Pirates were the biggest concern for those sailing in the Gulf of Thailand, as they had been known to slaughter innocent people, so we took the long way to avoid them, meaning that our journey took 10 days instead of the three we’d expected.
The Real Deal: Regina Acheampong
Since I started working with Regina, I’ve become convinced there’s nothing she can’t do.
With a law degree and more than 13 years’ experience in contract management, Regina joined Palo Alto Networks in 2016 to create more structure for our SLED organization. In her first year and a half, she helped take SLED from what almost felt like a side business for the company into a significant portion of our business.
Her success earned her a lead role with the Global Deal Response team, and now, in her fifth year with the company, she’s leading deal strategy and operations — including process improvement and automation — as Director of Business Operations.
But there’s much more to Regina than her business accomplishments. Aside from her pro-level Poker skills (seriously!), what I admire most is her dedication to uplifting the community and creating inclusive, welcoming environments in and outside the office. From her volunteerism supporting the homeless to her participation in our Black Employee Network Group, she gives back often and thoughtfully. This woman “walks the walk” on community service.
One of Regina’s passions is ensuring technology companies like ours are able to hire and nurture a strong, diverse workforce. She herself knows how difficult and unclear the path to success can be for underrepresented minorities; black women comprise just 3% of the American technology workforce, and even fewer hold leadership roles. It’s this personal connection that fuels her work in Cyber STARS, a Palo Alto Networks program that provides educational and mentorship opportunities in cybersecurity to Black and Brown youth.
“Technology is a lucrative field, and there are a lot of pathways that allow you to build a decent life for yourself,” she says. “But you have to know what’s available to you. To have diverse talent, companies have to create a diverse pipeline, and most kids, if they’re in low-income or Title I schools and at a racial or socioeconomic disadvantage, they’re not often shown that this is a pathway for them.”
Black History Month is not just an important time to reflect on past and present injustices, but also a time to challenge ourselves: are we actively uplifting this community for the future? It’s important to recognize who and what is actually moving the needle towards a better tomorrow. That’s why I’m highlighting my friend Regina, and hope others are just as inspired as I am by her dedication to creating real change for her community every month of the year.