Virtustream Blog

Life at Virtustream: Meet Our Leaders, Cherie Whitney

in Business, Cloud, Working Here

Welcome to our new “Meet our Leaders” series, an inside look at the team behind Virtustream’s innovative cloud technology and services. In the coming months, we’ll bring you interviews with leaders across the organization, from product and marketing to talent and culture, customer care, and more. We’ll discuss their lives in and out of the office, their stories of professional growth and achievement, and the visions that drive them.

First up is Cherie Whitney, our Vice President of Corporate Development at Virtustream. In this interview, Cherie discusses her background in technology and path to leadership at Virtustream, as well as her goals for the future, and advice for aspiring female technology leaders. Keep up with the conversation on Twitter by following @CherieLWhitney and @Virtustream.

Meet Cherie Whitney:

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

My passion is propelling Virtustream forward in the cloud market. I’m motivated by the work I do, I enjoy being constantly challenged by the fast pace of our market and company, and I love being surrounded by incredibly talented people. The work I do with my team to assess and advance Virtustream’s strategic priorities is very rewarding. I’m also excited by the opportunity I have to drive engagement with our employees, as well as within the communities in which we live and work. Programs such as Livin’ the Stream empower Virtustreamers to connect with each other across the globe and our Community Outreach programs enable us all to help children around the world live better lives. I also really enjoy working on the development of our new spaces for our teams and seeing our culture come alive within the physical spaces. When you walk into a Virtustream office, you know undoubtedly that it’s Virtustream – not just because of the design elements, but because of the energy of the staff and the way we manifest our corporate values.

How did you end up in the cloud industry?

I spent close to 15 years in the technology industry at Dell EMC, predominately working in the corporate development organization, leading acquisitions, integrations, and joint ventures. I began considering a transition into an operations role around the time that Virtustream was acquired by EMC – I felt it was the right opportunity at the right time. I wanted to work for a fast-paced, growing organization and Virtustream was the perfect fit.

Describe what makes your team successful?

The Corporate Development/Strategic Planning team collaborates across our stakeholders to design and execute on a prioritized set of initiatives to drive growth, profitability, and operational efficiency for Virtustream. I believe we are successful as a team because of our analytical mindset, capacity to work cross-functionally, and ability to present and communicate success effectively.

What advice could you share with team members who aspire to leadership roles within the organization?

Take initiative and focus intently on execution. Seek and take advantage of opportunities to lead projects and teams, and proactively build your skill sets and relationships. In the process, remember to continually market yourself.

What are your top goals or objectives for next year?

Most of my effort is focused on advancing our strategic priorities as an organization by evaluating innovative means to scale, developing business cases for critical investments, and assessing our performance. The other top goal I have is to continue building strong engagement across our teams and communities, driving diversity initiatives for women, and encouraging collaborative office environments.

What are some of the most important trends in the cloud industry today?

I think it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a female in the technology industry, given the current movement to achieve equal representation and compensation, and to really promote the participation of more women in STEM-related fields. If you look at Virtustream, we have a high percentage of women, including at the executive level, compared to other players in the industry. Virtustream is at the forefront of this movement. I’m also encouraged by future generations of women in tech with today’s trends in STEM in the classroom.

What’s the best advice you have received in your career?

Make your own path and do it authentically. It’s as simple as that for me.

What do you enjoy doing in your time away from work?

I’m a total foodie. I love to cook, try new foods, and travel with friends and family. With a three-year-old daughter, however, my free time is typically spent playing dress up and hide-and-seek. The fun part is that I get to teach her how to bake (anything chocolate, of course) and that’s been a joy.