Every March, Women’s History Month inspires us to recognize the many social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally. This year, we’re celebrating by encouraging all Boxers to acknowledge the critical role that each of us plays in creating an inclusive culture. At Box, we know that building a culture of belonging is imperative to our success as a company, and that we can only do so when everyone feels empowered to speak up and influence change.
To promote this shared understanding, we’re inviting all Boxers to recognize their part in cultivating our culture by starting conversations with “Our Future Starts Today, I Will…” to make a commitment to drive concrete action toward gender equality. Whether that is learning how to be a better ally or tackling representation and belonging on a team, we know that each of our small, individual actions can collectively help to create a better, more inclusive Box.
A key leader spearheading this initiative is our Chief Operating Officer, Stephanie Carullo. Stephanie oversees Box’s operations and drives continued growth and international expansion in global sales, marketing, customer success and business development. In addition, she is instrumental in helping foster a sense of inclusion and community across Box through her work as executive sponsor of Box Women’s Network.
In the spirit of recognizing women’s achievements throughout Women’s History Month, we took some time to sit down with Stephanie to hear her advice for aspiring leaders and lessons learned from her 25-year career in enterprise technology.
You began your career at IBM, where you took on leadership positions in Sales, Operations and Consulting. What inspired you to pursue a career in the tech industry?
I guess I have always loved to solve problems. What I found in the tech industry was the ability to help businesses solve complex, challenging problems, and that just seemed like a lot of fun to me! And the diversity of working with people across the globe, companies in all industries - what better way to learn and develop. If I had the chance to start again, I would choose the exact same career path.
What were some lessons you learned early on in your career?
Embrace opportunities as they present themselves, don't be afraid, and don't underestimate your capabilities and strengths. I always second guessed myself, but fortunately I had some incredible mentors who encouraged and nudged me when I thought I couldn't take that next step.
What have been your personal secret weapons when it came to business success?
Be authentic, maintain the highest level of integrity at all times, be passionate about what you do, build relationships, work hard, and always give 150%! I don't believe in doing anything by halves. Do what you love and success will follow.
What is the most important career advice you have ever received?
That's a tough question, as I feel like I have been given so much great advice over the years, even to this day. If I had to pick one thing, I would probably say, do what you love, and not what you think is expected of you. I have always tried to pursue opportunities that "felt right," and that I grew to be passionate about. Life is too short, so chase your dreams. By the way, if you haven't read the Holstee Manifesto I would highly recommend it. It hangs on my wall at home. It's a great reminder of what's important.
Who inspires you and why?
My mum and dad have always been my biggest source of inspiration. They were immigrants who created an incredible life and opportunities for us kids. They really encouraged us to follow our dreams and they taught me to embrace life and all that it offers. From a professional perspective, I’ve had great fortune to work with a number of inspirational leaders, but I’m also inspired every day by people at Box doing exceptional things. I’m a big believer that you can learn from everyone in life.
What advice do you have for young women aspiring to become leaders in their field?
Don't rush to figure out what you want to do professionally. Embrace as many opportunities as you can, and build a foundation of skills and capabilities and passions that will help you on your journey.
What does inclusivity mean to you?
As a leader, how do you stay mindful of who’s at the table and who’s missing? I think of belonging, of being open, thoughtful, and recognizing that everyone has a voice. It requires being intentional about our actions and our words so that everyone feels included in the conversation.
What is your "I Will…” commitment?
I will always make myself available and present to everyone! From the very beginning of my career, I have had incredible "mentors" and role models - people who always took my frantic calls when I needed advice, answered my emails when I needed a sounding board, and were always there for me. They made themselves available, and were generous with their time. They listened and they shared. They never judged and always treated me as an equal. They were respectful, inclusive and open-minded.