A couple of months ago, Sophia Velastegui was approached with an
sparkling pursuit offer: To turn the ubiquitous manager of Microsoft’s
synthetic comprehension product unit.
She began the pursuit in December. It was another apex career
pierce for the star engineer, named to Business Insider’s list
many absolute womanlike engineers of 2017.
Before Microsoft, Velastegui worked at a series of tech
companies: Most recently, she was at Doppler Labs, the
smart headphone company that close down in November. She’s
also worked at Nest, then Alphabet’s smart home company, where
she was in charge of the roadmap for the chips in the
company’s smart home appliances. She also spent 5 years as a
manager at Apple. Plus, she binds several patents and sits on the
house of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering.
Velastegui tells us that after she seemed on the annual list,
she was approached by a series of companies. She says she was
even asked to come back to Apple, which was tantalizing since she
still lives a few miles from its Silicon Valley headquarters.
But the suspicion of diving low into AI, one of the many important
up-and-coming technologies, and at the position of general
manager — just a few rungs down from the executive leadership
group — was too good to pass up, even yet it means having to
pierce her family to the Seattle area, she tells Business Insider.
And all of her success to date is since when Velastegui
first started out, she satisfied that her career depended on
overcoming her healthy shyness.
A fear of open speaking
Velastegui was operative at Applied Materials when her boss gave
her an eventuality that could allege her career. She was to give
a open display on the team’s work, putting her in the
“Public speaking was kind of a phobia,” she explains, but she
concluded to do it anyway. “I presented to the clamp boss and I
was terrible at it.”
But instead of crawling into a dilemma and giving up, she figured
that “deliberate use creates perfect.”
And she came up with a diversion devise that she polished over the
years that lerned her out of her shyness, helped her network at
business events, and led her to pursuit offers from Apple, Google and
- She assimilated Toastmasters, a nonprofit classification that helps
its members use their open speaking skills in a friendly
- She volunteered for speaking gigs internally within Applied
Materials, even yet they shocked her. After a while, she
grew some-more learned at it and comfortable. “You have to practice,
have to take some-more risks and then you get better,” she discovered.
As she grew some-more gentle speaking to strangers, she
engineered a devise that allowed her to grow her business network,
too, which led her to pursuit offers at Apple and then Google.
Anyone can do this
This is Velastegui’s routine for overcoming her shyness. It’s a
devise that can be used by anyone, bashful or not, to boost your
- Pick people you wish to meet forward of
time. This step is about overcoming the fear of
articulate to strangers at parties. Ahead of any event, she scans
the attendees list and the orator list, anticipating 10 people she
would like to meet and “five people we make it a indicate to meet,”
- Plan some review starters. She studies
their LinkedIn profiles and other credentials information, which
helps her devise some conversation-starters.
- Make a meet-up devise forward of time. She sends a
LinkedIn summary to the people she wants to pronounce with, asking
to meet her at the event.
- Make them remember her. At the event, her goal
is to have a good review so they remember her and are
peaceful to meet her again.
The many critical part: follow-up with people in your
network. “I try to have 4-5 some-more follow-ups per month,
one a week,” she says. “[You need to] nurture your
network so you have relationships,” not just the empty
LinkedIn stats on how many people are in your network.
- View this as a work project. As for finding
the time, she views her career as just another long-term
plan she is operative on. “Networking for career development
should be just as critical as the projects we work on,” she
says. “If this is a plan just like anything else, [one] that
can lead to a promotion, because wouldn’t we spend this kind of
effort, 30 mins to 1 hour a week?” She says that for the
advantages you get, the time investment is “basically nothing.”
- Cast a far-reaching net. She networks with people
outward and inside her company. Knowing some-more people at your own
company is “super useful when you have to do work internally,”
- Equal eventuality and protected networking. She
reaches out to both women and men. Pro tip: “Always take a
plcae that is very open and not, like, the hottest date
location,” she says with a laugh. A breakfast, lunch or coffee
during the day is better than a cooking or a splash in the
evening, too. There should be no doubt that the
invitation is a business meetup, not a social one.
- Two a month. Finally, she attends at slightest two
networking events or conferences a month, looking for shindigs
that let her meet a far-reaching accumulation of people, from engineers to
business people to lawyers. She’s not focused just on hanging
out with like-minded engineers.
- View yourself as “a company.” The pivotal is
to “view yourself as a company,” she says. “You need a house of
directors … you wish a extended perspective. When you demeanour for
mentors and advocates it should be people of different
After years of hacking her career, she’s turn so learned and
assured in open speaking and networking with strangers, she
doesn’t consider twice. For instance, after she was named to
Business Insider’s list of absolute engineers, she contacted many
other women on the list to deliver herself.
And then she took it the next level, organizing a row at the
annual Grace Hopper Celebration — a discussion for women in
computing — with eight other women on the list. It was a workshop
on how women engineers can take their careers to the next level.
She only had a couple of days to lift the row together. “I
bombarded them,” she said, to get adequate people to determine to do
the row with her. And it incited out to be one of the
big hit sessions of the conference.
And at the event, she met Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive
clamp boss of Windows and Devices for a networking coffee. A
month later, she had a pursuit offer from Microsoft.
And there’s another reward to hacking her career like this: it has
done her a much better manager, she says. “I know how to
get people vehement about a plan using the same skills as
I’ve grown for outmost networking. It’s no longer frightful for
me,” she says.