Pam Maynard has some sound advice for globetrotting workers.
As president of strategic solutions and innovation for Avanade, a Seattle-based company focused on business technology solutions and managed services provider for Microsoft technologies, she’s racking up some serious frequent-flier miles. But Maynard doesn’t pit cities against each other and pick favorites. Instead she looks for what each has to offer.
“I get new perspectives from seeing Avanade people work in Bratislava, and how that is different from a team in Dallas, but they are all part of building this company that is a digital innovator,” Maynard said. “Sometimes, we get so used to working in one way or seeing things from a certain vantage point that it energizes me to see all the various parts that make up the whole.”
Maynard has been with Avanade for a decade, moving into her current, newly-created role in September 2017. Maynard’s job is making sure their clients are being well-served by all of the products and services available in the Microsoft ecosystem. “With so much change taking place in technology at the moment with cloud, digital, analytics and the emergence of AI, it’s a really exciting time to be working in this area,” she said.
Though Maynard has traveled the world — her previous title was area president for Europe, Africa and Latin America — her deepest connections are in London and Seattle.
“Both cities have a combination of confidence and a drive to remain relevant, but they have come to that mix from completely different directions,” she said. “London is an ancient city that is reinventing itself while proudly displaying its heritage. Seattle is a relatively recent newcomer to the global business stage, but it has created a big presence in a short time. It reminds me of technology startups that come in quickly and challenge industry pillars.”
We caught up with Maynard for this installment of Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature that looks at how tech professionals do their jobs. Continue reading for her answers to our questionnaire.
Current location: “Seattle. However, London is still home and I split my time between the two locations.”
Computer types: “Dell laptop and my Mac”
Mobile devices: “iPad, Kindle, phones”
Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: “I love apps that help me move around, explore and get some fitness in. Currently my favorites are Mindbody, Bus London, Tube Map and Citymapper, which is helping me discover all that Seattle has to offer. Tidal and Spotify are my go-to apps for music.”
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “My role requires me to travel a lot, so my workspace is wherever I am in this world — in an office, airport lounge, with a client or in a coffee shop. My nomadic existence isn’t a problem though as I’ve got the tools and the tech to read emails, attend meetings, access my documents and collaborate with my team, thanks to the digital workplace tools Avanade provides for all its people. It gives me the flexibility and freedom I need to help me stay on top of things.”
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Like most of us, it would be easy for my work to be all consuming, so it’s important to be disciplined and make time for the things that you want to do in your personal life, whether that’s spending time with your family, going to the gym or simply making time to do interesting and fun stuff with friends. Also, take 10 minutes each day to walk around the block — either metaphorically or actually. It does wonders to clear your head and provide clarity.”
Your preferred social network? “Embarrassingly, I’m not hugely active on social media but I use LinkedIn the most. It helps me network, maintain contacts and catch up on the latest news, thoughts and insights.”
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? “Hundreds! I get a lot of emails, but prioritize ones from clients, peers and our partners, and anything my executive assistant sends me!”
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? “I have more than 40 meetings scheduled. It has increased with my new role, which requires me to talk to people all over the world, across numerous time zones.”
How do you run meetings? “I try to keep all my meetings — most of which are calls — to 30 minutes to an hour. For my daily team meetings, we stand up. Having a clear agenda also helps to keep things focused. I have been known to cancel calls where no agenda has been provided beforehand.”
Everyday work uniform? “Casual chic. (Black and grey are my go-to colors.)”
How do you make time for family? “This can be challenging given my work and travel schedule, but I make sure I stay in touch with everyone important to me by keeping a ‘personal’ to do list. I’m as disciplined in managing that as I am my work one.”
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “Yoga helps me to keep my mind and body fit. I also work out at the gym and, in the summer I love to cycle off road. On the social side, I’m a big music fan and enjoy going to gigs. And when I have time I fit in visits to the theater.”
What are you listening to? “I listen to all sorts of stuff. I do love jazz and R&B. I’ve recently been listening to the new Rag’n’Bone Man album ‘Human.’ It’s in my top five for 2017. I’ve also recently rediscovered Toni Braxton while browsing Tidal.”
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “GeekWire, of course! I also like to get my news roundup first thing in the morning with alerts on anything major as I go through the day. BBC News keeps me connected to home and I also rely on podcasts such as The Daily, and the Wall Street Journal podcasts to help me to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the U.S.”
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “I’m currently doing some work with my new leadership team and I’m reading ‘StrengthsFinder 2.0’ by Tom Rath, which is all about building strengths as individuals to improve how we work as a team.”
Night owl or early riser? “Early riser, but I can do both. When I’m working in Seattle, being an early riser definitely helps with time zones across all the countries I work with. It’s important to sleep though. As Arianna Huffington says, sleep holds the key to unlocking ideas, staying productive and being happy.”
Where do you get your best ideas? “Brainstorming with my globally diverse team is my primary source of ideas. It’s great to listen the views of other people from different backgrounds and cultures, and helps to keep things fresh. Reading, as well as thinking time during flights, are also good sources of inspiration.”
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “Hands down, Satya Nadella. I am truly inspired by his growth mindset approach, leadership with heart and bringing empathy to the workplace.”