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Thriving at the Intersection of Diversity and Collaboration

Penny Philpot

Penny Philpot, Vice President, EMEA Partners and Ecosystems

Why did I choose to join Palo Alto Networks?

First, cybersecurity is here to stay, and I wanted to be part of that growth opportunity. There were other things that made me want to come over, not just the market leading products but also the conversations I was having with the people inside the organization and outside - especially the very positive partner input.

My interviews for this role were an absolute joy. It was an incredibly positive experience and I really wanted to be part of this team. I also saw an immense opportunity to bring in my skills and experience from other organizations and, while learning even more, be able to add value from day one.

My role here is brand new, so that's part of the enjoyment of it. There are no rules that have been written down. 

They said: "All right, Penny, what do you think that needs to be done? How should we go about it? What should be the business plan? What should be the structure and the setup for success?"

There are so many people who have a vested interest in working with our partners, it took me some time to find everyone. But now I've created that indirect or ecosystem community, and we're all aligning on our planning and coming together.

I'd say collaboration is among the key skills to have to succeed at Palo Alto. You should work together to drive change, drive the dialogue and drive the way forward. And that's the type of person I am, that's how I've built up my success.

Inner belief is also key. I have been in the industry for over 30 years and when I first started, there was a different balance of diversity, 

I ended up trying to work twice as hard because I knew that respect needs to be earned, it's not something you are given. So, it's being very mindful of the people around you and that you need to be part of the team. You need a personal approach.

Humor also has worked incredibly well for me, but I would say that you need to be someone who will roll up their sleeves and support the team. Because of my management style, I have been privileged as people open up and tell me what's really happening, which makes it easier for me to help.

With that trust and transparency, you build proactive collaboration and outreach, always being grateful for people who help you. One leads from behind and pushes the team forward rather than dragging them with you.


To women considering a career at Palo Alto Networks, I can say this:

You would be so welcome; you won't believe it. I think it's been proven that a diverse group, and I'm not just talking about gender, brings so many more solutions and ideas to the table.

We would absolutely love to increase that diversity even more. And I just believe that everyone's qualities are valuable and women's qualities in many cases can be unique, which adds so much to an organization.

The women here are amazing. They're all very supportive and every person, no matter what their gender or where they come from, is looking to support the diversity agenda of the company.

So come on in, the water's fantastic!

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