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Adrianna Bustamante Finds Growth in Discomfort

Adrianna Bustamante Finds Growth in Discomfort

At Rackspace Technology, Adrianna Bustamante guides her team and other women to reach their maximum potential

Photo by Wendy Bowman Butler

Adrianna Bustamante joined Rackspace Technology in 2006, having spent the previous two and a half years working publicity at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. A Texas native, Bustamante left Hollywood to return to the Lone Star State to pursue a new opportunity in a new industry. That was fifteen years and nine promotions ago. 

The current vice president of global alliances and partnerships has helped Rackspace Technology become a premier partner for cloud solutions for the most well-known names in technology: Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies, VMWare, Intel, Microsoft Azure, and countless others. 

The Value of Tenacity

Bustamante’s expertise and responsibility increased exponentially during her tenure at Rackspace Technology. Her willingness to think about the business differently enabled the creation of new revenue streams, including helping create a digital practice that went from $7 million at inception to $120 million seven years later.

“I have had the opportunity numerous times to be part of something new that we hadn’t done at Rackspace Technology before,” Bustamante explains. “When you’re building something new, you have to be scrappy and tenacious while also maintaining a real sense of humility from knowing that it’s not something you can do alone.” 

Adrianna Bustamante, VP of Global Alliances & Partnerships, Rackspace Technology
Photo by Wendy Bowman Butler

Going it alone isn’t Bustamante style—not because she can’t, but because her success lies in her ability to create lasting and meaningful partnerships with tech’s biggest players. It’s a skill that was surely part of the company earning VMWare’s Partner of the Year Award in 2020, and Bustamante’s recognition in 2020 and 2021 as one of CRNmagazine’s “Women of the Channel” list and part of CRN’s “100 People You Don’t Know But Should” list.

Helping grow the Rackspace Technology business required the tenacity which the vice president seems to have on tap. 

“Early in my career here, I realized that we had partners that were asking us to do more than our capabilities and build additional expertise around their platforms,” Bustamante explains. “We had a highly engaged partner, and we just knocked on everyone’s door internally in hopes of getting their attention, helping outline the business case for expanding our business, and working with our partners to figure out what we wanted to create. We realized that it was up to us to create this vision.” 

A Comfortable Discomfort

Over a decade and a half of undeniable success, Bustamante’s evolution as a leader has been significant. In her current role as VP of global alliances and partnerships, the executive says one of her biggest passions is helping those around her maximize their potential. 

“I tell my team that everyone is a leader regardless of their title,” Bustamante explains. “Everyone has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in their roles, so I ask them to think about how they are showing this in their own ways. How are they helping lead others?” 

The VP is walking the talk. She’s moved on from serving as a chair of POWER, the Professional Organization of Women’s Empowerment at Rackspace Technology, into an executive sponsorship role, making way for new leaders to earn their stripes. Bustamante says her goal is to keep those leaders at an “appropriate level of discomfort” because that is the perfect incubation environment for real growth. 

“I relish any opportunity to have not only our female Rackspace Technology employees grow but also our partners that I work with outside the company,” Bustamante says. “If I can provide an opportunity for another woman to raise her hand and embrace that discomfort, I’m going to help make it happen.” 

Building Relationships in Every Direction

That “optimal discomfort” Bustamante seeks to provide spills over into her personal life as well. The VP is a master cycle instructor for JoyRide Cycling Studio in San Antonio. “It’s another way for me to make an impact on others in a way that is completely different from Rackspace Technology,” Bustamante explains. “I always said that I would step back if it ever felt like work, but, truly, I thrive more because of what our riders and the community bring to me.”

For Bustamante, it’s yet another opportunity to build relationships. It’s another opportunity to develop a new outlook, a new idea, and a new point of contact. Just as the VP pushes her team to evolve in new directions, she’s able to push her riders past their comfort zones and achieve something more profound, whatever that may mean for each individual. 

“Profound” is also likely the word the VP might use to describe her outlook for 2022. She could only speak broadly about what’s on the horizon in her December 2021 interview, but her excitement about her continued efforts at Rackspace Technology is palpable. 

“We’ve created a lot of great momentum with our partners like VMWare and Dell Technologies, and I’m really excited about new partnerships we are developing with companies such as Snowflake and Datadog and others,” Bustamante says. “I feel like we’ve been building some new motions and ways to do business with partnerships that are going to be big this year. 

“I love to build,” she adds. “This is the year for the fireworks.” 

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