Andrea Munoz joins DCW Data Center Startup Challenge panel
Women still face a glass ceiling in corporate America, particularly in the male-dominated data center industry. So, we are proud to shine the spotlight on CyrusOne Senior Vice President of Operations & Customer Success Andrea Munoz, who was one of three judges for Data Center World’s 2022 Data Center Startup Challenge on March 30.
Munoz joined Omdia Principal Analyst of Data Center Physical Infrastructure Moises Levy and Applied Blockchain Inc. Executive Vice President of Technology Michael Maniscalco to pick the companies with the best opportunity for success.
The finalists were companies that develop or sell technology solutions that directly impact the data centers or data center professionals. They included:
- Round World Business Group, supports HotSite, an array of specialized aluminum gantry cranes and beams that can protect IT equipment.
- Correct Networks, lightweight virtualization platform for 5G networks.
- IQS, supports Quick Rack, a patented device that assists with installing hardware within a server/network rack.
- GRAID Technology, the world’s first NVMe RAID to eliminate the traditional RAID bottleneck and unlock the full potential of enterprise SSD performance.
- Alcatraz AI, provides an autonomous access control experience by leveraging the unique power of the human face.
- Cumulus Digital Systems Inc.,digitalizing mission-critical manual work in maintenance and construction.
After presentations on stage that included a 10-minute elevator pitch and a round of questioning, Munoz helped pick winners, awarding GRAID Technology for “Most Disruptive Technology” and “Best Ability to Gain Additional Capital,” Alcatraz AI for “Best Chance for Market Success” and Cumulus Digital Systems Inc. for “Most Influential Founding Team.”
The judgment criteria were deeply familiar to Munoz, a seven-year CyrusOne veteran with a solid reputation for identifying startups and new technologies that impact our industry now and in the future. After a CyrusOne vendor recommended her for the panel, DCW jumped at the chance to add a woman with her vast experience.
“Having worked for fast-paced startups myself, I have a really deep appreciation for the innovation, creativity and energy delivered by the finalists’ entrepreneurial spirit,” she said. “I was really excited to participate in the event and support these entrepreneurs who want to revolutionize the industry with game-changing technology. It was also gratifying to participate and collaborate with the other judges, seeing how we brought different backgrounds and viewed the presentation through different lenses.”
That same passion she brought to judging helped enable her classic American story of seizing an unexpected opportunity and working from the ground up to become a success. Munoz originally planned to be a teacher. While between semesters, she needed a job to earn some extra money for Christmas. She interviewed at a telecom company and was pulled aside for a role she wasn’t applying for – a help desk job with better pay than she expected. From there, she worked her way up in the telecom industry, eventually overseeing all the operations, then all the development and ultimately becoming general manager over all the technology for her company. One of her duties was to select where the company would house its mission critical assets, and that’s where she cultivated an interest in data centers. Wanting a new challenge, she later jumped into the data center world.
No matter her role, her natural ability to understand and apply technology combined with a teacher’s mindset has served her well. Helping others learn and grow, showing how to connect the dots and ensuring others see a bigger picture as they work toward a common goal are all part of being a good manager. Her tool of choice is purpose.
“We look at what we’re trying to do as a company and how purpose fits in,” Munoz said. “I like to motivate people by connecting to purpose. What does CyrusOne do in this industry? We connect people through technologies, and technology is changing the world. Our people play an integral role in powering all this technology. So, it’s important for them to feel that purpose.”
Serving on the DCW panel is just another example of how she leads the next generation.
“There’s so much externally going on that is stressful and distracting, but I want to create a better environment where people can feel safe and thrive, feel a sense of accomplishment, have opportunities for personal growth and development. I want our people to go home happy, healthy and in a good place mentally. That’s what really ignites a fire in me today, which is much different than what motivated me and fueled me earlier in my career.”
An inspiration to all, she’s an example of a woman who has broken the glass ceiling to find success in an industry still dominated by men and just beginning to make progress toward opening more opportunities for women.
Her DCW panel work is but another confirmation of her success story.