Women Behind Innovation: Bethany Mayer

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Bethany Mayer sees her job in the world of technology as a way to make people’s lives better.

“I love technology! It is exciting and makes people’s lives better. I enjoy spending time brainstorming new product ideas, talking to customers about how a product can help them, putting a plan together, and working together to deliver a product to market.”

With more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry, Mayer has held multiple key executive roles, and in 2015 was named by CRN as a “Top 25 Disruptor in Technology” due to her leadership in breakthrough technology developments.

The Edison Awards recently spoke with Mayer about her interest in technology, what it’s like to be a woman in her field, and her greatest achievements thus far. Here’s what she had to say: (edited for brevity and clarity)

When did your interest in science or engineering begin?

My interest in technology began with my first job – I was a program manager at Lockheed Martin Skunkworks. The Skunkworks has an illustrious history of building defense technology such as the SR71 Blackbird and the F117 Fighter. I was fortunate to work on several different programs there. The technologies were fascinating and world changing. It was such a cool place to get started in technology and gave me a taste of how technology can truly change the world.

What was it like to be a woman working in your field? Did you have a network of people to reach out to?

Working in technology has been a very exciting career. I have been fortunate to work on technologies that have changed the way we live and work.  From laptops to the Internet, to WiFi, to cyber security, to Cloud, to IoT – I have created and sold products in all those markets. It has been an interesting and fulfilling journey, and along the way, I have worked with amazing colleagues and friends who are diverse in every way. I have been fortunate to feel supported in my work by those I have worked for and with no matter their gender or background. My network is made up of a wide variety of mentors in all stages of their career. I still reach out to many managers I have worked for in the past for advice. I have had my share of difficult colleagues, and people who didn’t help me, but overwhelmingly I have found support in my peers and people I have worked for and who have worked for me. I think the concept of treating others as you would like to be treated is a truism in business as it is in life and that can determine how supported you are by others. So I try to follow that model, and I have found it pays back in dividends over time.

What is your greatest success thus far into your career?

I am very proud of our success at Ixia. We create bleeding edge technology to help our customers get their products to market early and with the highest quality. We also offer innovative products that provide monitoring in the network.  We are on the forefront of all the key trends – Cloud, IoT, 5G, and high-speed Ethernet. This year we were acquired by another market leader in test, Keysight Technologies. Together we are the market leaders in Layer 1-7 testing solutions for enterprises, carriers, auto, semiconductor and network equipment manufacturers.

For an exclusive look at the Edison Awards “Women Behind Innovation” series, sign up for our free email newsletter.

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Mellissa Hopkins

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