Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



June/July 2011

Diversity/Careers June/July 2011 Issue

African Americans in tech
NYPA: Women engineers
BDPA plans conference
ABI's Women of Vision
Atam Dhawan of NJIT
Argonne & Native students

Energy M/WBEs
News & Views
VMX: environmental WBE
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views

Sandia Intel


Juniper's Kim Perdikou: a career full of variety

Her hit-the-ground-running style and passion set her apart from her colleagues, winning her opportunities others only dream of having

Kim Perdikou has had a lot of roles throughout her career, many of them jobs that companies created especially for her. Perdikou challenges existing ideas and comes up with new approaches. Her hit-the-ground-running style sets her apart from her colleagues and wins opportunities for her that others only dream of having.

For the past year Perdikou has been executive VP in the office of the CEO at Juniper Networks Inc (Sunnyvale, CA). Juniper's products and technology run the world's largest and most demanding global networks, and Perdikou works directly with Juniper's top service providers. "I focus on our top customers, the top ten to fifteen in the world, deepening relationships and understanding their business so what we do applies better to addressing their challenges," Perdikou says.

Before this job she ran the routing business at Juniper, about 70 percent of the total business at that time. With this current job she's gone from managing a product development organization of 2,000 to managing highly strategic, matrixed and varied organizations aimed at specific projects.

Connected to diversity
Perdikou was previously executive VP and GM of Juniper's infrastructure products group, which she was asked to lead because of her valuable opinions on product development in her role as Juniper's CIO. She doubled the business in four years, to $3.5 billion in annual revenue, and her team led the development of industry-changing innovations like the multi-chassis T1600 core router, the JCS1200 control system and the breakthrough "3D scaling" technology in Juniper's MX series universal 3D edge routers.

"At Juniper I've found the magic place, and it's connected to diversity," she says. "It's about diversity of thinking and empowering people to think, and creating a culture and environment where they are willing to take a risk in thinking and speech."

Perdikou was born in a small town on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. Her father, a professional soccer player, encouraged his children to go for jobs they would be passionate about.

As it happened, her father's friend worked for Honeywell. "He gave me my first book on computing, and I read it and realized that it could change business and change the world," Perdikou says.

In 1973 she completed a BS in computing science and operational research at the University of Paisley (Paisley, Scotland). In those early days of computing the degree included math, stats, numerical analysis, Cobol, Fortran and Basic programming, plus machine codes and even a bit of engineering.

She went on to a 1974 MS in education from Jordanhill College (Glasgow, Scotland) and taught for a couple of years. But she felt the call of business and wanted to move her career in that direction.

Off to America
Perdikou's husband, a business owner in Scotland, was willing to support her move into business, which they determined would be most successful in the U.S. So they moved to the New York area and she found a job with Dun & Bradstreet PCNet, a division that sold and installed hardware and software for the D&B businesses. In the beginning she trained people on software apps, then went on to manage the implementations and service the technology.

In 1991 Perdikou received an MSIS from Pace University (White Plains, NY). She worked for Reader's Digest for six years as VP of global networks. The company had seventeen data centers around the world and she consolidated them into two.

In 1998 Perdikou and her husband moved to Miami, FL where she took a job with Knight Ridder. Two weeks after she was hired Knight Ridder moved its corporate operations to California and she went out there, working under a contract for a year. Her husband thought California was a wonderful place, and he was happy to support the move.

In 1999 Perdikou moved to Women.com, a startup during the dot-com bubble. She was CIO and built the IT infrastructure and sales operations functions.

Building a career at Juniper
In 2000 she joined Juniper as CIO. Since then she has been recognized as one of Computerworld magazine's Premier 100 IT leaders. She has keynoted several business events and works with financial and industry analysts, business and trade media in technology innovation and business strategy. She's also served as an advocate and advisor for organizations that promote women in business, science and engineering, including the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Computing.

Perdikou joined the board of directors of LAM Research in February 2011. "After twenty-two years in the U.S. both I and my husband have realized many of the dreams we had when we moved here," she says.

Throughout her career, from teacher to lecturer, IT to CIO, VP and GM to board member, Perdikou has been "willing to take on things that are entirely new," she says. "I have confidence in my experience," and she certainly has a passion for the job.

Career advice
"Number one, spend time to understand what your passion is. Number two, understand what kind of culture you want to be in," Perdikou urges

"At Juniper I can be authentic. Finding a company where I can fit in and do what I'm passionate about is astonishing. I've been given the opportunity to do things and try things, and it has just been incredible."


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