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The Power 50

by Hu Yoshida on Aug 30, 2006

Var Business Magazine recently selected Karen Sigman as one of the Power 50 women in the VAR Business. As vice president of Global Channels for HDS, she has successfully expanded channels into Eastern Europe, India, China, and recently signed up Ingram micro as a distributor. Her contributions to the channels has received world wide recognition and we are pleased to see this recognition for Karen and for the success of our channels efforts.

I first met Karen Sigman, 7 years ago when she was a District Sales manager in Seattle. The local team had asked me to call on a potential customer. Karen had prepared the team and orchestrated the call to ensure that we were able to understand the customer’s requirements and provide the best solution to meet their needs. I was relatively new to Hitachi Data Systems, and was impressed with her leadership and business experience. I found out later that she had only joined HDS a year before me. Since then Karen worked her way up through marketing and sales to her current position of vice president of global channels.

There are some who might be surprised to see a woman vice president in Hitachi Data Systems, a Japanese owned, high technology storage company. In fact we were surprised by some of the reaction that was generated by Karen’s recognition. Actually this is not uncommon for HDS. We have a number of women in key management positions. Brenda Peffer is our VP of Global Marketing. Brenda came from HP where she worked with other industry leaders like Ann Livermore and Carly Fiorina. Christine Wallis is our Senior VP of Strategy and Planning. Christine was my manager and mentor for several years. Debbie Pinkston VP and Controller of Global Sales, Lisa Honig VP Americas Services and Solutions Sales, Diane Cunningham VP Finance -Shared Services, Debra Landers VP of HR Corporate, and Nancy Long VP HR Americas are among the executive management of HDS. Hitachi Ltd also has a Woman lab director, Naoko Iwami, who directs the Santa Clara based, SAN Solutions Lab, which is made up of distinguished Hitachi researchers on rotational assignment from different Hitachi labs in Japan.

While there may be a list of Power 50 women in the VAR Business, I could easily fill a list of my own from the women in HDS. We have women in key positions throughout our global organization who have been with us for some time. Clemencia Fonseca from Columbia, has been with HDS for 10 years and is our director of Americas Marketing. Despite her rigorous business schedule she recently completed a Masters MLA program and a Strategic Marketing Management program at Stanford. Michele Saw, a mother of 3 small children, started in sales in Singapore and worked her up to being the Sales director for all of South East Asia. The sales manager for Hong Kong, Susan Yeung, escaped from Vietnam on her third attempt and grew up as a refugee in Sydney where she picked up her Australian accent. In Sweden, Ann Huynh, a mother of two, is now the Director of Finance and Administration for Sweden and Finland. Ann also grew up as a refugee and, like Susan, had the courage and determination to enter the corporate world and be successful. These are just a few of the women who are contributing to the success of HDS while managing the demands of family and personal development.

If there are women who have not considered a career at HDS because of previous misconceptions of a male dominated, foreign owned company, Please think again and visit  our career web site. We are looking for the best people in the industry and we don’t want anyone to pass us by because of these misconceptions.

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Comments (4 )

Sean Casey on 31 Aug 2006 at 11:45 am

Great blog – please post more on SAN or storage infrastructure implementation and all the troubleshooting involved. Its really cool to know more about real world implementations. We look forward for more posts on this blog .

Nice posts on storage related products & your experiments. Please post more guys we have been reading your posts regularly.

http://storage-jobs.blogspot.com storage area network or SAN jobs

Christine Wallis on 31 Aug 2006 at 12:42 pm

Thanks, Hu, for your kind words about our time working together. I can honestly say that I probably learned quite a bit more from you than you might have from me in that time.

Thanks again for your leadership and insights.

Hubert Yoshida on 31 Aug 2006 at 2:43 pm

Sean thanks for your comment and the link to your site. It will be helpful for finding good candidates. I’d like to point you to our storage forum which has open conversations about infrastructure implementation and trouble shooting. It is at:

Josh Maher on 08 Sep 2006 at 5:02 pm

That’s great to see Hu, I am curious about Women in the technology portions of HDS. I know a lot of companies struggle with retaining highly qualified Women in key technical roles, do you have any examples of HDS leadership in this area as well?

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