Monique Morrow is a Senior Distinguished Architect for Emerging Technologies at Syniverse Technologies, providing leadership and strategic direction for the company’s identified emerging technologies.
She is also a President and Co-Founder of the Humanized Internet, a non-profit organization focused on providing digital identity for those individuals most underserved. Monique holds several industry advisory positions. She’s recognized as one of the most influential technology leaders worldwide, and has earned honors including Top 100 CIOs for 2016, and Top Women in Cloud Innovations Award in 2016.
Monique is an advocate for women in technology and engineering, serving on multiple non-profit boards, and facilitating the launch of the Women in Standardization Expert Group for ITU.
Describe who you are as a person, inside and outside of the workplace.
As a person, I have an insatiable curiosity about technology and its potential for creating value for businesses and for society. To this point, I am an avid reader and will read multiple books simultaneously. “Tech for Good” is more than an assertion but a tenet that I adhere to. I enjoy sports and am a member of the Zurich Rowing Club in Zurich, Switzerland. I also believe that learning is lifelong. I received my third master’s degree in 2019, MSc in Blockchain and Digital Currency.
Describe your background and what did you do before you started/joined the company?
I have an eclectic background and have been in the tech space for over 25 years. I have worked at various companies and have been in the start-up community. I joined Syniverse Technologies on March 3, 2020. It’s been an exciting journey overall.
Tell us about the inception of the company. How did it all start?
Syniverse accelerates the promise of the intelligently connected world. Our pioneering platforms transform how information is exchanged, so our partners and customers can unlock the full power of communications technology. Urgent alerts. Critical transactions. Personalized messages. All delivered immediately, reliably, and securely, billions of times per day. We’ve been a catalyst of the connected world for more than 30 years, service mobile companies and large enterprises.
What has made you successful? What do you value?
Success is contextual. Success can translate to a quality of life and witnessing the impact you have on others. I value my family, friends, and the fragile environment we share. I value the principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion [DEI]; and Environmental, Social, and Governance [ESG] not as checks on a list but as tenets that are core to an organization’s culture that are foundational to digital transformation. I believe in giving back to society, hence the non-profit organization I co-founded, The Humanized Internet, which focuses on digital identity and tech for good: https://thehumanizedinternet.com/.
What are the most important aspects of a company’s culture? What principles do you believe in and how do you build this culture?
There must be a spirit of trust and transparency, or what I call the “two T’s”. Trust is critical in creating a “safe” space from which people can debate openly. We call this “Debate, Decide, Do!” at Syniverse. Transparency, so that our colleagues understand our corporate strategies and feel that we are all critical to the execution of these strategies. What is toxic to a culture is passive-aggressive behaviour. It’s important that we all engage positively together.
What is the significance of innovative ideas in the company?
Innovation can come from anyone and does not necessarily mean the coolest technologies in the industry. Think about the innovation in removing friction in a process and the implications therein. A culture of innovation allows people to make suggestions on what will delight customers, enable operational excellence, and, in general, be inclusive.
Give us your opinion on; do organizations rely heavily on individual heroics or team processes?
Individual heroics are not sustainable It’s a team sport here, and therefore team processes are pivotal. However, it may not be enough to “play your position,” You may need to dive in because it makes business sense to do so. This should be the exception and not the norm. Furthermore, the individual risks burnout and the organization suffers in the long term.
What are your responsibilities as Director of the company? What is the happiest part of your daily routine?
I am a Sr Distinguished Architect which translates to a Senior Director. One of the key responsibilities that I have is working across the organization to identify how an emerging technology can enable our product/service pipeline. Customer interactions are part of this function. I enjoy what we call at Syniverse, “imagining the possible” with my colleagues. It is truly exhilarating!
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Whether you are an individual contributor or a people manager, leadership means accepting accountability. This distinction is critical as we must own our actions and the implications of our actions. Assuming risk must be balanced. Doing nothing is NOT an option.