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Spotlight on Women Leaders at SAP: Danielle Grossi

April 26, 2016 by Susan Galer

Danielle Grossi talks about her obsession with data-as-a-service, how competitive gymnastics rejuvenates her, and getting past geek stereotypes once and for all

Danielle Grossi, Head of Strategic Communication for Business Insight and Technology at SAP, de-stresses and regenerates by competing in gymnastics in Germany.

Grossi de-stresses and regenerates by competing in gymnastics in Germany. Photo via SAP

Danielle Grossi, Head of Strategic Communication for Business Insight and Technology at SAP, is proud of never having taken a traditional career path to achieve her dreams. After growing up in Southern California, Grossi rode the dot.com wave in the late 1990s, earning her bachelor’s degree in Business IT from the University of Phoenix while she worked at her first job.

Although Grossi has been an SAP employee for just under two years, she’s actually been involved with the company’s solutions as a software test engineer for over a decade. Coming from a self-described geeky background, Grossi enjoys straddling technology and communications. She now manages a team of eight people, happily revolutionizing how SAP engages internal employees.

I talked with Grossi to find out how she’s fueling her passion for technological innovation, why it’s never been a better time for women to enter the field of technology, and what it’s like to return to competitive gymnastics after a 20-year break.

I was attracted to a career in high technology because…

It’s always changing, and there’s always something to learn. I keep working on projects in technology that have nothing to do with communication because I love IT, and want to keep making a difference with it.

My earliest experience with technology was…

At about eight years old when I was the only person in my family who understood how to use our home computer. The youngest of four kids, I had to explain to everyone what the internet was, how to the World Wide Web worked, and how to use applications.

The advice I have for young women considering a career in high tech is…

Don’t be shy or intimidated by working in a male-dominated environment. It’s humbling to be challenged, but if you’re determined to learn you will make it.

I’m most excited about the technology industry today because…

Innovation doesn’t have to be developed top down. You can come in with an idea, and you can make it happen. I’m thrilled to be making a big difference in an established 43-year old company.

I’m obsessed with data-as-a-service because…

It’s a hugely untapped space for SAP and our partners. Every company has an opportunity to monetize the gold mines we’re sitting on using data science and machine learning, building algorithms to bring exponential value to customers. This is a brand new business unit at SAP being taken seriously by our Board. It’s no longer a business-to-business story. This connects us directly with consumers.

The one app I can’t live without every day is…

When she’s not working, Grossi enjoy traveling with her husband Toni Ciminiera, pictured here in Laguna Beach, California. Photo via SAP

What’s App. Married with two children, I’ve been living in Germany for 13 years, and also have family in the United States so my whole life is on my contact list. I can stay connected with everyone I can’t see personally through pictures and messages every day.

My dream assignment is…

To be in a position where I’m challenged, working on cutting-edge innovation, being responsible for bringing ideas to life that also generate money for my company.

What keeps me motivated is…

Having both the independence to create on my own and a team to bounce ideas off.

Business can attract more women to careers in high technology by…

Educating people about how diverse the actual work in this industry is. We have to get beyond the stereotypes of IT people sitting in a basement programming round the clock. You can be technical and strategic at the same time. You can be a business development or communications expert and still know how to install, update and migrate an SAP system.

We have to get beyond the stereotype of IT people sitting in a basement. You can be technical and strategic.

I clear my mind and regenerate by…

Being a competitive gymnast. It’s something I returned to after a 20-year break, and I recently won the silver medal for our regional competition, which qualified me for the German national competition in May.

Working at SAP gives me the freedom to…

Develop ideas for breakthrough innovation and set up the team to make it happen. This is what SAP’s company culture actively supports.

One of the most influential role models in my life was…

My gymnastic coach when I was 10 years old who taught me to be fair, always do my best and never give up.

I kick back and relax by…

Goofing off with my kids – we play on the trampoline and hang out and play games.

The woman I most admire and respect is…

My mom. She’s been through so many major challenges and never gives up. She’s worked hard all her life and has shown me that no matter what I have ahead of me, I can get through it.

Read more from the series: Spotlight on Women Leaders at SAP.

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