WIT Series: 7 Questions With HP’s Edie Kissko
WIT Series: 7 Questions with HP’s VP of Corporate Affairs, Edie Kissko
Registration for Aragon Transform 2022 is now open!
While our 2022 winners won’t be announced until December 8th, we’re showing some special appreciation to our 2021 winners.
The third installment of our 7 Questions WIT blog series features Edith “Edie” Kissko, VP of Corporate Affairs at HP. Edie won the Aragon Research 2021 WIT award for Public Relations.
Check out Edie’s answers to our 7 questions!
1. Please list the 3 qualities or characteristics that you are most proud of.
Firstly, I am a team oriented person – likely from years of playing team sports – and I delight in making connections and identifying synergies that result in a stronger outcome overall (“1+1=3” as they say.)
Secondly, I am a creative thinker – which translates into brainstorming innovation solutions, and generally, makes the work more fun.
Finally, I thrive in chaos. This, I recognize, is highly dysfunctional, but I have learned to leverage my familiarity with chaos into a positive – I run toward danger, become a thousand times more productive under pressure and generally seek to provide calm in the storm.
All three of these traits have drawn me into the communications field and the technology industry, specifically in Silicon Valley. I love the fast pace, the external influences that make every day different, and working alongside executives to help meet business objectives.
2. What do you enjoy or find interesting about the technology field in which you work?
I work in the collaboration or unified communications field.
It’s funny that I ended up in the “AV Club” as an adult, but honestly, weren’t movie days in school the best? Anyway, we make collaboration technology – headsets, video bars, speakerphones -that fuel collaboration, which was rocket-charged during the pandemic.
As work transitioned to anywhere we were, we needed video to remain in touch with people and we need a quality professional headset to allow us to work at our dining room table in spite of the noise of a working spouse, three kids, two dogs, one cat, Amazon deliveries, and gardeners.
We established hybrid work as the norm, and I am proud to work for a company that provided the hardware to make it happen. I am even more proud that HP Inc. purchased Poly, and now I am part of pioneers of the technology field and the founders of Silicon Valley.
I am fortunate to be able to get to know and communicate about a broader product portfolio: PCs, Printers, Software and Services, Gaming, plus everything Poly.
3. What changes have you noticed in your work-life balance since the shift to remote work?
I’ve never worked full-time remote. I now do. My life has always been blended, but now I don’t have to hide it. Coworkers might see a kitten in my video call and my kids might hear a work call in the car, and we make it work.
As a working mom, I know that it is never 50/50 – it is sometimes 60/40, 70/30, 98/2 (!) – in one direction or the other, but it all balances out and works. (Experts in the field have in fact stopped calling it Work-Life-Balance and now refer to it as Work-Life-Blend.)
I have had to be more intentional about exercise and movement because my house is small and I think on some days, I take a grand total of only 10 steps.
4. What is a major challenge you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
I’ve been the “first female to join” a few times in my life – first girl in Little League in my hometown, first female newscaster at a radio station, first woman hired in a television station news department.
This was years ago, but I do find myself feeling that familiar feeling at times in meetings where I am the only woman. I like it when I don’t notice and when my voice feels equally welcomed and valued in the meeting.
There was one meeting where small talk revolved around motorcycle riding, cigars and Joe Rogan and where I kept trying to speak but would get cut off, when the most senior leader in the meeting Teams Chatted me and said, “Keep trying. I value your contributions.”
When I did my word in edgewise, he supported my point. I thought it was such a strong example of leadership and allyship.
I try to reach out to people who don’t have a voice in meetings to support them.
5. Are there enough opportunities for women in tech? How would you assess the progress women have made in the tech industry?
This seems like such an old conversation! I cannot believe we are still having it!
I think the final hurdles are adding more female senior leaders (HP Inc. has committed to 50/50 representation in leadership by 2030) and adding more Women to Boards.
I admire people such as Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire who has been working tirelessly to advance women in business, including founding the organization “50/50 Women on Boards” in the early 2000s.
There has been tons of progress but we will know we have succeeded when there aren’t any more “Women in [fill in the blanks]” awards anymore!
6. What are some things you think should be addressed on macro, peer, and educational levels to encourage women to feel empowered in the tech industry?
Hire, retain, professionally develop and promote women in order to add to the fabric of diversity in your company.
It is a well-documented fact that diversity improves business results.
And technology is an industry that often offers people flexibility to work anywhere and at any time, as long as the work gets done.
Which can be leveraged by women who still handle a disproportionate amount of work at home.
7. What would you say to younger generations of girls or women that are interested in entering the technology industry?
Please join us! As RBG put it: “Women belong in all the places where decisions are being made” and that includes the workforce, in whatever way works for you.
That’s a Wrap!
Thank you Edie Kissko for taking the time to answer these 7 questions for our Women-In-Tech blog series!
We appreciate you sharing your experience in the tech industry and your optimism and advice for future Women-In-Tech leaders.
Stay tuned for more 7 Questions WIT blogs over the next few months. And, be sure to register for Aragon Transform 2022 so you can find out who our 2022 WIT winners are!