A day in the life: Mark Fitzgerald from VMware


Mark Fitzgerald spent much of his early career traveling around Ireland as a communications engineer before eventually working at VMware in Cork.

He has been with the technical solutions company for seven years and is now senior director and chief of staff to the senior vice president of global support at VMware’s Ireland campus in Ballincollig.

“What drew me here was the technology because I saw VMware as an innovator, but what kept me here is the culture and the people,” he says.

You get the sense that his time on the road has helped him appreciate the things that go into making a workplace enjoyable.

He barely pauses to catch his breath as he spends about half an hour talking about his colleagues and the initiatives they participate in, but one stands out as his favorite.

“We try to hire personalities. It’s not always about talent,” he says.

That’s not to say there’s a lack of talent, but he does care about a program that trains people from diverse professional or unskilled backgrounds to develop a career in the company.

He says the company understands that people from different backgrounds can help solve challenges by seeing things differently.

“We bring people with no IT experience into the company – operations managers, architects, mechanics, our security guard at the front desk. We’re trying to hire one, because attitude is hugely important. We bring them in, train them intensively for 30 weeks on what they need to know from a technical point of view to help our customers.

“Often there are people who have no job or are often underqualified. We ran 17 iterations of this program and put 492 people through it, and 92 percent of those people were successful in securing positions at VMware.

“We have an archaeologist who ended up becoming a technical architect on our support team. We put trust and trust in these people and they reward that with loyalty and it also brings a great sense of collaboration.”

That also brings variety. Among the 1,000 employees there are more than 40 nationalities adding a mix of cultures and backgrounds.

Gender diversity is also at the heart of the business.

“Because of the work we do on a large scale for our clients, the diversity of thinking is enormous. So the more alternative perspectives we have, the greater our chances of achieving successful outcomes.

“Who are our customers? When I look at the Fortune 500, I think 499 of them are our partners, so let’s put it this way, we keep planes in the air, ATMs running, supermarkets running and we cover all industries: pharmaceutical, telecom, Finance, healthcare, government, logistics. So if you’ve ever had a package delivered, made a call, or picked up a tablet, we’ve played or played a part in that journey.”

This is because VMware works with some of the world’s largest companies to provide them with cloud computing infrastructure and technology. This technology lured Mr. Fitzgerald into the company, but it can also be used to keep people there, he says.

“People like to be challenged and we try to keep people challenged. We have things like our Innovation Hub, where we have people who are passionate about driving an idea.

“We have a pod here to submit and generate ideas – it challenges the mind. It’s not just the techies. Everyone – from finance, management, HR, whatever – is involved. It’s not just about the next piece of code we’re going to develop, it’s about solving problems. The problems of our customers, our own internal problems or even societal problems.” A day in the life: Mark Fitzgerald from VMware

Fry Electronics Team

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