Q&A with Elaine Yee, VP of Sales – Americas West
Nutanix is thrilled to have just recently lured Elaine Yee as our brand new VP of Sales – Americas West. Prior to Nutanix, she was the Vice President of Americas Sales, Software Defined Storage/Hyperconverged Infrastructure at VMware. Elaine has 14 years of sales leadership experience at other leading technology companies including Commvault, Cisco and Dell. We sat down with Elaine to hear more about what drew her to Nutanix, her goals for her team and what she does in her free time.
- What are the main areas of opportunity you see at Nutanix? What attracted you to come here?
From the moment I learned about Nutanix, I was struck by the company’s ambitious goals and the ways in which the team constantly works to maintain its market leadership. When I witnessed what the company was capable of in the market (even from an outsider’s perspective!), I knew it was the place for me.
Compared to the other players in this space, Nutanix stands out as an agile, innovative company. When Cisco launched converged infrastructure in 2009, Nutanix was already launching hyperconverged infrastructure. Today, Nutanix is still laser-focused on being a trailblazer and a thought leader when addressing the market needs. The company has already shifted from a traditional hyperconverged player to a software-defined player, and now we’re working on taking the company from a billion dollars to $3 billion dollars in billings in FY21.
- What have you heard from Nutanix customers about the product?
Since joining, I’ve spent several weeks listening to our customers talk about their Nutanix experiences. Customers consistently highlight how Nutanix has strengthened their business since deploying our solutions. They are keen to point out that Nutanix has made them more competitive and agile in their on-prem, off-prem and multi-cloud environments. I’ve also seen customers rave about the Nutanix user-experience, from support, product design and function, to how well Nutanix meets their business outcomes. Above all, they’re firm believers in the Nutanix strategy in a way I’ve never seen with other technologies.
For example, I was visiting a Nutanix G2K customer who replaced their legacy infrastructure with a Nutanix solution. Since then, Nutanix has been a game changer for their IT team. The customer remarked at how pleased the team has been with the Nutanix account, customer success and support teams, and even went as far as to say that our support is unlike any other. Notably, the team can ask questions directly to an engineer on Slack and will get a response in an hour, as opposed to the several day turnaround from other vendors.
- What are your goals for your team for the remainder of FY 2019?
My number one priority is to build strategic relationships with our customers. We’ve done a phenomenal job selling directly to IT teams and growing quickly with this strategy in mind. I want to build on this and push my team to have more in-depth conversations with our customers to understand their businesses, what they’re looking for and what problems they’re trying to solve. This knowledge will help us to even better address customers’ needs and solve problems before they even identify the challenge. Once we’re having more strategic business conversations beyond just selling hyperconverged infrastructure, we can really get to the bottom of the customers’ big obstacles and needs. From here, we can also lead customers to modernize their data centers or help them get to the cloud. As Nutanix grows and continues establishing our relevance in the market, these conversations are critical to being a strategic partner and to our success.
While implementing this plan, I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and going deep in the trenches alongside my teams. As we have more strategic conversations with customers, they should all feel comfortable contacting me directly with any questions or needs.
- How would you describe the Nutanix culture?
Unlike most companies that struggle to hold onto their original culture as they grow, Nutanix is still able to embrace its founder-startup feel. Even with the team constantly adding new headcount—many of whom are focused on growth and strategy—the company still maintains a healthy balance of the original team and new team members. For example, the company recently built out 12 core employee principles and made sure that they were rooted in the three core values the founders laid out when first establishing Nutanix.
- What do you like to do outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?
My life outside of work is all about my family. As a native San Franciscan, I’m very fortunate that my whole family—from my parents, in-laws, brothers, nieces and nephews—lives nearby. I have two rambunctious sons who are constantly moving and playing. As the only woman in the house, I sometimes tell my husband that we have three “boys” at home!
In our spare time, my family loves to be outdoors; in the winter we love to ski in the mountains and in the summer we love the beach and the ocean. As a foodie, I also enjoy exploring the culinary scene in San Francisco and host large family gatherings at my house.
Our family is also very committed to our community. My boys and I are members of Service Corps San Francisco, an organization whose mission is to nurture the mother/son bond through the act of jointly giving back to fellow residents of San Francisco. This organization was founded in the spring of 2015 to serve the San Francisco community in these philanthropic opportunities: hunger, homelessness, literacy, the environment, and chronic and debilitating diseases. My family values giving back to the community that we live in and we raise our children to appreciate the impact each person can contribute in small and big ways.
We are delighted to have you join us, Elaine, Nutanix is lucky to have you!
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