Fabiola Addamo, a 2011 Cultural Mentor, is profiled in the post below originally published in the Yahoo! Developer Network blog. It’s great insight into her experience at Yahoo! and working to empower women in technology.
Are you interested in mentoring women and passionate about bridging cultures together? Apply to be a TechWomen Mentor by May 15, 2012 to be included in the first round of Mentor application review. Applications received after May 15 will be considered on a rolling basis.
This is WIT – Fabiola Addamo
Meet WIT member Fabiola Addamo!
WIT: Fabi, tell us how you came to Yahoo!.
Fabi: It was a journey! I actually started out studying to be a pianist in my native Sicily, from ages 6 to 20, and added on law studies in parallel during college (my family wanted me to be a lawyer). But I found law was not my cup of tea, and I came to study in San Francisco in my mid-20s, majoring in Italian literature with a minor in Anthropology. I started working as a translator at a web services business, where I learned about computers, CRM, translation tools, and overall corporate business processes. I also learned the power of cross-functional networking there. Later, I moved to Google as a contractor, coordinating a worldwide network of people assessing search results relevance. I learned a lot about corporate communications and global team management in that role! I took a break from Google US to move to Ireland to work for one of their distribution partners, which deepened my knowledge of marketing and presentation skills. Back in the US, Yahoo! drew me away in 2007, first in Mobile search editorial and in 2010 to Customer Advocacy, which is where I am currently, working with Mobile, Search, Groups, and some key partners.
WIT: What do you like best about working at Yahoo!?
Fabi: I love working here because the company has helped make my dreams come true! The big brand and great corporate culture lets people reach for their dreams. And not only has the work been fulfilling, but in 2011, thanks to Yahoo!, I also got involved with the State Department’s TechWomen program as a cultural mentor. What an experience! In addition to mentoring, I was able to participate in a TechWomen event in Morocco and Yahoo!’s Business & Human Rights Women’s Summit in Cairo. Getting to know the MENA women, their inspiring stories and the challenges they face, was one of the most profound experiences of my life. Another opportunity I had recently was to represent Yahoo! at the February 2012 USRIO+2.0 United Nations conference held at Stanford, focused on the topic of using connection technologies such as mobile to advance sustainable development worldwide.
WIT: How did you get involved with Yahoo! Women in Technology, and how has it helped you?
Fabi: I got very interested after TechWomen raised my awareness of the challenges technical women face worldwide. Through WIT, I got additional exposure to Yahoo! women executives and to many Yahoo! women across the organization, and so it definitely expanded my support network. The WIT leaders guided me on presenting a business case to Marketing to get funding to go to the TechWomen session in Morocco.
An important lesson I learned from WIT, and one of the main keys to success for the group, is that another woman’s strength doesn’t take away from your own; we should learn from each other and put our strengths together. This is very powerful! These experiences have been very interesting from a business perspective, and have also inspired me in my “other life” as a painter.
WIT: What have been your key lessons learned through the years at Yahoo!?
Fabi: So many! I would say my top three are around observation, connecting and opportunity. They lead to each other in that order. Being curious and open-minded enough to simply pay attention, observe and try to understand the “why” of things leads you to connecting with many different people. Any of those connections can lead you to a big opportunity – you never know! Also observing yourself and your talents and following that path leads to great things. Yahoo! has been like my MBA program – I have learned so much about business, technology and people here – lessons that will be the foundation for following my path in the years to come.