Twilio's first CIO aims to scale the $37 billion cloud communications company's IT systems during a 'perfect storm' — while also bringing more women into the tech industry (TWLO)
In July, the $37 billion cloud communications company Twilio appointed Michelle Grover as its first CIO to help scale the company's IT systems and tech services. Previously, Grover worked as a senior vice president of software development at SAP Concur. Throughout her career, Grover has worked to help bring more women and other underrepresented groups into the tech industry. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
In July, the $37 billion cloud communications company Twilio appointed its first CIO, hiring former SAP executive Michelle Grover to manage its IT systems and lead its engineers in scaling up. Grover previously worked as the senior vice president of software development at SAP Concur, where she focused on travel app TripIt and Concur's mobile app. After working there for six years, she began looking outside to find the next step in her career. Grover started talking to Twilio about a chief product officer role, but when the leadership team told her it was also looking for a "nontraditional CIO," her interest was piqued. "They were not looking for someone that will get vendors for IT but someone who wants to build things," Grover told Business Insider. "The DNA of Twilio is building." Because of her background as an engineer, Grover fits that mold well. As CIO, she leads the IT and tech services team, including by making sure developers can release code efficiently. Grover is passionate about supporting women in technology Grover says her biggest career highlights have centered around bringing more women and underrepresented minorities into the technology field. Outside of work, she's on the board of Techtonica, a nonprofit that works to provide pathways for women and non-binary people into the tech industry, and she volunteers with Black Girls Code. Grover says she wants to debunk the myth that "you must be a brilliant, special kind of person to walk into technology." Grover recalls that once, after she spoke on a panel about women in leadership in technology, a young woman approached her and they got coffee together. The woman was having a difficult time in the tech industry and Grover offered her support. Then, about a year later, that woman invited Grover to the very first panel that she had ever participated in. "The fact that I talked to her about staying in technology, figuring out what was important for her, she just needed to reach out and bounce ideas," Grover said. "It actually made her stay the course." Grover hopes that in her new position at Twilio, she can continue to inspire other women and people of color, including by making herself available to help solve problems and answer questions. "The fact that there is a C-level person of color that is a woman that is absolutely qualified to do the job makes people feel good about it," Grover said. "Just coming into the organization, people are so happy, people ask questions, and people are comfortable enough to open up and ask questions to me." Helping Twilio scale When Grover started off at TripIt, it was a small organization with only 25 engineers. Eventually, she helped lead the company in getting integrated with SAP and supporting large business customers. Now, as Twilio employees onboard remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, her goal is to make sure the company's IT systems can scale up. The rise of remote work has created "the perfect storm" for more people wanting to use Twilio's email and communications platforms, Grover says. "My biggest goal is to make sure we can scale," Grover said. "What we did a long time ago is nice. Now as we get more load on the system and get a lot bigger customers, we need to be able to scale. We're hiring like crazy, and now everyone is remote. Now you have to get the systems over to people. You've got to do this a lot quicker." Grover herself also had to onboard remotely, although she says this wasn't too difficult because in her previous job, she frequently had to travel. Read more: The pandemic is changing how companies like Amazon Web Services and Twilio hire software developers, as Silicon Valley rethinks the interview process "You learn how to build those types of relationships whether you're in an office or not," Grover said. "It's definitely nice to be in an office surrounded by people. I'm also pretty used to not having that ability to do that since I've had to work with so many folks in other countries." Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at email@example.com, Signal at 646.376.6106, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request.SEE ALSO: An exec explains why Google Cloud is making a 'massive investment' in its partners and aims to have them involved in 100% of its new deals as it takes on Microsoft and Amazon Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
More like this (3)
The founder of no-code startup Unqork says its older C-suite is the secret sauce to its $2 billion valuation
Summary List PlacementBack in 2017, "no-code" software startup Unqork was in the thick of pitches to...Summary List PlacementBack in 2017, "no-code" software startup Unqork was in the thick of pitches to venture capitalists when the company's founding team began to hear a certain refrain. "You're too old, you're not entrepreneurial enough, you don't know how enterprise sales works," Founder and CEO Gary Hoberman, then 45, told Insider, repeating some of the comments. "Meanwhile, I have eight patents." "You're too...
Laverne Cox is a trailblazing actor and trans activist. But the one person she still has...Laverne Cox is a trailblazing actor and trans activist. But the one person she still has trouble winning over is the little girl inside herself. She talks about self-discovery and why she’ll never stop fightingLaverne Cox knew she was different because everybody told her so. She was eight when a teacher called to warn her mother, “If you don’t get your son into therapy...
To manage through the coronavirus pandemic, CIOs are tapping into their most important resource: each other
The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic impact will be a key test for companies. And...The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic impact will be a key test for companies. And to make it through, chief information officers are relying on one another. While networks among peers in similar positions are not uncommon, CIOs are increasingly tapping into both formal and informal groups to help manage the ever more complex duties of the role. At Cisco, for example, former...