“Silence and invisibility go hand in hand with powerlessness.” Audre Lorde
Cream of the Crop
I’ve been with Palo Alto Networks for a year, and I already know this is the best possible move I could have made for my career. I’ve worked in cybersecurity leadership positions since 2001, with seven different organizations, but none of them compare to Palo Alto Networks in terms of the quality of its products, people, and market position.
Since joining, I’ve held two different job titles, both within the Cortex business unit, which is part of the company’s efforts to secure the future by detecting and proactively responding to cyber threats. Within five months of starting with this company, I received an opportunity to move from my senior director position to a Regional Vice President role.
I’m by no means unique in my ability to achieve career growth here. I’ve been with several companies that would talk the talk — touting their commitment to helping their employees’ career growth — but in reality, those companies didn’t walk the walk, and as a result, people’s careers became stagnant. For example, in my current role, I’m responsible for filling open sales positions, and I recently promoted an internal candidate into a senior sales position. In my experience, that kind of thing doesn’t happen often with other companies, but it happens quite a bit here. When people express their goals and work hard, there are a lot of opportunities to grow, and any time an internal candidate applies for a position with me, no matter where in the company they’ve been working, I take that seriously.
It’s very possible for someone in an entry-level role to move quickly up through the organization. We’re relentless about helping our customers achieve success and staying ahead of cyber threats. There’s constant innovation here and never a dull moment — everybody’s moving. If a person demonstrates that kind of initiative, agility, and enthusiasm, no matter where they are in the organization, they will get the chance to be heard and supported.
One of the things I love most about working for Palo Alto Networks is the collaborative culture. We don’t do silos here. If the job has to get done, we’re all jumping in to help. We don’t play politics or backstabbing, and we don’t focus on hierarchy. You’ll never hear, “That’s not my job.” Everyone’s simply working toward the same goal — to protect our digital way of life — with healthy urgency, and that’s an environment I find truly satisfying.
From my experience in sales, many organizations focus only on individual accountability, so when people don’t achieve their numbers, for example, there’s a lot of finger-pointing about how that person isn’t good at his or her job, or it’s someone else’s fault because the product doesn’t work. But what I’m finding out at Palo Alto Networks is that we have mutual accountability. So a salesperson may have a quota, but the supporting departments work in a collaborative way, without jumping to blame, to rectify any issues and work toward the common goal together. And when everyone works together for the betterment of the company, their own individual brands rise to the top as well.
No one here is above stepping in and helping out, no matter what their title, which is an attitude that comes from the top down. In fact, our president recently set up a District Manager Advisory Board, where frontline sales managers can collaborate and share important information with each other and other departments throughout the organization. The company president, having been in that role himself, understands the importance of a frontline manager, and for every call, he rolls up his sleeves to personally help. This level of collaboration and leadership is not typical, and the benefits of it for those involved as well as the company as a whole are compelling.
It’s nice to wake up and want to go to work. Given my passion for cybersecurity and a healthy workplace culture, there is no better place that I feel I could have landed.
My journey to Palo Alto Networks has been a long and winding road, and I am tremendously grateful for having had the opportunity to explore the world and different languages, cultures, and career options before I earned my MBA, spent a decade at Bain