Skip to main content

Onwards and Upwards in Professional Services at Palo Alto Networks

Fionnuala Zinnecker Blog 2 650X440

Author: Fionnuala Zinnecker, Senior Professional Services Manager

Three years ago, when I made the decision to change industry, career path and employer, I did not imagine that life would look so different so soon. Getting from one role to the other involved hard work, some tough decisions and a lot of learning. I am glad to be able to say it has all been worth it.  

The growth mindset at Palo Alto Networks has been instrumental in my development. From the first contact I had with a recruiter, I realised that this is a company willing to take a chance where they see potential. With no experience in cybersecurity but a solid background in project management in the central European region, I was assured that my personal development to get me to where I needed to be in terms of skills and expertise would be taken seriously. And it was. At every stage of the hiring process, I was given the chance to air my views and concerns and ask the questions I needed answering as I considered changing industry.

Once in my initial role as Senior Project Manager, I was able to access FLEXLearn’s range of training, from technical to applications to soft skill and management skills. Access to Coursera followed, opening up opportunities for me to work through the SMART goals I had set with my manager in our weekly one to one meetings.

A pleasant surprise for me was the focus on team initiatives. I was trusted with developing training, making global internal presentations and leading a book club. My ideas, feedback and strengths were taken into consideration in choosing the initiatives to run, allowing me to be creative within a profession often seen as regimented and routine.

When the opportunity arose to apply for my current position, I was hesitant. Did I have what it takes to lead a team of engineers? Could I be a woman in tech if I didn’t have a tech background? The Internal Mobility team was a great help to me in terms of finding out best practice for internal applications and taking away my fear of what would happen if I did not get the job for which I had applied. Again, throughout the rigorous rounds of interviews, I was granted the opportunity to ask all the questions I wanted to, to gain more insight into the nitty-gritty of the role and the skills I would need in order to be successful in the position of people leader.

Transitioning from one role to the other was made simple, with processes in place for handovers. The onboarding into management from the position of individual contributor involved a significant mindset shift, but luckily the Talent Team has tailored training days for new managers. Attending these was key to getting to grips with the soft skills side of the new role as well as the administrative elements, such as hiring, reviews and approving PTO, to name but a few of the tasks which I had hitherto only known from the IC perspective.

Throughout my three years at Palo Alto Networks, I have been able to make great use of the FLEXBenefits allowance provided annually to employees. From ski hire for my family on our ski trip to the Alps, to craft materials, to self-care weekends away at watercolour painting retreats, I have been able to enjoy life outside of work, too. Setting aside time to wind down, refresh and spend time with family and friends is valued at Palo Alto Networks more than anywhere else I have worked.

Related Posts