After a successful career as an enterprise technology executive and CEO, Patty is currently the owner and founder of her own company, Azzarello Group, Inc. Azzarello Group helps companies improve how they run their businesses and helps leaders think and work more strategically.
When I graduated from Monmouth in 1986 I first went to work at the Robotics Research Lab at Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ. Though I didn't stay in engineering roles, my engineering education helped me so much throughout my career. It gave me the power to never be scared off of solving a hard problem. That's a big deal! It taught me that there is always a place to start and there are always steps you can take to move forward. It also allowed me to understand that you can and should always collaborate with other smart people when you don't know all the answers -- that's how science works. And everyone is better off for it.
I first moved from engineering into a technical sales position with a company in NJ. I worked in sales doing the product demos and handling the technical aspects of selling technology products. As I became more interested in the sales and marketing parts of business, I began to distinguish myself in those areas by taking on extra projects for sales and marketing people. A California technology company relocated me to the West Coast for a position in product marketing. Once I was in a corporate environment, I became very interested in leadership, management, and business. I decided I wanted to be a general manager very early in my career. I spent several years in marketing positions in Silicon Valley start-up companies, and I ultimately was promoted to Vice President of Marketing.
I was then recruited to join Hewlett Packard in Fort Collins, Colorado. My HP career had 3 big scary leaps. First, I took a job as an R&D manager running a software development team of about 200 people -- a weird transition after spending so much time in marketing. Although I hadn't been an engineer for many years, my engineering education allowed me to relate to the engineers and be a very effective manager. Then I made another big step up to run Sales and Marketing worldwide for HP's Unix workstation business -- another weird transition! But I knew how to lead people, AND I knew how to solve hard problems. So I did well. The next big leap I made was to become the Vice President and General Manager for the HP OpenView business, which was at the time the 14th largest software company in the world. This was a very large, global business and I had about 3,000 people in my organization. This was the general management job I had been working for! All of my other jobs served to set me up for this, and I loved it. I learned so much about business effectiveness and leadership of large organizations, and this job also got me back to California, where I still live today.
After Hewlett Packard, I had two different roles as Chief Marketing Officer, for Polycom and Siebel, and I also became the CEO of a company called Euclid Software.
The thing I cherish most about my corporate career is not any of the business successes I can claim, but the people. I had the opportunity to help many people make big breakthroughs in their careers. They did all the work, but I was able to encourage and support them, and open the door. That's the part that really means a lot to me. I also now have friends all over the world whom I met throughout my career and associated travels, which I am so grateful for.
Ultimately, I started my own business, and I have been leading Azzarello Group for the last 7 years. In my leisure time I enjoy bicycling, scuba diving, art, and music. For a short time I was a singer in a rock band.
I attribute any success I have had in my career to 3 things: hard work, good luck, and being willing to leap from my comfort zone. I think it's really important to share that it's OK to be scared. People so often make the mistake of thinking, "If this scares me, that must mean I am not qualified." Not true! Never disqualify yourself just because you are scared. Everyone is scared. The people who succeed are the ones who are scared and do it anyway! At some points you need to trust yourself, and take some leaps.
Patty has developed some video resources to help our students; click here for How to recruit your own mentor.