Tim O’Reilly conducts an extended one-on-one interview with Silicon Valley leader Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s CTO. Among the wide-ranging topics we can expect to hear about are lessons learned in the private sector that may translate well to the public sector; what the cloud may mean for achieving Gov2.0; IT consolidation and growth cycles during economic austerity; and the unpredictable pathways these two technology leaders might take.
Padmasree Warrior is Cisco Systems’ Chief Technology Officer. As CTO, she is responsible for helping drive the company’s technological innovations and strategy, and works closely with its senior executive team and board of directors to align these efforts with Cisco’s corporate goals. As an evangelist for what’s possible, she pushes the organization to stretch beyond its current capabilities – not just in technology, but also in its strategic partnerships and new business models.
Warrior joined Cisco in 2007. Prior to that, she was the CTO at Motorola, where she led a team of 26,000 engineers and directed Motorola Labs, with an annual R&D budget of $3.7 billion. Over the course of her 23 years at that company, she served in a broad range of roles, including as Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Motorola’s Energy Systems Group, and as Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for its Semiconductor Products Sector.
Warrior’s energetic, approachable and pragmatic leadership style integrates ideas from diverse sources, which include engineers, sociologists, technologists, marketers, policy experts and others. Throughout her career, she has earned a reputation for establishing processes that tap a rich diversity of technical, business and entrepreneurial IQ to nurture disruptive and breakthrough innovations, speed development time to market, and improve the way people work, live, play and learn.
Under Warrior’s leadership, Motorola was awarded the 2004 National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States, the first time the company had received this honor. Recently, the Economic Times ranked her as the 11th Most Influential Global Indian, and the United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce recognized her with its prestigious Excellence Award. Warrior is also a strong and vocal advocate for women and minorities in math, science and engineering. In 2007, she was inducted into the Women in Information Technology International Hall of Fame, and received the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Outstanding Woman of Achievement Award. She has been recognized as a role model by many organizations, including the Girl Scouts Illinois Crossroads Council, Notre Dame Girls High School, the South Asian Women Leadership Forum and as a Science Spectrum Trailblazer. In 2001 she was one of six women nationwide selected to receive the “Women Elevating Science and Technology” award from Working Woman magazine.
Warrior is also a committed community leader. She has served on the boards of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet and Museum of Science and Industry, the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR), the Chicago Mayor’s Technology Council, Cornell University Engineering Council and advisory council of Indian Institute of Technology. She previously served on the Texas Governor’s Council for Digital Economy, the White House Fellowships Selection Board, and the Technology Advisory Council for the FCC and on the Advisory U p d a t e d 0 3 / 0 8 Committee for the Computing and Information Science and Engineering of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Warrior holds a M.S. degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, India. In 2007 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Engineering from New York’s Polytechnic University. In addition, Warrior serves on numerous governmental, industry and charitable boards and panels. She is married, and the proud mother of one son.
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