Earlier this month, Kim DeCarlis posted about Women’s History Month, discussing valuable lessons she has learned on her journey as a successful woman in technology. We caught up with some other impressive female leaders in the industry to learn more about what influenced their careers and lives as inspirational women in their fields.
Today, we want to recognize one of our distinguished colleagues, Hollie Castro. Hollie is the Senior Vice President of Administration for BMC Software and manages the company’s global human resources department, community and government relations programs and global real estate activities. Having joined BMC in 2009 after holding leadership positions at Talisman-Energy, Cisco Systems and General Electric, her contributions are felt by thousands of BMC employees around the world.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Hollie to hear more about her career experiences, as well as the advice she would offer young women just entering the workplace.
At what point did you decide that a career in HR was the right path for you?
I didn’t actually know much about HR as a career. After finishing my MBA I was interviewing for global sales jobs. I had two offers to consider. Then, a job posting came across for GE’s executive HR rotational program. I’d been the teaching assistant for three Leadership Courses during my MBA Program, and I loved the subject matter. The job description was very similar to what we’d learned; however, I applied and was promptly rejected as my background did not fit the normal model. A few weeks later, I got a call from the head of HR for one of GEs biggest divisions. He said, “I know we rejected you, but would you consider moving to Italy for the HR rotation program”...the rest is history.
Can you tell us about a female leader that you admire or look up to who positively contributed to your success?
I worked with a woman named Kate DCamp at Cisco, who was instrumental in my growth. She pushed me to do things I didn’t think I could do and was open with me about her successes and failures. She didn’t pretend to be a man; she was authentic. I owe her a debt of gratitude.
What advice do you have for young women that aspire to executive and leadership roles, particularly in industries such as tech that are still heavily male dominated?
I always answer this question in the same manner. Women can have it all, but my belief is not at the same time. Many women want to have a sky-rocketing career at the same time they are solidifying a marriage and having a family. Something almost always gives. If the career is successful, it’s the marriage or the kids. So my advice is pace your life plan.
Secondly, you don’t have to act like a man. Part of what we bring as women is the innate sixth sense about human beings that we derived from our maternal instincts. I see young women trying to emulate men too much.
Lastly, be clear about your values and take risks. I did a lot of work around my values to ensure I was clear about what was most important to me and how those values were prioritized, then, from there I made choices that got me closer to my goals. Many of those choices involved taking risks. I’ve moved 14 times in the last decade. Each move was a part of my plan. And the plan has lots of room for flexibility when circumstances change. I’m not saying people have to move locations, but taking risks and making bold career moves are essential to success.