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“Remember that the measure of success for a leader is the success of those whom you are leading” With Rebecca Fitzhugh, Principal Technologist at Rubrik

Remember that the measure of success for a leader is the success of those whom you are leading, whether or not those you lead are better off as a result. If you assume a leadership role, you automatically inherit the responsibility for the care, well-being, career growth, and supervision of those in your charge. This […]


Remember that the measure of success for a leader is the success of those whom you are leading, whether or not those you lead are better off as a result. If you assume a leadership role, you automatically inherit the responsibility for the care, well-being, career growth, and supervision of those in your charge. This is not a burden of leadership — this is your privilege. That being said, lead by example. It’s hard to lead by example and you will likely falter at some point. But learn from that experience, you only become a better leader by exercising that muscle. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and do a non-glamourous task that will help out your team. No one is too important to do the dirty work.


I had the pleasure to interview Rebecca Fitzhugh. Rebecca is a 12-year industry veteran who serves as Principal Technologist at Rubrik. Prior to joining Rubrik, she freelanced as a consulting architect for almost 6 years. During that period, Rebecca worked with various federal agencies, foreign government, enterprise, and service provider customers across multiple verticals. This work included designing and implementing data center infrastructures, private and public cloud architectures, and subject matter expertise. She began her career in the US Marine Corps, acting as a data systems analyst. During her 5 year service, Rebecca specialized in cryptographic systems and eventually managed a Force level data center that provided services to the entire Pacific fleet. She graduated from Penn State University.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was told to do so! I entered the military right after high school and as a part of that process, I took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). My resulting score placed me in a technical role in which I was a data systems analyst for a secure defense messaging system. Essentially, I helped our military communicate classified information in a secure manner. I pursued consulting roles in tech after I separated from the military, eventually working my up to being an enterprise architect. As an enterprise architect, I experienced many different IT architectures, from 100% physical workloads to virtualization, self-service private cloud, hybrid, and public cloud architectures across many industries. This eventually led to my role as Principal Technologist at Rubrik.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Though Rubrik is now over 1400 employees, the company still moves at breakneck speed. It is all about being agile and innovative; the growth opportunities are limitless because of this. See a challenge you want to take on? Go for it. The company has built a culture of learning, one that encourages individual growth.

At the end of 2017, my team was tasked with building a hands-on experience with our software in the form of a global roadshow. This project exemplified teamwork and initiative: my teammate and I put together a hands-on lab guide and designed what the infrastructure would look like, our global events manager plotted out the roadshow and sketched out the branding, our field marketing team worked out the logistics, and then my team and I spent a few months on the road conducting Camp Rubrik events across the nation and eventually the world. The initial strategy and execution was put together in about two weeks.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

APIs have always been what makes Rubrik different. My team is working on a program that will take Rubrik API usage to the next level. This program provides opportunities for our customers to jumpstart their automation journey with faster API adoption. Some of our customers are already embracing automation so we are building integrations for common programming languages and automation tools to make their coding a little bit easier. On the other hand, some of our customers are at the very beginning of the journey and looking for pre-built integrations to ease the change in their data center architectures. The best part is that all of these projects are open source. This provides us the opportunity to showcase some of the amazing things that our customers have already built and to provide the ability for the community to contribute back to these open source projects.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Remember that the measure of success for a leader is the success of those whom you are leading, whether or not those you lead are better off as a result. If you assume a leadership role, you automatically inherit the responsibility for the care, well-being, career growth, and supervision of those in your charge. This is not a burden of leadership — this is your privilege. That being said, lead by example. It’s hard to lead by example and you will likely falter at some point. But learn from that experience, you only become a better leader by exercising that muscle. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and do a non-glamourous task that will help out your team. No one is too important to do the dirty work.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Don’t operate in solitude. So many teams in large companies fall into this trap. A strong collaborative team allows you to work with others to exploit synergies and be able to deliver higher quality work than you would be able to if you were working solo. It’s easier to work with people when you have a warm, working relationship rather than just dropping in when it’s only in your interest. It’s not necessarily about being everyone’s friend. It’s about building trust and respect. If you’re in a leadership role, listen to the team…you’re not the only one with great ideas. You exist for the good of the team, to ensure that the team succeeds. Empower and give your collaborators the tools they need for success; it’s a two-way street. Teamwork makes the dream work — it’s corny but true.

Secondly, be decisive. In the Marines, I was taught to make “sound and timely” decisions; there was always an extra emphasis placed on “timely”. My fellow non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and I were taught to methodically analyze decisions, to weigh the pros and cons, and to minimize risk as much as possible before making a decision. In one of my NCO courses, I was taught to use a 75% solution to make rapid decisions — this means to gather as much information and details until you have at least 75% of the data, at which point use experience, intuition, and expertise to fill out the other ~25%. Sometimes waiting for all the information to make the “perfect” decision results in action happening too late. Gather as much information as possible and make a decision. If you wait too long to decide, that opportunity may have disappeared.

Last — be a problem solver. It is very easy to get distracted by the problem rather than focusing on a solution; but in the long run that just wastes time and gets you nowhere. I have been fortunate to be exposed to work cultures that taught me to try new things and to challenge the status quo. This has served me well in my journey. As a leader in tech, co-workers and customers alike will look to you to solve problems and help the business grow. In order to do that, you have to know about more than just the underlying technology. You also need to understand customer needs, the market, the competition, etc. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone to solve the problem at hand.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have had two strong mentors: one that guided me throughout my time in the Marine Corps and one that showed me how to succeed as a civilian:

I reported to this Gunnery Sergeant at my first duty station who taught me so much about leadership; he led by example and he took the time to truly know the Marines for whom he was responsible. It’s not often that someone of that rank would stop and ask junior Marines, “well, what do you think? Is there some way that we can improve [insert project here]?” He always strived to build a collaborative team.

I met my other mentor while he was a civilian contractor for my unit. He was instrumental in helping me learn how to navigate the tech world. I sent him my first attempt at a resume; he returned it bleeding from all the red ink and then took the time to teach me how to properly write one. He also introduced me to several opportunities that helped launch my consulting practice. His mentorship certainly assuaged a lot of the fear I had about separating from the military.

What are the five things you’re most excited about cloud technology and why?

  • Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud continuing to grow and these architectures increasingly becoming the norm. This will cause major cloud players to really compete on differentiated offerings that can address the needs of the enterprise.
  • As a result of multi- and hybrid cloud, customers will expect mobility. This shift puts new pressure on IT to consider how to unify access to various internal apps, cloud apps and web apps.
  • As cloud computing consumption increases, so will the need for cloud data management. IT will need to figure out how to handle data moving in and out of public cloud, data protection and availability, as well as lifecycle management.
  • Security and risk are still the nagging blockers for cloud adoption. Securing data and applications are all the responsibility of the cloud customer so this will continue to be a spot of innovation.
  • Cloud giants have been gobbling up open source companies, as of late. Public cloud vendors have benefited from open source more than open source has benefited from the public cloud vendors. I think this theme will continue, with open source projects continuing the solve the aforementioned challenges.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When I was a young Sergeant in the Marine Corps, the aforementioned Gunnery Sergeant said to “bloom where you’re planted.” Since that time, I have carried that advice with me. Bad things will happen, sometimes you are in tough situations — but there’s always something that can be learned and some way you can grow. I’ve always tried to take advantage of the opportunities I have and be grateful that those opportunities existed. It was instilled in me to take risks, make connections, and always work your hardest.

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