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Senior VP Kara Sprague shares insights from her career at F5

Senior VP Kara Sprague shares insights from her career at F5

 May 07, 2019

Kara Sprague is Senior Vice President and General Manager of F5’s Application Delivery Controller (ADC) business unit. Kara's team is responsible for innovating and growing F5's core capability, application services, through product management and product and solutions marketing. 

“I believe technology will have to be the thing that saves the human civilization," says Kara.

Kara was interviewed by Geek Wire about her career at F5 - where she talked about everything from how she's created the perfect workspace to who her role models are. 

Creating the perfect workspace

Kara shares what her workspace is like, both at F5 and at home, and why these have been adapted perfectly to her work style and ethic.

"I am an external processor. I think things through while standing and sketching ideas on a whiteboard. My office needs to give me room to think, draw and pace a bit. I have an elevated desk, a Herman-Miller Aeron chair, an oversized monitor and a port for my laptop. One especially useful accessory is a Plantronics headset that links to my computer, phone and mobile to route all calls to one place. There’s a window with a view of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. As a native of Colorado, the mountain terrain is centering. The space works well and has everything I need, and when my whiteboard fails me an occasional bottle of wine or fidget spinner make an appearance," explains Kara.

"At home, I work from my couch — my 20-year-old, worn, admittedly dated, yet perfect (for me) couch that has been with me since grad school. It’s a bit of an outlier in the southern corner of my 23rd floor condo. Pairing it with the gorgeous Seattle skyline makes for my favorite workspace in the world."

Achieving happiness at work work and at home

Kara has some great advice on how to achieve a healthy work/life balance, from grouping together similar tasks to appreciating the small things in life.

"Even if you hate it at first, get on a workout schedule in the morning, and get it done. An early accomplishment can set the tone for the whole day. Similarly, remember to leave time throughout the day for nourishment. No one can be their best when too many brain cycles are being diverted to their stomach," explains Kara.

"Lastly, batching similar types of tasks together is something that’s always helped me — whether it’s meetings or reviewing content (I’m a machine at getting through content reviews and emails on flights). You can lose a lot of time switching gears or angsting over when you’re going to get to the things on a list," she adds.

"And finally, small rewards make life way (way) more fun. I set big goals and allow myself little moments to reflect and experience the joy of reaching them. I might gather up the “framily” for drinks, go somewhere fun for the weekend, or just call my mom and give her a rundown like I’ve been doing since I was 16."

Inspired by her F5 colleagues 

Kara explains where she discovers her best ideas - which often come from conversations with her fantastic F5 colleagues.

"I’m a polymath, so I tend to get my best ideas from analogies or parallel situations that can be applied in a creative or novel way. Thirteen years as a management consulting shaped me that way. Breadth of experience is important — otherwise you end up addressing challenges in the same old ways and running into repeat obstacles. When all else fails, I walk down the hall and try to drum up a brainstorm," she says.

"Great ideas often come from casual conversation. I’m surrounded by curious, brilliant, wonderfully-maddening colleagues always up for a challenge."

Working hard to get stuff done 

Finally, Kara lists the two people whose work style she aspires towards: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Barack Obama.

"They go back to work late and keep going until the work is done," says Kara.

"That’s a model that I practice as well, and one that works with my nocturnal energy levels and how I manage stress around getting sh*t done."

Join ambitious women like Kara at F5

With opportunities at all career stages including internships, graduate roles, experienced hires and executive positions - check out what exciting job vacancies are currently open with F5.


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