Diana Terry on Overcoming Challenges and Leading in the Tech World

Diana Terry, Head of Solution Engineering at, has had a fascinating career in the tech world. In this conversation, she talks to us about some key moments that shaped her journey, like her time at Salesforce and the challenges she faced leading teams in the Asia Pacific region.

Diana also shares what it was like being one of the few women in her teams and how it influenced her approach to leadership and mentorship. She offers practical advice for young women looking to get into tech leadership, reflecting on her experiences in Australia and the UK.

Diana, you’ve had such an impressive journey from pre-sales consultant to Head of Solution Engineering. Could you share a story or a turning point in your career that really stands out to you? 

One of the most significant aspects of my career so far was during my time at Salesforce. I joined Salesforce in 2007 when it was a relatively small software company with only 30 Australian employees before climbing the ranks.

A pivotal moment came when I received an offer to lead the Asia Pacific team as Vice President for the Commercial Business. Although it naturally presented its own unique set of challenges, it marked a significant growth milestone in my career, creating the opportunity for me to be an executive leader and influence the company’s business strategy and goals.

Being often the only woman in your team environments must have shaped the way you support and encourage others at work. How has that experience influenced you?

Throughout my professional journey, there have been instances where I have been the only, or one of relatively few, women in my team or department.

With a naturally extroverted personality, I chose to use these personality traits as strengths. While gladly the number of women in the tech world has increased, my early experiences led me to always encourage, enable, and support individuals through their journey, making sure they have a planned future that is visible, understandable, and doable.

I’m a people person and a strong communicator capable of building relationships, so my primary focus is on people. I always want to give people a platform to voice their thoughts before offering guidance and establishing the necessary frameworks for success. 

Navigating tech as a female leader must have come with its set of challenges and triumphs. Could you share some personal anecdotes on overcoming obstacles and what you would say to young women dreaming of a tech leadership role today? How can they prepare for the joys and hurdles on this path?

I offer the advice I have learned over my tenure —  not only to work hard but also to foster relationship-building across wider networks. Those two things will set you on the path to success.

Navigating a traditionally male-dominant space has had its challenges at times, and like many people, I faced biases and stereotypes throughout my career; however, I encourage both men and women not to let these generalisations and stigmas get in their way. I learned to overcome preconceptions head-on by consistently showcasing my skills and expertise.

I was acknowledged for my hard work and ability to achieve results, simultaneously building relationships and securing recognition for my contributions. This was pivotal for cementing myself as an integral team member.

You’ve worked in both Australia and the UK. How have these experiences shaped your approach to work and leadership? Are there any small, everyday lessons you’ve picked up along the way?

Moving overseas had a material shift in both my career and personal life, pushing me out of familiar and comfortable boundaries and giving me valuable lessons in life and leadership. Working internationally often accelerates your learning, providing a new business landscape to manage and understand.

It was a fast-paced environment that ultimately upskilled me and equipped me with new tools to lean into when arriving back in Australia. These opportunities laid the foundation for my passion for blending the complexities of leadership with human dynamics.

One stand-out lesson includes understanding the nuances of the culture you are about to be a part of. I can’t stress just how important this is. 

I learned more about the local culture and history, and with some helpful tips, I could understand it better and build relationships with the greater team more quickly.  For example, people would rarely say a direct ‘no’ in the UK and were very polite in their responses, and I was often at a loss as to whether they agreed with me or not. As you can imagine, this was frustrating and challenging. Learning to read between the lines helped me move forward and faster as a leader and peer. 

Joining as the Head of Solution Engineering APJ is quite an exciting move. What drew you to the company, and how do you see your past experiences enriching the team and goals at 

Being a part of the Salesforce growth journey for over 15 years provided valuable insights into building and maintaining a successful company growth strategy.

When the opportunity to work for arose, I was excited to join a team where I could potentially apply some of these learnings and insights to support the company’s growth across the Asia Pacific and Japan region.

It’s an exciting time for as it continues its growth as a multi-product platform. I look forward to using my expertise to build on the team’s solution engineering capabilities and best support’s over 225,000 customers. 

As we look to the future, how do you envision the evolution of solution engineering in shaping customer engagement and driving business transformation? 

We’ve evolved from a single-product to a multi-product solution. This evolution is important for solution engineers as it involves a more comprehensive sales cycle with multiple decision-makers and influences.

The team is focused on understanding our customers’ pain and challenges through personas, including how we incorporate solutions to those individual challenges through engaging and interesting stories that customers will understand and love. 

It’s also crucial to help our customers imagine what their businesses could look like, how their customers will interact with them, and what their stories will be. It’s part of the solution engineering teams’ responsibility to paint a future vision of where our customers want to be.

Are there any trends or technologies you’re particularly passionate about? 

The emergence of artificial intelligence is fascinating, especially as it begins to empower and augment the way we work. That said, AI is constantly evolving, and we must be equipped to use it responsibly and helpfully. I’m amazed at the future trends of AI and the idea that soon, this technology will be an integral part of supporting everyday workflows and organisation of everyday lives.

Wrapping up our conversation, how do you inspire your team to embrace these future challenges?

Solution engineering is core to supporting customers in reaching their goals while propelling our business forward.

The solution engineering team increasingly needs to ensure customers are having a seamless experience across our product suite, from monday Work Management to monday CRM, monday Dev, and monday Service and using the latest platform capabilities to their fullest potential.

The capabilities of our multi-product platform are designed to be core to any type of work. I want my team to listen carefully to our customers to ensure we constantly innovate to meet — and exceed — their needs. I challenge myself and my team to be curious about improving every interaction. 

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.