Metaswitch's Giuhat talks 5G opps for women in comms

Women in Comms caught up with Giuhat to discuss how 5G may impact career opportunities for women in the industry, new developments in Metaswitch's UC platforms and the impact of mentors on her own career path.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

March 27, 2020

5 Min Read
Metaswitch's Giuhat talks 5G opps for women in comms

With nearly 30 years under her belt in product management roles, Metaswitch's Micaela Giuhat has experienced firsthand the impact of major technological trends on the telecom industry.

Before her role as VP of product management and lead for cloud infrastructure products at Metaswitch, Giuhat worked for startups and larger companies such as BroadSoft, Genband and Nortel. Women in Comms caught up with Giuhat to discuss how 5G may impact career opportunities for women in the industry, new developments in Metaswitch's unified communications (UC) platforms, and the impact of mentors on her own career path.

Figure 1:

WiC: Last year, one of our Women in Comms panels focused on how 5G may open up new opportunities for women in the industry. How can women revamp their skills to prepare for the impact of 5G on the telecom industry and the potential new employment opportunities that 5G could deliver?

MG: 5G will have an impact on everybody. Women have to keep up with the skills the same way as men will have to keep up with skills, so I don't think it's a gender-related issue. Gender plays in it as much as people want to keep up and better their knowledge and skills.

Considering the technology advances that are related to 5G – there may be more opportunities for women to shine. Women, I believe, are much more creative, and they can actually take advantage of the new opportunities that 5G can create.

To give you an example: I was talking to one of my daughters, and she and her friends were discussing having a wardrobe directory – a sort of IoT-type application but for clothing, because many young women have a lot of clothing that they forget about. They can take the application even further to suggest certain outfits, for example. I bet you no men have thought about that.

WiC: Switching gears a bit, are there any new updates to Metaswitch's MaX UC platform?

MG: Yes, absolutely. We have been extremely successful with MaX UC – there is a definite hunger from MNOs, in particular, that really don't have a history of reaching out to businesses for mobile-native UC applications. To that extent, we have won quite a bit of quite a few Tier one customers such as Telekomsel and Hutchison Drei Austria.

It's very interesting to strike such a chord with MNOs that wanted to get into the enterprise business, and this gives them an "in" that is extremely competitive.

WiC: Have there been any updates to the product itself since last year?

MG: We are always improving the product and continuously doing cloud-native developments. We had a very large wireline customer base, and for that base, we had a MetaSphere application server. When we bought OpenCloud, we got a mobile application server. Over the last year, we have brought those application servers together so we can provide the same functionality to all customers, whether mobile or fixed.

WiC: Has part of the success of the product been a result of an increasingly mobile workforce?

MG: There are a few factors – one is an increasingly mobile workforce. Second is the fact that due to the increasingly mobile workforce, the old UC offerings were not attractive to mobile users because they couldn't make it work. Now with this being the first thing that they see, there's a much higher adoption rate.

Another thing is what's called the "Brisco effect" – with BroadSoft and Cisco coming together and really creating a little bit of a vacuum, which we took advantage of. BroadSoft was very well known and a wonderful company, but they were very much wireline oriented and their mobility features were not what we have brought, which is the mobile application of MaX.

Next page: Mentors and how to handle difficult managers

Women in Comms: Have you had a sponsor or mentor who made a lasting impact on your career?

Micaela Giuhat: Yes, I did have one who made an absolutely lasting impression on me. I have had two, but the first was at Newbridge Networks. It was my first product management job. My mentor was an extremely tough lady, but lovingly tough. I respect her and she was instrumental in showing me the ropes and the secrets of product management.

Then I was lucky enough with another startup company here in Texas, the first one that I joined, and the GM was a very good man who helped me quite a bit to understand the environment, and gave positive feedback on everything that I was doing. It's very important that you provide some criticism or some feedback in such a way that people feel are proud of their work and want to get better. And that's exactly what he did.

WiC: What would you say are some important qualities in a mentor? It sounds like giving constructive criticism would be one.

MG: There are several important qualities – giving constructive feedback and criticism is important, and giving it often along with praise.

For me, and I think for many people, not only women, it's very important to feel valued in more than the monetary advantages that you get in a job – it makes you to want to do better and do more for the company and for the people that you work with. My mentors were extremely friendly and open, so it wasn't only a strictly professional relationship, it was a truly friendly relationship.

I thought that was very important because most of these relationships are very, very professional, and you step out of that and you realize you don't know anything about the people that you work with. That's not the case with these two individuals.

WiC: What's your best piece of professional advice that you've received in your career or that you would offer to other women in comms?

MG: You can't choose your manager and when you don't like your manager – there will be times where you won't like your manager – that doesn't mean that you have to change companies. Managers come and go – you need to make it work on your own.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like