Judy Davies: Electronic Symphony



When some little girls were growing up thinking about which fairy-tale princess they wanted to be, Judy was fascinated by the idea of being a heroine princess piloting a powerful spacecraft on fantastic adventures, exploring new and undiscovered territories. Later, she channeled her innate attraction to adventure in the rapidly advancing technologies, ever-shifting electronics markets, the landscape of mergers and acquisitions, and evolving business of the dynamic semiconductor industry, where she has been working for nearly 25 years. Judy Davies is the Vice President of Global Marketing Communications at Advantest and hopes to have a positive impact on the lives of others.

"I have always believed in setting measurable benchmarks and quantitative goals. For me, there is a reward in seeing a task completed successfully."

Enabling Leading-Edge Technologies

Founded in 1954, Tokyo-based Advantest is an international company with a presence in 50 countries including the U.S., Germany, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Advantest is the world’s leading producer of automatic test equipment (ATE) for the semiconductor industry and a premier manufacturer of measuring instruments used in the design and production of electronic instruments and systems. Its leading-edge products are integrated into the most advanced semiconductor production lines in the world. In her role, Judy leads the global marketing communications organization with the objective to strengthen Advantest’s contributions to the worldwide semiconductor business by enriching, expanding and integrating test and measurement solutions throughout the electronics value chain. These activities include branding, public relations, digital marketing, social media, sponsorships, trade shows, conferences, speaking engagements and supporting product launches that represent nearly 90 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

So how does she do it? "I have always believed in setting measurable benchmarks and quantitative goals. For me, there is a reward in seeing a task completed successfully," says Judy. Judy likes surrounding herself with smart people. Her team members represent some of the most talented communications experts in the semiconductor industry, including a department of Advantest employees as well as a network of industry-experienced freelance professionals. In hiring interviews, she looks for talented people who can be taught the intricacies of communications and semiconductor technology and who can acclimate with the unique market environment. Other important traits are loyalty, the drive to do better, an innate nature to compete and working to continually improve oneself. Judy strives to cultivate an environment where she can keep her team members motivated by giving them new projects, providing them opportunities to be creative and stretch themselves, and finding new ways to do things differently. In times of uncertainty, she empowers the team by addressing issues head-on. "I have the belief that no matter how big the challenge is, it can be overcome. There’s always a solution," asserts Judy. It is essential for a leader to have a strong tolerance for uncertainty and to act calmly in a situation of crisis, all the while working for a bigger cause. "Never complain. Never over-explain. And never let them see you sweat," suggests Judy. She believes in not getting immersed in corporate politics while making good decisions based on one’s best intentions. "In this way, I focus on fulfilling what is in the company’s and my organization’s best interests. Although I realize that you cannot please everyone all of the time, with this mindset, I don’t have any regrets," says Judy. On the other hand, she understands the responsibility and realities of being a woman working in tech and is currently involved in fine-tuning Advantest’s written core values with the goal of making them expressly more global and more inclusive.

Outside work, Judy still loves everything adventurous. She travels fearlessly to far-flung destinations uncovering the unexpected – conquering Africa’s highest peak (Mount Kilimanjaro), undertaking a 60-kilometer trek through Patagonia in Chile and training hard to complete the grueling Spartan Super (a 12K run dotted with more than 25 challenging obstacles) – proving women can do anything if they set their minds to it.

A crucial area of balance is a work-life balance, meaning the balance between a career with its satisfaction of creativity and financial reward, and personal with its reward of love and service. “I believe that requires balancing work with family, serious with playful, and adventure with serenity,” says Judy. At home in San Francisco, she serves on the boards of Raphael House– the largest privately-funded homeless shelter for families in Northern California – and the San Francisco SPCA – a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare. "Charitable work grounds me. There really isn’t a better feeling than doing well while you are doing good,” shares Judy.

See it, Be it, Work it

Early in her career, Judy had Roberta Emerson as her manager at a capital equipment company in Silicon Valley. Not only was she a great mentor professionally, but she also became Judy’s go-to person for bouncing off ideas and 'what if' scenarios. But the most important thing that she discovered was what women can learn from each other. Now modeling the mentorship that she received, Judy offers guidance to the young women interns and employees on her communications team. She also took part in a workforce development program, the High Tech U program organized by SEMI, held at the industry’s largest annual trade show, SEMICON West. Here she led a communications course and used the forum to encourage all of the attending high-school students – but especially the young women – to explore career paths in high-technology fields.

Judy Davies, Vice President, Global Marketing Communications, Advantest

She advocates that it's not enough to be in a role or sit at the table. Women should open up opportunities within their organizations, lean in and then promote upward mobility. One should learn to speak up and be heard, raise hands in meetings, build alliances and relationships with decision-makers, create a strong personal brand, garner support from other women in the company, and essentially support and empower other women.

She advises the next generation of women entering management roles to work on themselves by developing technical and business acumen, understand their companies as well as their industries, take additional responsibilities, volunteer for projects, accept feedback and exceed expectations. She asserts that in this way you can show your commitment to the company as well as invest in your own personal development. She pauses to add, "This is the opportunity to serve as a role model and be an inspiration for the next generation."... and that's what she hopes her legacy will be....

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