Teresa McGaughey: “It’s not about making the most money, it’s all about being happy”

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Women in Technology | Teresa McGaughey, Calix | TelecomDrive.com

For Teresa McGaughey – it has never been about money or working the hardest – for her it is always about finding happiness in what she does and this happiness leads her to success as a professional as well as a person.

As part of our spotlight on Women in Technology – Teresa McGaughey, Director, Solutions Marketing, Calix speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about her personal and professional journey.

Being Happy – Winning the Game

How would you describe yourself?

I am a caring, smart, fun-loving person, who will help anyone when needed and typically puts the needs of others before myself.

What are your personal priorities?

Kids, family, fun – my goal has always been to ensure my kids have the skills they need to be successful in life. I define success to them as happy and self-sufficient, it’s not about making the most money or working the hardest. As a friend of mine once said, “This is not a practice life” you have to get it right the first time.

Please share with us some of your personal milestones and their contributions towards developing your personality?

The typical milestones have likely contributed the most to my personality marriage, children, divorce. Children make you grow up a lot as you have a responsibility to them. My divorce made me realize I was working life away and it honestly wasn’t helping in my personal life as well as not in my work life.

Please share with us some of your hobbies and interests?

My main hobby, is saltwater fish tanks, always had freshwater fish when I was growing up, but after my kids were born there just wasn’t time. So now that they’ve grown up I took the leap. I’m also an IoT geek, like to keep up with the latest technology in the smart home area.

Please tell us something about your family?

I am married, and I have 2 boys and a step daughter. My two boys both graduated from University of California – Santa Cruz and my step daughter graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College.

How has been their support in terms of helping you grow professionally?

My husband is very supportive and follows our company news and asks questions, it’s been a pleasure to be able to bounce ideas off of him. As my kids went out into the world after college, it’s really made me think about things from their perspective. Think back on how the world has changed since I started my career and be more open to different ways of doing and thinking.

Professional Profile

How do you define success?

I define success in my career by happiness. I’m most happy when challenged, and when I can make a difference.

How has been your professional journey so far? Please tell us about your various job profiles?

Here is a list of my professional assignments that I have been engaged with all my professional life –

Software Developer

  • Defense industry where I worked on targeting systems for F-15 and F-16 fighter jets
  • Automotive industry where I was the lead software developer for anti-lock brakes on GM Trucks and the Chevrolet Corvette
  • Telecommunications (Paradyne) where I worked on the several projects one of which lead to a patent in router design on a chip

Development Manager (Paradyne)

  • Managed a team (software, hardware, test) working to bring large scale ATM/Ethernet solutions to market

Product Manager / Marketing Manager

  • Multiple companies in Telecom (Paradyne, Zhone, Calix) where was responsible for defining the market requirements for the systems brought to market for DSL and Fiber

International Sales Account Manager (Calix)

  • Responsible for relationship / working deals with key international accounts and helped set strategic account direction

Marketing Director (Calix)

  • Currently director of team responsible for product marketing of Calix Strategic AXOS Platform and systems

When you look back in your career – what according to you can be termed as big turning points. How have these turning points helped you professionally?

  • Leap to management – One of the biggest turning points was when I decided to take the leap to manage a team of developers. I spent quite of bit of time learning people management skills and just how people respond to different management styles.
  • Move to Product Management – I was then given an opportunity to move to product management, where I found that I really enjoyed talking with customers and learning how they use our products. This opportunity to not only define the products but get feedback and work to make them better has been critical to my success today. Understanding how and why our customers do what they do makes me a better marketer.
  • Sales Team – Working in the sales team, gave me the opportunity to see things from the “other side” of the fence so to speak. Sales team are advocates for their customers within a company and often the internal facing organizations and external facing organizations don’t see eye to eye. The time spent in sales gave me a much better appreciation of this situation and ways to potentially help close that gap.

What are some of the challenges that you faced and overcome during your professional journey?

Some of the challenges that I have faced include – people relationships, new organizations / directions in the organizations and learning new methods as I moved to different job roles.

How did you overcome these challenges?

In each case a challenge provides an opportunity for growth and learning. In each case I take the time to think through, read, learn and talk to those involved about the situation to determine the best approach forward.

How do you see yourself five years from now? What are some of your big goals that you want to achieve?

Five years from now I anticipate I will still be a lead in the marketing role. There is so much changing in marketing with lots of opportunity for growth on my part as well as our company’s part.

Keeping up with and coming up with new and creative ways to reach our audience will be a continued challenge as the world continues to move faster and faster.


Zia Askari
Zia Askari works as the Editor for TelecomDrive.com and carries over 18 years of experience in technology writing, branding, communications and digital marketing. Over these years, Zia has worked with Cyber Media and Grey Head on the content side and RAD Data Communications, Huawei Telecommunications and Shyam Networks on the branding and marketing side.