Success StoriesDecember 8, 2020

NetApp SVP and General Manager Kim Stevenson and the Power of Diversity and Inclusion

NetApp SVP and General Manager Kim Stevenson and the Power of Diversity and Inclusion

The Power of Diversity: Building Grit and Owning Your Career with NetApp SVP and General Manager of Foundational Data Services, Kim Stevenson examines the importance of bringing a diverse perspective to work every day, how COVID-19 has impacted the work world, and why it’s important to make sure you communicate what you intend to communicate.

In this week’s episode of the Inspired Execution podcast, DataStax Chairman and CEO, Chet Kapoor talks with Kim Stevenson, NetApp SVP and General Manager.

Join Chet and Kim as they discuss:

  • Why it’s beneficial to have a very wide set of different experiences
  • The importance of bringing a broad perspective to work every day
  • Why you need to make sure that your points are getting across as intended
  • The moment Kim realized that she wanted to spend the rest of her career in tech
  • What the era of Zoom meetings might mean for younger people’s networks
  • Why diversity and inclusion is critical to the success of the modern organization
  • The story of Rose Knox

Kim’s seen a lot over her 35 years in the tech industry.

“I have had the real pleasure of living through almost every major technology shift that matters. The first phone I had was a bag phone in my car, right. Google didn't exist when I started. I've seen companies die very quickly because they missed shifts and as well as companies reinvent completely new industry sectors that today we can't even imagine living without.”

This breadth of experiences has left her with a broad perspective that guides her decision making every day.

“The key is that you could get your diverse experiences through different functions like I did,or different companies or different industry sectors. The important part is building that perspective that allows you to see problems through lenses that maybe others don't see. And that will create a wedge that you can leverage to accelerate your own career, your own company, whatever the case may be.”

One thing that Kim’s learned over the years is how important it is to make sure the people you communicate with you get the actual message you’re trying to convey.

“You have to find ways to make sure that you're interpreted correctly, that it's not about what you say, but what people hear. And then, if they don't hear exactly what you intended, circling back, and whether you need to apologize or clarify or reset the situation, it's really important. But it's not easy.”

For Kim, COVID-19 has been a year of adjustments. Some of those adjustments have been for the better.

“The good part is that I think as people we've grown much more tolerant of one another, because we're all in this kind of difficult situation. So whether it's a colleague from work or a customer or a supplier, everybody's just a bit more tolerant. And I find that great to have that human spirit come out a little bit more clearly.”

But others have been for the worse.

“The frustrating part, though, is that we've seemed to have moved into a world of transactions. We go from meeting to meeting to meeting. And they're all Zooms. And so it's sort of whatever the topic of the meeting is, finish that, move to the next one, finish that, move to the next one. And I feel like we're losing a bit of the relationship that it takes to actually sustain a really good team.” 

Listen to this episode of Inspired Execution to learn more about the importance of diversity and what you can do to ensure you hire and cultivate a diverse team, how to make sure women are involved in meetings, the story of Rose Knox and how she inspired Kim, advice for getting ahead in your career, and more.

Kim Stevenson is our final guest for Season 1. Next up to close our season, will be Chet Kapoor with a season finale / recap episode on December 15.

The story behind “Inspired Execution”

Interested in learning more about the genesis of the Inspired Execution podcast?

Remember to listen to previous episodes of Inspired Execution with:

Also, check out Episode 0 to hear DataStax Chairman and CEO Chet Kapoor speak to what inspired the series and what listeners can expect from his interviews with CIOs and tech leaders from the world’s top enterprises.

The podcast series is available on, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.


One-stop Data API for Production GenAI

Astra DB gives JavaScript developers a complete data API and out-of-the-box integrations that make it easier to build production RAG apps with high relevancy and low latency.