Nora Denzel Nora Denzel
Senior Vice President, Global Software Business
Hewlett Packard

Nora Denzel is the Senior Vice President of Hewlett-Packard's global software business. Ms. Denzel is responsible for all of the Research and Development, Strategy, marketing, positioning, sales and support of over one billion dollars of software products sold under the brands of OpenView and OpenCall. During her tenure in this post, the unit experienced a dramatic turn around from negative growth and an operating loss, to one which grew at over two times the industry growth rate and posted double digit profitability. Also at HP, she previously held the responsibilities as the executive leader of the computer storage and the professional services groups in addition to being the evangelist for the Adaptive Enterprise Strategy.

Prior to joining HP, Ms. Denzel served as the Senior Vice President of Product Operations at Legato Systems Inc, now a division of EMC. While there, she led the company through a dramatic growth period which involved strong organic growth as well as the successful integration of several software acquisitions. Ms. Denzel began her career as an engineer at IBM and progressed quickly to becoming an executive during her 13 year tenure with the company.

Ms. Denzel, earned her bachelor degree in computer science from State University of New York and her MBA from Santa Clara University. She has been named one of the "20 Top Leaders" in computer storage by Storage Magazine. She also was recognized as one of the "most powerful people in Computer Networking" by Networking World Magazine. She is a frequent public speaker about computer technology and women's advancement in technology careers.

1. What was your first job in technology?
If you mean any type of technology, my very first job was as the audio/visual person in junior high and high school. I repaired film strips, ran the movie projectors, and did any technology-related tasks that were needed in the class room. My first paying job involving computers was when I was a programmer for IBM during college.

2. Who has been your most significant mentor? Why?
That is a hard question. I try to learn something from everyone I meet or work with. I've been very lucky in that I've worked with scores of very smart people who were willing to impart their wisdom to me. One particular vice president at IBM, where I spent 13 years of my career, was instrumental in teaching me about business and running large organizations.

3. What has been your greatest challenge and what strategies did you use to overcome obstacles?
In my professional life, my greatest challenge has been to chart a career path where there haven't been a lot of role models to follow. My strategy has been to try to keep each choice in line with my long-term career goals. I found this strategy minimized the impacts of any single decision that I felt may have been the wrong one at the time.

4. Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?
Without a doubt, my mother. She had polio as a child and missed a lot of school but wound up as salutatorian of her high school class. She worked full time, had six children and served as a perfect example of a woman who had it all.

5. What lessons have you learned that would be valuable to women beginning their careers in technology?
The most valuable lesson is that you and you alone manage your career. Don't hook your hopes on someone else's rise that they will take you with them. The only thing that is for certain is change. Evaluate any input you get from coaches and mentors, and then do what you think is right and it'll all work out.

6. What new technology do you believe will have the most positive impact on the world in the next 20 years? The most negative impact?
Genetic cloning, used in the wrong ways has the potential to do harmful things to society. As for positive impact, the human genome project and other biotechnology initiatives I think will have a dramatic impact in the ability to proactively treat diseases and solve quality of life problems.

On a lighter note:

1. If you could have dinner with any 2 people (living or not), who would they be?

Winston Churchill and Cleopatra.

2. What was the last book you read? What books do you love to recommend?
"The New New Thing" by Michael Lewis was the last book I read. I like recommending "How to Think like a CEO" by Debra Benton, it has some good advice for those who are looking to advance their careers, especially the traits necessary to be a CEO.

3. If you couldn't do what you are doing now, what profession would you choose?
A commercial airline pilot.

4. What is your definition of success?
Success for me entails having the ability and options in my life to do what I want to, when I want to, without regard to what others think.

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