Meet Keysight Technologies' Liz Ruetsch, a 2019 North Bay Women in Business winner

Liz Ruetsch

Director of worldwide sales, services and support, EEsof EDA

Keysight Technologies

1400 Fountaingrove Parkway, Santa Rosa, CA 95043


Read more profiles of 2019 North Bay Women in Business Awards winners:

North Bay Business Journal asked 2019 Women in Business Awards winner Liz Ruetsch to fill us in on her background, responsibilities and community involvement, and insights into what makes her a notable professional in the region.

Education: BSEE from Rutgers University (1994; MBA from Boston University (2006)

Tell us about yourself and your company: My name is Liz Ruetsch, and I have worked for HP/Agilent/Keysight for 25 years. I started my career in our sales organization in the Boston area focused on major accounts. Over the past 15 years, I have held a number of positions in our business units including the opportunity to work in California, China, and Colorado. I have been managing for 20 years, and working internationally for 15 years.

Keysight Technologies is a leading technology company that helps its engineering, enterprise and service provider customers accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world. Keysight's solutions optimize networks and bring electronic products to market faster and at a lower cost with offerings from design simulation, to prototype validation, to manufacturing test, to optimization in networks and cloud environments. Customers span the worldwide communications ecosystem, aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, semiconductor and general electronics end markets.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Three and a half years ago, I joined one of our software divisions of the company. At that time, we were just starting to introduce a new business model to our customers.

This past year, we crossed over a major milestone in converting over 100 accounts worldwide to this new model. We have successfully deployed it in all regions world-wide, and have scaled it from our major accounts down to our mid-range, and start up customers. This has resulted in significant value to our customers, and significant sales growth for Keysight.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

Over my 25-year career, there have been many accomplishments to celebrate with my teams. The top of the list for me was the opportunity to live and work in China, leading a cross divisional marketing team, servicing both local customers as well as global customers.

During the 2013-2015 time frame, we were able to support the 4G Infrastructure roll out in China, and took significant market share in the process. The most rewarding part of that process was leading (and learning from) the local team on how to do business in China, and establishing a management team that took over as I returned to the U.S.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Keysight is on a journey of a major transformation from being a hardware centric company, to a software centric solutions company. There is a tremendous amount of change management in all functions, and at all levels as we make this shift. It has been a great ride so far – and the best is yet to come.

Words that best describe you: I actually did a “crowd sourcing” exercise with my friends to come up with an answer to this question. Here were some of the words that were most common: Loyal, Caring, Thoughtful, Curious, Reflective, Positive, Life-long learner, Leader, Mentor, Global, Organized, Strong, Fun and True Friend.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

I often get asked this question, and struggle with an answer.

One of the biggest challenges I faced career wise was when I wanted to move from the sales organization (field) to the factory (division) structure within my company. This meant a move across organizational boundaries, cultural boundaries, and geographical boundaries (East Coast to West Coast). During this time, I learned the value of having a “sponsor” versus just having a mentor, and it was the sponsor that helped make that move possible.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

For me, operating in a software business, it is clearly the evolution of the Cloud. This has huge implications in terms of business model and revenue models for Software as a Service (SaaS). As a company that plays in design and test, there are exciting solutions and business models ahead that will incorporate Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in terms of processing the large amounts of data to develop next generation communication systems as well as things such as autonomous vehicles.

Who was your most important mentor?

Julie Ring (recently retired from Keysight Technologies) started in 1995 as my hiring manager, developed into an on-going mentor, and now life long friend. There is not a week that goes by that I am not drawing on something that she has taught me over the past 25 years. I admired her as a leader, a coach, and an advocate for our customers.

Liz Ruetsch

Director of worldwide sales, services and support, EEsof EDA

Keysight Technologies

1400 Fountaingrove Parkway, Santa Rosa, CA 95043


Read more profiles of 2019 North Bay Women in Business Awards winners:

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?

Own your own development plan and career path- no one else is going to do this for you. Write it down. Seek input. Seek mentors. Find multiple ways to learn and develop: books, classes, mentors, sponsors, ask for stretch projects, leadership development programs, shadowing opportunities, get an outside perspective (ex. MBA program, or just even a few classes at a University). Refresh it every year. Review it every quarter.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization:

Guy Sene. Guy was one of my mentors, sponsors, and general managers during his time at Keysight. He coached me on cultural awareness and operating effectively in the global environment. He had working experience to draw from in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., as well as both field (sales), and factory (division) roles. He has always been a key role model for me from an executive leadership perspective.

Typical day at the office:

Great question – depends on how you define where my office is! I have had the pleasure of traveling to 63 countries so far, with many of them involving customers in all regions around the globe. When I am in Santa Rosa, you can usually find me in back to back meetings all day long via WebEx or face to face with my team and key stakeholders.

Best place to work outside of your office:

Meeting customers world-wide. I try to spend 50% of my time meeting with customers and our sales team.

Current reading: Email (sadly, I get a lot of it). And “Iceland / Explorer Guide” – for my next adventure later this year.

Most want to meet: Tom Brady (Quarterback for the New England Patriots football team). He has lead teams to win 6 Super Bowls over the past many years, and can lead anyone they put on the field to win.

Social media you most use: Facebook (to connect with my friends around the globe), and WeChat (to connect with my team and customers in China)

Stress relievers: Too many to list! Anything outdoors and active (running, walking), massage, and spending time with good friends.

Favorite hobbies: Too many to list! Anything outdoors and active (skiing, snorkeling, biking), traveling, eating out, photography, dancing, and singing.

Parents or significant others: What would either one or both say if asked to brag about you? My dad (who passed away in 2006) always used to tell everyone “She is moving to California, to work for HP, she is going to be the CEO of that place someday. She is already well on her way.” Loved that guy. He'd even say it to random people in the grocery store!

Is there something we didn't ask that you would like to add?

My favorite quote: “Perhaps the blank page is the most powerful page of all, as it is yet to be written upon” – Liz Ruetsch

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