Red Hat - Mentor or Coach of the Year

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Company: Red Hat
Entry Submitted By: SpeakerBox Communications
Company Description: Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Mentor or Coach of the Year – Business

Nomination Title: Margaret Dawson, Global Product Marketing

Describe for the judges the nominated individual's activities and accomplishments that supported women in business since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Margaret Dawson has a passion for mentoring women in tech and is unapologetic in her drive for increased equality and diversity.

Margaret recently moved several women into management positions. However, when discussing her intention to promote two women specifically, she heard repeatedly that these women were great at execution but not very strategic; descriptions she disagreed with. Since promoting these women, Margaret has worked with them during weekly meetings to ensure they are getting the support needed to fulfill their new responsibilities.

One of these women was perceived as too tactical, even though she had outstanding ideas. Margaret’s advice to her was threefold: 1. Resist being the person to always take meeting notes 2. Speak up and offer her opinion, even if it contrasts with what others may have said, and 3. Step out of the shadows and be the one to give the presentations she was routinely preparing for other people.

Margaret’s encouragement and advice have already led to positive changes for this woman. She’s prioritizing differently and delegating more. Importantly, she’s being included in conversations she was left out of not so long ago.

Another woman on Margaret’s team found herself overwhelmed by the size of Red Hat (which has more than 8,000 people worldwide) and the scope of her responsibilities. Margaret coached her to think outside-the-box on how to tackle her assignments. To help overcome her fears, Margaret has encouraged her to think about other assignments that have been similar and successful. Margaret has also encouraged this woman to seek out others who have accomplished similar tasks so she could learn from their experiences, or look for a template that she could use to get her started. Margaret has helped her see that it’s not all or nothing, but that everything the woman has done helps to build experience. With Margaret’s guidance, this woman has come to understand that just because she may not have done a specific task before doesn’t mean she can’t do it.

Margaret’s mentoring also extends beyond her team. Over the years she has developed a presentation titled “Snorting Out Loud and Letting Your True Light Shine” (because Margaret has been known to snort when she laughs) that encourages women to be free to be who they are. Margaret has given this presentation at events around the world and most recently presented on this topic to a room of 50+ women at Red Hat’s 2016 North American Sales Kickoff. However, what she found most impressive was the number of male executives within the company – including the CEO – who showed up to listen. Following her presentation the CEO approached her, thanking her for the presentation and commenting that as the father of a teenaged daughter this brought up several issues he hadn’t previously thought about.

Margaret also recently led a discussion on the same topic with the Women’s Leadership Committee in Red Hat’s Westford, MA office with many women sharing their personal stories.

Through her work Margaret is striving to increase diversity throughout the halls of Red Hat and beyond.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated individual (up to 125 words):

A 20-year tech industry veteran, Margaret Dawson is an author and speaker on cloud computing, big data, open source, women in tech, and the intersection of business and technology. She has led successful initiatives and teams at several startups and Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Microsoft and HP. Currently, Margaret leads global product marketing for Platform & Solution Marketing in the Infrastructure Business Group at Red Hat. Prior to Red Hat, she was Vice President of Product Marketing and Cloud Evangelist for HP Helion. Margaret is an advisor to Cloud Connect and the Cloud Network of Women as well as to multiple early-stage companies and CEOs. She is also an active mentor for men and women in technology, and is a judge for Startup Weekend.