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Silicon Valley Can't Comprehend an Engineer in Heels

Cisco's Chief Technology Officer discusses climbing the corporate ladder in cute shoes

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Getty

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Speaking at a Gap Inc. Women's History Month workshop, Cisco's chief technology officer, Padma Warrior, told the audience that she doesn't have a uniform or formula for dressing. "To me, the way you dress conveys who you are as a person. I want to be seen as an authentic leader, as approachable. I choose my style based on that. And I love high heels."

That footwear footnote is unusual among Silicon Valley engineers, a group known for ultra-casual clothing. And Padma concedes that she adopted a "grungy" wardrobe early in career. After all, she says "In engineering, there's this notion that you can't be well-dressed and be a good engineer."

As Padma ascended the corporate ranks, she quit stifling her personal style, SF Business Times reports. "When I walk into a room, people are surprised," Warrior explains. "Most don't expect a chief technology officer to walk into the room in high heels."

Though Padma won't abandon high heels, one thing she has stopped doing is dying her hair silver to look older. "I can't believe I did that," she says.