Adriana Karaboutis: Global CIO, Dell
Meet one of Little PINK Book’s Top Women in Technology 2012
By Caroline Cox
This year, Adriana Karaboutis was promoted from VP of IT at Dell to their Global CIO. In this role, she’s responsible for driving Dell’s “IT organization evolution,” which includes creating and managing innovative new technology for the company and its customers.
Karaboutis is a former president of the Michigan Council for Women in Technology and a member of the Manufacturing Executive Leadership Board.
Education: Wayne State University
Other work experience: General Motors, Ford Motor Company
LPB: Where did you get your passion for technology?
AK: I’ve always had a strong interest in math, logic and computer science. This, coupled with a passion for exploring careers that had few women, attracted me to the field. Technology is growing and changing at such a rapid pace that it provides unlimited opportunities for personal growth and contribution.
LPB: What was the biggest career obstacle you faced?
AK: My career moved at a fast pace, from positions in technology to cross-functional rotations in the business to global responsibilities while living in Europe. I had to become adept at transitioning quickly to higher level roles and being productive almost immediately. I remember during my time in the auto industry, I was promoted to a senior position, moved to England with my 4- and 6-year-old sons and no support system. Being organized and seeking out a network of help was paramount to a successful international assignment, as the work demands started on day one. In the end, it was an amazing experience for me professionally, and for my sons!
LPB: What is the one thing most people do not know about you?
AK: I could have written the majority of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” I not only had “moussaka” [an eggplant dish] in my lunch box growing up, it was paired with “horta,” dandelion greens.
LPB: How can more women be successful in the technology field?
AK: Get out of your own way. Have confidence in yourself and don’t be intimidated by new technologies, people or obstacles. Embrace them, learn about them and get creative in how to apply them to meet your goals. Finally, surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and want to achieve extraordinary goals.
LPB: What’s your success secret?
AK: I’ve combined persistence to do more with a strong work ethic, which I received from my immigrant parents, and the recognition that you can’t stop learning. If you stop learning, you lose the ability to innovate in an evolving world. My team, leadership and heavy collaboration with IT leaders are huge sources of inspiration.