Driven by unwavering passion, uncompromising resilience, and unshakable determination, Maya Zakhour, Director of Channel Sales for Eastern Europe, META, Iberia, and Latin America at NetApp, enjoys an influential spot among the top tech leaders worldwide. With more than 20 years of channel and sales experience at prestigious worldwide organizations, including B2B high-tech businesses, Maya Zakhour is an accomplished and goal-driven sales expert. She has held a number of senior positions and supervised major organizational operations for some of the top businesses in the area. The wonderful woman leader is an exceptional communicator with a track record of success in developing relationships with upper management of various corporate accounts. She worked as the Middle East Channel Director for Fortinet and the Strategic Alliance Manager at Dimension Data as well as Channel Development Manager and Partner Account Manager for the UAE at Microsoft, before joining NetApp.
On being asked what inspired her to join the IT industry, the leading lady asserted, “I have always been interested in mathematics and logical thinking ever since I was a child, so I took up a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Notre Dame University in Lebanon. It can seem like a territory reserved for men solely for others, but for me, it made sense. I acted without hesitation. I started working in information technology (IT) after graduating. Even though there was a lot of competition at the time, I decided to pursue a career in information technology anyway. Given that this industry is continually changing, it forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to become better at what I do.”
NetApp: Empowering to Lead with Data
In the era of rapid digital transformation, NetApp is a global, cloud-based, data-centric software firm that enables enterprises to lead with data. If a company is developing in the cloud, migrating to the cloud, or building its own cloud like experiences on-premises, it may operate its applications optimally from the data center to the cloud with the systems, software, and cloud services that it offers. With solutions that work in a variety of scenarios, NetApp assists businesses in creating their own data fabrics and securely delivering the appropriate data, services, and applications to the appropriate users whenever and wherever they need them.
Overcoming the Hurdles Along the Way
The challenges have been both exciting and demanding in this dynamic industry. Rapid advancements necessitate ongoing skill improvement to remain relevant. Despite being a challenge, the leading lady used gender bias as a catalyst for change. Environments dominated by men need perseverance and aggressiveness to navigate. Her limits were frequently pushed as she tried to juggle work and family obligations. However, these difficulties just strengthened her will to succeed, promote diversity, and guide up-and-coming artists. Maya’s tactics have been to embrace change, use adaptation, and promote diversity. She has thrived and opened the path for others through ingenuity and perseverance, demonstrating that overcoming challenges is the key to real empowerment and growth.
Diversity and Inclusion at NetApp
Focusing on diversity and inclusion (D&I) at NetApp is not just a goal; it is a core value that underpins the team’s performance. They believe that a varied and inclusive workplace encourages innovation, creativity, and a broader perspective, all of which improve decision-making and business outcomes. The goal is to create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace where every employee can succeed.
One of NetApp’s D&I programs is NetApp Women in Technology (WIT), which develops a sense of community by offering a platform for professional growth, networking, mentoring, and communication inside the company. Support and advocacy are offered by NetAbled to individuals with both visible and invisible disabilities. In order to promote inclusive practices that advance equity, accessibility, and belonging, they collaborate with the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and other enterprise groups.
Nurturing a Vibrant Work Environment
Nurturing a vibrant work environment is vital for Maya. Fostering open communication, accepting different viewpoints, and granting autonomy are all aspects of encouraging creativity. According to her, innovation thrives when team members are free to try new things without worrying about failing. She therefore promotes open communication, regular feedback, and the appreciation of individual and team accomplishments in order to boost morale and value individual contributions. Promoting work-life balance, mindfulness, and mental wellness is also crucial. She prioritizes these factors, even with the team, because they foster a culture in which invention thrives in a harmonious, supportive environment.
Success: A Fusion of Growth, Impact, and Learning
According to Maya, “Success is a fusion of personal growth, impact, and constant learning”. It’s about breaking down barriers, finding solutions to difficult issues, and cultivating a diverse tech community. It is about making a difference in people’s lives. A healthy balance between work enthusiasm and personal well-being is equally important. In essence, she embarks on her adventure with a commitment to leaving a lasting impression on the world through her use of technology. It’s a dynamic fusion of invention, impact, growth, and harmony.
Maya’s Take on the Gender Pay Gap
Women in the workforce face a severe problem with the gender pay gap. Women put in just as much, if not more, effort to succeed. As a senior female executive, I’m dedicated to promoting equality in the workplace, fighting for a more diverse workforce, and encouraging more women to hold positions of leadership. I also advise women to negotiate their pay and refuse to accept less. In order to prevent gender discrimination, I believe it is crucial to work toward making the workplace more inclusive. To make the workplace more equal for women, we must keep cooperating.
The Future Trends
AI is at the forefront, supporting cloud deployments and other technologies. AI is also thought to be essential for generating cross-business benefits. One of the major trends Maya and her team are observing in the sector is how the complexity of the cloud is having an impact on technology leaders and raising concerns about cybersecurity and cost-cutting. With nearly eight out of ten tech leaders citing ESG outcomes as essential to their cloud strategy, sustainability has also emerged as an unexpected cloud driver. By adopting an evolved cloud strategy, NetApp is driving the development of next-generation cloud management and storage, giving teams the tools they need to stay on top of the most important trends.
Engineering the Future Path
The magnificent woman, Maya Zakhour is dedicated to forging even stronger connections within NetApp’s vibrant ecosystem. Her primary focus has always been on encouraging partnerships that collaborate and use innovation to provide clients with excellent value. She will also keep up her advocacy for diversity and make sure that her team works in welcoming workplaces. She will also promote the creation of innovative tactics that change with the dynamics of the sector. Her goal is to promote sustainable growth, take the channel to new heights, and strengthen NetApp’s position as a trendsetter in the tech industry through strategic alignment and empowerment.
Maya’s Piece of Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs
Believe in your own abilities, accept your individuality, and have a vision. As a female entrepreneur, your perspective and experiences bring a unique flavor to the business world. Embrace your individuality and use it as a strength. Believe in your vision, and don’t be afraid to express your ideas confidently.