Michelle Senecal de Fonseca

Global vice president – strategic alliance partnerships, Citrix Systems/ Cloud Software Group

Doug Woodburn
clock • 2 min read
Michelle Senecal de Fonseca

What has been your business highlight of 2022?

Being able to launch and co-sell new, differentiated services with our hyperscaler, technology and GSI partners has been rewarding. However, it's been leading the effort to define the company's strategy on marketplaces, secure its funding, setting up the cross-company organisation and implementing a multi-year staged development that has been my highlight. It's always rewarding to learn and create something new.

If you were ruler of your own country, what law would you introduce first?

That the country must achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and that all subsequent laws must continue to support a sustainable society for the citizens.

Which channel or tech leader (outside of your own company) has impressed you most in 2022?

Meredith Whittaker, the president of Signal, co-founder of AI Now Institute and formerly of Google where she founded Google Open Research. Love her or not, she has been the needed thorn in Big Tech's side - in a good way! - by elevating the awareness of algorithmic bias and ‘black box' systems and making Big Tech more accountable.

If you had a warning label, what would it say?

"Please turn off when not in use as device does not come with sleep mode."

What was your first job?

Detasseling corn and lifeguarding during my teenage summer months. Good pay but horrible working conditions at both jobs.

What was the last book you read, and was it any good?

I just finished AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee, the former head of Google China. He explains how AI developments are pushing changes faster than expected, how the US-Sino AI competition is heating up and how both need to embrace the responsibilities that come with technological power. Intriguing topic, well written and easy to digest, particularly if you like political science topics.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from another business leader or mentor?

I need to go back to my baseball coach who used to say life is like baseball: it's all about getting the fundamentals right. Stay humble, not timid. Stay confident, not arrogant, for champions are defined not by their natural talent but by their determination, their mind, their grit, their passion and compassion for the team. I have applied the same lessons to business my whole life.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

I would love for a blonde Jennifer Lawrence to depict my younger years with Candice Bergen from her Murphy Brown TV days to play me in middle age. I believe them both to be kindred spirits and they would certainly enhance the reality of the subject!

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