Practicing law was not meant to be for Crystal Ricevuto. When she graduated from law school, the market was in a tailspin, and she decided not to pursue law as a career. Luckily, she landed at Citrix in a support role and worked her way up to her current position as a Sr. Product Manager focused on Content Collaboration. She works with functional groups across the company, primarily Engineering, Sales and Marketing. Together, they innovate and deliver features and products that address customers’ needs. This is the third post in a series about women at Citrix. Meet Carisa and Tania.
How did you get into technology?
I totally fell into it. I started at Citrix with no IT knowledge or experience. I had just graduated from law school and knew that practicing law wasn’t for me. I had a few friends that worked at Citrix and the technology seemed interesting. But more importantly, they all really loved working here. I wanted to be a part of that culture so I started in customer onboarding and quickly moved into front-line customer support, where I picked up a lot of my technical skills. Then I became a Sales Engineer, eventually working with our large Enterprise customers in the field before taking my current role. In my time here, I’ve built a really wide network and seized any opportunity to grow.
What do you know now about building a career in tech that you wish you’d known sooner?
If could start all over, I’d get more of a formal education in technology, particularly coding. It’s the foundation of every technology so no matter what focus you have in tech. It’s valuable to have. Going to our Bangalore office and seeing so many female engineers there was really inspiring. At the same time, you don’t have to be an expert in everything, and you can learn a lot of skills as your career develops. And you can always ask for help and lean on others who are experts.
What advice would give to women trying to build a career in technology?
Bring a willingness and develop an aptitude to learn. Have a strong voice, but always be willing to listen to others. In companies like Citrix, there are so many opportunities. You can start in one position, and if you perform well a lot of doors can open up for you to pivot in a different direction. You’re never stuck where you started. The people I started with five years ago, they’re all in very different roles today. We went where our skills and interests took us.
What’s one trait that has helped you excel?
Confidence. When I go into a session at Summit or Synergy, I know I’m the subject matter expert on the product and whatever I’m about to present. That gives me confidence in front of a group of really smart technologists. But part of that confidence is being comfortable enough to admit when you don’t know an answer or have the full picture. As a Product Manager, when I’m working with a customer, I’m trying to learn as much from them as I can. Where do they think there are gaps in the technology? How do they envision the best solution that works for them?
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Women tend to be perfectionists, but I’ve learned that perfection is almost always unattainable. I have had to get comfortable with the idea that my best effort is good enough. Problems don’t always have a clear right or wrong approach, and it’s easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis. My PowerPoints are never as clean and flawless as they are in my head, but I’ve had to learn to step back and go with what I have. It’s hard to do, but it helps you focus on what really matters.