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Three Questions with Senior Engineering Manager, Maggie Way

Maggie Way has been a Software Engineering Manager for more than 20 years. Her software career spans project management, software development, and testing to name a few of the many hats she’s worn. She’s had positions with a number of different titles in engineering leadership, but being a scrum master and working with teams where the sausage is being made is her sweet spot. All of that experience has led her to where she is now as a Senior Engineering Manager at SailPoint. We sat down with her to learn more about her and her leadership style.

Where will we find you at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and how does that routine/ritual help you be a better leader during the workweek? 

By 10 a.m. on any day of the week I’ve had my coffee and breakfast, worked out, had some down-time watching the news and catching up on email and social media, and I’m ready to start doing something productive. I might be working on a project around the house or out running errands or knocking things off my to-do list. I’m compulsively organized and pretty good at prioritizing things; once the hard task of prioritizing is done, it’s a simple matter to check things off the list and feel that gratification of accomplishing a goal. I’m the kind of person who wants to get all the “have-to” things done so I can enjoy the time remaining to do whatever I please. Often, that’s sitting on the couch with my dog and a good book.

What woman inspires you, and how do they influence your own leadership style?

Wow, just one?  Grace Hopper – “Ships in port are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

Elizabeth Warren – Speak the truth, be a smart, decent, self-made person, and fight for what’s right.

Brene Brown – Braving the Wilderness

I think a common thread is courage.  Have the courage to be vulnerable, to make mistakes, to take a position, to fight for what’s right; and don’t let a little failure intimidate you.  Sometimes, as a leader, you have to voice the things others are thinking but perhaps don’t have the power to say.  Sometimes you have to be the one who risks asking the foolish questions so others can learn. And see that the consequences usually aren’t so bad.  If you’re not failing sometimes, you’re not stretching enough.

How do you keep yourself grounded in times of great stress or change?  

Exercise. Breathing in and out. Yoga sometimes. And age provides a great gift of perspective. It isn’t often that I’m in a situation where I haven’t already seen something worse at some point in my life.  Just figure out your next step.  You don’t have to know all the steps, just your next step,  and then you can worry about the one after that.  As my mother used to say, “Panic slowly!”