You might be excused for thinking that the success of Tesla Motors is entirely due to the brilliance of its leader, Elon Musk. OK, perhaps with a wee bit of help from his friend, JB Straubel?
Well, that media delusion was dispelled last week when Tesla threw open the doors of its Palo Alto Headquarters and showed off a panel of top female engineers and leaders. The occasion was the 44th in a series of Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, a popular women in tech group founded by Angie Chang and managed by the energetic Sukrutha Raman Bhadouria.
The group of 100 female techies was treated to Tesla Model S rides, product demos, networking with key members of the Tesla team; and a rare view of the Tesla patent wall (see photos below).
But the highlight of the evening was a lively panel of Tesla engineers and executives, including Katie Noble (Systems Integration Engineering Manager), Lauren Fullerton (Electronic Design Engineer), Miriam Vu (Product Manager), and Troy Nergaard (Senior Hardware Development Engineering Manager). Tesla’s Susan Repo (VP, Global Tax) did a solid job moderating the event and exploring:
1. The challenges of working at Tesla
2. Being a woman at Tesla
3. The importance of soft skills at Tesla
4. The legal action that Tesla faces from car dealers in some U.S. states.
We will be posting video excerpts at Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel shortly. Meantime, here are some quotes:
On Working at Tesla
“You work with aggressive people occasionally, both male and female… Passions are high at Tesla and things can get heated…If someone blows up, you try not to internalize things…(and) appreciate the passion they have for a particular problem.” Katie Noble
“At Tesla, you don’t have time to take the wrong path. As a leader you need to know when to step in.” Troy Nergaard
On Time Pressures at Tesla
“With Tesla moving so quickly, we may not have all the answers right up front before we start moving… We are a very small team in a company that’s trying to do a lot of things, so time is of the essence.” Miriam Vu
On The Types Who Work at Tesla
“There are “car geeks” and there are “green geeks.” Troy Nergaard
The Bay Area Girl Geeks Dinners boasts a membership of over 8,000 and demand for the events – hosted at top Silicon Valley companies like Google, Yahooo and Facebook etc are typically over-subscribed. This Tesla event had 2000 signups for 100 tickets. As a result Chang and Raman Bhadouria have created a lottery sytesm for tickets.