This blog is the third in a series profiling NetApp’s February 2018 Living Our Values (LOV) Award winners and highlights NetApp’s EMEA winner, Dani Harczi. The most pervasive culture awards that any NetApp employee can receive are the Living Our Values (LOV) Awards, which are peer-nominated and peer-judged. These semiannual awards recognize three winners and up to six honorable mentions worldwide, who embody the company values. Ingrained into day-to-day work and conversation, NetApp’s seven values are: Leadership, Trust & Integrity, Simplicity, Adaptability, Teamwork & Synergy, Go Beyond and Get Things Done. Each winner is brought to Sunnyvale for a Company All Hands, where they are thanked by the CEO and featured on the live stream. NetApp also gives a gift of $5,000 in each winner’s name to the charity of their choice. This series began with a profile of Seeba Mohan, APACs Region LOV winner.
Senior Marketing Manager for Northern EMEA and MEEEART Daniela (Dani) Harczi was checking her email on a Saturday morning, when she found out that she was the February 2018 EMEA LOV winner. She remembers there was a lot of cheering as she shared the news with her family.
“I have worked at NetApp for ten years and it’s an important part of my life, so I wanted my family to know right away,” she says. “Sometimes NetApp employees sacrifice a great deal in terms of working hours and traveling. We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of understanding and caring families, so a LOV Award means a lot to them as well.”
A frequent business traveler, Dani knows quite a bit about diversity. She currently leads NetApp’s Field Marketing efforts in more than 100 countries that conduct business in many different languages, cultures and time zones—and whose markets range from developing to mature. Dani’s special interest in Africa, which is part of her area, has inspired her to support two girls in Sierra Leone. Now, she has asked that NetApp contribute the $5,000 donation in her name to Johannesburg-based Joint Aid Management (JAM), a humanitarian relief and development organization, whose sustainable aid programs help the most vulnerable throughout Africa. The Johannesburg NetApp team volunteered with JAM in 2017, as part of Food for All, NetApp’s first ever global volunteer program that celebrates the company’s 25th anniversary.
In the face of disparate ways of conducting business across several continents, Dani has a reputation among her peers for honesty, integrity and putting the company first.
“There is no better NetApp ambassador than Dani,” says a nominator.
Living the values
Dani’s role—together with her team—is to generate awareness, demand and leads; enable sales; empower NetApp’s channel partners; drive digital marketing; organize events; manage PR and social media; and develop new marketing strategies and alliance relationships. Although Dani manages projects that could become overly complex in numerous and varied countries, nominators say she employs her “secret weapons” of structure and simplicity to make each project easy to implement.
As the external voice of the company in her regions, her team’s most recent focus is driving the story of the new NetApp, while supporting sales’ efforts to increase sustainable NetApp business. One of her many “hats” is leading the marketing team responsible for driving NetApp’s presence at GITEX, the world’s third largest Information and Communications Technology fair, which welcomes about 130,000 visitors to Dubai World Trade Center each year.
One nominator says that Dani embodies the “Get Things Done” company value by creating “the most professional visitor experience” at GITEX. Splitting responsibilities among herself and her team members, Dani focuses on public relations and internal/external communications. One of these many projects is crafting an internal newsletter that highlights far-reaching industry topics at GITEX such as artificial intelligence, data security and cybercrime, and making hundreds of employees who can’t experience the excitement in person feel as if they are right there.
“Whether you are an individual contributor, manager or CEO, you need a good team to make things happen,” she says. “Being effective as a team is always more successful than doing something alone.”
Take the four “Call-Out Days” that EMEA conducts each year, something that Dani calls a “big NetApp shout out” to external contacts. Dani prepares internal and external communications and conducts many of the follow-ups to customers and partners for these events—and helps her colleagues across EMEA organize these days by sharing her templates, schedules and tips. “I am amazed by the ‘LOV’ she has for her peers; she is a true teammate,” says a nominator.
At the February All Hands, George Kurian singled out Dani’s leadership, specifically how she leads by example. For her, this means being passionate about work and people, having a positive attitude towards change by staying adaptable and being candid and open.
Face-to-face with NetApp leaders
After traveling from Vienna, Austria, to Sunnyvale to accept her award, Dani met many of NetApp’s leaders such as SVP and Company Co-Founder Dave Hitz, CTO Mark Bregman, HR EVP Gwen McDonald, SVP Cloud Infrastructure BU Brad Anderson and SVP and CMO Jean English, who individually welcomed her, offering congratulations over coffee before the All Hands began. A few minutes later, she stepped onstage to receive the LOV Award from George Kurian in person. She and her two fellow LOV winners from NetApp’s APAC and Americas geos received a standing ovation from the Sunnyvale audience.
Dani found the excitement of face-to-face meetings with the company leaders—whom she has long seen only in virtual meetings on her computer monitor or heard from in email—a bit like meeting movie stars.
“Meeting them live, you see that the credibility that comes across in their communications is real,” she says. “George Kurian is someone you’d always want to meet but may never have the opportunity. He spoke to me like a colleague; there was no notion of hierarchy. It was a fabulous experience for me as a LOV Award winner, and I think a very unusual one for a company of our size.”
What stands out most for Dani is that after seeing her onstage, more than 120 of her colleagues, peers and management called, emailed and texted appreciative messages and sent images that captured her moments onstage—so many she could not answer them in the same day. Dani sees the deep value of a LOV award because of the role colleagues play. LOV nominations and judging are both peer-based and Dani believes that peers will always tend to speak the truth—negative or positive.
“With a nomination, I think my peers are expressing, ‘We value you as a colleague, your fairness and your constructive way of working together with us,’” she says.
A new role as role model
Dani believes receiving a LOV award has intensified her commitment to her work.
“Winning a Living Our Values Award brings great responsibility because people might see you as a role model,” she says. “Our corporate values are pretty thorough in describing how we work together, how we cooperate and help each other, and they summarize the best you can ever be. What I do should remind people about how important it is to work with those values.”
Dani feels deep gratitude that there were “people bold enough” to nominate her and that they took the time to do so.
As someone who writes LOV Award nominations for at least one colleague each quarter, she offers advice to her peers:
“We’re human beings. We want and need appreciation for the great things we do. Nominating someone for a LOV Award is a small—and really good—investment of your time. You cannot buy the intangible value of appreciation and happiness with any amount of money. Everyone who is nominated should feel absolutely proud.”