Padmasree Warrior, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Motorola Inc. heads a global team of 4,600 technologists who are seeking an edge in brutally competitive markets. She’s a career Motorolan, a native of India and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, which is famous for producing world-class engineers.
Ms. Warrior has enormous sway over the future of Motorola Inc. Her success or failure in squeezing new products out of the company’s $3.8-billion research and development budget will largely determine whether Motorola is a company of the future, or a bust-up.
She directs Motorola’s $3.7 billion R&D efforts and operates Motorola Labs, the global software group and emerging early stage business. A Motorolan since 1984, Padmasree has helped to shape the communications industry vision of seamless mobility and position Motorola as a leader in the next generation of communications.
To accelerate innovation into the market, Padmasree established processes to harness technical, business and entrepreneurial IQ and nurture early stage innovations. She refocused engineering resources from legacy product development to higher value work in critical future technologies. As a result, Motorola reduced the time from labs to market by half and realized a ten fold increase in the flow of ideas from research into products.
Under her leadership Motorola grew its patent portfolio by 15-30% and launched major initiatives such as mesh networking, wireless broadband, power managment in hand held devices, and multi band multi mode radios. For these and other contributions, Motorola received the U.S. National Medal of Technology for 2004. Additional awards include the Asian Wall Street Jounral Gold Innovation Award, the 2006 Nano 50 Award, and the IEEE Standards Association 2006 Corporate Award. Padmasree has been recognized by working Woman Magazine, Indus Women’s League, South Asian Women’s Leadership Forum, Spectrum Trailblazers, and the Chtirahar Society.
Warrior has extensive experience in all aspects of the semiconductor industry including manufacturing, operations and technology. She has a postgraduate degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, India. She is married and has a six-year old son. Her husband is also a senior executive in the high-tech industry and they share the challenge of integrating two dynamic careers with the joy of raising a family.
1. Who has been your most significant mentor? Why?
People have diverse skills. I collect valuable nuggets from almost everyone I work with, including the people that I lead. So it is hard to name a single individual as my mentor. Perhaps my most significant and lasting mentor has been from one of my earlier bosses. I will always cherish this experience because this individual taught me the importance of challenging status-quo, being creative and leading with passion and energy. This particular mentor made me realize that the possibilities are endless if you have the stamina to pursue the direction you believe in. To put it in a nutshell, my mentor pointed out the boundaries to me so I could move beyond them!
2. Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?
I would say that there are three influential people in my life. My mother, father and husband. Each influenced me in their own special way. My mom taught me the power of love. I grew up with supreme self confidence knowing that no matter what I did my mom would be incredibly proud of me and welcome me home with love and warmth. I learned to focus on the long term big picture from my father. His sense of humor and light hearted approach always make me smile. Both my parents have a math and science background and instilled in me a love for these fields at a young age. My husband is a pivotal anchor in my life. We met at Engineering school in India when we were sixteen. Together, we built our careers and a family. We bounce ideas off one another and constantly debate issues. His influence encourages me to be independent and take risks.
Be an expert in your field, know
your stuff ! Develop a clear,
concise and distinctive
communication style. Surround
yourself with giants – don’t be
intimidated by brilliance from
others, leverage it. Be well
organized in how you deliver
and be thorough in what you do.
Take charge of your career.
Don’t wait for the perfect
opportunity to land in your
lap-search for it with passion and daring. Lead with humility.
Humility does not mean that
one thinks less of oneself, it
means that one thinks of
oneself less”. This is a nugget I
will always carry with me.