Women in IT Management
|This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P.,
has an exclusive interview with Trish Gulbranson,
President of NetPro, a leading provider of directory
infrastructure management software.
Q: As a point of introduction, can you describe your
career and the decisions you made to reach your
current position at NetPro?
A. I have been in finance since the start of my
career. I spent six years in the public accounting
field, most notably with the “Big 5” accounting firm
of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. I have spent the past six
years at NetPro and have worked my way up to the
President’s position from my finance role in the
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to
explore areas outside of accounting and finance
during my tenure at NetPro, and my decision to be
involved heavily in the operations of the business
and work closely with the team to achieve Company
goals is what ultimately positioned me for my role
I am also heavily involved in the software industry,
serving on the AZSOFT.net Board of Directors and
leading the Software Association’s annual equity
conference for up and coming software companies.
Q: You have an outstanding record. What remarkable
qualities can you share that allowed you to achieve
this stellar performance? What tips would you
provide to other executives?
A. NetPro’s success comes from being customer driven
-- from listening to its customer and delivering
what they need. NetPro’s staff of dedicated
employees embodies that philosophy and executes on
it every day. They have built our outstanding
record, and I am extremely proud and grateful to
have the opportunity to work with all of them.
My personal success is driven out of my passion to
be the best that I can be. I absolutely love my work
and because it’s fun for me, it’s easy to work hard
and make a total commitment to the company.
The people who have touched my life as mentors,
especially Joanne Carthey, the former President &
CEO of NetPro, have played a huge role in my
success. And, that feeds beautifully into my advice
to other executives. My advice is this: Listen to
your customers, listen to those around you, and
listen to your mentors.
Q: Where do you see NetPro, strategically in 2001
and where do you want NetPro to be in 2003, and
A. NetPro is the leader in the Directory
Infrastructure Management space today. With that
expertise and a healthy list of 4000 customers, many
from the Fortune 1000, we are well positioned to
expand our offerings. We have had exceptional
success in the Novell arena, and we now offer three
products for customers running Microsoft Windows
2000 Server. With the product breadth and our
reputation, we are ideally poised to achieve even
greater levels of success.
Strategically, our success will come through a
renewed leverage of the channel, specifically
through large systems integrators like Compaq and
ePresence. Growth and expansion into new areas will
also be driven by our strategic relationships with
such industry partners as Quest and OpenNetwork with
whom we have signed lead referral and product
Over the course of the next three to five years, our
goals include expansion of products in the Directory
Infrastructure Management space as well as expansion
beyond Directories into the broader Network Systems
Management space. We will do that through internal
development of products, but also through leverage
of such partners as NT Sim, Inc., developers of
Q: How will NetPro’s services evolve over time for
businesses and how will you shape this process?
A. NetPro has a core group of professional services
professionals who work with our customers to ensure
that our software is installed quickly and
efficiently. And because our products are easily
installable and stable, our customers don’t require
a great deal of training or consulting. For this
reason, we don’t have any immediate plans to expand
our services offering.
Q: How will NetPro’s partnerships and distribution
channels evolve and how will you direct this change?
A. NetPro is committed to building and leveraging
our partnerships with both technology partners and
global reseller partners. In the past, we have sold
our software fundamentally through a well-trained
direct sales force because it was appropriate for
the space in which we were operating. Now that we
have moved into the Microsoft space, the reach of a
skilled integration channel will be vital to our
Understanding this, we signed an agreement with
Compaq last year that formally integrated our
software into its Windows 2000 service offering.
Just last month, we signed an agreement with
ePresence, a leader in the Windows 2000 integration
services space. And, we’re also signing some new and
exciting agreements with industry partners like
Quest and OpenNetwork for lead referrals and product
integration. I will be driving this new focus on the
channel and vital strategic partnerships from my
position as President, leveraging our Vice
Presidents of Sales and Strategy to ensure that our
goals are accomplished.
Q: What is your grand vision for computing and the
Internet and other related technologies and how will
you enable this vision for businesses?
A. The computing industry, and indeed the entire
high-tech arena, is in the middle of a significant
shake up in the aftermath of the dot.com demise and
the economic downturn. However, computing is vital
to the economy and to the productivity of businesses
throughout the world. And networking technology, in
particular promises to be a huge area of growth. We
expect to see the network and the Internet become
one and become virtually invisible to the user. And,
through this evolution of the technology, computer
services and information will be always on and
always accessible – from anywhere at any time. Over
time, we also see the network becoming more reliable
and self-correcting, and we are pleased that our
software provides significant value in this area by
ensuring the reliability and performance of network
Q: What advise would you give to businesses as they
plan their own evolution in the next five years? Do
you have specific technologies and processes they
should watch out for and implement?
A. Through all the growth and change of the coming
years, fight like Hell to maintain a strong sense of
entrepreneurial spirit and empowerment among your
employees. When they believe in the dream, they can
achieve just about any goal put before them.
Processes are necessary, but be careful. They can
quickly turn an organization into an inefficient
machine and result in the loss of that critical
Q: Can you describe your latest press release on
providing predictive modeling and what benefits can
be had using this innovative technology? Can you
provide details, case studies, examples and models
of its benefits? Where do you see this technology
A. In our recent press release regarding
DirectorySim, NetPro announced our exclusive
agreement to partner with the product’s London-based
developers to sell the software. The most
comprehensive solution available for modeling Active
Directory, DirectorySim has the potential to be one
of our best-selling products ever. Early customer
reaction has been extremely positive and the
consultants who are heavily involved in Windows 2000
integration efforts are clamoring for it because it
enables them to model the Active Directory
environment before rolling it out. It saves
considerable time and effort and it has the
potential to bring huge cost savings, particularly
in the way of hardware expenditures.
Because the product is not yet shipping, there are
no case studies available at this time. However, we
will make them available on our website as soon as
they are. We anticipate that DirectorySim will
evolve over time to offer modeling capability for
other business-critical applications like SQL and
Outlook. And we are exploring options for
integrating the software into a suite of products
that are designed to make the network self-aware and
self-maintaining. Stay tuned!
Q: How have you been able to leverage your education
and what top 10 career tips would you give to those
considering a career in computing? What aspects of
your own personal experience and education did you
find the most useful in your own very successful
A. I graduated with a degree in accounting and my
education and extensive experience in finance has
given me the opportunity to experience the Company
from a more global perspective. The accounting
department in a company is truly the linchpin of all
of the different departments and it gives the leader
of the department the opportunity to participate on
1. Don’t underestimate the people skills you will
need. You can have a brilliant technical mind and
fail because you’re unable to relate to people.
2. Management isn’t for everybody. Be comfortable in
whatever role you choose.
3. Listen to your customers, both internal and
4. Technology for technology’s sake is a recipe for
disaster. For technology to win, there must be a
5. Assume that people that don’t understand the
intricacies of your technology and leverage the
people in your organization who can effectively
Q: What ten career pointers would you provide
specifically to women?
A. 1. Speak Up- women are excellent business people,
but sometimes lack the confidence to just speak
2. Don’t be afraid to take on new things. If you
don’t have the required skills today, you can learn
them as you go.
3. Network-in your industry as well as in your
profession. It will have a dramatic effect on your
4. Be decisive
5. You don’t have to be loud and overbearing to be
6. Stay on top of things in your industry by
attending or helping drive local and national
organizations and activities.
7. Don’t focus on gender differences
8. Get involved with outside groups that include at
least some professional women in various stages of
9. Work with a mentor, either male or female.
10. Have confidence in yourself. You can do it!
Q: Where do you see yourself personally in five
A. I see myself as the President of a Company in the
Q: Traditionally there hasn’t been a high
penetration of woman in computing and in executive
management but the landscape is changing. What are
your views in this area?
A. It’s true. I recently returned from a Red Herring
NDA conference for executives on the Top 10 trends
in technology. Nearly 95% of the attendees were men.
This may be due, in part, to the fact that few women
pursue educations in the fields of math, science and
engineering. And, I believe that women in general
tend to be less assertive and confident than men. If
they acted as confident as their male counterparts,
they might tip the scales a bit.
Q: Consider this a blank slate. Are there additional
comments you want to make?
A. I am thrilled with the opportunity to become the
President of NetPro, and I am committed to ensuring
its success through a formula of exceptional
products, outstanding customer care, and