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Five-minute interview: Helen Kelisky, Google Cloud

This time around, MicroScope finds out a little bit more about Helen Kelisky, managing director for Google Cloud in the UK and Ireland

Morning Helen, tell us what you do for a living.

As the managing director for Google Cloud for UK and Ireland (UK&I), I oversee the business and its sales strategy across the region. My role consists of leading the development of Google Cloud’s go-to-market business and sales operations, working with my team to support our customers on their digital transformation journeys.

Why are you the right person for this job?

For the past 10 years of my 30-year career in tech, I have specialised in cloud business leadership. Before joining Google Cloud, I held a number of executive positions at IBM, Salesforce and Opentext, spearheading the cloud strategies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and for the UK&I markets. You could say I’ve grown up, professionally, in the cloud, having seen it evolve from small-scale iterations to the global force it is now.

What gets you up in the morning?

The excitement of making a difference that day, as well as the opportunity to learn something new. Every day is a learning day! Doing something each day to drive equality and inclusion in the technology industry is also important to me. There is much more to be done. My goal as a female tech leader is to encourage women into corporate life and into senior positions in the industry, showing them that they can become trailblazers in their own right. 

Who helped you get to where you are today?

Everyone! From my parents, husband and children, former bosses, to my colleagues. They’ve taught me that even though you won’t always do or get something right, showing you how it’s not done can be just as powerful.

What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom? 

Throughout my career, I’ve received a lot of great advice and over time learnt that my most important lessons have always come from watching others. I’ve been very fortunate to watch a number of inspirational leaders and mentors grow over the years, and learn from their successes and failures.

Helen Kelisky

“Doing something each day to drive equality and inclusion in the technology industry is important to me. There is much more to be done”

Helen Kelisky, Google Cloud

What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT? 

Treat others the way you would like to be treated. This is the most vital career advice I could ever give. This applies to both life and business equally, and it’s an important trait for everyone aiming for success. Every sector and profession depends on interpersonal relationships, and ambition should never come at the expense of empathy, respect and open communication.

Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning ‘digital transformation’?

Of course! Yes, digital transformation has been a topic of discussion for many years. It’s old news now – it’s table stakes, if you like. What I would say though is that we’re now into the nitty gritty of the what and the how. Understanding what and how quickly it benefits the business’ top line and bottom line is essential as well as an appreciation that it doesn’t come without cultural transformation.

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

In the next five years, businesses will be looking to deploy cloud in new and innovative ways, and at Google Cloud we want to ensure we are able to support in every step of their journey. At the start of 2022, we announced our goal to more than double our spend in support of our partners over the next few years. Our partners are critical to our success.

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?

A personal and long-term goal of mine is to visit 100 countries. I’ve visited 51 countries so far, and Australia is next on my list.   

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

A compilation of Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder or Queen.

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

I’d be a cat. They are independent and roam wherever they like. 

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

Trinity from The Matrix of course! Not only is she really cool, but she is a computer programmer and managed to escape from the Matrix.

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