Catherine Wong knows what it means to be successful. Since graduating from BYU and playing a significant role in building one of Utah’s most high-profile SaaS companies—Omniture—she has spent the better part of the past six years helping to create another one.
Catherine doesn’t like to talk about her accomplishments. But on June 6, at a luncheon celebrating Utah Business magazine’s ‘CXO of the Year’ winners, Domo’s humble Chief Product Officer and EVP of Engineering did just that.
For a few minutes, at least.
During her acceptance speech, Catherine said she wouldn’t be where she is today if not for the people she’s had the opportunity to work with and the mindset she adopted early in her career.
“One of the biggest risks I took long ago was to view my career as a jungle gym as opposed to a ladder,” said Catherine, who was one of just 18 executives from around Utah to earn ‘CXO of the Year’ honors. “I started in engineering and shifted to M&A. That was challenging, but it broadened my horizons.”
After the luncheon, I sat down with Catherine to learn more about what makes her tick. If you have any interest in ice cream, you’ll want to keep reading …
Q: Congratulations on being recognized as a ‘CXO of the Year.’ That’s an exclusive club. What does the accolade mean to you?
A: None of us do this alone, so this is really a reflection of the great team at Domo. I am honored to be recognized with this group of executives, and to be recognized on behalf of the amazing team at Domo.
Q: What has been your proudest moment at Domo?
A: My proudest moment was this past Domopalooza, when customers were fighting to get on stage to show everyone how they’ve used Domo to make material changes in their business.
Q: What motivates you?
A: As cheesy as it sounds, the opportunity to make the world a better place motivates me. I grew up in SaaS, and I believe that in this era we have the technology and capability to change the future of work for people around the world. We are seeing so many leaders step up and lead transformations in their organizations, connecting people and breaking down silos, giving people the opportunity to innovate and share those innovations more quickly than ever before. And we’re seeing a really strong trend in using all of these efficiencies to pay it forward and contribute to the local community.
Q: You serve on the boards of the Women Tech Council and the College of Engineering at Utah State University. Why?
A: I try to give back to my community. Early in my career, I recognized there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me on leadership teams, so I try to do everything I can to be visible and to help represent a good part of the population.
Q: What has enabled you to be so successful?
A: My immigrant parents showed me how hard work and passion can make a huge difference in life. A sense of humor also helps.
Q: What’s a little known fact about you?
A: I try a McFlurry in every country I visit. I still like the American one best, with mini M&Ms.
Q: Lastly, what is your advice to women trying to make their mark in a male-dominated industry such as technology?
A: It’s changing for the better, because all of us—men and women—are working to make it better. If we can see each other as humans, as individuals each with our own story, and encourage interaction, empathy and vulnerability as leaders, the world will look very different for the next generation. Also, I believe we are captains of our own destiny. We choose where to work. If you don’t like where you are, vote with your feet.