Name: John Dolan
John Dolan is a Strategic Advisor and Board Member at Ascend Cloud Solutions.
Prior to taking on this position, John was Global Vice President for Software-Defined Data Center Support at VMware.
John spent more than 14 years at VMware in the Technical Support organization, where he led global organizations across EMEA and APJ. He did this from Cork, Ireland where he also held the role of Campus Site Lead.
Prior to VMware, John spent a number of years working for EMC in Technical Support, helping them to build a support team in Ireland.
I got to know John while at VMware when I was in engineering within the Integrated Systems Business Unit. I was working on designs for VMware customer deployments and John was providing support of these same customers. I then had a chance to spend a lot of time with John and his team when I joined the leadership team in Global Services.
I really enjoyed working with John. He was incredibly focused on helping customers to be successful. I was helping redefine how we supported customers by moving us to a proactive model, delivering new capabilities such as chat, and delivering in-product support. To do this, John and I had to work through the many challenges in scaling this to the huge number of customers that VMware has.
I am super excited that John has taken on a new role with Ascend Cloud Solutions. His experience, expertise, and work ethic will help Ascend to be successful.
I hope you enjoy my interviews with John!
I asked John three questions that were specific to him.
- As a leader and manager, you have experience hiring, developing and retaining your people. What are the top 2-3 things that you do to keep your organization vibrant?
- You have worked in the US and in Ireland. What are some of the advantages and challenges that you see in being remote from headquarters?
- You have seen incredible technological change over the years. You have always been involved in local universities and participated in programs to retrain individuals for jobs in high technology. With all of this experience, what advice do you have for high school and college kids in preparing themselves for the future?
I then asked John the same six questions that I ask all interviewees – in a lightning-round format.
- What’s the most important factor you consider when hiring someone?
- Who was your most effective boss, and what made him or her stand out?
- What was the most difficult transition that you made in your career?
- How do you approach helping someone with their career development or path?
- What tools and tricks do you use to find work-life balance?
- How do you go about building relationships with your peers and other leaders in the company?
I really enjoyed the interview with John. Here are a few quotes that jumped out for me.
John on keeping the organization vibrant.
“The leader has to be high energy, has to be positive, has to come in with a sense of excitement, a sense of urgency, a sense that there is potential for something new, something to happen each and every day!”
John has a great perspective when he thinks about decisions that are made by company leadership back at headquarters.
“Very few people on this planet are making decisions for the wrong reasons.
There are people over there that are extremely smart, extremely hard working to get to where they are. They have made a decision that is the best decision at that point in time.”
John has always been involved in working with local universities and retraining programs. He shares his thoughts on what it takes to be successful.
“Hard work and the right attitude are table stakes.
Understand where your strengths are and focus on them.”
I hope this gives you a sense of what you will hear in the interview.
Next week I will post the career path that John has taken to get to where he is today.