A Career with Freedom

Torsten Stern, Professional Services Consultant

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)

Palo Alto Networks has enabled me to truly navigate my career with freedom — not only in my ability to work remotely but also in how I approach solutions for our customers. 

In my role as a Professional Services Consultant, I work directly with new customers to implement our platform in order to secure their digital environments. I help them migrate from other platforms, and I provide training to their staff to ensure they fully understand and can maintain the technology. 

When I joined Palo Alto Networks in 2017, I was impressed by how the organization had transitioned successfully from a startup to a global leader in security. Joining this organization was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

Every Day is Different

I work with two teams through my position: the EMEA Professional Services team, which is comprised of about 50 people, and a much smaller Public Cloud team, which works with customers who wish to secure their use of the public cloud. Because of the type of work involved in Professional Services — interacting with customers on their work sites — the entire team works remotely, with many of us spread across several time zones. I travel at least once a month, and sometimes more, as the occasion calls for it. If we aren’t on the road, we’re working from home. This means that every day brings something completely different. 

However, even though the members of the team are spread far apart geographically, I don’t feel isolated. There’s a real sense of camaraderie. We support each other, and there’s a great dynamic among us, so the mix of perspectives really helps us to develop innovative solutions. We can lean on each other for meetings and collaborative activities; this is important because, with so many of us in different parts of the world, some of these events may take place late at night or early in the morning. There’s a lot of flexibility within the team, and everyone’s willing to step up and help when needed so that we can all have some work-life balance.

When we have a chance to come together as a team, we make the most of it. For instance, last summer, we all traveled to Houston, Texas, for a company event, and we arranged to remain in town together afterward so we could spend some time together before we had to make our next trips. We just genuinely like each other and have a lot of fun together. 

A Culture of Freedom

If I had to choose one word that sums up life at Palo Alto Networks, it would be freedom. Of course, the mission drives everything we do, but we have space to breathe, to develop our own solutions to accomplish that mission, and our ideas are supported, tested, and sometimes used. 

Other companies aren’t like that. In my previous position with another company, I was under so much pressure all the time — there was a constant demand for quantity, not quality. I didn’t have the freedom to pursue solutions that change the course of our organization’s support to our customers. 

My job offers challenges that excite me and inspire me to keep learning, and I’m given the space to do that. And I’m very inspired by my team; I learn new things from them all the time.

I love that we are encouraged to seek out learning opportunities. We aren’t told that we don’t need to learn things because they don’t apply to our particular job titles. Instead, we are continually being offered training and certification opportunities that can benefit our careers and enhance our knowledge. 

My advice for career seekers would be to maintain your enthusiasm for learning. No one in this organization expects you to know everything. What is important is your passion, your curiosity, and your willingness to learn and seek out answers. If you have those things, this might just be the right company for you.