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Embracing Diversity Catalyzes Rethinking and Relearning

Ricardo Quote (Blog) (650 X 440 Px)

"If you're simply doing the math, I think you're probably in the 1%,” someone once told Ricardo Macedo, a district sales manager for Enterprise Prisma Cloud, based in Dallas, Texas. This comment made Ricardo reflect on his leadership role and how many Latino leaders are in the cybersecurity industry. As a former non-English speaker, he quietly celebrates, “I just keep it within my family. It's essential to be humble; I don't share my story often.”

When Ricardo came to work in the USA, he knew that working full-time in a restaurant for the long run was unsustainable. Transitioning from back-of-house to the front, working 11-plus hours a day and weekends exhausted him. In his home country of Peru, he had studied systems engineering when he was younger, and the tech industry had always held his interest. That fire rekindled when he became a father for the first time to his daughter, Paloma. Going back to school and upskilling was the answer. From that moment on, with grit and determination, Ricardo progressed from working at Bank of America and Splunk. Then, one day (just before boarding a flight to Disney in Orlando), he received a message from Palo Alto Networks about a sales role. Since then, Ricardo has not looked back.

His conversations with clients and partners often begin with questions like, “How are you securing your assets in the cloud? Are you aware of all the vulnerabilities?” That's from a technical perspective. From a management perspective, Ricardo asks, “How can I help my team have those conversations with potential and existing customers?”

Ricardo has worked in multiple countries, cultures, and languages, amidst different political landscapes. However, when it comes to managing teams in the US, he remarks, “It can be a completely different story. The ecosystem that works in Florida is entirely different from Washington, DC. The most important thing is to step back and be able to relearn. It's about your passion and work ethic. Be coachable and open.”

When asked about our commitment to inclusion, Ricardo says, “Palo Alto Networks has probably been the best place for that. I think it's down to the CEO. When you have a leader coming from a different background and culture, you have more chances to think differently. I've been in companies where it's very one-way.”

Ricardo emphasizes why diversity is so crucial in the field of cybersecurity, “It is essential because cybersecurity is something that we are building based on other people's ideas. If you don't have diversity in your workforce, how can you think differently about what hackers are going to do? How would we be able to approach new challenges differently? Diversity nurtures the capacity to rethink and relearn.”

Finally, when asked for advice for young hopefuls considering joining the cybersecurity industry, Ricardo underscores, “It's about persistence and allowing yourself to believe in your dreams. And once you start seeing that dream come true, always step back and be humble about the opportunity you have because you appreciate it more than anything. You will keep trying your best to be the best you can be.”

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