Women 3.0: Padmasree Warrior

Name: Padmasree Warrior

Short biography: Warrior—who definitely has the best name in our Woman 3.0 series to date—was born and raised in Vijayawada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India. After attending the Children’s Montessori School and Maris Stella College in Vijayawada, Warrior received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1982 from the Indian Institute of Technology. She also has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University.

For 23 years, Warrior worked a variety of jobs at Motorola, rising to the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO); she left the company in 2007. 1 Warrior is married to Mohandas Warrior, the chief executive officer, president and director of Alfalight, Inc.,2 an electronic equipment company. The couple have one child.

What they do: Warrior left Motorola in 2007 to become the CTO of Cisco Systems; her role expanded to chief technology and strategy officer in June 2012. (There are also rumors that’s she’s being groomed for the role of CEO.)3 At Cisco, she is responsible for the company’s technological strategy and innovation. According to her official bio: “As an evangelist for what’s possible, she pushes Cisco to stretch beyond its current capabilities, not just in technology, but also in its strategic partnerships and new business models.”4

Warrior also oversees a team of 10,000 engineers as the senior vice president and general manager of the Enterprise, Commercial and Small Business group, which oversees Cisco networks, data centers, security and mobility.

Why they matter: Warrior’s own Twitter profile (www.twitter.com/Padmasree—first name only; she’s like Cher!) says that she is “passionate about helping women in tech.” Good start, right?

Her bio says that “throughout her career, she has earned a reputation for establishing processes that tap a rich diversity of technical, business, and entrepreneurial IQ knowledge to nurture disruptive and breakthrough innovations, speed development time to market, and improve the way people work, live, play and learn.”4

In 2007, Warrior was inducted into the Women in Information Technology International Hall of Fame.4 An “engineer at heart with a true knack for business, [Warrior’s] charter is to drive innovation, prioritize technology programs and accelerate creative research to commercialization.”

Warrior’s other achievements include (but certainly are not limited to—the lady’s got a lot of recognitions):

  • Being No. 51 on Forbes’ 2012 World’s Most Powerful Women list.3

  • Receiving an honorary doctorate from New York’s Polytechnic University in 2007.1

  • Being named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.4

  • Receiving Working Woman’s Women Elevating Science and Technology award in 2001.4

How they got where they are: Warrior took her schooling and interest in future technologies and made a name for herself in the industry. Her dedication and forward-thinking led her quickly up the corporate ladder, and along the way, she’s given people—especially women—a boost. She is, most definitely, a Warrior, in more ways than one.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4

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