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  1. Blog
  2. Culture & Professionalism

This Cybersecurity Company’s Secret Weapon? Diversity.

We asked Palo Alto Networks to give us the inside scoop on how they support gender diversity and inclusion — here's what we learned.

By InHerSight
This Cybersecurity Company’s Secret Weapon? Diversity.

Interviewing for a new job can be stressful — there’s no two ways about it. On the one hand, you’re hyper-focused on trying to leave liked and respected enough to get an offer. On the other hand, you know the interview process is a critical opportunity to ask the tough questions to determine whether you like and respect the company enough to work for them.

At InHerSight, our goal is to give you the insights you need to make the best decisions for your life and career, and our ratings data and scorecards for 65,000+ companies are a key piece of that equation.

Now we’re introducing a new series to supplement our cultural insights with answers to the important (and sometimes difficult to ask) questions women want answers to during the interview process. First up? Cybersecurity leader Palo Alto Networks.

Palo Alto Networks

Interviewee: Lindsey Sanford, Talent Acquisition
Headquarters: Santa Clara, CA
Industry: Computer & Network Security
Size: 1001 to 5000 Employees

Can you start by telling us a little bit about Palo Alto Networks?

Palo Alto Networks is committed to protecting our way of life in the digital age by preventing successful cyberattacks. To accomplish this mission, we're growing to 5,000 cybersecurity experts and professionals in nearly 40 offices around the world. We're a disruptive force that looks at the world differently, with the intent to change the future of cybersecurity.

I joined just over three months ago and can honestly say that, in that short time, I’ve seen what it means to work for a company dedicated to its culture, purpose, and mission. I've never felt so inspired by an organization, because Palo Alto Networks prevents the kind of cyberattack that directly impacts people’s lives.

It takes a lot of different kinds of people with various talents and ideas to successfully accomplish our mission. At the end of the day, we benefit from bringing together very different people who share a belief in our mission. Whether you sit in sales, global customer support, human resources, research and development, or engineering, your day-to-day work helps to secure our digital future.

What are your favorite company values and what are some of the ways you exemplify them?

We lead from the top down — there’s no behavior expected of an intern that we wouldn't hold our CEO to. We foster a culture of smart risk-taking, respect and self-awareness, and solving real problems for our customers. I was drawn to Palo Alto Networks’ promise of low ego and humility.

In 2010, our founder and CTO Nir Zuk said in an interview, “It doesn't matter how good you are, if you have an ego that's too big for yourself and if you're acting like a politician, you don't have room here.” I'm proud to say that the people of Palo Alto Networks have lived up to that promise. We're about preventing cyberattacks before they occur, and the best way to do that is to check your ego at the door, work hard, and collaborate to make it happen.

What would you tell prospective female employees about why Palo Alto Networks is a great place to work?

There are two elements that strongly differentiate Palo Alto Networks from other companies: low ego and collaboration. No one opinion here — regardless of experience, background, or job title — means more than another. And because of that, the doors that open to expand your knowledge are endless.

In the short time I've worked in Talent Acquisition, I've expanded to assist in operations, HR, our Veterans Network, and our Women's Network Community. I'm learning the business in and out, and I'm only limited by my imagination. And to support your career growth, there are a variety of programs to leverage, whether that’s workshops on EQ, managing your career, expanding your leadership experience, or support for attending conferences, there are ways to match your imagination with resources and drive.

How does Palo Alto Networks view diversity and seek to develop it?

Let's get realistic — the only way we can prevent increasingly challenging cyberattacks is by combatting them with the expertise and passion of incredibly talented, diverse individuals. Hackers are getting smarter, and we need to view cybersecurity through every possible lens. Diversity isn't just important to us; it is the only way we will accomplish our mission.

Our CEO Mark McLaughlin has stated unequivocally, “A diverse and inclusive culture with people of different backgrounds, thoughts and ideas is instrumental in finding the most creative and effective solutions to the toughest cybersecurity challenges.” For that reason, we seek out people with different backgrounds, thoughts, and ideas who will help us solve those challenges.

Are there initiatives or support structures in place for minority groups?

Yes, and they’re rapidly expanding. We have Employee Networks dedicated to supporting women, veterans, those early in career, and African-Americans, with more coming soon.

The best part: If an employee feels their needs aren’t being met and a particular network is missing, they have the support and resources to start one from the ground up. Palo Alto Networks has committed budget, direction (including Employee Network Guidelines to make the process easy and simple), and the leadership follow through to ensure everyone feels like they belong.

Finally, Does Palo Alto Networks have executive level support around diversity?

I said earlier that our organization is founded on the principle of leading from the top down, and I meant it. Our CEO is not only interested in inclusion and diversity, but he's committed to following through.

Last year, our CEO signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, which encourages increased diversity and inclusion workplaces across industries. And it’s with our leader’s support, our collaborative nature, and our drive to accomplish our mission, that will ensure our inclusion and diversity practices are here to stay.


Big thanks to Lindsey for answering our questions! If you're interested in learning more, check out Palo Alto Networks' open positions, read about their benefits, and see ratings from the women who work there on the company's InHerSight profile .

Want your company to do a reverse interview? Send us an email at hello@inhersight or use our contact form to let us know.

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