EMC and Inner Balance

Madhu Manjunath

Madhu Manjunath

Balancing my role as an Engineering Director for RSA Security Analytics along with my role as a mother of a 21 year old daughter and being able to exceed expectations in both areas is very delicate and time–consuming. Yet I wouldn’t give it up either!

As I enter my twentieth year as a working mother and my ninth year at EMC’s India Center of Excellence, it is really interesting to think about how different life would have been for my family and me if they hadn’t experienced life with me working in a company as challenging as EMC. When I do reflect on that, the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

When I joined EMC way back in June 2006, I was trying to juggle multiple priorities – a.) Family – husband, in-laws, parents and my 13 year old daughter, b.) Education – I was midway through a Masters in Business Management, c.) New job at EMC – trying to ramp-up on storage and Information Lifecycle management domain and d.) My immediate deliverables at work – that included building a Performance, Scalability and Reliability Test Lab!

I would like to applaud the fun-filled and flexible work environment offered by EMC, coupled with a seasoned Management and Executive leadership team who supported and encouraged me all the time to pursue my goals and achieve great heights in my career.

At EMC, I have always got to be myself and have had the freedom to experiment and drive my global teams the most creative and efficient way possible.

Additionally, I felt empowered and travelled all the way from India to Hopkinton to meet with the Women’s Leadership Forum President in 2009. As a result, I was able to launch the EMC India Chapter in 2010. My local Leadership Team has been a great sponsor and support for all of the Diversity and Inclusion activities.

My EMC career has been extremely challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. My portfolio has expanded every year.

I lead and motivate my global teams as well as collaborate extensively with my cross-geo and cross-functional stakeholders to collectively drive high quality work and improved customer experience. Although distance and traffic are not my best allies, no matter how tired I am or how complicated my day ends up being, I try to arrive home as early as possible so I can catchup with my family

Some of my moments of pride at EMC India:

  • Being recognized as the first female Engineering Director at EMC India,
  • First President of WLF at EMC India,
  • First female Manager to lead and remotely manage a team of 70 Israelis based in Herzliya, Israel from India,
  • First female to win the EMC Innovation Conference in 2009!

Yes, the life and environment at EMC has been extremely energetic, challenging, innovative, empowering, inclusive, rewarding and dynamic!

And it still feels as though I joined EMC yesterday!

Your Attitude is your Altitude: Interviewing Best Practices

Nancy Gessler

Nancy Gessler

ES Program Management at EMC

About six months ago, I was asked to contribute to EMC’s application to be a Great Place to Work.  Apparently someone had highlighted my team’s interview process as a best practice.  As I  formulated my response, I thought about what makes our process great and also what dimensions our team values when we are interviewing candidates.

I don’t think our process is unique – we do team-based interviews that include the hiring manager, one or two peer managers,  and one to two strategic individual contributors (generally technical subject matter experts).   The focus areas for the interview (which are pre-defined in a template that is distributed to the interview team) include an introduction to the inbound team, its focus, goals and objectives.  We do multiple technical or domain explorations aligned to the key focus areas we are hiring for, and assessments of core skills as well as future capabilities.  We assess the team and cultural fit and the potential for growth opportunities.  Then we spend time discussing realistic issues that the candidate could encounter in the day to day landscape, and of course, we use situational question techniques (how would you handle …, give me an example of a time when …).  We encourage candidates to ask anyone of us –  at all levels – questions about the job, the fit, the culture, and our expectations.

We determined that to ensure a good fit, we need to position the job in the best light –  but we also need to be realistic about challenges and demands that will come with the position.  Having multiple perspectives of managers and individual contributors provided a 360 degree set of our views and identified potential blind spots or biases.  We also found that if we spent time letting candidates know what to expect in a very honest way, while still highlighting the value and benefit of EMC as an employer, the right match would be found.

Of course, some folks can interview well but cannot do the job.  By using a mixed team focused on abilities, situations, values, aptitude — and most importantly attitude — we can identify the best candidates.  During my years as a manager, I believe the single biggest asset a candidate can possess is attitude.  A strong want and desire and the ability to be flexible generally prove to be far more important than immediate capabilities.  The most fun part of my job is mixing and matching talent and skills and pushing people outside of their comfort zone.  That little bit of alchemy can create some great results and generates a lot of opportunity, innovation, and creative approaches to addressing the day to day challenges. To me, this is why attitude is so critical.

Hiring the right candidate is critical to the success of the team.  It is also an obligation to the candidate that is being interviewed to ensure that he or she will be successful.  You want to sincerely try to do what is right for the business, the team, and the individual.  It is costly to make a bad hire – both financially and emotionally.  The  approach we use to share information – the good and the bad – helps create a fair and holistic view of the position and appropriately provides a good perspective to the candidate.  Ultimately, it contributes to the success of the team, the general happiness of the individual, and yields a great result for the company.

Travel Is the Best Form of Education

Rosema Hermano

Rosema Hermano

Global External Manufacturing


After joining EMC Santa Clara in 2012, I heard about Citizen Schools through Keren Pavese from the Office of Community Engagement. EMC is a Citizen Schools’ corporate sponsor. After learning more about Citizen Schools and its mission, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. I wanted to give back and create change in the community.

Citizen Schools is a non-profit organization and partners with middle schools across the United States to expand the learning day for low-income children. Citizen Schools’ mission is “educating children and strengthening communities” through volunteer teachers.


This is my third semester teaching “Around the World” at George Joseph Middle School in San Jose. “Around the World” meets every Tuesday from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Students learn about culture, geography and history of different countries, including the US. At the end of each semester, students are asked to create a collage and tell a story about their favorite place for their WOW project. So far, students’ top 3 favorites are Italy, Spain and Hawaii.


I choose to be a volunteer teacher because I want to make a meaningful impact on the lives of the students, to open up students’ eyes to the many possibilities and opportunities this amazing world has to offer, and share my passion for travelling. I believe TRAVEL is the best form of education.


EMC Russia Gives Back

Vera Donets

Vera Donets

EMC Russia & CIS


Last year EMC’s employee survey results showed that Russian employees would like to expand social responsibility activities and to give back more. Our initiative team decided to develop local campaigns starting with charity projects.

Since then EMC’s office in Moscow has partnered with three child-care charities, Here and Now, which supports orphans; Nastenka, a fund supporting children with oncological diseases; and Big Change, an organization that helps special needs children with social adaptation and education.

Since 2009, each Christmas EMC employees make donations to Here and Now which arranges winter camps and holiday trips for children from Russian orphanages. We believe that new experiences and emotions can make a difference for those children and it helps them feel the Christmas spirit and believe in miracles again. In December 2013-January 2014 EMC raised funds for orphans from Severodvinsk Boarding School and children spent two weeks with host families in Moscow. Now we are approaching new ideas for 2015.

The Big Change fund is another proven partner for EMC. We started our cooperation in 2009 and organized IT courses led by EMC employees. This year we sponsored 27 hours of secondary school lessons for two disabled students, Olga and Teya, who couldn’t attend school along with other children but have now completed this stage of their education.

Our cooperation with the Nastenka fund started in Q2 2014, with a fund-raising campaign covering treatment costs for Sofia Sankova, a 4-year-old suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

We do hope such involvement helps EMC employees take personal responsibility and contribute effectively to our local communities. This is a great opportunity to remind everyone how important it is to give back. We believe this is just the beginning!


One of the winter excursions – a trip to the ice rink!


Sydney Volunteers deliver Backyard Blitz

Jillian Hill

Jillian Hill

EMC Australia


EMC volunteers from the St Leonards and North Ryde offices in Sydney took part in a ‘Backyard Blitz’ Volunteer Day at Early Ed.

Early Ed is a non-profit early childhood intervention service that provides support to families and children from birth to school entry. All children suffer from a diagnosed disability and/or difficulties in one or more areas of their development. The playgroups also provide advice and information to families whose children are on waiting lists for early childhood intervention services.


The 14 EMC volunteers rose to the challenge and completed 91 hours of work to provide two new paved areas, revamp the front garden bed and front lawn, as well as deliver some much needed maintenance around the center, including leaf removal and cleaning.


It was great to see all the hard work result in such an amazing transformation that brightened up the environment for the families and children while providing a better place for staff to work as well.

The efforts of the EMC team were very much appreciated by Early Ed’s staff, children and parents, but just as importantly, the EMC team got a lot out of the day. It was a great opportunity to mix with people from different areas of the business and highlighted the active role EMC Australia plays in corporate social responsibility.


ITLP Gives Back with Citizens Schools – My Story

Juliana Cirillo

Juliana Cirillo

EMC IT - IT Leadership Program


“This is awesome! We sound like professionals!”

– Cathy (Sixth Grader, Orchard Gardens School, Roxbury, MA)

My personal goal going into working as a Citizen Schools teacher was to get the students to believe in themselves and to try to inspire them in any way possible. Words cannot describe the warm feeling that overcame my heart when I heard these words from one our students at their final WOW! presentation. I knew at that moment that I had reached my goal – that my students were confident and truly believed in their potential.

I joined EMC IT in the summer of 2013, shortly after my graduation at UMass Amherst, as part of the IT Leadership Program (ITLP). About a month after joining, I was introduced to an opportunity with Citizen Schools – an opportunity that I will always carry with me.

What is Citizens Schools?

Citizen Schools is a non-profit organization that dedicates its time and resources to middle school education in low-income areas. Their goal is give their students more learning time and opportunities, particularly related to science, technology, engineering and math. They do this by bringing professionals from STEM industries in to low-income schools to teach their students various apprenticeships that offer hands on activities and illustrate real life scenarios. In fall of 2013 I had the privilege of working with sixth graders at Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, Massachusetts, with help from two fellow ITLP’ers, Justin Wu and Lindsay Nolan.


The Apprenticeship

The apprenticeship my group did with Citizen Schools was once a week after regular school hours for 90 minutes for a 10 week period. The topic we taught was Design Thinking. The purpose of this course was to get students thinking outside the box when given a challenge. We taught the students various ways in which to brainstorm and gave them a process to follow in order to come up with a solution. Some of our activities included an Egg Drop challenge, shooting a Rocket, and building a race car.


At the end of the apprenticeship, Citizen Schools holds a WOW! event at various trademarks in Boston – ours was at the Federal Reserve. At our WOW! the students presented all the different activities they did throughout the 10 weeks and their final project – pasta cars that they built for reliability and maximum speed and painted as well. Before the event we reviewed with the students on how to present, how to introduce themselves, and how to network. The WOW! is a great opportunity for the students to practice and apply these skills. I was blown away at the event. The students were confident in the material and excited to teach others. Their professionalism when speaking was remarkable. It was a wonderful way to end the apprenticeship.



EMC’s Involvement

EMC has worked with Citizen Schools for five years now. As a company, EMC has fully supported its employees in dedicating their time towards teaching and building curriculum. Having this support from the company and my manager makes the experience so great. I was provided the flexibility to work on the lessons and be able to leave work early. In addition, it means a lot to me personally to be able to participate in such a great program.

To learn more about Citizen Schools visit their site and talk to your manager about the opportunity.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.


Juliana Cirillo

EMC VEX Robotics Competition Ireland Finals Fast Approaching

Elaine Beare

Elaine Beare

Ireland COE


Excitement is building as we approach the Irish finals of the EMC-sponsored 2014-15 VEX Robotics Competition. Fifteen teams will participate in this year’s competition on 28th November 2014 at Cork Institute of Technology in Bishopstown, Cork.

The teams competing are:

School Name Location # Teams
North Presentation Secondary School Farranree, Cork 1
Davis College Mallow 2
Kinsale Community School Kinsale 1
Deerpark CBS Cork City 1
Bishopstown Community School Bishopstown 1
St. Colman’s Community College Midleton 1
Colaiste Pobail Naomh Mhuire Buttevant 2
St Francis Rochestown 1
Mount Mercy Bishopstown 1
Spioraid Naoimh Bishopstown 1
Colaiste Choilm Ballincollig 1
Nagle Community College Mahon 1
Coder Dojo – CIT Bishopstown 1

One award for the competition is the Tournament Champions Award, which is won by the top alliance of two teams. Participants also have a chance of winning The Excellence Award, presented to the team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a well-rounded VEX robotics program, and offers a shining example of dedication, devotion, effort and teamwork. The winner of the Excellence Award is also eligible to compete in the World VEX Robotics Finals to be held in April 2015 in Kentucky.

Some of the teams entered in the finals took part in a scrimmage on 5th November at CIT, which gave them a chance to test out their robot. Teams competing were also able to see their opponent’s robots before the big day, and select possible teams for future alliances.

EB robotics1

The game this year is VEX Skyrise. The object is to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by scoring Cubes in Floor Goals, on Posts or on your Skyrise, by Owning Posts, and by Building your Skyrise Sections. More information on the game is available  at http://www.vexrobotics.com/wiki/Skyrise

A number of EMC employees are volunteering for the event, as part of our EMC Gives Back community involvement initiative. I am delighted to be able to volunteer again for the day, having been involved since EMC brought VEX Robotics to Ireland in 2012. EMC has been a sponsor of VEX Robotics in the U.S. for a number of years and it is great to be involved in this initiative here in EMC’s Ireland Center of Excellence.

EB Robotics2

The EMC VEX Ireland Finals promise to be a day full of excitement! We will be posting photos from the event on our VEX Robotics Ireland Facebook page http://ow.ly/Ecu9m throughout the day, so be sure to like the page and follow us on Twitter @VEXIreland for all the action.

EMC Gives Back to Worcester’s neediest public schools

John Rokicki

John Rokicki

Avamar R&D

This post was co-authored by Jillian Swartz.

Late summer was a great time for our team to volunteer at Worcester’s South Community High School and Sullivan Middle School. Though school was not yet in session, preparation for the arrival of students was in full swing. Increased financial pressures on these schools and their families meant that preparation was focused squarely on the basics, including food and clothing as well as education. With the help of Boston Cares and EMC Gives Back, almost two dozen EMC employees and Boston Cares staff were able to better understand the mission and community responsibilities placed on two of Worcester’s neediest schools, learn how students succeed and thrive, and help provide a welcoming sight to returning students.

Serving a section of Worcester’s most financially challenged areas, school principal Maureen Binienda provided volunteers with a lengthy overview of how the school addresses the most basic areas of preparedness for school. Actions ranged from running one of the few school-based food pantries in Massachusetts to ensure children do not come to school hungry, to providing access to medical and eye care in school and through affiliated services throughout the city. The school also operated a unique clothing pantry named “Andy’s Attic” (http://www.andysattic.org/ ) to provide students with access to new and gently used clothing so they can arrive at school ready to learn. But beyond those basics, students have also been given opportunities to give back to their peers through volunteerism in these outreach programs, and also participate in once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Two such opportunities have been for the school marching band to march in the Independence Day parade in Washington DC, and for the entire student body to perform as cast members in previous and upcoming Broadway shows performed at Worcester’s Hanover theatre.

Almost two dozen EMC employees spent the afternoon working on some of the more neglected tasks in opening these schools – significant amounts of landscaping and painting that had fallen well below the budget funding line for several years. When all was completed, safety gates were painted, overgrown flowerbeds and gardens were weeded, new mulch was spread, and flowers were planted – a much needed visual improvement for those students arriving for class at the end of summer. The staff at South High was extremely appreciative of these efforts, as it dovetailed perfectly with their desire to provide pinwheels displaying messages of hope and expectation for students upon arrival on their first day of school. If not for these volunteers and their efforts, those student greetings would have been lost to the vines and weeds they had become accustomed to seeing for years in front of their school!

2014-08-20 13.38.31

As a final contribution to the needs of these schools, one volunteer commented how much more needed our “EMC volunteers” t-shirts were for students and their “Andy’s Attic” clothing program than in our own closets. So volunteers presented the school principal with those shirts, with the hopes that it would leave a positive message for the students about EMC, its employees, and our commitment to them and their community.


As the day came to an end, our volunteers felt an enormous sense of accomplishment for all the hard work that they endured, but also knew it was nothing compared to the work that goes on throughout the school year inside those walls. A very humbling, eye opening experience to what goes on in our local community on a daily basis.

It was a pleasure to work with Community Involvement, Boston Cares, and South High Community School in Worcester. EMC is proud to make a difference in other people’s lives. Thank you for what you do Maureen Binienda and best of luck in the upcoming 2014-2015 school year!

South High

Inspiration of the International NASA Space Apps Challenge

Elaine Beare

Elaine Beare

Ireland COE


I have long been a huge fan of space and NASA so I was delighted when I got the opportunity to attend the International NASA Space Apps Challenge held in LifeTime Labs and UCC earlier this year. The largest Space Apps event of its kind in Ireland was described as a “huge success” and “inspiring” by some of the attendees. The Space Apps Challenge was simultaneously run in countries all over the world and the 2014 event earned the title of the “largest global hackathon” – 95 cities in 46 countries participated in 76 straight hours of hacking over the two days (kicking off in Doha, Qatar and ending in Seattle, U.S.A.). Over 8000 people registered on the spaceappschallenge.org site during the previous few months and those who attended local events, as well as the virtual site, created over 600 projects during the course of the weekend.

I was also proud to be a judge at this event which gave me an opportunity to chat with the teams and discuss how they came up with their ideas. The projects were…simply put…“mind-blowing.” In some cases you had students only 13 or 14 and they were coming up with ideas that possibly adults have yet to think of – absolutely awe-inspiring!


The two winning projects were presented with a prize sponsored by EMC. The Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Lorraine Kingston, was also on hand to congratulate all the participants by presenting them with official Space Apps certificates.


The activity on Twitter and Facebook around the world in the lead-up to this year’s Space Apps Challenge was incredible with almost 14,000 #SpaceApps tweets alone in the last four weeks before the event. From the social media activity and web hits it is estimated that the event gathered a total global audience of around 80 million people.

Deputy Lord Mayor Kingston congratulated and commended EMC’s John O’Donoghue for his hard work and commitment in bringing the event to Ireland and Cork for 2014. She also thanked EMC for the continued support of STEM outreach activities in Cork.

In NASA’s post event press release they described the participants who left the local events as feeling excited, energized, inspired, and of course, exhausted.  They go on to say that “Everything achieved is evident in the incredible projects produced during an intensive weekend of brainstorming, collaboration and rapid prototyping.  The success of the event is also evident in the potential that many of those projects have to go on past this weekend to make an impact both on Earth and in space.”


The winning project from the student category in Cork was from Transition Year and 2nd year students Luke Fehily, Caolán McCarthy and Liam O’Donovan with their idea entitled “M.A.D. – Medical Administration Device.” The winner of the professional category was Tyndall PhD student Samarth Viswanath with his project entitled “Obstacle Avoidance Robot with Surveillance Capability.”

The standard of projects/apps designed was extremely high, and it was truly inspirational to see the greatness of our future talent.

#YouDefineEMC Through New GlobalGiving Service Awards

Nina Haug

Nina Haug

Business Partnerships Intern at GlobalGiving


Technology isn’t just part of the job for EMC employees – it’s a way of life, and a way of giving. Through the corporation’s partnership with GlobalGiving, employees have the opportunity to donate to more than 1,500 fully-vetted global charities on our web-based giving platform. EMC gives GlobalGiving gift cards in celebration of new hires and service anniversaries, creating a way for employees at EMC to support those in need worldwide.

EMC’s employee engagement strategy emphasizes the importance of the individual. Its global campaign, #youdefineEMC, encourages employees to connect personally with the corporation, while the giving campaign pushes people to engage with causes on an individual level. GlobalGiving’s platform provides EMC employees with a myriad of organizations to support, addressing issues from animal welfare to disaster relief to education. And every choice is a good one – each organization is a registered US charity or the international equivalent, with a record of social impact and fiscal responsibility.

Our service anniversary program with EMC allows the company to focus its efforts on its three key cause areas of food, water, and education, while putting the end choice of its donations in the hands of its employees. One program popular among the EMC community thus far has been “Feed and Educate Children in Salvador, Brazil.” The project’s goal is to prevent childhood street crime by providing children with both food and access to local education. Recently, the project’s school organized a soccer tournament to celebrate the World Cup and keep young children off of the streets. The school’s teacher, Andrea, was able to obtain her official certification with the program’s support; she now uses her training to help her students, many of whom pay it forward by tutoring younger children. The project’s parent organization, Global Vision International Charitable Trust, has more than 30 other active projects around the world that can also benefit from EMC gift cards and donations on GlobalGiving.

Photo credit: Global Vision International Charitable Trust

Photo credit: Global Vision International Charitable Trust

Using GlobalGiving gift cards has brought a sense of personal gratification to many EMC employees. One employee shared that she saw how “small things could make big changes!” Projects on GlobalGiving post the benefits of different amounts of money, so donors can choose to give within a range. Another gift card recipient appreciated how easy it is to use our platform and shared how there is a lot “of useful info to assist in decision-making.” GlobalGiving gift cards allow EMC employees to choose how to give and collectively decide what influence EMC’s giving has on the rest of the world.

Through EMC’s GlobalGiving gift cards, when #youdefineEMC, you define giving – and you change the world.


To learn more about how GlobalGiving works, please click here or explore our website at www.globalgiving.org.


YouDefine Giving Back