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Women in Tech: An Interview with Melynnie Rizvi Championing Diversity at Veritas

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March and this year’s theme to press forward and progress gender parity, I wanted to feature some of the great female talent we have at Veritas in a series of interview blogs. The aim is to share experiences and inspire others to join the IT industry and ultimately attract diverse talent to work at Veritas.

In my first Women in Tech interview I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Melynnie Rizvi, our Senior Director, Global Employment Law, Ethics & Compliance, Chief Sustainability & Diversity Officer at Veritas. She was visiting our Reading office to help celebrate our UK Women at Veritas Empowered (WAVE) group’s first birthday last week, so here’s the interview:

Zoe: Hi Melynnie, can you tell our blog readers a summary of your career and how you came to be working at Veritas?Melynnie RizviMelynnie Rizvi
Melynnie:
I came to work at Veritas for the people and for the great potential Veritas has to be a leader in the information management and information intelligence space.

Zoe: What percentage of women work at Veritas?
Melynnie: 
Overall, Veritas is 28% women, with 22% of our technical positions held by women. In addition, 43% of our positions across the company are held by people of color.

Zoe: What motivated you to set up the WAVE group at Veritas?
Melynnie: 
Our employees!  When we separated from Symantec, there was a real demand by our employees to have Employee Resource groups at Veritas, as many of the employees who came to Veritas were champions of these groups. So, we decided to hold a contest for employees to name Veritas’ Employee Resource groups and WAVE (Women at Veritas Empowered) was the name that was chosen.

Zoe: Why should women consider working at Veritas?
Melynnie:
Veritas is committed to diversity, as we believe that building a talented and diverse workforce is our competitive advantage. This is evidenced in so much of what we do and how we operate. For example, our Product organization has just launched their Future Women in Leadership development program, where high potential technical women are targeted and developed for leadership positions within the organization. We also try and create a workplace where women can succeed and thrive.  We offer paid parental leave and paid time off to volunteer. Finally, we have partnered with Watermark, the Bay Area’s leading organization whose mission is to develop and increase the representation of women leaders in the corporate world, which means that our employees have access to all their training and development resources.

Zoe: What is your greatest work achievement?
Melynnie:
I am most proud of building Veritas’ Corporate Responsibility program from the ground up and seeing the impact that we are having in the communities where we live and work. When we separated from Symantec, there was so much demand by our employees for Corporate Responsibility and diversity programs and initiatives, as Symantec had such robust programs. We have accomplished so much in such a short time – Veritas’ Corporate Responsibility and Diversity programs have been featured by Carlyle in reports to their investors as an example of a best practice, and Veritas has been recognized by the Second Harvest Food Bank for our fundraising efforts in feeding tens of thousands of Bay Area families. Veritas has also donated well over $1 million in Veritas products to help non-profits around the world harness the power of their information to benefit others. It is such humbling and rewarding work to do and I am so proud to be able to tell my 7-year old son when he asks me what I did at work to say that I help people every day.

Zoe: How has your management style developed over the years?
Melynnie:
Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time early in my career working for people that were not good managers, so when I had the opportunity to become a manager, I made a commitment to myself that I would prioritize developing and mentoring my team, as well as creating a positive (and fun) environment where they could grow and succeed. I firmly believe that if my team is successful, then I will be successful.

Zoe: What would you suggest makes a good leader? 
Melynnie:
I believe that a great leader must be passionate, innovative, act with integrity, empathetic, accountable (for both the good and the bad), and empower and inspire those around them to do great things. I strive to be all of these things in everything I do.

Zoe: Who are your role models and influencers?
Melynnie:
My mother – she always told me that I could do anything and be anything if I believed I could and worked hard at it.

Zoe: What advice would you give to women wanting to get into tech?
Melynnie:
It is an amazing industry to be in, as the opportunities are endless. Companies are also really starting to see how diversity can be a competitive advantage, as the data shows that companies with diverse teams perform financially better than companies that are not as diverse.

Zoe: What do you think the next years hold for women in tech?
Melynnie:
I think you will start to see strong women leaders emerge, which will foster creativity and innovation.

So, that concludes my interview with Melynnie, it was great catching up and thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts. If you enjoyed this blog post, then do stay tuned as there will be more interview style posts from other women at Veritas posted shortly. And if this has inspired you to join our team, then check out our latest job vacancies on LinkedIn and apply here.