Ty Pressley, Bid Response & Content Manager For many years in my life, I compartmentalized who I was between work and home, filtering out the parts of my identity that I felt were regarded as unprofessional.
Originally published on: https://live.paloaltonetworks.com/t5/blogs/celebrating-latinx-heritage-month-meet-patty-hatter/ba-p/351312
1. Q: What does inclusion and diversity mean to you?
A: Across Palo Alto Networks, inclusion and diversity is a key focus for all of us, especially in our hiring practices. We’re welcoming many diverse folks with a variety of backgrounds—including age, gender, gender expression and identity, race, and cultural background. On a global scale, we’re broadening the portfolio of what we offer to an expanding market and to our customers. That means we need to broaden our teams to be more reflective of our immensely diverse customers in how we're approaching and solving their cybersecurity needs. It’s all about what we can bring to the table to meet them where they are and to get them where they need to be.
With the exceptional growth that this company is experiencing, we have an opportunity to make a huge difference with regard to inclusion and diversity in the cybersecurity market. Clearly, if we approach the same old things with the same old mindsets we’ll end up with the same results we got in the past. The market needs to move and the company needs to move. The opportunity is right in front of us.
From an inclusion perspective, it's about getting everybody to understand the different biases or lenses that they look at things and to be more conscious of opening their perspective of how they see, relate, or react to people. We need to strive for active, inclusive collaboration and make sure everybody feels respected and heard when they express themselves. I want a company where everybody recognizes the value of inclusion and diversity because they feel it in their lives—in and out of the workplace. Who wouldn’t?
2. Q: How has diversity in the workplace impacted your way of thinking and leading?
A: For me, the more experience I've gotten the more I've learned that it's great to be different. You don’t have to try and fit in, just be yourself. That brings uniqueness to the table. The more you adopt that behavior for yourself, the more you’re going to understand and accept the uniqueness of others. You learn to seek out people with different opinions because that’s where the really unique ideas and “a-ha!” moments are going to come, whether it’s from a business perspective inside the company or community perspective outside of the company. I find myself seeking out folks that are bringing those different ideas to the table because that’s where the bigger impact will be. Different is definitely better!
3. Q: What made you want to become the Executive Sponsor, for Juntos, the Latinx Employee Network Group at Palo Alto Networks?
A: In my own experience, two of my best friends are Hispanic. Through the years I've had the pleasure of being around their families quite a bit and forging meaningful and loving bonds. When my mom passed away a few years ago, I got very close with both of their moms—sharing stories, both joyful and sad, and looking to them for motherly advice. To this day, I continue to confide in both of them. I believe that you can pick your own family, and with both of my best friends and their families, we’ve all self-selected each other. Growing up, my friends both had very interesting backgrounds and life experiences. I was raised in Western Pennsylvania, and though my early experiences were not like theirs, I’ve grown to understand and have compassion for what they’ve gone through. Across many deeply engaging conversations, I’ve come to learn of their family experiences and tragedies and truly understand their point of view. Their life experiences. Since I'd developed a close relationship with a strong sense of caring for them -- I realized that their painful experiences could have happened to any of us. What would we do? What would I do? And, most importantly; How do I help make sure they never have to go through something like that again? The point is that our relationship is a safe place where we can bring our full selves based on trust and compassion. Being able to see them, I could see myself in them and all the ways that we are interconnected. It leads me to this thought: I might be technically German, but inside I’m a Latina, given who I associate myself with.
4. Q: What values do you believe inclusion and diversity has brought and will continue to bring to Palo Alto Networks?
A: Hopefully it will enable us to collaborate even more. The more we get in our heads of opening up who we are talking to, the types of folks, and their backgrounds, that will get us thinking more from a collaborative and bigger picture perspective. To me, there is such a tie into how we need to evolve our business to not just be one product. We don’t just want one type of person with one background, from one community in this organization. It needs to be much more broad than that. We need to think of how we can actively collaborate and make sure everybody feels like they’re being respected and that they’re being heard when they have something to contribute.
When it comes to the timing and discussion around inclusion and diversity, first off it’s the right thing to do, but to me there is such a tie to the growth of our business, that hopefully, people see both sides of that. We have to open up the opportunity for everyone coming from every corner of the world. Getting us to collaborate differently is just so important as we grow from one product company to a much broader platform company. To me, it’s such a metaphor for what we have to do.
5. Q: What is your vision for the future of inclusion and diversity at Palo Alto Networks?
A: I want a company where everybody feels the importance of inclusion and diversity because they feel it in their lives and they feel it in the workplace, that this focus helps drive better results. The more we can shift perceptions in the workplace, of why being inclusive and bringing diverse opinions to the table is good for us as a company, I think that helps broaden perceptions in our communities. It gives us the patience, willingness, and desire to listen to different perspectives, which are needed right now. Maybe, if we can start that here at Palo Alto Networks—do our part in our corner of the world—by exploring different ideas and experiences with every decision, we can add significant richness to our employees’ lives and help them feel more empowered and engaged.
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