On January 26, CloudSphere (a cloud governance platform) announced that former Google and Microsoft executive, Jane Gilson, is their new CEO. She will be the first female to hold that position with the company.
Gilson will leverage her extensive international experience, her background with Software as a Service models, and her understanding of cloud customer needs to help CloudSphere scale to the next level. Gilson’s background spans growing a multi-billion-dollar division at Google, heading worldwide business strategy at Microsoft, co-founding a venture-backed company, and mentoring several technology startups.
“Gilson’s rare combination of leadership experience at both massive multi-billion-dollar business units and smaller technology startups makes her the ideal choice to drive CloudSphere’s success in its next phase of growth,” said Kevin Dillon, executive board chair at CloudSphere and managing partner at Atlantic Bridge Capital. “We have the right technology in place, and with Gilson joining, we have the executive leadership in advancing the business and scale the company internationally.”
CloudSphere is at a pivotal point in its growth, having recently merged two companies (HyperGrid and iQuate) to form CloudSphere. Gilson will help CloudSphere scale to the next level demand for the platform increases with accelerated cloud adoption amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gilson’s Background in Business
“When the opportunity arose to help scale a company in this space with significant technology differentiation, I knew that I needed to join,” said Gilson. “I see the CEO role as a coaching role, and my plan is for the team to drive fast and sustainable growth with a laser focus on providing customer value. I lead by the mantra that ‘if you want to go quickly, go by yourself; if you want to go further, go with a team.”
With the new position, Gilson will be relocating from Europe to the United States to build on CloudSphere’s strategic partnerships with Microsoft, AWS, and Google Cloud while overseeing CloudSphere’s international offices in India, Ireland, and Romania.
“I guess you could say my background has a little bit of a yin and yang,” Gilson shared. “I’ve done startups, where the business starts at someone’s dining room table. I’ve also had the luxury of working at more established companies. In the end, they have fundamental basics that are similar. You still have to understand how people tick, motivate people, and always have problems to solve! The difference with startups typically is how do you scale? How do you get people to follow you? Startups are all about growth in environments that seem so different. So, I had those two different experiences, but I bring them together in a harmonious way!”
As a global executive having lived in the Czech Republic, Germany, France, and Ireland, Gilson offers a unique perspective that will be critical in growing CloudSphere worldwide. Before joining CloudSphere, she served as Microsoft’s general business strategy manager and Google’s director of large customer sales for emerging markets.
“No matter what role I’ve been in or how big or small the company, I have a toolbox that I can pull out when I need it,” Gilson said. “There are always transferrable skills. You need to bring a team together, find each person’s strengths, and quite often, some transformation work. While certain things may be different, we go through similar compulsories and fundaments to allow your business to catapult. And really – a primary sales plan and how it’s executed are all the same!”
When asked how she felt being the first female to lead CloudSphere, Gilson took a moment to think before responding, “It’s a job. A working mom has a job. I feel a huge responsibility, but I’m juggling those balls like every other working mom at the end of the day. I have an obligation to the team that they stay safe during this environment mentally and emotionally as a CEO. And while we work to take care of our customers, I believe it all starts with the team.”
Starting a role as a CEO in a Covid-era also presents its challenges. Ms. Gilson, however, remains undeterred. “You have to create a virtual world to be readily accessible. This means thinking a little differently in how you manage and lead. The fundamentals are still there – it’s just the environment that’s different. It’s just a great big opportunity, and I feel humbled and honored that the board has the confidence in me. That the team has welcomed me in open arms!”
The Cloud and Covid-19
As cloud adoption accelerates amid the COVID-19 pandemic, IDC forecasts worldwide spending on cloud services will surpass $1 trillion in 2024. Multicloud strategies are now the norm, and with 81% of organizations using two or more cloud providers already, securing and governing multicloud environments is a top IT challenge facing enterprises. CloudSphere aims to address this challenge by helping organizations simplify cloud management and avoid costly breaches by automating governance, minimizing security risks, and managing costs from a single platform.
“The enterprise adoption of multicloud architectures is a once-in-a-generation transformation of the IT landscape, and CloudSphere is positioned to address the resulting cloud governance and management challenges,” said Gilson. “When you think about securing and governing a multicloud environment, that is one of the most significant parts of the IT world. In a multicloud environment, you have Google, Microsoft, Amazon, but they all differ slightly, similar to what you see between an iPhone and Android. Yes, you could make a phone call, but you wouldn’t know how to use all of the more detailed functions.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cloud spending rose 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. This trend is likely to continue given how many are transitioning their business to a virtual setting. This presents challenges to many companies in how to secure their information and create cost-effective off-premises technology services.
Gilson shared how she’s excited for the opportunity to work on addressing those challenges. “I think of the headache that the IT leader has in terms of managing everything,” she stated. “How do we make it easy for you to manage and identify what you need to access securely? How do we make it cost-effective? We hope to provide guardrails around cloud security rules, compliance status, severities, notifications, responses, and reporting thresholds in the policy engine, and monitor cloud costs.”
Encouraging Others In Their Career
The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report showed that the economy lost 140,000 net jobs in December of 2020. All of the jobs lost were women’s jobs, with women losing 156,000 jobs and men gaining 16,000.
When asked advice she’d encourage women looking for work or to change their career during such a sensitive time, Gilson answered, “I interviewed remotely during Covid. A year ago – this wouldn’t have been the way an interview would be conducted. The pandemic has forced innovation and has made everyone reimagine everything, including both the interview process and even getting hired.”
“I’d encourage those looking for work or to pivot their career, to take a step back and think what their transversal skills are,” she continued. “When I talk about my career, you notice I never spoke about IT. I spoke about fundamental skills. If you have experience with Project Management, you could take any idea to a product. If you’re a teacher, you could onboard and teach clients how to use software. Go out, run searches on skills and see what jobs pop up – it may not be things that you’d actively search, but you may have those basic skills that fit!”
Her final words of wisdom offer encouragement for women looking for work and insight into how she plans to take on the CEO role. “Create and own your seat at the table! You’re there for a reason, and whether you see it at that moment or not, someone hired you because they saw skills in you. Think of who you want to be, and show up as her!”