Matt Herreras has been a sales and marketing leader at VMware for over 13 years, with deep experience in pre-sales technical consulting, competitive research, product marketing and technical marketing. Matt has held product marketing leadership roles in several VMware product groups and is currently responsible for technical marketing of VMware Cloud on Dell EMC. Matt is a Mexican American native of California who grew up horseback riding and surfing on the Central Coast. He is a proud member of Latinos@VMware and is an advocate for VMware’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Matt credits his success in Technology, at least in part, to being equally fluent in technical and business conversations with executive stakeholders. Read on to learn the surprising way he honed that skill.
Finish this sentence: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for ________________.
My wife. She always has my back. She grounds me when I need it. And she illuminates my blind spots.
Resumes highlight professional and educational achievements. Which one of your life or personal experiences deserves to be on your resume?
My time in graduate school at UC Berkeley. I studied the Arabic literature of medieval Spain. At first glance it might seem a long way from a career in technology. However, studying Classical Arabic had a dramatic impact on my life. The grammatical structure, logic, and Semitic alphabet of Arabic forced me to shift my frame of reference and step outside of my comfort zone with humility. Studying Arabic taught me the value of intellectual patience and to look at problems from more than one perspective. I continue to apply the problem-solving techniques I learned in grad school to my work today. Another skill I learned in graduate school was translating languages. When you translate, you have to hold two languages in your mind simultaneously and that is exactly what you do when connecting both business and technical concepts to address a customer need.
What qualities do you look for when hiring someone on your team? What qualities do you avoid?
I look for intellectual curiosity, humility, and drive. I avoid arrogance, selfish ambition, and laziness.
Seek out diverse opinions like your job depends on them. It does!”
What’s one piece of career advice you wish you could give to your younger self?
Take more time to vet your manager before working for them. Richard Montañez has a great statement about what kind of leader to work for. Paraphrasing him, he says that some leaders are like Pharaoh, and expect people to serve them. Other leaders are like Moses and serve the people they lead. Take the time to work for a Moses and ignore the Pharaoh.
Which three books, podcasts, or new sources do you think everyone should read? Why?
Zone One, Colson Whitehead. Great novel, and knowing how to survive a zombie apocalypse might come in handy …
San Manuel Bueno, Mártir, Miguel de Unamuno. A nivola, a term coined by the Author to describe his own work, about a Spanish priest who puts the well-being of his flock above all else (see reference to Moses above).
A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway. He wrote. He drank. He ate. He fished. He did them well. It was good.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is front and center right now. How do you express your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in your personal and professional life?
I stop talking and listen.
I mentor as much as possible.
I leverage my network to help others.
What’s one tangible step every employer should take to help build a more representative organization?
Seek out diverse opinions like your job depends on them. It does!