Not Just a Job – Journey of Growth and Opportunity

JoAnne Lucero, Associate IT Project Manager

Growth, innovation, support. If I was told to pick three words that accurately describe my journey at Palo Alto Networks thus far, those would be it. I started my journey with Palo Alto Networks a little over three years ago and I am grateful for my decision more each day. 

Growth

I first joined as an Executive Assistant. At that time, I was a fly on the wall to the inner workings of IT. I observed how each domain operated, how projects added value to the day to day activities of Palo Alto Network employees. I saw the momentum, the growth, and the innovative direction IT was heading and knew I wanted  more involvement. I spoke with my manager about expanding my role without compromising my responsibilities and the support I received was nothing short of amazing. I started by refining my professional development plan and starting a trial stretch role as a Scrum Master. It was difficult to juggle the tasks from two different roles, but I was excited for the opportunity to see where this job could take my career.    

As a Scrum Master, I was the facilitator of projects and worked to remove any roadblocks that stood in the way of the team’s progress.  At the end of the stretch role trial, I was offered the chance to move into the Scrum Master position full time, which was exactly the direction I wanted to go in my career. It was a great opportunity to step into a role and move forward.   That step has led to my current position as a Project Manager for the Infrastructure team. 

Innovation

I have been involved with high visibility projects in my new position that have a real impact on our employees and productivity.  I have worked with teams to build out the technology infrastructure for new buildings and improve on existing spaces. We made sure there was wifi when you are outside at HQ.  We want employees to be able to walk from building to building without losing service and have the option to work outside. We also made sure there was always service in the elevators.  How annoying is it when an important call is dropped right as you go to get on an elevator? We knew there would be a lot of people moving around through the buildings while taking phone calls for business and we made sure to address that. What excites me the most is that I am directly involved in   projects that will grow and transform our business.  

To keep with the pace at which Palo Alto Networks is growing, IT needs to be quintessential at enabling employee productivity, not blocking it. As a potential employee, think of all the ways you could positively contribute to that?  Employees see the day to day pain points in a company, and our IT program sets us up and supports us in solving those problems, which in turn helps the entire company. We are constantly working with different groups to improve on work locations and always thinking about the next steps.  

Support

We all have our daily work rituals and tasks, but what I love about IT is employees are given opportunities to do more outside of their company assigned tasks. Through programs like The Shark Tank where they can present a personal idea to be funded by the company and Hack-a-Thons where they work on a program for a 24 hour period as part of a larger group, employees are encouraged to work on passion projects and turn ideas into working applications.  Brown Baglunch gatherings provide employees with a casual setting to discuss what they are working on to other employees in the company, including our CIO. . Within our IT department specifically, employees can shadow one another or do rotation assignments to expand their knowledge outside of their own work and test potential future directions in their career. 

I look back at the past three plus years and think about how the opportunity to make game-changing and innovative contributions as well as the opportunity for professional growth and the amazing support of colleagues, all sums up why I love being a part of Palo Alto Networks.