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Part I: Q+A with Cloud Foundry Summit Frankfurt’s Unconference Emcees

We’re counting the hours to Cloud Foundry Summit in Frankfurt, kicking off with the Unconference on Monday, September 26 at 5:00 pm. This year’s Unconference will be hosted by two exceptional women, Sara Lenz of anynines and Paula Kennedy of VMware. We sat down with both of them to learn about their relationship to Cloud Foundry and the community, their experiences as women in a male-dominated industry and what they’re looking forward to at Summit!  

Left: Sara Lenz, anynines; Right: Paula Kennedy, VMware

Left: Sara Lenz, anynines; Right: Paula Kennedy, VMware

Based in Berlin and an active member of the Cloud Foundry community, Sara is project manager of the anynines team, responsible for customer relations, and all organizational project processes concerning anynines. Together with the chief executives of the company she creates strategic business processes and is responsible for implementing them within the company.

A veteran of the IT industry, Paula joined VMware in 2015 as Director of Business Operations, EMEA Services and is focused on working together with clients to drive innovation, disruption and transformation. Paula is passionate about community, diversity and inclusion, and has a range of speaking experience, including Cloud Foundry Summits in Santa Clara and Berlin, QCon in London and several meetups. She also organizes the London PaaS User Group. 

Sara and Paula join Amy Frampton, Director of Product Marketing at HPE Cloud, as the three emcees of Cloud Foundry Summit in Frankfurt! Join us Wednesday at 12:20 pm for our Diversity Luncheon.

Read on for part one of two in a Q+A with Sara and Paula!

CF: When did you first hear about Cloud Foundry? What intrigued you about it?

Paula: I heard about Cloud Foundry in early 2012 when Colin Humphreys talked to me about his idea to create a start-up providing Cloud Foundry services. This became a reality when we co-founded CloudCredo in November 2012, which was subsequently acquired by VMware in December 2015. I’ve always loved the idea that Cloud Foundry takes care of all the “plumbing” and allows developers to focus on the core value of building apps.

Sara: I heard about Cloud Foundry for the first time in 2013 when our CEO Julian Fischer wanted to use this technology for anynines and implemented it successfully. I was intrigued by the fast cloud technology and the ability to create new services in a very short time with all the automatization. Within the Cloud Foundry team, the Cloud Foundry Summit was a big topic and seen as an opportunity to expand our knowledge! Since 2013, we have a growing Cloud Foundry team and we have created a service framework for different services.

CF: How did you end up in the cloud space? What has been your path through tech?

Paula: I’ve been in tech my whole career, which goes back over 16 years. My first experience of “the cloud” was when I joined a start-up SaaS provider in 2002, back in the days when “Software-as-a-Service” providers were called “Application Service Providers”!

Sara: I’m not a developer and I have no technical background — but I am uniquely qualified to be a project manager within the anynines team. Over the last two years, I have taken Cloud Foundry courses at the university in order to develop a basic understanding of the technology.

CF: What advice would you give to women considering technology as a career?

Paula: “Software is eating the world.” I know this is quoted a lot, but software (and technology in general) really is critical to so many industries today and I would advise people of any gender to jump in with both feet. We need diversity of all types and at all levels (developers, managers, C-level). It’s the only way to ensure that the future technology we build will meet the needs of all people and not just the privileged few.

Sara: Women can take the job as a developer or technical manager just as well as a man. Be confident and constantly expand your knowledge of Cloud Foundry. Exchange your knowledge and experiences with other women from the Cloud Foundry scene and use meetups, Cloud Foundry Summit and other events for that. Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman: if you want to be successful, you have to learn during your entire life and stay curious and interested in new things.

CF: What was your favorite game/past time as a kid?

Paula: My favorite hobby was music and I played lots of different instruments, including flute, clarinet, piccolo, viola and piano!

Sara: I grew up in the eighties when there was not yet any Cloud Foundry! Just the beginnings of computers and softwares. I was interested in computer games, but I was so bad at playing them! I remember “Prince of Persia,” which was so pixelated and had an eighties soundtrack. As a child, I was more interested in playing cards or board games, like Ludo and Parcheesi, and I also loved cycling.

Come back tomorrow for part two in this Q+A with Sara Lenz and Paula Kennedy!

Follow along here to stay up to date on Summit news! Register here to view the live stream. Join the live conversation the entire week of September 26 using the hashtag #CloudFoundry.  

Caitlyn O'Connell Profile Image

Caitlyn O'Connell, AUTHOR

As Senior Marketing Manager of Cloud Foundry Foundation, Caitlyn runs content and manages diversity programming.