Padmasree Warrior on Why She Doesn't Believe in Work-Life 'Balance'

Monday, May 06, 2013

We kick off our week-long series on issues of work-life balance in male-dominated fields with Cisco Systems' Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior, one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley. In her role at Cisco - a $43-billion company and the world's largest maker of computer network gear - she drives technology and operational innovation and is responsible for all deals activity.

When Warrior began her career in technology at Motorola, she was one of only a handful of women working at her office. Two decades later, still only around a quarter of the employees at Cisco are women.

As a wife and mother in addition to her high-powered career, Warrior is like many other women juggling the demands of her home life and work life. "The important thing to remember is that it isn't about balance, it's about integration," insists Warrior.


Padmasree Warrior

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Megan Quellhorst

Comments [6]

Kelly Watson from Los Angeles, CA

This was a fantastic and positive interview with a woman on the other side of the most difficult time in parenting. Padmasree offers very sage and measured advice.

She makes a great point that "having it all" doesn't mean "doing it all". So many women spend time doing everything themselves, doing stuff that doesn't matter, and obsessing about perfection. If they could instead prioritize what is really important, shed the unnecessary, delegate whenever possible, and be comfortable with imperfection, they could truly have it all.

May. 14 2013 03:54 PM
Heather M. from Wilton, CT

Thank you for covering this important topic! Finally I feel like I am not alone in the world. I am an engineer/manager who has run on the treadmill with my infant daughter in her crib next to me while checking emails. Crazy, yes, but obviously somewhat typical. I take conference calls at my son's lacrosse games, take 6 am flights regularly to spend one more night at home, cook dinner while writing reports and help with homework from the ladies room during work dinners. But I love my family and I love my job. So like Ms. Warrior I try to accept I cannot do everything and soldier on.

May. 09 2013 10:45 AM
Vivek Sathe from Pleasanton,CA

It's a very candid interview and well expressed reflection by Padmasree. Of course it appears to be womencentric but that's natural.By not believing the 'work-life' balance it's very clear she has achieved that by adoptinng a practical approach towards worklife and family life. I guess may be she got a good mentor within her reputed organization who believes in open culture and deliverables on both fronts family and work. Ours is a male as well as female dominated society and in different fields each tries to show their poweress. Family or work organization constitute small but important part of that social fabric. Padmasree has expressed each of these have to be weighed depending upon the need of that moment. thanks.

May. 08 2013 02:59 PM
Brennny B from Prescott, Arizona

Wise, well-spoken woman, who has proven results which helped her thrive in a male-dominated field. Her message was to integrate the 4 most important things in your life--work, family, personal, and community. Her example of things not working was when she had her treadmill in her newborn's son room. She would attempt to exercise, read email, & be a mom. Obviously, the experiment wasn't effective. I took away her idea that you won't have it together all of the time. Sometimes, your house will be dirty; you will miss work for an important family event; you may have to choose work for an important meeting. The "integration" is focusing on the things most important to you. Another wortwhile example was that her son would cry and so would she whever he saw her suitcase because he knew she would be traveling. She began involving him in her work and travel. It expanded his worldview, by searching/learning about where she was going. This way he could be involved in her life--even when she wasn't there. Isn't that what we all want? That even if we aren't physically with our children, they are a part of our lives and we are a part of theirs. He started commenting, "you went to Japan. Why don't you go somewhere else?" Kudos to her wisdom, expertise in field, willingness to pursue a committed family life with a husband and her son. "Balance" is over-used and if the concept worked, we wouldn't need to keep ruminating over it. "Integration" is a new concept I hope to integrate into my life.

May. 06 2013 03:38 PM

Thes guest's remarks just set women and motherhood back a few centuries... on a treadmaill/ laptop next to the crib??? Stop giving away how hard it is for us so that men can continue to soar ahead

May. 06 2013 09:37 AM

5000 years of HIStory is not easily overturned in one generation of Herstory. Ladies make your messages be heard but stop trying to copy every male strategy for success.

May. 06 2013 09:29 AM

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