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  1. Blog
  2. Partners in Diversity

How Palo Alto Networks Lives Its Vision, According to 3 Women Employees

Creating “a world where each day is safer and more secure than the one before”

Palo Alto Networks office
Photo courtesy of Palo Alto Networks

This article is part of InHerSight's Partners in Diversity series. Discover companies partnering with InHerSight to better support women in the workplace.

Read enough about Palo Alto Networks, and you’ll begin to see a few common themes appear: trust, safety, and a desire to tackle tough challenges. As a next-generation security company, these common threads make sense. Palo Alto Networks is working to prevent cyber breaches for tens of thousands of organizations worldwide. Trust, safety, and determination are integral to driving the company’s mission.

And they’re key to recruiting and retaining exceptional employees, too. One of InHerSight’s long-standing top companies, Palo Alto Networks believes innovation flourishes in an environment where everyone has a voice and equal opportunity to make a difference. Employees feeling secure, that they belong, is at the heart of that inclusive mindset.

To get an inside look at how women at Palo Alto Networks experience security and inclusion on the job, we asked three employees to tell us how the company lives its vision to make the world a more secure place. Here’s what women at Palo Alto Networks had to say about the company's leadership, its efforts toward inclusion, and its culture.

How Palo Alto Networks lives its vision, according to three women employees

Samantha Wingar

Territory Sales Manager

“In terms of what else I like here, every single day our mission is to make the world a safer place than it was yesterday. Personally, that's something that resonates, especially if you've got children. … We have some great leaders who are quick to adapt and embrace inevitable changes that businesses face. They lead, inspire and empower teams to succeed together. The company is passionate about developing emerging talent and they know a strong team culture is the foundation of a successful team.”

How she ended up at Palo Alto Networks: 

"I joined Palo Alto Networks the first time in 2014, working out of the Singapore office. It was an exciting time, but there were a lot of changes personally as well: Getting married, moving to a new country, starting a new job and then finding out I was pregnant!

Just a week into my new role, I had to tell Palo Alto Networks that I was pregnant.

My manager was very supportive. I took about three months off when my daughter was born and then went back to Palo Alto Networks. It was a wonderful supportive environment and I have very fond memories of my time there.

There was an opportunity back home in New Zealand that my husband wanted to pursue. I was sad to leave Palo Alto Networks. I did initially look at how I could move home with them but by the time there was an opportunity in New Zealand, I'd already committed to another role.

We ended up in the U.S. about three years ago and the opportunity to work for Palo Alto Networks again came up. I jumped at it. It was a no brainer. And this time I'm not pregnant!

In the seven years since I've left, the company's gone through a lot of changes, a lot of really exciting innovation. It's been amazing to watch the evolution to a cybersecurity leader.

There's a lot I love about my current role. I've been empowered to be courageous, take risks, to have a growth mindset."

Palo Alto Networks

A high-level read of Palo Alto Networks' InHerSight scorecard tells us quite a bit about the  next-generation cybersecurity company: Consistently ranked on our list of Best Places to Work, Palo Alto Networks exceeds expectations for many of our 18 key metrics, but their top marks go to Support for Diversity, The People You Work With, and Paid Time Off. Women also tell us they feel they are paid fairly, receive helpful feedback, and that their growth and success are prioritized. Click to explore Palo Alto Networks' ratings, benefits, and open positions. 

Learn more ›

Christina Papadimitriou

Principal Machine Learning Engineer

“Inclusive workplaces are extremely important so people feel safe being authentic and don’t waste energy hiding their true selves. It not only helps those individuals but also the company, because happier employees will be more productive. I joined the LGBTQIA+ Employee Network Group here and my role is workforce lead, that includes bringing more LGBTQIA+ talent into the organization, which is one of my big passions. This is an amazing place to work both because of the company's vision ‘a world where each day is safer and more secure than the one before’​; and its incredible people, both in terms of character and technical, professional skills, everybody in their discipline.”

How she ended up at Palo Alto Networks: 

"I joined Palo Alto Networks in July 2021, and from day one, the environment felt so inclusive. My manager and team were vocal allies from the very beginning and made me feel so comfortable and so happy to have joined the company.

I expressed my career aspirations from the beginning and my manager has done nothing but support me. I actually just got promoted after only being here for eight months or so, and the management of my department has been wonderful about having diversity and inclusion discussions and making sure they support diverse talent.

I think that Palo Alto Networks does a great job at building an inclusive workplace, not only by having employee network groups to bring diverse communities together, but also throughout its day-to-day work.

The team cultures demonstrate inclusion in an exceptional way that I have not seen in any other organization, especially when we talk about technology and engineering groups that have very low numbers of diverse groups."

Miki Kisaka Regio

Regional Account Sales Manager

“This culture, which also emphasizes the importance of inclusion and diversity, provides a high level of mental safety and makes it easy to find inspiration, develop ideas, and seek innovation. Sometimes our ideas don’t work or we might make mistakes, but that’s okay. The important thing is that people here respect each other exactly as they are, share their thoughts in a positive way, and create agreement.”

How she ended up at Palo Alto Networks: 

"Before joining Palo Alto Networks in November 2019, I spent 15 years working for a domestic (Japanese) IT company. However, like many women in the workforce who become mothers, after my two children were born, I realized that my salary had dropped to roughly 80 percent of what it had been, even though, upon my return to work, I still managed to surpass 100 percent performance. The reasoning behind this was that my shift had been shortened to seven hours per day, instead of the usual eight and a half hours, because of my family obligations. 

A friend of mine was working for Palo Alto Networks and indicated to me that it might be a good fit for me. I gathered from what he had told me that decisions were made very quickly within the company. I liked that the values of speed and agility were emphasized here. At the company where I had been working, I had been frustrated about the fact that decision-making sometimes involved as many as 10 levels of approval before action could be taken—a very common feature at most Japanese companies—so the fast pace at which things happened at Palo Alto Networks was very appealing to me. Not only that, but I wanted an opportunity to connect more deeply with my customers in addition to reaching sales targets, no matter what product or solution I might be selling. 

Fortunately, I eventually did secure a role with the Palo Alto Networks Sales team. I’m very happy to have made the change. I really enjoy the workplace culture here, in which everyone is willing to cooperate with and support each other. We are all working toward the same goal, so we are all highly motivated to work hard and assist each other when needed to overcome challenges. This work environment is the best of both worlds: It is both entrepreneurial and collaborative. We are each encouraged to develop and work toward solutions at a pace that’s appropriate for us. This means we can learn new tasks and gain new skills quickly. Yet none of us is working alone. Everyone is open-minded and willing to exchange ideas, because when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. 

Also, it isn’t always about work—we like to have fun together, too! We are always finding opportunities to celebrate and connect with each other. For example, we had a virtual year-end party, and all our families (even our pets!) were invited to participate. We had a lot of fun playing games (such as a scavenger hunt and Rock, Paper, Scissors), watching dance videos, and more! It was wonderful to realize that we can be innovative, have fun, take care of our work, and be there for our families, all at the same time, thanks to having an employer who believes all these things are important.

Also, as long as I’m accomplishing my work, I have the flexibility to determine a schedule that works for me and my family as well as my customers; I’m not locked into a predetermined schedule. It’s about the quality of my work, not the quantity of hours."

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