting practices, etc. – Always keep growing. 
  5. Be open to opportunities as they arise. They may not always align with your current goals or plan. However, sometimes things pop up that can send you on a new and even better trajectory.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I differentiated myself by being myself. Be yourself and leverage your strengths.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

It depends on the season. Skiing, hiking, diving, kiteboarding, hitting the gym or sleeping in. Everyone needs a break.

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Laurie Iwami – United States

Laurie Iwami of Western Digital
(Laurie Iwami, Senior Director, Outbound Marketing, Photo by Nancy Rothstein)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

Humility, compassion, curiosity (what my mother called “(in)‘satiable curiosity” borrowing from Rudyard Kipling), a sense of fun, listening – not just hearing – what others are saying, course-correcting respectfully, celebrating your team’s success, and recognizing that the team is ultimately what is successful. Also letting go and celebrating your (small) part when a person on your team moves up to their next great place. These traits are also pretty much what makes someone a good person, coach or parent in a non-work environment.

My boss at my first job at an ad agency is a great example. I started out as a former art history graduate student with no experience in tech. I was the first woman the small agency hired, and I had a seat at the table from the get-go. Later, I worked for him again as a stay-at-home mother doing side consulting. He was the kind of boss who built a team that was devoted to each other.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

The organization must constantly check its hiring practices and communication at every level. Be the workplace your daughter, sister, mother, wife or significant other would thrive in. This got very real when my daughter started working in the hard sciences a couple of years ago, and as my son prepares to enter the workforce.

On an individual level, know that your voice is valid and valuable, even if it might not be the loudest in the room. It took me a long time to be comfortable “being uncomfortable” enough to speak up, to sit “at the table” instead of “in the second row”, etc. Always assume positive intent – I’m borrowing that from another amazing woman at Western Digital – and recognize that unconscious behavior is not the same as malicious behavior. There are many times when once something is pointed out, there’s an “OMG” moment for another person, and then behavior changes. This applies broadly beyond women in the organization, generally making the organization more inclusive and better at communicating clearly. That leads back to my point above about speaking up.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I didn’t apologize for being one of the most non-technical people in a technology company. I worked really hard to learn any new technology or process really fast. I read nearly anything I can get my hands and eyes on – comic books, food labels, magazines at the dentist’s office, classic literature, non-fiction, popular fiction, almost anything except science fiction and romance novels. I also try to read one ‘great novel’ every year to remind myself of what great writing/storytelling is.

I took 10 years off to raise my children and it gave me a perspective of what is really important in life. That was a career. Working at Western Digital is something of a career change! 😊 I learned that parenthood is the best management training program I ever had.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

This is the easiest question. In the unlikely event that I’ve woken up by then, I’m drinking coffee and playing an augmented reality game on my phone, or occasionally, running very slowly!

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Susan Park – United States

Susan Park of Western Digital
(Susan Park, Vice President, Product Management, Photo by Nancy Rothstein)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

A leader is someone you can trust, and a great leader is someone whose team has the utmost confidence in them. When people trust you and believe in your management, members of your team have faith in your leadership, your strategy and your vision of working towards a common goal. Furthermore, a great leader provides the clarity needed in uncertain times, helping their team to move in concert, pushing forward with purpose.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

To achieve a more prominent role in any organization, leaders need to share ideas and strive to be heard. Because if you don’t speak up, no one will listen. Be aware of the opportunities around you, letting your drive be known to your peers, your manager and your cross-functional group. When opportunities arrive, seize them; don’t underestimate your ability to take on new challenges and responsibilities. It’s in you, you can do it.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I differentiated myself early in my career by embracing my passions, strengths and weaknesses, and I let those positive traits shine. I enabled them with a “can do” mindset. It’s important to not let obstacles get in the way of achieving what you believe in. 

If I had to identify one key success factor in my career, I would attribute it to the ability to define a pathway to results no matter the challenge; taking on each obstacle one step at a time, executing and delivering. I am driven by how successful a new product can be. For me, creating an innovative product is exciting, and envisioning a product go-to-market helps me overcome any obstacles because I have the end goal in sight.

You are you, and no one can accomplish your mission like you can, so find your passion, do well in what you do, and have a positive mindset. Let your passion lead you.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

I’m not an early riser, but I force myself to wake up early on weekends. I’m the first to get up on weekends, getting my exercise routine out of the way. You’ll most likely find me at a fitness class by 7:30 a.m. – currently I’m into spin. Then we have breakfast as a family, and by late morning, when I’m already on my second or third cup of coffee, I take my eight-year-old to her piano lesson. While she’s at her lesson, I’m picking up groceries for the week and tackling my honey-do list. Maximizing my Saturday morning productivity means I’m free for the rest of the weekend to enjoy quality family time.

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Tammi Roberts – United States

Tammi Roberts of Western Digital
(Tammi Roberts, VP of Sales Operations, Photo by Nancy Rothstein)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

When I think of some of the great leaders I have been fortunate to work for, I think what they have in common is honesty and the ability to delegate. Honesty is an important value when you are leading an organization, but having the confidence in your employees to delegate is crucial to growth and success. People want to feel trusted to execute in their roles and to make the right choices. I know I have appreciated these two traits in my leaders.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

I have been in this industry my whole career and, to be honest, I have never felt excluded by my gender. I have witnessed some females who aren’t forthcoming take a back seat and lack confidence about voicing an opinion or idea. My advice would be to speak up, ask questions and offer opinions. Meet peers in other functions – many of my opportunities have come from relationships I fostered in cross-functional organizations. Finally, I would say, create your value. Find something you are good at and be the best you can be.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I differentiated myself by saying yes to most opportunities that came my way. It may have been something that I wasn’t really excited about. Or I lacked experience. My plan was to just say yes and figure it out. I feel like a boss must have faith in your capabilities, or see something inside you that you don’t see, to offer you new responsibility.  

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

I am definitely a morning person, so I would most likely be out running errands or spending time with friends.

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Tiffany Scurry – United States

Tiffany Scurry of Western Digital
(Tiffany Scurry, Vice President, Legal and Chief Compliance Officer, Photo by Renee Bowen)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

A great leader sets a clear vision, then gets out of her team’s way! A great leader encourages, supports, and facilitates. And a great leader inspires trust.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Everyone needs a champion (or several). The best way to recruit a champion is to be collaborative and helpful. Not only is this personally rewarding, but people will appreciate and remember when you’ve helped them.

Being competitive, being the loudest voice, taking the plum assignments … these strategies aren’t effective and can even backfire. Instead, work towards earning a reputation of facilitating and helping [your team, your boss, other functions, etc.].

Another effective strategy is working on your readiness to accept new opportunities when they arise. This could mean actively developing your skillset now, or simply being open to stretching outside your comfort zone if asked to do so. You can’t always predict new opportunities, but you can prepare yourself and your mindset to be ready for them.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

In each of my roles, I’ve thought about how I can help my boss. Do I have a skill set that fills a gap? Can I make time to do something that my boss doesn’t have time to do? What is my boss trying to achieve, and how can I help her or him do that? In this way, I’ve tried to be an asset and appreciated. I think this has had an impact on my career because it has typically been my managers who have nominated me for new opportunities and encouraged me to take on new and growing roles.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

It’s not glamorous, but the honest answer is, “in the laundry room.” But hey, there’s more to a weekend than just 10am! A typical weekend for me also includes playing tennis with my family (we’re terrible but we take lessons together and it’s fun), cooking or baking, caring for my in-laws, popcorn and movies on our too-small sofa, and watching The Curse of Oak Island – we just know they are going to find the treasure one of these days!

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Roberta Swanson – United States

Roberta Swanson of Western Digital
(Roberta Swanson, Vice President, Tax, Photo by Renee Bowen)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

It’s a combination of a lot of things but I think what matters most is believing in what you are doing. You can’t expect others to consider you a leader unless you have confidence in what you are doing. Other traits that I think are important are being a good communicator and being empathetic toward your team. Show them that you care about their ideas and what is important to them.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

This is not specific to women, but rather anyone seeking a more prominent role in their organization: Try to earn the respect of the organization by not only being smart and good at what you do but by being transparent and honest. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something – but then also be prepared to learn it – and to own your own mistakes and those of your team. Do not be a finger pointer. Have a strong work ethic.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

My area – “tax” – can be intimidating. I differentiate myself by always trying to understand what I am talking about well enough that I can explain it in a clear and comprehensible fashion.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

On the ski slopes, the golf course or riding my horse!

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Richa Tiwari – India

Richa Tiwari of Western Digital
(Richa Tiwari, Chief of Staff of Country Manager – India, Photo by Neeta Shankar)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

I believe a great leader is Passionate, Courageous and Humble. Great leaders are passionate about creating a compelling vision, exploring new possibilities and creating new leaders. They are courageous to take risks, be the first and even fail, and above all, they respect people and are open to different perspectives.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

It begins with being comfortable with who you are and what you believe in, and not trying too hard to fit in. I think that challenging yourself, constantly learning and finding a sponsor who believes in your capability does help women identify new growth opportunities.

I feel it is also important for women leaders to be a role model, who other women can relate with and learn from.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

I did not hesitate in trying the unknown and kept expanding my horizons. I have always demonstrated ownership and collaborated with my peers to achieve great results as a team.

I also value the feedback that I receive from my leaders and work on being the better version of myself.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

On weekends you will find me either at a coffee shop writing my travel stories and plans or relishing South Indian breakfast at ‘Airlines,’ an old Bangalore restaurant with a banyan tree. I am also passionate about dancing and public speaking. I make sure to dedicate some time to those.

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Bee Wang – United States

Bee Wang of Western Digital
(Bee Wang, Vice President, Sales Operations, Photo by Nancy Rothstein)

Define a great leader — what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

A great leader provides clear directions – traits to include integrity and adaptability.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

  • Gender is not a differentiator. Performance is.
  • Speaking as a working mother:
    • Develop a strong support ecosystem. It is important to surround yourself with people who support you and give you positive energy, whom you can learn from.
    • Compartmentalize. Be able to separate your thoughts and actions in order to be present for the different roles one plays at work and at home.

How did you differentiate yourself to get to where you are in your career?

  • Track record and work ethics – Be known for your work and how you do your work.
  • Work relationships – A strong understanding of interdependency with people you work with.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

  • On a hiking trail. ☺
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