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Lean In: Karen Quintos

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Karen Quintos shares career updates since her 2017 cover story and how she’s continuing to forge a community for women at Dell.

Photo courtesy of Karen Quintos

This month, like countless other small businesses and local companies, Austin Woman was faced with the financial ripples of COVID-19. A May issue was no longer a guarantee—without some help. Our founder, Melinda Garvey, turned to the women who have always been our loudest and best cheerleaders: our former cover women. She asked if they would lean in and support us, so in turn we can continue to support all Austin women. The responses were immediate and humbling.

Karen Quintos, the chief customer officer at Dell and a 2017 cover woman, was one of the many women who leaned in. We’re so grateful for her support and we hope as she supported us, you will support her. We asked Quintos what she’s been doing since her cover story and how she’s continuing to forge a community for women at Dell.

Austin Woman: In your Austin Woman cover story, you had recently taken on the role of chief customer officer at Dell Technologies. What have been some career highlights since your 2017 cover?

Karen Quintos: One of my biggest career highlights of all time actually happened late last year when we announced our 2030 social impact plan, Progress Made Real. We had recently reached many of our 2020 social impact goals early, which was a momentous achievement for the entire company. We wanted to be bold and aggressive for the next decade, so we launched what we call our Moonshot Goals.

Our three big Moonshots are that, by 2030, we will reuse or recycle a product for each one we sell, women will make up 50 percent of our workforce (and 40 percent of our leadership) and we will transform 1 billion lives by advancing health, education and economic opportunity with our technology and scale. It was an extremely proud moment for me when Michael Dell stood on a global stage at one of our Dell Technologies events to announce these goals. It’s a true testament of how we are living our company purpose of driving human progress.

AW: In your cover story, you talked a lot about Dell Technologies’ commitment to creating a healthy environment for women, especially moms. As companies are now forced to have employees work from home, what advice do you have for employers trying to maintain company culture and support their employees from afar?

KQ: At Dell Technologies, we’re fortunate in that we’ve been on this journey of enabling flexible work for over 10 years now. As of just a couple of months ago, more than 60 percent of our workforce was already participating in flexible work options or working remotely. Now, of course, that percentage is much higher. Beyond implementing technology and collaboration tools, we shaped the policies and best practices necessary to promote work-life balance and create a flexible environment in which all of our team members could succeed.

In today’s climate, that need for flexibility has gone into overdrive as many families are juggling childcare, online schoolwork and day jobs—all at the same time, maybe even in the same room! As companies are rolling out work-from-home programs at record speeds, it’s critical that leaders offer empathy, understanding and flexibility for their team members who are now managing those challenges. It’s been our experience that if you lead with empathy, productivity will follow, and I believe that we’re all going to see long-term benefits of creating a culture of flexibility now.

AW: How can the community support you and the women in your community?

KQ: Whether it’s technology roles, leadership positions or small-business ownership, the challenge facing women remains the same: It’s all about access. This means supporting women by giving them access to mentors, sponsors, networks, jobs and leadership positions.

One way Dell Technologies is showing our support of women-owned small businesses during this time is by providing helpful information and advice through virtual events and online resources. Our Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, which has grown to more than 5,000 participating female business owners, has set up a COVID-19 resources section on dwen.com and launched a weekly podcast with topics centered around helping entrepreneurs navigate these uncertain times.


WHAT’S BEEN ON YOUR READING LIST OR NETFLIX QUEUE DURING QUARANTINE?

Like most, I’ve been watching the news and following the latest scientific reports, but I’m also trying to find balance in what I’m reading and watching in order to stay optimistic, hopeful and even entertained! I’ve been bingeing Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu and The Morning Show on Apple TV. While I watch these for entertainment, I can’t help but connect how both shows expose barriers women face in their careers—and the opportunities afforded when we remove those barriers. I’ll admit that I attempted to watch Tiger King; it’s not my thing, but my kids really like it.


Read more stories of our former cover women who joined our Lean In campaign.


READ MORE FROM THE MAY ISSUE

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