Zscaler Life | Blog Category Feed https://www.zscaler.com/ Zscaler Blog — News and views from the leading voice in cloud security. en Putting our Fundraising into a higher gear: Recapping Zscaler’s Fundraising Velodrome Track Day https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/putting-our-fundraising-into-a-higher-gear-recapping-zscalers-fundraising-velodrome-track-day As those of you who read my previous blog will know, Zscaler is proud to be supporting Steve Gibbins’ Tour 21 fund raising efforts for Cure Leukaemia, a blood cancer charity that gives patients access to new and potentially life-saving treatments by facilitating clinical trials. Beyond monetary donations, we were joined by Steve at our event in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park velodrome in London to learn more about his journey and the extraordinary world of cycling the Tour de France route. It was a fantastic, engaging and inspiring day for all attendees, so I thought I’d share a few highlights in case you missed it. Kicking off proceedings, Steve opened the breakfast session by sharing his motivation for raising money for Cure Leukaemia, and explaining how he’s preparing to take on this year’s Tour 21: “Cycling runs in the family – my father was a dedicated cyclist who raised funds for charities in Yorkshire and I’m grateful that I’m getting to do something that I love whilst raising money for an important cause. I was inspired by Rob Wynn, Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, who tackled Tour 21 last year in support of Cure Leukaemia and gave me the motivation to take on the challenge myself. It's a daunting challenge for us riders, both physically and mentally. Waking up at 5:30am for training isn't easy, but the support has been incredible. We've formed strong bonds within the Tour 21 team, united in our commitment to reach the finish line and hit our fundraising goal. Our recent practice ride in Mallorca was a great opportunity to bond. Some team members have been truly inspiring, showcasing unwavering determination despite varying cycling abilities. We then heard from endurance and adventure cyclist, Chris Hall, who takes on a number of cycling challenges every year to raise awareness about mental health. Having struggled with his own mental health throughout his life, Chris described cycling as his “unintended outlet,” driving him deeper into the sport. One of the things he noted that he enjoys most about cycling is that “all your senses are really engaged in it.” After getting on his bike in 2014, he has taken part in international challenges such as the Grand Fondo in Australia, the Atlas Mountains Race in Morocco, the Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan, and Badlands in Spain – to name a few! Listening to Chris's experiences inspired all of us in the room to push our own cycling and physical limits further… And it wasn’t long until we had the opportunity to do just that! During the second half of the day, all event attendees and Zscaler staff hopped on their bikes for a track cycling session around the velodrome. It was a brilliant moment to bond as a team in such an iconic venue from the Olympics. Once we got our bearings, I would be lying though if I said things didn’t start getting competitive! We could experience a bit of the flavour of the cycling sport in general as a team challenge and the Tour de France spirit in particular in a field of cyclists that hardly knew each other when the day started. While we might be off our bikes for now, our support for Steve continues as we rally behind his fundraising goal. Every donation makes a difference and if his next adventure has inspired you, I encourage you to support Steve by donating on his Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/page/tour21-1709116264883 We wish Steve all the best with his training in the run up to Tour 21, and managing to successfully ride 3500 km while climbing more than 52,000 altitude metres in the French and Italian Alps as well as the Pyrenees in June. Good luck! Thu, 02 May 2024 07:39:28 -0700 Paul Hennin https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/putting-our-fundraising-into-a-higher-gear-recapping-zscalers-fundraising-velodrome-track-day Zscaler Supports Steve Gibbins' Tour 21 Fundraising https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-supports-steve-gibbins-tour-21-fundraising Every year, 176 cyclists and millions of spectators descend on France for one of the most gruelling sporting events in the world, le Tour de France. A race steeped in history, and those who adorn the streets – and the billions of spectators who tune in on TV – do their utmost to empathise with the pain and suffering of the professionals as they ascend climbs such as Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux. Few people truly understand the grit, determination, and fitness needed to complete the race. However, the team at Tour 21 are all too familiar with the demanding requirements of le Tour. Every year, one week ahead of the official race, a team of 15 amateur cyclists take to the tarmac and ride the full Tour de France route, and all in the name of a good cause. We’re very excited to share that Zscaler will be supporting Steve Gibbins’ Tour 21 Fundraiser for Cure Leukaemia, a blood cancer charity providing patients with access to new and potentially lifesaving treatments by facilitating clinical trials. While great progress is being made, Cure Leukaemia’s work remains vital for so many people. In fact, according to Cancer Research UK: There are almost 10,000 new cases of leukaemia each year 4,830 people died from leukaemia between 2017 – 2019 41% of people survive leukaemia for 10 or more years 12% of leukaemia cases are preventable Alongside being an enthusiastic amateur cyclist, Steve is the Head of Networks at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) responsible for the cloud-infrastructure transformation of the organisation, a longstanding client of Zscaler and valued customer since 2017. As Steve embarks on the daunting Tour 21 challenge alongside 15 other amateur cyclists, covering an astounding 3500 km in just 21 days from Florence to Nice, his mission to raise £1 million for Cure Leukaemia is nothing short of inspirational. “Seeing and understanding the incredible work that Cure Leukaemia is doing through the Trial Acceleration Programme, and the incredible progress that has been achieved so far by them, is truly inspirational. However, there is still a way to go before this terrible disease is completely beaten, which is why raising this money is so incredibly important. Zscaler’s support has been truly outstanding and puts fuel in my tank on those tough training days, knowing that this amazing organisation is behind me all the way”, Steve Gibbins adds. At Zscaler, we’re proud to support one of JLR’s champions as he pedals towards his ambitious fundraising goal, embodying the spirit of perseverance, community, and hope. Hence we have donated £10,000 already, which has contributed to half of Steve’s fund raising target – but our support doesn’t end there. To bolster our backing, we rallied our London-based team together for a group spin class last week. With over 20 colleagues and Steve himself in attendance, the collective effort provided a huge source of motivation and inspiration as well as showing great team spirit for the cause. Considering how challenging the spin class was for us, we commend Steve as riding 3500 km and climbing more than 52,000 altitude metres in the French and Italian Alps as well as the Pyrenees seems unfathomable! Roxy Uddin, proud participant of the spin class comments: “Having worked alongside Steve Gibbins and his cloud transformation journey for JLR for two years now, I'm so proud that Zscaler are able to support Steve as he takes on this huge challenge. The spin class itself was great fun (and tougher than expected!) and really brought the whole Zscaler team together to focus on this bigger fundraising task. On April 23rd, we take the team spirit and fundraising activities to the next level. We’re coming together with JLR at the Velodrome in London, to dive deeper into the Tour 21 feeling, telling you more about Steve's fundraising journey with insights from guest speakers representing charities raising awareness about leukaemia and Tour 21 itself. But that’s not all… we’ll be hopping on our bikes for an exciting track cycling session afterwards. We're excited to have so many people join us to help Steve to fundraise and spread the word for Cure Leukaemia. You still have time to sign up for our Velodrome Track Day, and you can check out the complete schedule at the link below. We hope to see you there! Fri, 19 Apr 2024 05:29:48 -0700 Paul Hennin https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-supports-steve-gibbins-tour-21-fundraising To Help Build a More Inclusive Future, Develop Yourself https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/help-build-more-inclusive-future-develop-yourself An organization's success comes down to its people, and fostering diversity in the workforce amplifies a business's ability to navigate complex challenges. Women bring unique skills and perspectives that contribute significantly to a company's effectiveness. From innovation and effective communication to adept problem-solving and inspiring leadership, women enrich the professional landscape with a diverse array of talents. I am proud to be the global president of WIZE (Women in Zscaler Engage), Zscaler’s women-led employee resource group. This week we kicked off our month-long celebration for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. We are continuing to engage in tough conversations both regionally and globally with our allies to elevate women’s voices. There is still a great amount of work that must be done both today and for future generations of women and girls. As Kavitha Mariappan, EVP, Customer Experience & Transformation and WIZE executive sponsor said in her opening remarks at our IWD celebration, “You all are role models to so many in our industry. This is important. Studies show Gen Z girls are 20 percent more likely than boys to say they won’t pursue a STEM career because they don’t feel they would be good at it.” As a woman in tech and mother of five, stats like this push me to expose girls to the importance of STEM and encourage our allies to use their voices. We need everyone involved in this effort! Dr. Gena Cox joined us for our virtual celebrations to share her valuable insights on spearheading inclusion within the organization and the significance of respect, with an emphasis on those who are underrepresented. Dr. Cox shared her model on how everyone should feel valued, seen and heard. As I reflected on Dr. Cox’s keynote, I thought about ways I can, and should, be modeling respect in my professional and personal life. What could I do or say to impact someone’s day, life, or career? We all have a voice and platform, we just need to be shown how and when to use it. I am standing up for women’s rights, for equality in the tech industry, and as a mother I will always stand behind my children and seek to positively impact their future. I believe that, in 2024, we are another step closer to creating a more inclusive environment for future generations, and each individual act matters. This doesn’t just mean in our professional careers, it means taking it into our personal lives. I am invested in myself. I am dedicated to my personal growth and self-improvement to create the best version of myself. I am invested in my children and my family. As a working mother, I am continuously learning to skillfully balance the demands of my professional career while being active in my childrens’ lives. I am committed to showing each of them that they are valued, heard, seen, and loved. I am invested in my community. I am passionate about community engagement in my personal and professional lives. I will continue to empower others and reinforce among allies the importance of collaboration through education while leading by example. Zscaler’s WIZE International Women’s Day celebration also recognized 28 women from around the world with a WIZE Award for their commitment and dedication to making an inclusive workplace through mentorship, community engagement, leadership, going the extra mile, and serving our customers. Thank you to all of our winners and our greater WIZE community for your continued support and efforts to create a safe environment where we can bring our authentic self to work. We hope you join us in celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day 2024! To learn more about the amazing women of Zscaler, watch this video and explore the content below: What to Read Next: This International Women’s Day, let’s pull up a chair for all of our women colleagues The ascendency of inclusion: A conversation with Dr. Gena Cox Celebrating Women at Zscaler: WIZE Woman of Impact in APJ: Sandra Wang WIZE Women of Impact: Wendy Bartijn Sun, 10 Mar 2024 17:24:56 -0700 Julia Cummings https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/help-build-more-inclusive-future-develop-yourself The Fierce Urgency of Now: What Dr. King’s Words Mean for Diversity in Tech https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/fierce-urgency-now-what-dr-king-s-words-mean-diversity-tech “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ’is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King made a call for racial and social justice using the phrase “the fierce urgency of now.” He used this phrase to describe the imperative to address racial inequality throughout our institutions and society. It was also a call to action to believe in our ability to affect the world and commit to taking action together to forge a more just society. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri and having experienced racism at an early age, this speech lit a fire within me. While there are many powerful parts of this speech, “the fierce urgency of now” was what inspired my deep sense of social consciousness and sensitivity to human pain and injustice. From then on, Dr. King was my hero. Today, I reside in San Diego, California. Many see California as more of a melting pot, however, even though it is the country’s technology hub, the state’s diversity isn’t adequately reflected within the industry. Nationally, Black people make up 12 percent of the overall US workforce, but only represent 8 percent of tech industry employees. The way this plays out is that I’m often the only Black person in the room. For many like me, this is our normal. When I joined Zscaler in June 2020, I quickly realized the opportunity to increase diversity in our company and industry. At the time, I searched the organization for a safe space to network with like-minded individuals. It was then that I found inspiration in Dr. King's phrase, and during my onboarding I reached out to our CEO to inquire about an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Black employees. Our executives leaned in to support this request, and provided a foundation and sponsorship to help Black employees launch Black@Z. Several years later, we stand strong in our Black@Z mission to celebrate our Black employees, and provide them with resources and a support network to enhance their experience and their career at Zscaler. As I reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, there are two questions that I feel are important to ask: First, if Dr. King was alive today, what would he think of our industry and what would be “the fierce urgency of now”? On one side, I believe Dr. King would celebrate the advancements and contributions of the Black community in tech—from Roy Clay Sr., referred to as the “Godfather of Silicon Valley,” to Lisa Gelobter who pioneered internet technologies, including her invention of Shockwave. On the other side, I imagine he would decry the lack of diversity and inclusion within the industry. It’s possible that he would view the lack of representation as a continuation of the systemic inequalities that he fought against during the civil rights movement. He might recognize the threat of some emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, which can unfortunately replicate some of the biases and inequities that exist today, but I hope he would also see the positive opportunities for the tech industry to bring people together and improve the human condition, for all. Dr. King’s philosophy that all should have access to equity and justice raises the second question I would ask: What can we as leaders in tech do to advance equity and inclusion globally? I believe diversity in the workplace helps companies be more innovative and creative and, ultimately, achieve better results–and there’s ample data to support this. When it comes to representation, we have to be intentional about our recruiting and hiring process to ensure we’re working to make our organizations more diverse. We should also be championing inclusion in all of our decisions and interactions. I’m proud to share that Zscaler has a focused strategy to attract diverse candidates and foster a more inclusive workplace. I’m grateful to be part of Black@Z and have support from my Zscaler family, and I’m excited that Black@Z will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by leading a day of service on Monday, January 15 in multiple cities throughout the US. In honor of Dr. King’s legacy and birthday, we are inviting all Zscaler employees and their families to participate. Dr. King’s words continue to inspire me, and I humbly ask my Zscaler community to embrace “the fierce urgency of now” to fuel our collective efforts in 2024 and beyond, always raising the bar on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our industry. Mon, 15 Jan 2024 08:00:01 -0800 Tyrin Ford https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/fierce-urgency-now-what-dr-king-s-words-mean-diversity-tech Teamwork at the Christmas party: Fundraising for 20 orphans in Burkina Faso https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/teamwork-at-the-christmas-party-fundraising-for-twenty-orphans-in-burkina-faso The CEUR team donated 25,000 euros to the Hummaid orphanage In February 2023, the Hummaid orphanage in Burkina Faso was officially opened with a Zscaler team of volunteers on site. Since then a director was found to take care of the day-to-day operations and the development of the orphanage’s network of authorities, hospitals and social institutions. And finally, the first 40 young residents – including 25 boys and 15 girls aged between three and eight, and some widowed mothers – moved in this fall. True to the motto “Sometimes the path only becomes apparent when you start walking it,” there is still a lot to organise, and the internal structures and processes must be tested to determine whether they are fit for everyday life to grow the orphanage to its full capacity. The director has now hired a deputy to help with the running of the orphanage, as well as teaching staff to look after the children in preschool and school. And five of the women who have moved into the orphanage with their children also help with the daily routine of the younger children. Further expansion will now depend on the experiences of these first few residents. But ultimately, the hope is for the children to have a safe haven in the orphanage for about ten years until they are able to lead an independent life. Sponsorships for the children In order to cover ongoing operating costs, Hummaid e.V. has set up a sponsorship platform for the orphanage. It serves to connect children (or “godchildren”) with sponsors (“godparents”) who, through their financial support, contribute to the annual costs (childcare, education and healthcare) of that child. It also aims to facilitate regular information sharing between the godparents and their godchildren. The first annual sponsorships have already been agreed and arranged by the Hummaid team. However, since there was still a shortfall in the budget needed to financially support all 40 residents, the Zscaler community from the Central and Eastern Europe (CEUR) region once again stepped in to run a creative fundraising campaign during Advent. As part of the Christmas party for the more than 150 employees of the region, the organisational team hosted an auction, and invited the leadership team to contribute prizes in advance. Ten creative ideas were found, which were then auctioned off to the highest bidders over the course of the evening. The task for the leaders was not only to come up with a creative idea or unusual item, but also to present it through a “3 Whys” pitch to drive up the bids. The creativity was impressive and the entertainment factor, as well as the commitment of the assembled CEUR team, exceeded all expectations. As soon as the first item went up for auction – a cuddly toy to represent the Munich team mascot Scooby-Doo – it quickly became clear that no one was interested in increasing the bids in ten-euro steps alone. Instead, the stuffed dog finally changed hands to move to the Frankfurt Office for the full annual budget needed to support a single orphan. One bidding war followed the next and the donated ideas and objects couldn't have been more different. Auction campaign for a good cause From an online yoga course for a whole team (including walking a real office dog), to a wellness weekend, a team bonding event in the mountains, or the solving of a magic trick, everything went under the hammer. But the leadership team also parted with and pitched their own personal items – from a bread tray, to an autographed book, glittery jacket, and wellness & merchandising package. The highest bid of the evening was ultimately placed for a gold Vreneli from 1929, bringing the auction total to a staggering 25,000 euros. The Hummaid team was overjoyed by this amount as it will cover the costs of twenty orphans in 2024. At this point, the charity club would like to thank the Christmas party organizing committee for coming up with this brilliant fundraising idea and all the participants who not only submitted generous bids and donations, but came together as one team. The support for Hummaid shows that a lot can be achieved through the personal commitment of our team members – and it isn’t the only activity that we’ve been involved in this year. In addition to the completion and occupation of the orphanage in Burkina Faso, Hummaid threw themselves into many other humanitarian appeals; from sending a food truck to the earthquake zone in southeastern Turkey in February, to taking part in a Christmas package campaign for children in Ukraine. The Hummaid team's next trip to Burkina Faso will take place in February 2024 to find out how operations are running. Closely supporting the project will continue to be important for all of us as part of our broader volunteering program: helping others makes each of us a different person. You can find out more about the projects, the orphanage and sponsorship opportunities at hummaid.org. Wed, 20 Dec 2023 22:34:01 -0800 Kadir Erol https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/teamwork-at-the-christmas-party-fundraising-for-twenty-orphans-in-burkina-faso WIZE Woman of Impact in APJ: Sandra Wang https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-apj-sandra-wang Meet Sandra Wang Role: Sales Engineer, ANZ Department: Commercial Questions: 1. Tell us a little about yourself. My journey in IT began back in university where I pursued a major in cybersecurity. It was during this time that a recruiter approached me with an opportunity to join McAfee as a Sales Engineer. Intrigued by the company's reputation, I decided to take on the role after graduating. You could say that I stumbled into the role of a Commercial Sales Engineer by “accident.” 2. What about your work at Zscaler gets you excited to wake up every day? I wake up excited to work at Zscaler every day due to the perfect blend of cloud and security, two areas I value in a role. The company's strong brand and high-quality products fill me with pride. As a Sales Engineer, I find fulfillment in going beyond technical aspects and interacting with customers daily. Resolving their issues throughout the sales cycle brings me great satisfaction and fuels my motivation. Making a difference for our customers is what truly excites me at Zscaler. 3. What's the one experience that helped you grow the most (personally or professionally)? Working with a customer at The Iconic had the most profound impact on my personal and professional growth. It forced me to confront imposter syndrome when the audience didn't understand my message but grasped it immediately when presented by a male colleague. This experience made me reevaluate my confidence and focus on what I could control. I learned to prioritize self-improvement and adaptability, overcoming imposter syndrome and approaching challenges with a renewed mindset. This transformative experience empowered me to grow both personally and professionally. 4. What achievement are you most proud of and why? I am most proud of landing my first role in Australia straight out of university. As an international student and migrant, my journey has been challenging. Securing this role without a clear career path validated my hard work and marked the beginning of a new chapter. It symbolized my ability to adapt, overcome challenges, and pursue my passion for cybersecurity. This achievement holds a special place in my heart, reminding me that perseverance and determination can overcome any obstacles in achieving my goals. 5. What has been the most impactful event during your career journey? The presence of an experienced mentor has been the most impactful event in my career journey. My manager at McAfee provided valuable guidance and taught me effective message delivery. Having a framework to follow brought structure and confidence to my role. I appreciate the support of my mentor and manager for laying a strong foundation in presales. Their mentorship shaped my skills and contributed to my professional development, enabling continuous growth in my career. I am grateful for their impact on my journey and the strong foundation they established. 6. Tell us about the importance of connecting to your sense of purpose - what inspires you? Connecting to a sense of purpose is vital to me, especially in the cybersecurity field. I am inspired by helping enterprises navigate digital transformations and ensure their security. Traveling as part of my role allows me to explore diverse places and cultures, and connect with people from various backgrounds. This combination of passion and engagement fuels my drive to learn, grow, and make a positive impact. With enthusiasm, I contribute to the success of enterprises in their digital transformation journeys. 7. How does well-being fit into your notion of success? Well-being is crucial to my definition of success. My mindset has shifted from seeking external validation through achieving outcomes to focusing on doing my best and prioritizing my well-being. Recognizing my strengths and weaknesses has been vital. It has helped me understand the importance of seeking help to leverage the strengths of others. This realization brings balance and overall well-being. Success, to me, encompasses personal growth, work-life balance, and nurturing relationships. Prioritizing my well-being and finding fulfillment in all aspects of life defines my success. 8. What do you do outside of work to stay motivated? To stay motivated outside of work, I engage in activities that bring me joy and help me grow. Spending time with friends and participating in outdoor activities rejuvenates my spirit and provides a well-deserved break. Additionally, I challenge myself to learn something new, such as pursuing cybersecurity certificates beyond what Zscaler covers. This push for continuous learning allows me to broaden my perspective on my role and stay dynamic in an ever-evolving industry. I live by the motto, "becoming is better than being," embracing the idea that constant growth and adaptability are essential. This core belief fuels my drive and motivates me to play hard and work hard. 9. Do you have any tips for someone wanting to work in your role? Firstly, utilize LinkedIn and social media platforms to connect with professionals in the industry and expand your network. This approach helped me secure my first role at McAfee by attending cybersecurity events and connecting with a TA from my previous company. While technical skills are crucial, don't overlook the importance of developing strong interpersonal skills. Focus on honing your ability to communicate effectively and establish yourself as a trusted advisor. Remember, you are still learning and growing in this area. Wed, 13 Dec 2023 14:45:53 -0800 WIZE https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-apj-sandra-wang WIZE Woman of Impact - Wendy Bartijn https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-wendy-bartijn Meet Wendy Bartijn Role: Senior Customer Success Manager. Outspoken rebel wanting to change the world. Dept: Customer Engagement Favorite Quote: Don’t wait to be asked. If you want it, Step up. / Don’t be afraid to be LOUD. Questions: 1. What brought you to Zscaler? I was looking for a company in which I could help customers get the most out of the products that they had bought. Zscaler is a company that cares about its customers and creates a structure to make customers successful. 2. After spending so many years with a different organization, what has been the biggest difference you’ve seen in working for Zscaler? At Zscaler, you still have the space to be creative. When you see something that you would like to change, you can get the space to do that. I was also lucky to join a team of like-minded people. We understand each other, have a lot of fun, and have each other’s backs. For me, that means the world! 3. If you were to think back to the beginning of your career, what would you tell yourself? A career is not a simple line going straight up, you will take sidesteps, and everything you do will count toward your experience and skills. In the end, it will bring you to where you are supposed to be. And if not, try again! Find out what you really want and then create a community around you that will help you get there. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. 4. What motivates you every day? In my work: the fact that every day is different. Different customers but also different activities. From making presentations for a QBR to helping a customer deploy to helping solve a big escalation. I am lucky to work with amazing customers and a lot of very talented people within Zscaler, and we are always striving to give our customers the best experience possible. In WIZE: To work with so many talented women, and to have a real community with the ladies of the core team. There is still a lot to do, but I feel we make a difference, and I would love to go so much further with this. 5. What experience or lesson has been most impactful during your career journey? When I started, you had to be ‘one of the boys’ to be accepted. Most of the time I was, and still am, the only woman in the meeting. At one time a female leader told me to ‘just be myself’. She made me realize that it is exhausting NOT to be yourself. It took me a while to be able to do that and feel confident about it. Women with a strong voice are, even today, not always appreciated in the business. I am my authentic self, and I am proud to be an outspoken gender diversity advocate. I feel we can do so much more if we work together and elevate each other, both between women, but also in collaboration with men. We are 51% of the population after all 😉 6. If you could pick one person who has been influential in your life, who would it be? Why? That would be my mother. She stopped working when my sister and I were born, but she has always supported me in my choices, and my career. Even when I moved to France! Thanks to her, I am who I am today. And I know that she is proud of me. 7. With the holiday season upon us, what are some of your favorite traditions that you look forward to every year? During the year we are all very busy. My husband and I with jobs (and kids, and the house, etc.) my oldest daughter with her study, and my youngest daughter with school. However, Christmas is for us an amazing time with family. Cooking together, decorating together, and all sorts of activities. It is a time for relaxation, and we all love that. I wish that for everyone! Mon, 11 Dec 2023 08:00:01 -0800 WIZE https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-wendy-bartijn Zscaler Hackathon Surfaces Product Solutions, New Ideas for Growth https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-hackathon-surfaces-product-solutions-new-ideas-growth On Friday, September 22 more than 150 Zscaler product engineers kicked off our first-ever Zscaler Hackday. Participants in the marathon event worked in teams to build out previously approved ideas and then pitch proof of concepts to three judges, all with the potential to help fuel Zscaler’s growth. Organized by Prasanna Jobigenahally, Sr. Software Architect, Vishal Gautam, Sr. Director of Engineering, and Satish Kalipatnapu, Distinguished Software Architect, teams lived our core values of Innovation and Teamwork for a solid, 24 hours from 5 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday PST / 5 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday IST. The “Barrier Breakers: Sky’s the Limit” theme guided teams as they worked feverishly to build prototypes that could enhance Zscaler’s product offerings through new product features, process and productivity improvements, scaling, and large language models (LLMs). “In my previous organizations, hackathons were a regular occurrence that cultivated a culture of creativity, collaboration, and out-of-the-box thinking. I wanted to bring that immense value to Zscaler,” Prasanna said. “Our spirit of innovation was already instilled at Zscaler, so we aimed to add to it by creating an environment where breaking barriers and pushing boundaries was not only encouraged, but celebrated.” With a majority of the engineering team participating, the self-organized teams found rising early to participate in the hackathon offered an opportunity to explore projects that were outside of their usual scope and routine. “The idea of brainstorming on something new and that was outside of my day-to-day work was interesting,” said Shweta Gupta, Staff Software Engineer. “It allowed me to work on projects that were inspired by the main pain points customers experience in our existing products. It was my first time participating in a hackathon and it was an amazing, fun experience!” Prior to hackathon day, a submissions call resulted in 70 ideas, far more than the dozen ideas anticipated. Most ideas were inspired by the need to address specific customer and business problems, take advantage of technology trends, and maximize the collective expertise from fellow participating engineers. Come hackathon day, teams of engineers worked together virtually on their projects, though a few teams worked in the Mohali, India office and a small group spent the night in San Jose, California Headquarters. The groups of three or four individuals moved ideas through brainstorming to design, lending their array of talent and knowledge, creativity, and perseverance to complete their concepts on a short deadline. “The collaboration within our team was exceptional,” said Akshay Yelmar, Senior UX Designer. “We had individuals with diverse skill sets and backgrounds, which allowed us to approach problems from different perspectives in a fast-paced and dynamic nature.” Upon completion of their work, teams demonstrated their proof of concept in five-minute Zoom presentations to judges Chakkaravarthy Perlyasamy Balaiah, VP & GM, ZDX - Development, Raj Krishna, Senior Vice President of New Initiatives, and Sanjay Kalra, VP, Product Management - Engineering. Between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. PST / 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. IST Saturday, the judge panel viewed 43 completed concept presentations, asked questions, and then scored each project on three criteria: innovation, execution, and impact. “Some of the work quality was really great and we are able to embed that work into some of our products with a few modifications,” said Chakkaravarthy. “Additionally, there were several projects related to supportability/programmer productivity. This wasn't expected and was a pleasant surprise, given Chief Technology Officer Syam Nair’s emphasis on rewarding such work which serves as force multipliers for support and engineering.” Sanjay added: “Witnessing this widespread initiative to not only develop new features, but also to focus on making the product more robust and supportable, was a significant ‘aha’ moment for me. It showcased that these engineers weren't just thinking about the immediate enhancements, but were considering the long-term sustainability and usability of the product." A total of six winning teams (two per category) received $4,000 to be divided equally, and eight ideas are currently being further evaluated, refined, and developed. This additional vetting ensures the most promising ideas keep moving forward and have a clear path toward implementation and eventual impact within the organization. Congratulations to all participants on completing their hackathon proof of concepts and for showcasing Zscaler’s high level of innovation and teamwork Fri, 08 Dec 2023 08:00:01 -0800 Rob Campbell https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-hackathon-surfaces-product-solutions-new-ideas-growth WIZE Woman of Impact- Josselyn Graham https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-josselyn-graham Meet Josselyn Graham Role: Director, Global Customer Advocacy Department: Communications, Marketing Favorite Quote: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” –Vincent Van Gogh Questions: How did you find Zscaler? The real question is, how do you not find Zscaler? I’ve been working in the cybersecurity industry for over a decade, and Zscaler has always stood out to me as a leader in the space. My former colleague joined the team, and when an opening became available, he reached out and said I would be a great fit for the role. It goes to show how important it is to forge meaningful relationships with your coworkers—it could help land you a role at your dream company, like it did for me. What is your favorite thing working for Zscaler? It’s hard to list just one thing, but if I had to narrow it down, it would be the people. I truly believe Zscaler hires the best and brightest in their respective fields. It makes going to work so much more invigorating because you can sense the passion and enthusiasm in every interaction, even over Zoom. If you were to think back to the beginning of your career, what would you tell yourself? If I were to give a younger, less tired version of myself advice, I would say, “Josselyn, take advantage of this very moment in time because soon, you’ll have a beautiful family and kids that will devour your afternoons, weekends, and early mornings. Use the extra hours to learn, connect with people at work who inspire you, and ask them to coffee. Be curious, ask questions, and try out different jobs to figure out what drives you to show up to work in the morning.” Flash forward to now, I am so grateful to love what I do, because it makes my time away from my kiddos worthwhile and meaningful while setting a positive example for them. I hope one day they look back and admire me for being a working mom. Not all heroes wear capes! What's the one experience that helped you grow the most? For me, it was leaving a job I was comfortable with in exchange for pursuing something that felt challenging, slightly scary, and out of my comfort zone. One of the best ways to grow, both personally and professionally, is to take risks, challenge yourself, and say yes, even when your brain is saying no, no, no. If you’re feeling a little nervous and apprehensive to do something, it’s probably a good sign to JUST DO IT! What experience or lesson has been most impactful during your career journey? We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. I’ve been fortunate to have great leaders who have been instrumental in my professional development thus far. We’re so lucky to get the opportunity to learn from our managers. Don’t take it for granted. What advice do you have for the next generation of leaders? A company’s success comes from the team, not individual players. If you could pick one person who has been influential in your life, who would it be? Why? That’s an easy one: my dad. He always shows up ten minutes early, is kind and generous, and puts others before himself. I’ll never be as great as he is, but I’ll give it a valiant effort. Fri, 10 Nov 2023 08:00:01 -0800 WIZE https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-josselyn-graham WIZE Woman of Impact - Isha Gupta https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-isha-gupta Member Spotlight: Isha Gupta Isha Gupta Regional Sales Manager, Enterprise Q: Tell us about the importance of connecting to your sense of purpose - what inspires you? A: I find purpose in being authentic and going for whatever my goals are. The impact that I create with people by helping them personally and professionally inspires me. I firmly believe you can be a leader in any role, you don’t need the title to practice leadership. Q: What's the one experience that helped you grow the most? A: Earlier in my career I went through some difficulties where I was at a crossroads. I was told at a Tech MNC that I could have an SDR role or go home. I firmly believed I was worthy of an Account Manager role and I held my ground. Three months later, not only did I get the role, I finished that year with a quota achievement of over 226% and kickstarted my career in tech sales. Q: If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self? A: It all works out, just have more faith in yourself. Q: What is one piece of advice you have for others to help build and strengthen an inclusive culture? A: Find the quietest person in the room and get their opinion on matters, you’d be surprised to how often the quietest people often have the most creative ideas. We need to encourage ’speaking up’ and this is how we can give voice to diversity and inclusivity. Q: What about your work at Zscaler gets you excited to wake up every day? A: Zscaler encourages independence of thought, which makes me feel like the opportunities are limitless here. I am truly excited each day to discover something new I can do today and where it might take me. Q: What is a quote you live by? A: This quote by Steve Jobs is my favorite and I truly live by it “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” Fri, 15 Sep 2023 08:00:01 -0700 WIZE https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-isha-gupta WIZE Woman of Impact – Natalia Wodecki https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-natalia-wodecki Meet Natalia Wodecki Senior Director of Global Integrated Marketing Communications & PR Aspiring writer & amateur comedian Q: What about your work at Zscaler gets you excited to wake up every day? A: Connecting with my team! A team of animals as cute - if not cuter - than the animals in #z-pets. This includes the extended team, like our agency partners. I’m an extrovert, so I get energy from people. Without them, I wither. Check out #z-pets for adorable pet pictures & #z-news for the morning headlines. Q: What has been most impactful during your career journey? A: <<Hot take alert>> Some of my most impactful moments were when I failed. Miserably … at two jobs in a row (Zscaler manager: if you’re reading this, that was in the past and I got it out of my system.) Readers: You’ll have to ask me about the dirty details, but the headline here is that, at the time, I was so scared and ashamed to have failed, but I was wrong. Falling flat on my face made me unbelievably stronger. I can do like 500 push-ups now. In addition, I have a really good story that I’m thinking of publishing someday. Hope you’ll read it! Q: If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self? A: Don’t be afraid. You will always be ok, so speak up and take risks. Don’t play it safe. What is the fun in “safe”, Natalia? Thrills reap rewards! If my younger self would say, “please elaborate, Natalia, you're so smart,” I’d go on and say: “Thanks. Ok, so there will be times that it doesn’t feel right, and it’s no fault of yours. When it does feel right, recognize and celebrate each moment you get. Communicate. With your heart. With your manager, your team, and anyone willing to listen.” Q: What tips do you have for building a meaningful network? A: Communicate! But most importantly, listen. Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, said: You were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen and learn. People around you know when you’re being authentic. In PR, it’s easy to read from talking points, but it doesn’t “work” unless you mean it. When you mean it and believe it, there is an unstoppable power that swells up and manifests in all aspects of your life - people want to be a part of the momentum. The network builds, you’re popular & happy, and it’s all very meaningful. Q: What advice do you have for the next generation of leaders? A: Be kind and scream your passions at the top of your lungs (metaphorically and literally, but only if you’re in a place that is soundproof and you’re not going to ruffle any feathers). The more you shine, the more those around you will, and the world will be better. Don’t stand for hate. Be flexible. Change is wonderful and constant. Oh look, everything is different now, even different than when you first started reading this (assuming you’re still reading this). Q: If you could pick one person who has been influential in your life, who would it be? Why? A: One person? Impossible. My family - mother, father, grandfather. Strong, Polish, and proud. They taught me the art of reinvention. Reinvention is the best part of life. We are so blessed to be able to change and grow. Q: What is a quote you live by? A: Everything will be ok Mon, 31 Jul 2023 08:00:01 -0700 WIZE https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-woman-impact-natalia-wodecki Proud to Be One of the Best Workplaces for Millennials https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/proud-be-one-best-workplaces-millennials We’re proud to share that Zscaler was named one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Millennials. As a global tech company that’s growing rapidly and expanding our team, this is fantastic news. Congratulations to the entire Zscaler team! As the Head of Employee Engagement at Zscaler, I lead a team that’s focused on embedding our unique Zscaler culture through communications, engagement and events, a robust diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy, and other efforts to help our employees feel connected, supported, and proud to work at Zscaler. While we aim to be an employer of choice for people of all backgrounds and generations, we’re delighted to receive high marks from our Millennial employees and asked a few of them to share what they enjoy about working at Zscaler. A common theme across the board was our strong culture of collaboration and teamwork.“In my 9+ years at Zscaler, I have worked with hundreds of people and many departments. Our culture really emphasizes collaboration, inclusiveness and valuing varied opinions,” said Nikhil Mittal, Assistant Controller/Senior Director of Finance, San Jose. Doing challenging work in an environment that emphasizes learning is also a key motivator. “Working at Zscaler presents interesting problems to solve on a daily basis and the freedom to approach them in a unique and creative way,” said Luke Miller, Principal Sales Engineer, UK. “I’m never short of people who are willing to help and share their knowledge whether it’s my colleagues or our leadership team, who are always willing to spend time to help me become the best version of myself both professionally and personally.” Daniel Raj, Sales Development Leader, Bangalore, appreciates the inclusion of different viewpoints to advance a common goal. “I’m part of a team where leaders from Australia, Singapore, Japan, and India come together on one platform. We are different in many ways but we all get the opportunity to speak and be heard, and we always think about how the broader team and our customers can win.” The ability to be yourself at work unlocks so much potential. “Our culture allows everyone to be authentic and share in each other's successes. Every day we all strive to not only accomplish our team goals but personal ones as well,” said Kristin With, Renewals Manager for the Americas, Texas. Flexibility and autonomy are also top priorities. “As a working mom of two, flexibility is extremely important to me. Our leadership works hard to remove roadblocks and improve processes. I've never worked at a place where I felt this much support on a professional and personal level.” “I appreciate the autonomy I have to manage my own schedule, and the hybrid work model that allows me to collaborate with colleagues in different locations and time zones while also spending time in the office to connect with people in person,” said Rohit Mehrotra, Sales Development Representative, Bangalore. “I also feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the impact that I can make on the company’s vision and mission, which makes me proud.” Lastly, giving back to our communities matters to our Millennial employees. “Zscaler’s culture gives us the autonomy to choose how we want to creatively contribute towards the well-being of our communities, nature and its limited resources. Volunteering and other meaningful engagements help to foster a sense of purpose, and meeting colleagues who share these interests is very rewarding,” said Swati Garg, Manager, International Payroll, Mohali. Undoubtedly, it’s our culture that makes Zscaler a great place to work. But don’t just take our word for it… explore our open roles and come see for yourself why Zscaler is one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Millennials! Tue, 18 Jul 2023 04:30:01 -0700 Shungven Han https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/proud-be-one-best-workplaces-millennials What Makes Zscaler One of Fortune’s Best Workplaces in the Bay Area https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/what-makes-zscaler-one-fortune-s-best-workplaces-bay-area Today marks an incredible milestone: Zscaler was named one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces in the Bay Area. Although we are global, our headquarters is in San Jose, so receiving this vote of confidence from our employees in an industry and region that’s super competitive is truly outstanding. Congratulations to the entire Zscaler team! As I reflect on my first year as Chief People Officer at Zscaler, what stands out to me is the strength and authenticity of our culture. Like any company going through hypergrowth, our culture has been tested and we’ve had to adapt and evolve to make sure what’s made us successful in the past continues to serve us in the future. I am proud to say that our values of Teamwork, Open Communication, Passion, Innovation, and Customer Obsession are as relevant and meaningful today as when they were first introduced. I see it in how everyone is always willing to collaborate and help; how we encourage people to speak up, share their ideas, and listen; how we mobilize to achieve ambitious goals; how we’re always focused on where the industry is going next; and how we put all of this to work in service of our customers, partners, employees, and our communities. Above all, what excited me on day 1 and keeps me excited today can be summed up in one word: opportunity. Being a great place to work is all about creating opportunities for individuals to learn and thrive, and for the company to serve our valued customers, lead the industry forward and deliver on our vision of a world in which the exchange of information is always seamless and secure. If this appeals to you, I encourage you to explore our open roles and come join us at Zscaler, one of the Bay Area’s Best Workplaces! Mon, 12 Jun 2023 10:40:20 -0700 Brendan Castle https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/what-makes-zscaler-one-fortune-s-best-workplaces-bay-area The Hummaid Orphanage in Burkina Faso is Ready for Kids - Thanks to Zscaler Employee Donations https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/hummaid-orphanage-burkina-faso-ready-kids-thanks-zscaler-employee-donations On February 26, it was finally showtime: Opening day for the orphanage in Burkina Faso, Africa. Our small team of eight traveled to the facility 30km outside of Ouagadougou and reflected on our journey to this point over the past three years. In 2020, we set ourselves the task of building an orphanage for 120 children in one of the poorest countries in Africa. We worked tirelessly in our spare time to secure financing and construction. As members of the non-profit organization Hummaid, this day was a dream come true for us. We were able to lay the foundation for the financing of the project through a crowdfunding campaign in which Zscaler employees worldwide also participated. As part of a 200-hour donation marathon, around 80,000 euros were raised on the crowdfunding platform in 2020, an amount that was doubled by the company. This brought us a big leap closer to the originally planned budget of 200,000 euros for building the orphanage. The missing amount could be raised via the Hummaid network, so that in February 2021 the property for the building could finally be acquired. Flexibility as a builder Once the foundation stone was laid, the pandemic broke out, shaking the time and budget of our project plan and requiring some flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. Entry and exit to Burkina Faso was also difficult at that time. In addition, raw material prices had exploded worldwide, which also had an impact on our construction. Many building materials intended for the construction of the orphanage had to be imported. For example, the roof of the orphanage was originally planned as a wooden structure. Due to a lack of sufficiently thick tree trunks on-site, metal, steel, and sheet metal were finally used as alternatives. In addition to COVID-19 and rising commodity prices, two military coups and numerous terrorist attacks in the immediate vicinity of the capital of Burkina Faso caused further delays. After all the challenges mastered around the construction, Hummaid was all the happier to have received the operating permit for the orphanage just in time for the inauguration. To meet the growing costs, the network and the Zscaler staff were once again called upon. For 17 rooms of the orphanage, we found sponsors among the employees, who took over the financing of the interior design – from the dining hall, school room, and kitchen to bedrooms for the children. Creativity was required, as each sponsor was finally allowed to give their room a name. The endurance test at the inauguration With great participation of the population, the finished building was finally presented to the public. At the end of February, a delegation from Hummaid and Zscaler welcomed not only the mayor and representative of the German consulate for the inauguration ceremony, but also the children and families from the surrounding area. In addition to the invited guests, the children came to test the playing equipment in the courtyard all by themselves. In the course of the festivity, more than 600 guests were able to get an impression of the premises and equipment and thus the future operation of the facility. However, until children can actually move into the orphanage, further hurdles must be overcome. For the operation of the facility, it is first and foremost necessary to find a director that fills the project with life on-site. Influenced by the impression of inauguration day, a member from the Hummaid team has agreed to advance the operating concept with the local authorities on-site over the next three months. It is necessary to fill the position of the directorate, which will then be responsible for the search of personnel in order to build up the day-to-day and school operations. Accordingly, the directorate will cooperate with institutions in the vicinity, such as hospitals and schools, and decide together with the authorities which children will be admitted to the orphanage. One consideration is to also take in widows with their children, who will not only live there, but are also offered a workplace through childcare. Based on the concept children from the age of four can be admitted and cared for in the foreseeable future. Sponsorships for running costs The running costs for the orphanage operation with 120 children are estimated at 100,000 euros annually. It is planned to cover these expenses through partnerships for the children. For this reason, Hummaid has already purchased software with which future godparents and godchildren can be networked. Interested parties can preregister under the following email address to receive further information, when partnership program goes live. By building the orphanage, the Hummaid team has proven how dreams can be turned into reality. The shining eyes of the children, who were already guests at the inauguration of the building, prove the organizers right. They have confirmed once again how helping others makes each of us a different person. Sun, 23 Apr 2023 05:28:48 -0700 Kadir Erol https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/hummaid-orphanage-burkina-faso-ready-kids-thanks-zscaler-employee-donations Priyanka's Story https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/priyanka-s-story Priyanka BC, an employee based in India, “boomeranged” back to Zscaler in October 2021 after a two-year hiatus, having worked in the company for six years from 2013 to 2019. This is the story of her resilience and courage in overcoming a setback to grow and succeed at Zscaler. I started my professional journey with Zscaler after having been hired through the University Program upon my graduation. This is one of the many reasons why Zscaler holds a special place in my heart. I was hired from a pool of 300 students and was trained and mentored by an amazing team. Through an efficient training program that equipped me with all the necessary resources to be successful, I was able to learn quickly and soon became a Critical Response Engineer. However, when I encountered adversity in my personal life, I developed an even greater appreciation for how incredible Zscaler is. As a young college graduate entering the corporate world, I was optimistic despite the challenge of adjusting and building a new skill set. I knew I was taking the first step up the career ladder that would determine a great deal of my future. When I started with the Technical Account Management team, there were only six of us managing accounts in the APJ team. After a year in this role, I learned to engage and bond with customers and my confidence, along with my relationships with the team, grew. Then in 2019, I found myself at a crossroads where a crisis in my personal life was affecting my professional life. It was an extremely hard time for me but my manager and team extended full support. I asked to take an unpaid leave and I was offered one due to goodwill and strong performance. But my situation at home didn’t improve so I had to call it quits in December 2019 after having worked at Zscaler for six years. One year later I was blessed with a baby girl. With motherhood as my main focus, everything else took a back seat. However, the one thing I missed during this time was working. I had always known myself as a professional woman and sitting at home was not how I envisioned my life. That's when I took a stand for myself and made a choice to return to work despite personal challenges. I knew in my heart that if I was going to return to work, it had to be at Zscaler. When people ask me why I chose Zscaler, one thing I was sure of was the support I received to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This was still true when I rejoined Zscaler in October 2021, returning to the same team without any second thoughts after a two-year-long break. It was one of the best decisions of my life. By then, the Technical Account Management team was ten times the size it was when I joined, and a number of new products were introduced. Additionally, the Knowledge Transfer program had also become more efficient and sophisticated. A lot of online resources were made available with a dedicated enablement team and a robust Buddy Program to mentor me through the work culture. This helped me fill the gaps and learn the new products swiftly. And just like before, my team stood by me as pillars. They were understanding and flexible as I ramped up while also parenting a toddler. When I came back, I was assigned to an important client account with a complicated architecture and a huge user base. I saw this as an opportunity to polish my skills and prove my mettle. I proactively made efforts to engage and understand the customer’s needs. The outcome was that the number of escalations came down and I was seen as a trusted advisor. My team put their faith in me and let me take the lead. Their support was key to my success. I am happy to report that I performed well and was recognized by the Global Customer Services team with the prestigious Customer Obsession Award in Q2 of 2022. I believe my journey at Zscaler is an example of turning adversity into opportunity. When you set your mind on something and are supported by a caring team, there is nothing that can stop you. My experience is living proof that Zscaler offers an incredible work culture and great leadership team, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this organization. Fri, 14 Apr 2023 08:00:01 -0700 Priyanka BC https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/priyanka-s-story Leading & Learning: How to Head a Corporate ERG https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/leading-learning-how-head-corporate-erg “Learn continually—there’s always “one more thing” to learn!” - Steve Jobs A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. My journey began in India, where I was born and raised in a middle-class family. Even though the resources were scarce, I was fortunate that my parents prioritized my education and learning — and played a pivotal role in building a solid foundation for my career and future. Looking back, I am grateful for all the learning opportunities that came my way and the ones I chose to follow. One of the most special and enriching experiences that I’ve had is leading WIZE (Women in Zscaler Engage). WIZE is one of the many employee resource groups (ERGs) within Zscaler. It aims to empower women—within the company and beyond—and provide the right tools, access, and community that they need to advance professionally. I joined WIZE in 2018, and at that time, it was merely an idea that was ready to become a reality. Our leadership has always been united in its efforts to break down barriers for women to thrive and move into leadership roles. WIZE stemmed from that vision and it warms my heart to see that the WIZE community has grown to more than 1,100 members globally, and counting. This Women's History Month, I've reflected on how joining WIZE, and now leading it, has been one of the best decisions that I have made. Not only have I evolved as a leader, but I have learned the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives firsthand—and what a journey it has been! If you’re looking for a way to learn and gain skills that you are not able to develop in your day-to-day role, joining an ERG is a great way to accomplish this. Being part of an ERG leadership team provides you exposure to senior leadership and networking (both internally and externally), and allows you to challenge yourself in a myriad of ways that will accelerate the trajectory of your career if you’re willing to put in the effort. Here are the top 7 things I learned from leading WIZE 1. Diversity and inclusion are key to success. An ERG can be an effective way to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as it brings together employees from different backgrounds and experiences. By fostering a culture of respect and understanding, an ERG can help create a more inclusive and welcoming work environment for all employees that encourages everyone to show up as their true selves, and do their best work, every day. At Zscaler, we have several ERGs and many support groups, which play a huge role in shaping the culture we are so proud of. 2. Employee engagement is imperative. An ERG can help engage employees and foster a sense of belonging within the organization. By providing a platform for employees to share their ideas and perspectives, an ERG can help foster a sense of ownership and drive within the group. We have more than 1,100 employees in our WIZE community and the support we see is unparalleled. 3. Leadership support is essential. The success of an ERG depends on leadership buy-in and support. Without this, it can be difficult for an ERG to make an impact and drive change within the organization. WIZE is fortunate to have an amazing Executive Sponsor, Kavitha Mariappan, who has been our guiding light and champion. 4. Communication is key. Effective communication is essential for an ERG to be successful. This includes both internal communication within the group and external communication with the rest of the organization. By keeping all stakeholders informed and involved, an ERG can more effectively drive change and achieve its goals. 5. Collaboration is crucial. An ERG can be an effective way to bring together employees from different departments and areas of expertise to work toward a common goal. By fostering collaboration, ERGs can help drive innovation and create a more cohesive and aligned team. 6. Hiring and supporting diverse employees benefits everyone. By focusing efforts on ERGs, you see higher retention, a broader attraction of top talent, stronger financial performance, and a high-performing culture that creates innovative products and better services for our customers. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just buzzwords; when DEI initiatives are integrated into an organization’s goals, the benefits are endless! 7. Fostering DEI initiatives is everyone’s responsibility. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that people from all backgrounds, experiences, lifestyles, and thinking feel welcome and protected, and, most importantly, feel confident about bringing their authentic selves to work. What makes Zscaler special? At Zscaler, we attract, engage, and develop talented people from a wealth of different backgrounds, experiences, and thinking. Our culture offers an inclusive environment where unique backgrounds, experiences, and thinking are valued as part of creating a high-performing, innovative, and customer-obsessed, team. If you choose to lead or join an ERG and put in the hours, the benefits and learnings are endless. Overall, an ERG can be a valuable tool for promoting diversity and inclusion, engaging employees, and driving positive change within an organization. By leveraging these lessons learned, organizations can create more effective and successful ERGs that benefit both the employees and the organization as a whole. There is so much research that shows that we need diverse teams to do our best work. So it's important that we play our part in building an inclusive workplace! That’s the only way we're going to serve our community and our customers the best. Thu, 23 Mar 2023 11:38:20 -0700 Suruchi Sharma https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/leading-learning-how-head-corporate-erg Reflecting on Gender Equity as a Woman in Technology https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/reflecting-gender-equity-woman-technology International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month commemorate the progress women have made toward equality and raising awareness of the need for continued progress. We’ve achieved some fantastic milestones this past year and a lot to celebrate. Dina Boluarte was elected the first woman president of Peru, Ada Limón was named the first Latina Poet Laureate, and Janet Yellen is the first female Secretary of Treasury to have her signature on the U.S. dollar bill, just to name some highlights. These events served as much-needed examples of representation, helping other women and girls see themselves in leadership positions. I also like to take this time each year to reflect on my own experience as a woman in technology. I’ve had incredible opportunities to advance my career and learn from outstanding peers, but it was never easy. Some challenges are unavoidable, but others we must tackle head-on for those who will come after us. As a mother, I work daily to ensure that my three daughters inherit a more equitable and just world than we live in today. Examining where society falls short is critical to continued growth and progress. We must call out gaps in gender parity and opportunities for improvement wherever they exist. In 2022, I joined my Zscaler colleagues in calls to #BreakTheBias. In 2023, we ask the world to truly #EmbraceEquity. Equity takes us a step further than equality The International Women’s Day (IWD) community has chosen the theme of equity as a focus this year. The distinction is critical to understanding how to correct the current disparity. “Equality is based on the belief that all people should have the same opportunities for a happy life,” it says. Equity is more holistic in that it “acknowledges that people don't begin life in the same place, and that circumstances can make it more difficult for people to achieve the same goals,” notes the IWD. I firmly believe our differences should be recognized and respected for a more fair-minded society. Equity does just that. It “recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome,” as defined by the IWD. Women technologists take the lead My journey as a female technologist has been full of ups and downs. For the past five years, I’ve been fortunate to help lead a trailblazing tech organization, which puts me in a privileged position to reflect on the IWD theme related to my field. Women’s advancements in our sector are trending in the right direction. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Report, the technology industry has tremendously increased the share of women hired into leadership roles since 2016. This means more and more women are not only identifying as technologists, but are also rising to the highest leadership positions. As Zscaler’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader, I’ve focused on expanding our organization's diversity of thought, background, and experience. As an executive team, we are proud to note that in 2022 we increased the number of women new hires by 10% more than for men, and the overall number of women engineers by 68%. This is a momentous achievement for Zscaler and women in technology overall. True equity demands greater consideration Finding work-life synergy in technology can be challenging, especially for roles requiring heavy travel or non-standard hours. On top of their professional responsibilities, women are often the primary caregivers and running households. This can be an enormous burden on top of professional responsibilities. The added stress must be recognized, and it gives me great hope that over the past few years, many organizations have begun offering flexible ways of working to help manage day-to-day obligations. Organizations must recognize that all employees have unique needs as individuals and support them in ways that help create a more equal playing field. Technology has an important role to play Gender equity will remain a struggle for years to come, but it cannot be achieved without continual efforts by leaders and individuals worldwide. The more gender diversity across our organizations, the greater the range of thought, experiences, ideas, and outputs. With diversity as a priority, execution, transformation, and innovation thrive. Our sector is famous for disruption. It has changed our daily lives – at home and work – repeatedly. I challenge every leader to be the next disruptor by building a more equitable workplace in 2023. If we accelerate gender equity, we change the world for the better. Hanna Hennig, chief information officer of Siemens AG, is a shining example of a leader aiming at the root of the problem. “According to UNESCO, women and girls are 25 percent less likely than men to know how to use digital technologies for basic purposes,” she points out. “Enabling women to gain extensive access to technology is a matter of equal rights. We’ve already had very positive experiences with our coding camps in Germany and other countries. I’m very enthusiastic about the plans for joining forces with UN Women to enable young women in Africa to acquire such vital knowledge. This partnership has the potential to develop transformative impact.” Recommendations for leaders on advancing women in technology The time for equity is now, and it’s everyone’s responsibility – from board members to first-line managers to entry-level hires. No matter your role, you can help make a positive difference on the road toward gender parity. The challenge has been issued, now it’s your turn to take it. Here are six ways everyone can advance higher standards for diversity and inclusion: Serve as a mentor to women in technology – in your organization or externally Work with organizations that advance the number of young women interested in engineering and computing Create an organizational initiative to advance the recruitment of women into technology roles Identify women in your organization deserving of additional training and career advancement opportunities and provide that assistance Create an environment that is supportive and reflective of the diversity, equity, and inclusion mission of your organization Encourage your organization to review pay by gender to ensure fair and equal treatment for all IWD truly belongs to everyone, everywhere. That means equity and inclusion are everyone’s responsibility. I’ll leave you with a final thought from Nicole Darden Ford, vice president, global information security, and chief information security officer at Rockwell Automation. She is a friend and CXO REvolutionary who hits the bullseye: “I think it's really…self-love. When you love yourself, you build confidence. When you fail, you learn to try, and try again. This is so fundamental to who we are. It helped me to believe that I could do anything I wanted in the world.” This article originally appeared on LinkedIn. What to read next The ascendency of inclusion: A conversation with Dr. Gena Cox Representation matters: How to attract, recruit, and retain cybersecurity women Challenging generations-old beliefs key to advancing women in technology Wed, 08 Mar 2023 08:05:01 -0800 Kavitha Mariappan https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/reflecting-gender-equity-woman-technology International Women's Day 2023: Shaping the Future of Women in Tech https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-and-embracing-equity-international-womens-day-2023 An organization’s success is forged by its people, and the more diverse a workforce, the better prepared a business is to tackle complex problems. From creative minds and skilled communicators to expert problem solvers and fearless leaders, every company needs a balance of talent to get ahead. At Zscaler, we recognize this and prioritize not only hiring diverse candidates but also ensuring that every employee has the tools they need to succeed. This Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re #EmbracingEquity, celebrating women in tech, and recognizing women’s achievements all around the world. Our well-established, women-led employee resource group, WIZE (Women in Zscaler Engage), has a full month of programming prepared to celebrate and elevate women’s voices while also acknowledging the work that still needs to be done. Kavitha Mariappan, EVP, Customer Experience & Transformation, is the WIZE executive sponsor. She reflected on the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day: equity. “According to the International Women’s Day definition, equity ‘recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to individuals, in order to reach an equal outcome,’” she said. “International Women’s Day serves as a powerful reminder that without equity, we cannot reach equality for women. Without equality, we cannot foster environments that are truly inclusive.” Suruchi Sharma, Sr. Director, Digital Marketing, leads the WIZE ERG and is optimistic about the future of women in tech. “As a woman at Zscaler and the leader of our WIZE ERG, I am passionate about advancing the equity of women worldwide,” she said. “I am excited to see how technology will shape the next decade for a more human-centered, secure world. I know women will have a pivotal role to play in making that happen.” Mariappan expanded on how Zscaler supports and elevates women while acknowledging the importance of both equity and equality. “At Zscaler, we are steadfast in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work,” she said. “We believe in the power of bringing opportunities for equal participation, catered down to the individual, to foster a workplace that is fair and inclusive for all.” “When everyone is able to fully contribute and reach their potential, businesses, including Zscaler, will thrive. In fostering a culture of equity, we can tap into the full talent and creativity of our diverse workforce, leading to increased innovation and stronger bottom-line results,” she continued. “Our talented women at Zscaler are proud to lead by example, embracing equity and dedicating themselves to advancing the efforts of women in technology.” We hope you join us in celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day 2023! To learn more about the amazing women of Zscaler, watch this video and explore the content below: Mentor, coach, sponsor: How women get into leading positions in the IT industry International Women's Day 2022: Break the Bias Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Diana Vikutan on Developing Zscaler and Honing Multitasking Skills During Quarantine Melissa Balentine on Professional Growth and the Evolution of Zscaler How Jey Govindan Empowers Future Generations of Women in Tech Wed, 08 Mar 2023 11:15:01 -0800 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-and-embracing-equity-international-womens-day-2023 Mentor, coach, sponsor: How women get into leading positions in the IT industry https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/mentor-coach-sponsor-how-women-get-leading-positions-it-industry In most industries, gender parity among employees is still far from equality. The Fortune Global 500 list, published in December 2022, shows that only 24 of the world's 500 largest brands (just 4.8%) are led by female CEOs. International Women's Day once again highlights the imbalance that prevails – especially in the IT industry, which continues to live up to its reputation of being a male domain. This applies above all to the gender distribution in management positions. But what needs to change in concrete terms so that more women want or can take on leading positions in IT environments? Under the heading "Mentor, coach, sponsor: How women get into leading positions in the IT industry", we will be hosting an interactive webinar to get to the bottom of this question. Kathrin Redlich, RVP Sales CEUR at Zscaler, will be joined by her mentor, coach and sponsor Florian Bäuml, VP EMEA South at Zscaler. Without wanting to set the two sexes up in opposition to each other, the panelists agree on one thing in advance: it is not possible for women to climb the IT career ladder in the same way as their male colleagues. With this in mind, they urge any men acting as people managers to consciously face up to their responsibility and make an effort to open doors for female talent so that this imbalance changes. Drawing on their personal experiences, the panel will share which stereotypical role models they’ve come across on their career path to date and, above all, what support they have received. They will also debate the comparative value of the various in-house support schemes. What difference does having a mentor, coach or sponsor actually make when it comes to women becoming more involved in leading positions? And why does networking among women rarely help to achieve the desired breakthrough? Here, the speaker panel will try to better define the different types of support available and ultimately put forward the thesis that the most targeted way for women to get ahead is with the help of a sponsor. This role typically not only guides through advice, but also takes a much more active role in accompanying, challenging and validating women on their way to leadership positions. The fact that validation plays an important role is again due to traditional role models – in that men are usually much more confident from the outset in their right to climb the career ladder at speed, while women are less daring. Male colleagues continue to approach their progress much more actively and with more belief in their abilities than the majority of women i.e. when it comes to responding to job advertisements. The main thesis, therefore, is that it should be the responsibility of (male) management to look closely and encourage women within theirs team to pursue their careers more actively. Since women are less likely to take the decisive steps on their own, their progression instead depends on the alliances they forge within the company. Last but not least, the panel will address the lack of women in IT sales in particular. Since there are virtually no courses in the field of sales management – at least in Central Europe – our speakers will explore how women can become more strongly included in this competitive male world. Sales is still viewed through the cliché-laden negative image where deals are made at the bar or on the golf course. In fact, it is about much more than this and at Zscaler in particular we see this area of business in a more structured way. To truly succeed in sales, the focus needs to be on understanding business-relevant challenges for customers and jointly developing a solution – teaming up with all those involved in the transformation process. Often, different stakeholders of a company have to be brought together, diverse interests and priorities have to be coordinated and orchestrated. Creativity plays a much greater role in such an approach than many outsiders assume. This gives women today a great opportunity to prove themselves in cloud-based IT sales alongside their male counterparts, but if they only want to. What is missing is a strong snowball effect that is triggered by the women who have already entered the male domain – through the support of a mentor, coach or sponsor. Because female managers have a magnetic effect that encourages other women to have more confidence. And as soon as this happens, the parity ratio can also come into balance. Want to know more about how Zscaler supports women in leadership roles? Listen to the recording of the Webinar. Wed, 01 Mar 2023 07:47:21 -0800 Kathrin Redlich https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/mentor-coach-sponsor-how-women-get-leading-positions-it-industry Zscaler Is Proud to Be a 2023 Great Place to Work! https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-proud-be-2023-great-place-work I’m proud to share that Zscaler has been certified as a 2023 Great Place to Work in seven countries: US, UK, India, Singapore, Japan, France, and Germany! Great Place to Work is the global authority on workplace culture and employee experience, and this prestigious award is based entirely on what Zscaler employees say about their experience working here, with more than 90% of employees reporting that it’s a great place to work. When I joined Zscaler as Chief People Officer in May 2022, the company’s mission, strong track record of growth, and vibrant culture convinced me this was where I wanted to spend the next phase of my career–and I haven’t looked back since. Although Zscaler has more than doubled in size since the start of the pandemic, what’s remained remarkably consistent since the company was founded 15 years ago is our culture, built on simple, yet enduring values: teamwork, open communication, passion, innovation, and customer obsession. To me, the true test of a company is whether the values are more than just words on a page–they have to be genuinely felt and embodied. At Zscaler, I can confidently say that our values show up every day in how we treat one another and how we do business. We move fast, but are also collaborative; we look up to inspiring leaders but also expect and encourage risk taking at every level. It’s important to remember that culture is always a work in progress—our work is never done as we continue to build and scale an employee experience that is supportive, welcoming, inclusive, and empowering. Congratulations to everyone who helps to make Zscaler a Great Place to Work, and if you’re curious to learn more about how you can be a part of something special, we are hiring! Check out our Careers page and follow us on LinkedIn. Thu, 02 Feb 2023 07:30:01 -0800 Brendan Castle https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-proud-be-2023-great-place-work Breaking Barriers and Reflecting on Representation at AfroTech 2022 https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/breaking-barriers-and-reflecting-representation-afrotech-2022 Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are all values we highlight and honor at Zscaler, but it’s no secret that there is still progress to be made. The annual AfroTech Conference – the largest Black tech conference of the year – is helping to break down barriers and amplify the business value of a more representative workforce. AfroTech brings together tech professionals from all different backgrounds to network, experience powerful keynotes and demonstrations, explore the future of technology, and encourage the next generation of Black tech geniuses to innovate. This year, I had the opportunity to attend my first AfroTech Conference – hosted in Austin, Texas – with four of my Zscaler colleagues. I went in expecting a typical conference, but what I got out of it was so much more. Speakers from prominent Fortune 500 companies talked about how they were incorporating diversity – and specifically, blackness – in their product messaging, while others used their platform to share and educate us on emerging technologies (crypto, Web3, NFTs, blockchain, etc.) to help ensure that those attending are familiar with the latest trends. As this was also Zscaler’s first time having a presence at AfroTech, I asked for feedback from my colleagues on what it meant to them. Bryan Wooden, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), has been to five AfroTech conferences prior to Zscaler and remembers when it hosted only 5,000 attendees seven years ago, compared to 26,000 this year. “It was beautiful to see how much it has grown. After two years fully virtual due to COVID, people were excited to be back in person,” he said. “Everything was bigger and better - the quality of guest speakers, more topics and sessions around technology and entrepreneurship, way more new connections to make, and the ability to network with other Black folks in the tech space.” Will Medley, Sales Development Representative, Americas agreed that AfroTech was an inspiring event. “I was excited to see Black excellence in the tech space, and not only did AfroTech meet my expectations, it exceeded them greatly. For me, it was bigger than a conference – it was an experience.” One of the best outcomes of attending AfroTech was the ability to connect with Black and diverse talent. Precious Rucker, Sr. Recruiter for G&A Specialty, People & Culture, said, “As a recruiter, I was looking to network and identify pipeline candidates for future roles at Zscaler,” she said. “I’ve seen the caliber of prospects this conference attracts, so I already knew the best of the best would be there. There were folks looking for both technical and non-technical roles, so this was a great opportunity to engage talent.” “The impact of Zscaler attending AfroTech – the largest collection of technologists and entrepreneurs across the African Diaspora in America – is the ability to "show up" in this space and market ourselves directly to the Black tech community in person,” Wooden said. “To tell our story – who we are, what we do, and why you should consider working for us or with us – is a great opportunity for Zscaler to communicate to the Black tech community that ‘you belong here,’ and ‘we want you here.’” "We know that minorities have been historically underrepresented in the tech space,” Medley said. “But while at AfroTech, I was surrounded by the best and brightest coming from backgrounds that enrich companies. Next year, I look forward to participating again, recruiting more diverse talent to Zscaler, and fellowshipping with all those who attend.” In closing, what made AfroTech so impactful for me was feeling the power of community and strength in numbers. For just a few days, we were not the “only” Black person in the room. We were surrounded by people who look like US in technology. It felt like a real-life Wakanda homecoming moment – we know we’re out there and we are all connected virtually, but physically coming together and seeing the numbers in one place was akin to seeing the movie The Black Panther for the first time – I felt seen, I felt proud, and I felt like I belong. Visit the AfroTech Conference page to learn more. Mon, 12 Dec 2022 10:19:56 -0800 Michelle Smith https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/breaking-barriers-and-reflecting-representation-afrotech-2022 Celebrating UK Black History Month: Action, Not Words https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-uk-black-history-month-action-not-words October marks the start of Black History Month in the United Kingdom - a tradition inspired by its US counterpart, but one that celebrates the uniqueness of the Black British experience. This year, the theme chosen by the official Black History Month UK magazine, ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’, is especially poignant. The African and Caribbean diaspora has, without a doubt, enriched the very fabric of Britain, both economically and culturally. From food to music, to language to literature, Black Brits have been and continue to be trailblazers and changemakers across a range of industries. In fact, in the music video for his latest single ‘Mel Made Me Do It’, rapper Stormzy made a point of highlighting this Black British excellence, with cameos from the likes of author Malorie Blackman (our first Black Children’s Laureate), footballing legend Ian Wright, singer Gabrielle, DJ Trevor Nelson and founder of Soul II Soul Jazzie B to name a few. But the remarkable achievements of the Black British community have not come without significant systemic challenges, many of which still exist today. Black people in the UK continue to battle institutional racism - in the workplace, in education, in healthcare, in criminal ‘justice’. Against a backdrop of: underrepresentation in (and, historically, active exclusion from) key industries, macro and microaggressions about our names, our cultures, our hair; being sent to schools for the educationally ‘subnormal’; a five-times higher maternal mortality rate for Black women; and ongoing racial profiling and discriminatory stop and search, it is undeniable that the Black community’s achievements are despite the society we live in, not because of it. Therefore, whilst Black History Month is predominantly a time for celebration, it is also a time for societal reflection and introspection: what concrete steps can we take - individually and collectively - to chip away at these challenges, these barriers? A good starting point would be a conscious effort to amplify and support Black history, Black voices, and Black-led initiatives aimed at creating opportunities for Black people. EMEA Black @ Z seeks to play its part via education, leading professional community engagement to increase representation in tech, and creating a safe space for its Black employees to thrive. This Black History Month we will be doing just that with a range of events, including a discussion on the Windrush Generation and the ongoing Windrush Scandal and co-hosting a session on how to be a better ally in the workplace as part of Zscaler’s ‘Onwards and Upwards’ professional development series. So, as we dance to the rhythms this month, let us also learn from the blues. Let us use our movements and our words as a driving force for action, because it truly is a time for change. Fri, 14 Oct 2022 09:54:31 -0700 Sara-Louise Burke https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-uk-black-history-month-action-not-words Meet our 2022 EMEA Summer Interns https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/meet-our-2022-emea-summer-interns Earlier this year, the EMEA Sales Development team kick-started its first-ever summer internship programme, welcoming 4 Sales Development Interns—Aziz, Anais, Arthur, & Blake—from across the region. Being fully immersed into the role of Sales Development Representatives (SDR), our interns got hands-on experience supporting existing SDR and Sales teams and seeing first-hand how their work helped drive pipelines and growth for the region. They also had the opportunity to witness the power of working with market-leading talent, gaining valuable skills that will continue with them throughout their careers, and seeing for themselves why Zscaler is a place where individuals can make an impact. We asked each of the interns to share a few snippets of their time with us… ______________ Meet Aziz, who joined our team in Central Europe and is based in Krefeld, Germany. He completed his master's degree before the internship, where he studied Sales Engineering and Product Management at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Why did you apply for the summer internship, and what attracted you to Zscaler? I was keen to take my first steps into the Sales arena, within a continuously innovating and transforming industry. I did some research to discover more about Zscaler as a company, their industry placement, products, and culture, along with reading up about the opportunity in advance, through the job description, and by visiting current team members' LinkedIn profiles. Zscaler’s market position and products excited me, and I felt this internship would give me an excellent opportunity to develop myself professionally and personally. I was keen to learn how to communicate complex solutions to potential customers and how to drive digital transformation in Germany. I felt I could bring together the theoretical knowledge from my studies, my existing experience, and my passion for developing into an exceptional salesperson. What has a typical day looked like for you? To begin with, we received excellent preparation for the role of an SDR during onboarding. It was easy to arrange 1:1 calls with colleagues from other regions, whether from the UK or France, to get to know many colleagues, and get tips and advice on multiple topics. After two weeks, you could slowly immerse yourself in the everyday life of an SDR. This usually starts with looking at all the to-do's in the early morning and then working on emails. If no meetings are scheduled in the morning, you also begin cold calling prospects and looking for new contacts for colleagues in different companies. The main goal of my role is to set up an introductory meeting with prospects to look at how Zscaler can best secure their users' work-from-anywhere and protect the company from ransomware attacks. What three words make you think of Zscaler? Innovative Directive Social ______________ Anais is based in The Netherlands and is currently taking a gap year to work on their professional career and gain some work experience. How has your internship at Zscaler helped you to learn and grow? Zscaler has shown me that Sales is something that everyone can learn but not everyone can master. My personality type is INFP, this means I am an ‘introverted feeling with extraverted intuition’. Sales professionals tend to be slightly more extroverted, so I was slightly hesitant as to how this dynamic would work. This job and the people here have shown me that even though we are different, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Everyone has useful strengths and weaknesses. Realising that allowed me to grow and to accept that part of myself, and I am grateful for that. I still have a lot to learn, but the skills I have been taught so far will help me both personally and professionally as I continue to learn and grow. What are your future plans? ‘The future isn't set in stone’, right now I am enjoying my gap year, working hard, having fun, and trying to secure my first property, in what is a very competitive market. This internship is the start of something new and I plan to make the most out of it. I don’t know yet where the wind will take me, but for the first time in my life I feel confident enough to say that I am excited for whatever will come my way. After my gap year, I plan to go to university to pursue my education and find a job that I love. Maybe I’ll even come back to Zscaler, if they’ll let me… What three words make you think of Zscaler? Determination Passion Energetic ______________ Arthur joins us in our Southern EMEA region, based in France. He is a senior student at Kedge Business School (Bordeaux) where he is studying Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. This experience in Zscaler is actually his end-of-study internship, concluding his journey as a student. What has been your greatest achievement and what impact did it make? As I have only been here for two months, I can’t say I’ve made an achievement that was game-changing, but I have made great progress during this short amount of time. I am feeling way more confident for the months to come as I know a lot more about Zscaler and Tech Sales in general. However, If I had to pick something I’ve done that improved the company business it would be the fact that I was able to support the SDR team on their tasks and even book meetings for them, thus improving our results. How would you describe the culture of Zscaler? From my short experience in the work/company environment, Zscaler culture fits me so well and is one of the best I’ve experienced. There is so much to say about it but If I had to choose two things that stood out to me it would be: The team: everyone is friendly and always open to help you during your onboarding—people are fascinating and they are the best in what they do. For me, that’s the most important thing as it is the foundation of success for a company. The environment: Zscaler is so dynamic and growing fast as a lot is happening in the company. Everyone is going the extra mile because they love what they do and Zscaler is helping us unlock our potential in a lot of ways. For example, SKO FY23 which took place during September in Prague was a once in a lifetime experience and I will always remember how proud and motivated I was during this week - and I still am of course. What 3 words make you think of Zscaler? Cloud Future Improvement ______________ Blake joined our Summer Internship Programme based out of London. He is a first year undergraduate of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, graduating in 2024. How was your experience at our annual Sales Kick Off, who inspired you, and what was your biggest takeaway from the event? As an intern, it was a real privilege to attend Zscaler’s annual SKO, and my experience was phenomenal. It provided invaluable opportunities to meet, and learn from, some of Zscaler’s top performers and executives. I drew great inspiration from our COO Dali Rajic, and my mentor Alex Stenzel. Dali’s mainstage session was a great kick-off to the week, focusing on the event’s theme; unlocking our highest potential. Through his personal narrative, Dali demonstrated the immense value of implementing happiness and gratitude as a necessary precursor to success, and not the other way around. This is an insight I hope to carry into all aspects of my life. My SKO experience peaked during our awards dinner, at the beautiful Zofin Palace. To see the recognition and celebration that Zscaler gives its top performers was a huge motivation for me, and exemplifies the incredible team spirit that I have experienced and that Zscaler has cultivated. Of those top performers, it was a real honour to see my mentor, Alex Stenzel, receive the ‘Top SDR in EMEA’ award and be included in the Presidents Club. To work so closely with industry leading talent has been an unbelievable opportunity. As such, my biggest takeaway from SKO is that, if i continue to leverage the right internal perspective and dedication, in conjunction with Zscaler’s outstanding support ecosystem, I am provided with the perfect opportunity to unlock my highest potential. What piece of advice would you give someone who is considering a summer internship? Go. For. It. As a university student, a challenging and competitive internship programme like Zscaler’s is the ideal platform to expand both your soft and hard skill sets. Especially the SDR role specifically, which develops many foundational skills that are integral to any sales role, whilst also emphasising industry and position-specific knowledge. Furthermore, it's no secret that employers are looking for evidence of a proactive and coachable mindset. Investing time in a summer internship demonstrates that you are a highly motivated self-starter, especially as a first or second year undergraduate. If a summer internship like Zscaler’s is of interest to you, I would recommend one principle to enable your execution; research. More specifically, top-down research. Beginning with the industry, the company, the role, the responsibilities, and finally the desirable skills or characteristics. What 3 words make you think of Zscaler? Development Enablement Creative-destruction To learn more about our internship program visit our university and recruitment program page. Thu, 13 Oct 2022 12:01:27 -0700 Victoria Palmer https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/meet-our-2022-emea-summer-interns Celebrating National Coming Out Day and LGBT History Month With Pride@Z https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-national-coming-out-day-and-lgbt-history-month-pride-z At Zscaler, we make our people a top priority. We know that each individual brings a unique life experience and skill set to the workforce, and a more diverse workforce undoubtedly contributes to better company culture. We also know that people do their best work when they are comfortable being themselves in their work environment and beyond. To celebrate and honor National Coming Out Day and LGBT History Month 2022, we spoke with three members of our Pride@Z employee resource group (ERG) about their coming out experience and how being out at work has affected their lives. “My coming out story is a little dramatic, as I came out to my family just one week before my arranged marriage back in India,” said Arunkumar Senthilnathan, Manager, Engineering, QA. “Though I had agreed to the marriage for my parents’ sake, I knew it was not the right thing to do as I would be ruining two lives if I went ahead with it.” Senthilnathan said that though it was difficult at the time, staying true to himself was imperative. “Coming out to my family was the best decision I made in my life,” he said. “I felt so liberated and light at heart. Once I came out to my family, it was pretty easy to come out to all my friends, colleagues, and everyone I knew in my life. The more I came out, the more my confidence got stronger.” For Callie Borgerding, Technical Account Manager, her journey has been both challenging and rewarding. “Coming out was extremely daunting and difficult for me,” she said. “I was scared of the reaction I would get when I let everyone know. That being said, I bit the bullet in September and posted on LinkedIn about being transgender. The overwhelming support I received was scary but made me relieved that I could actually be myself now and not be afraid. Being out was extremely liberating and made me feel free.” Brenden Reeves, Senior Manager, Cloud Operations, said growing up in Texas and seeing how people of the LGBTQ+ community were treated in their community made them apprehensive to come out at first. “My parents never suggested they felt one way or the other, but my Father made the usual gay jokes that were common in the 90s, which didn’t give me a whole lot of safe, warm-fuzzy feelings,” they said. “I mostly feared being disowned, as I had heard was common. Given all of this, I set up multiple fallback plans in case my parents disowned me after coming out.” But Reeves knew groups like PFLAG and local LGBT resource groups had options for people who were disowned and were established enough in their career to feel safe coming out. “When I finally came out, my Mother was SUPER supportive,” they said. And though it took some time, their Father accepted and embraced them for their true self. “In time, he has realized how little it matters that this is how I turned out, and loves and supports me for who I am. I couldn’t be happier with how my story has gone so far.” The Pride@Z ERG aims to provide a forum and safe space for Zscaler employees—both allies and those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community—and create a welcoming community within Zscaler that fosters open discussion while creating meaningful relationships through mentorship and networking. “I’m still relatively new to Zscaler, but the support here is evident,” Reeves said. “The Pride ERG is new in 2022 but is supported, and the group is great!” Senthilnathan said that his experience being out at work and involved in Pride@Z has been affirming. “So far, it has been really good at Zscaler!” he said. “I was very happy to see that there is a Pride ERG group at Zscaler already. I made sure to join the community on my first day. I can see that Zscaler has good LGBTQ+ friendly policies in place.” Borgerding said that though her coming out process has been a “rocky adventure,” and there is still progress to be made, she’s found community at Zscaler. “Zscaler has helped me embrace the real me by allowing a safe space in Pride@Z,” she said. “I hope that the company continues to grow in the space, as there is only up from here!” Tue, 11 Oct 2022 14:29:04 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-national-coming-out-day-and-lgbt-history-month-pride-z Zscaler Associates in India Return to Office https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-associates-india-return-office Zscaler reopened offices in India on May 2, 2022, across multiple locations including Bangalore, Pune, and Mohali. After almost two years of working from home, associates returned to the office with great enthusiasm and met with colleagues and friends who they’ve only got a chance to see virtually. To add to the excitement, the Talent Branding team organized various activities to welcome the associates with pomp and gaiety. Associates were welcomed back to the office on a staggered schedule to enable a hybrid work culture while taking utmost precaution, as the safety and well-being of our associates remain our top priority. This event also coincided with a visit from Jay Chaudhry, Founder & CEO of Zscaler. He addressed the associates and spoke about growth plans and his future vision for Zscaler in India. Here are the details of activities that took place: A photo booth was set up and associates took pictures with their friends and teammates, preserving the memory of this day Associates participated in paint wall in which they printed their painted hands, marking attendance of return to office. A spread of delicious snacks was arranged and enjoyed by the associates with full vigor. Jay took part in a small tree plantation drive to showcase our commitment to developing a sustainable future and contributing to local communities. This step kicked off a PAN India plantation drive to take place across four cities, to mark the 15th anniversary of Zscaler. It was exciting to see associates coming together and participating in the return to office festivities. One of the associates was quoted saying, “it is amazing to be finally able to meet your favorite colleagues in person. The pandemic changed how we led our lives, but coming back to office is rejuvenating.” With tons of happy faces and the much-missed bustles of cubicles, it was wonderful to welcome our employees back. Mon, 11 Jul 2022 14:00:01 -0700 Mehak Mehta https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-associates-india-return-office Celebrating Pride@Z https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-pride-z As Pride Month comes to a close, we want to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and our internal resource group (ERG) Pride@Z and take a look back on all the important (and fun!) moments we had throughout June. In tandem, we want to acknowledge the work that still needs to be done and how Zscaler is helping to ensure every employee feels safe and empowered to show up as their authentic selves every day. “This was our first Pride Month since the official founding of our Pride@Z ERG and we were able to accomplish so much: Virtual Drag Bingo, collaboration with B@Z on a poetry event, a steps challenge to get folks outside, new logo and official swag, a kickoff at our HQ, book club event, and more!” said Theresa Lucius, Pride@Z Lead and Sr. Manager, Customer Success Operations at Zscaler. “I’m honored to be a part of this ERG where we are empowering folks to just be themselves at work (and to have fun). As our membership continues to grow, we are looking forward to future programming and to learn more about what else we can be doing to make Zscaler a welcoming place to work for everyone. Great things to come!” Here is a quick recap of the events we held this month: Pride Month Celebration at San Jose HQ on June 2: We had a great time celebrating the first day of the Pride month at our San Jose, CA headquarters! We shared information about Pride @ Z, had participants spin the wheel for prizes, and took a couple of much-needed dance breaks. Virtual Drag Queen Bingo on June 2: We had an amazing turnout for our virtual drag queen bingo event! Our host nailed every dance routine, and some participants took away fabulous prizes. Pride@Z + B@Z Poetry Event with Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Tshaka Campbell on June 7: Tshaka Campbell joined us to recite original works and tell us about his journey as a poet. Zscaler employees shared powerful poetry that shed light on Pride Month and its meaning. Forming Community The importance of our Pride@Z ERG was felt throughout the month, as members of the community and allies banded together, supported each other, and shared personal stories of hardship, triumph, and strength. “This was the first year I publicly celebrated Pride month, and I am so glad that it aligned with my first year at Zscaler,” said Vanessa Stein, Business Operations Analyst at Zscaler. “I'm grateful to work for a company that promotes authenticity in the workplace. This was something lacking at each company I have worked for previously. I think Zscaler's environment and culture contributed to me feeling comfortable enough to share my story and make many new friends within the Pride ERG.” Pacer Pride Month Step Challenge: Our 23 participants walked more than 3,500,000 steps during June to celebrate Pride Month! The person with the most steps was able to donate to an LGBTQ+ charity of their choice. Beyond Pride Month While Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate, it’s also a time for reflection and action. After all, Pride Month was founded out of protest. “What most of our generation thinks of as Pride is crowds of smiling people, music, and celebration. During the SF Pride Parade, seeing same-sex couples embracing or holding hands is so common it hardly registers, but it is a far cry from the original marches, protests, and demonstrations that formed the foundation of Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ movement,” said Ambreen Lakhani, Sr. Mgr, WW Business Operations at Zscaler. “As sociopolitical tensions have risen in this country, I felt the call to demonstrate better allyship for underrepresented communities. For me, this means visibly expressing my support of marginalized groups and amplifying voices that are often shouted, or Tweeted, over,” Lakhani said. “Pride month provides me a great opportunity to grow in my role as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. At work, attending Pride@Z events as an ally makes me feel proud to work for a company that makes space for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.” “At the beginning of Pride month, I was focused on how our activities could make Pride@Z more visible so that closeted or questioning Zscaler employees knew that they didn't need to hide at work, and that they had a a support system in us,” said Adam Auerbach, Solution Architect at Zscaler. “Little could I have imagined all that has happened during the past month and that I would lean on that support myself.” “With recent changes at the governmental level, the future feels uncertain,” said Stein. “I appreciate working for a company that embraces our rights and our authenticity as individuals. I look forward to working together to make a difference.” At Zscaler, we value inclusivity and diversity every day and every month of the year, and we will continue to fight to ensure every employee feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. Thu, 30 Jun 2022 16:33:28 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-pride-z Celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Zscaler https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-asian-american-pacific-islander-heritage-month-zscaler Our people are the core of everything we do at Zscaler. Each individual brings passion, heart, and brilliance to work every day. Without diverse backgrounds, experiences, and input, our company would not be what it is today. As such, our employee resource groups (ERGs), including the Asian American and Pacific Islander @ Zscaler (AAPI@Z) ERG, enrich our cultural experience at Zscaler and build community, encourage mentorship, and elevate the powerful voices of everyone that makes Zscaler a great place to work. To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2022, we spoke with some of the founders and members of AAPI@Z to get their thoughts and reflections on the importance of representation and what the month—and their heritage—mean to them. “Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month makes me think about how AAPI is seen as only one group of people, a super-label that encompasses more than 50 wholly different ethnic groups, each with centuries of their own rich and complex history,” said Oanh McClure, Director of Alliances and Channel at Zscaler. “In reality, the moniker ‘AAPI’ represents what may be THE vastest collection of uniquely and contrastingly different cultures in the world, and yet, people may only see one singular image/face when they hear ‘AAPI.’” Valerie Ng, Talent Acquisition Enablement Program Manager at Zscaler said that the month presents an opportunity. “AAPI Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our historical and cultural upbringing and a chance to amplify Asian voices,” she said. “It's also a special time where we get to learn about the diversity within the AAPI community itself, we are made up of people who are so similar yet so different!” Shudong Zhou, Principal Engineer, Machine Learning at Zscaler, said AAPI Heritage Month reminds him of the past, but also sheds light on the future. “AAPI Heritage Month is a good time to reflect on my Chinese heritage and life experience in the U.S.,” he said. “Coming to the country and attending UT Austin in the mid-80's, I remember going to a supermarket and feeling like an animal in a zoo. While people were just being curious, I still felt uncomfortable. We have come a long way since then.” Ng said she celebrates her heritage year-round. “Growing up, my family was always big on Chinese holidays such as Lunar New Year, Ching Ming Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival,” she said. “As a child, I never really asked why we did certain things to celebrate, like wearing red apparel on Lunar New Year or eating mooncakes during the Mid Autumn Festival, I just did as I was told. As an adult now, I've become more interested in the meaning behind the rituals and offerings of these holidays and realized I have a lot to learn! I often talk to my siblings and peers about how I wished I was more in tune with my heritage growing up, because it is really up to our generation to keep these wonderful traditions going.” McClure echoed these sentiments, and believes that though having a month to highlight representation is important, celebrating culture happens every day. “In my family, we don't ‘celebrate’ AAPI month or our culture - we simply live it,” she said. “For example, you can hear it in how we speak - Vietnamese is an ‘honorific language’ meaning you address each person with their title as it relates to you—an act of respect toward your elders and each person you interact with. You can taste our culture in every meal, feasts of abundance and comfort—adaptations of traditional meals, reminiscent of both my childhood (as the lone Asian kid in the neighborhood) and my parents' childhood (in a far-away land that has changed so much after the war that it hardly exists as they remember it). Our heritage is in everything we do whether we consciously ‘celebrate it’ or not.” David Vu, Technical Account Manager at Zscaler, said the month provides an important reminder, while the APPI ERG provides a welcome community. “I celebrate my heritage throughout the year by upholding the values and traditions my family have taught me, and never forgetting what was sacrificed and endured to allow me to be where I am today,” he said. “The AAPI resource group is important because it supports and promotes Asian Pacific culture and diversity. It spreads cultural awareness through social, cultural, and educational events as well as giving back to the community.” Bosco Gong, Sales Engineer, Large Enterprises at Zscaler said the month also helps him to reflect on his past and his parents. “I would say I celebrate my heritage throughout the year,” he said. “But, I do participate more during the month, and since it is the month of Mother’s Day followed by Father’s Day in June, I appreciate the sacrifice of my parents even more. Hopefully, my own children will feel the same way later in life.” To learn more about Zscaler culture and ERGs, visit our blog and careers page. Wed, 18 May 2022 16:23:24 -0700 Chris Louie https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-asian-american-pacific-islander-heritage-month-zscaler My First Year as a Sales Engineer at Zscaler https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/my-first-year-sales-engineer-zscaler A sales engineer at Zscaler is, first and foremost, a contact partner to help future customers get their modernisation of security off the ground and provide transformative advice about network and application security. I met with two colleagues to hear about their first year at Zscaler and how they explain the benefits of the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange platform. What was your background before joining Zscaler? Simon: “At my previous employer I was jointly responsible for introducing the zero trust exchange across the company, so I was already familiar with the solution. On the customer side, I was able to include the intricacies of the product portfolio and had already learnt to appreciate the cloud-based approach. As I'd always wanted to work on the manufacturer's side, it was a comparatively small next step as I had a good idea what the role of sales engineer entailed.” Andreas: “Over the course of my career, I've spent 20 years getting to know the different aspects of security, network, and visibility requirements. In my previous job, the focus was on security appliances; the cloud was only a sideline. During digitisation, cloud and multi-cloud solutions increasingly became the focus of company strategies, so I looked around for a manufacturer who shares this vision. For me, a cloud-based security approach was a logical move. The elaborate recruitment process that I had to go through won me over, right from the start. It was all about preparation because you were going to be presenting at the whiteboard!” What's your day-to-day work like now? Andreas: “I was won over by the fact that the account team at Zscaler is multi-layered, and everyone within it has their place and defined responsibilities. So, you are highly appreciated for what you do in your role. Each project is tackled as a team, so that tasks and external conditions on the customer's side are the focus and always addressed–which is anything but the norm. As every customer has different requirements for security, employee access rights, and existing infrastructure, it is important to not just give a textbook presentation. You need to prepare for every meeting using the facts in front of you.” Simon: “For me, in the first year, it was important that I started by gaining a wide range of experiences as to how requirements are presented in companies within the large enterprise team. The cadence of the various meetings on the customer's side, all with a range of different participants in the decision-making process, is very high. That helped me enormously to grow and, after half a year, to take the plunge as a Sales Engineer for large companies. So, for me the opportunity for further development came very quick.” “I also appreciate the teamwork approach at every meeting. Preparation is key so I can talk with the technical contact partners on the customer's side, but also demonstrate that I understand their challenges. Because I am personally responsible for the introduction of cloud-based security on the customer's side, I have a lot of credibility.” Does it take a lot of persuading to get companies to transform their security? Simon: “The strategy of handling security from the cloud via a highly integrated platform does require some change management on several levels. Arguing for a new form of security from the cloud requires a lot of tact, as a lot of companies still rely on on-premises solutions to protect their cloud data and services. However, you can be very persuasive using arguments around the added value, which also addresses worries about loss of control. We really gain momentum when we can show how a cloud platform frees up time and resources so companies can focus more on other projects. At the same time, zero trust has really arrived as a concept that supersedes conventional security solutions in the age of the cloud, so the market is really coming to us.” Andreas: “In my experience, large companies are cloud-savvy. In small- and medium-sized companies, generally the switch to Microsoft 365 is a driver to also transform the network infrastructure, and, while they're thinking about that, also consider security from the cloud. Too often the mantra of the data centre prevails here, ‘I have all my data in one location and if I need new services or security solutions, I add a suitable box each time.’ It is important that many participants engage in the conversation of a transformation process at different levels. For example, administrators generally prefer to continue with work ‘as usual,’ because for them, changes are usually associated with considerable effort. However, if you talk to IT architects and the managers at management level, opinions change. So, you really need to be able to see things from the different perspectives of all your contact partners, from administrators to decision-makers, and listen to where their challenges lie.” How has the pandemic influenced your work? Andreas: “The past few years have required companies to restructure daily business and implement new concepts in record time. Often, it was a question of whether companies were able to keep their own business going despite the government restrictions. That increased awareness to a high level of the importance of building your own strategy for security solutions that also guarantee the company agility. Part of Zscaler's recipe for success was that we were prepared for the hurdles of a completely changed working world as we ourselves use a decentralised company concept and are used to teleworking. This also helped when onboarding new employees, despite geographical distance, and it meant we developed best practices for the new way of supporting customers, which has proved to be completely worthwhile.” Simon: “I can only add that after those two years company executives now know who Zscaler is. That is because our security solutions enable us to effectively guarantee security while projects for digitisation are driven forward, among other things. With Zscaler you are, so to say, involved with the critical infrastructure of the company. If you do a good job there, then it's quickly noticed.” Wed, 20 Apr 2022 22:07:14 -0700 Gregor Keller https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/my-first-year-sales-engineer-zscaler International Women’s Day 2022 - Celebrating Powerful Women in Tech https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/international-women-s-day-2022-celebrating-powerful-women-tech At Zscaler, we celebrate diversity every day. We know that we’re stronger when we have input and perspective from people of varied backgrounds, which is why we make representation a priority. We’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day every year and elevate the voices and stories of the powerful and brilliant women that make Zscaler great. The theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreaktheBias, which aims to focus on an equitable and inclusive world—free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. This can be particularly challenging for women in technology, as it has historically been a male-dominated field. As far as we’ve come, we know there is still work to be done. Through our employee resource group Women in Zscaler Engage (WIZE), we have built a vibrant community that fosters career growth, mentorship, and networking for women within the company and beyond. We asked some of our WIZE community members to reflect on their careers, what makes them most proud to be a woman in tech, and how Zscaler has affected their career trajectory. Here are their responses: “I am proud to be a woman in cybersecurity because…” “I have seen firsthand how diversity in thought, perspectives and ideas have helped mitigate the ever-changing cyber threat landscape.” - Lauren Wise, Senior Director, Global Executive Advisory “Cybersecurity knows no gender.” - Bianca Edgar, Senior Marketing Manager, APJ Enterprise “I want to encourage and empower other women to feel like they can not only join but also be successful in a male-dominated industry.” - Christina Chung, Manager, Sales Development Representative “It’s fun, it betters the world, and you're constantly learning new technology and solving problems. It’s fun to be in cybersecurity, but it's especially fun to do it at Zscaler.” - Erica Good, Sales Engineer “It's just such an interesting industry. It’s changing every day and it’s only going in one direction, so we have a unique opportunity at Zscaler not only to work with the fantastic technology but work in such an exciting time for the industry. It will be really exciting to look back in the future and say that we were a part of this era of time that really defined cybersecurity and defined the way businesses were operating.” - Georgia Bell, Regional Sales Manager, Enterprise “I am proud to be a woman at Zscaler because…” “I am proud of the company we are today. I am so inspired by the leadership, the transformational technology that we provide, and the culture we have built here—one that fosters a strong sense of community, partnership, and open communication, regardless of your gender, age, race, or background.” - Josie Smoot, Director, Public Sector Marketing “Zscaler supports and promotes diversity. We have so many women leaders here in executive leadership and different managerial positions. My leaders always make a big effort to support me and my work. I am encouraged to learn, encouraged to lead, and encouraged to grow at Zscaler.” - Pinki Gupta, Manager, Salesforce CRM “Collectively, we're changing the face of cybersecurity and the technology industry as a whole.” - Lori Hultin, Director, Analyst Relations “I feel empowered to do the most meaningful work of my career. Progressive companies like Zscaler break down barriers for women to thrive and move into leadership roles. Each day, I am excited to see how technology will help shape the next decade for a more secure, human-centered role. And women will have a pivotal role to play in making that happen.” - Suruchi Sharma, Director, Digital Marketing “I feel empowered as a woman in technology and in an environment where my opinions matter. At Zscaler, I am inspired by the women I work with and the CXOs I continue to build relationships with and learn from on a daily basis.” - Julia Cummings, Senior Executive, Customer Programs Manager “As the leading cybersecurity company today, we are uniquely positioned to improve the course of careers for women in cyber everywhere.” - Nicole Bucala, Senior Director, Business Development Read more about the incredible women of Zscaler here: Nicole Martinez on Influential Women and Giving Back Making a Difference in Africa with Agapé Pratibha Nayak, the First Female Zscaler Employee, on Shaping Zscaler and Staying Curious Tue, 08 Mar 2022 10:00:02 -0800 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/international-women-s-day-2022-celebrating-powerful-women-tech WIZE Speaker Series Spotlight: Tami Booth https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-speaker-series-spotlight-tami-booth Our internal employee resource group Women in Zscaler Engage (WIZE) has had the privilege of inviting powerful women in technology to speak to our group about their personal career journeys while also providing valuable advice on how to succeed as a woman in tech. The latest session in our WIZE Speaker Series, aptly titled “Growing and Leading with Authenticity,” featured Tami Booth, Vice President, Global Alliances and Leader of Women in Action at Dell Technologies. Tami detailed her career path and shared anecdotes about instances where she had to stand up for herself and her team, lead with confidence and empathy, and show up as her authentic self in both personal and professional situations. She also emphasized the importance of building rapport and trust with colleagues. “So how to grow and lead with authenticity, well, it’s about gaining trust,” she said. “And without trust—no matter if it’s in your work or personal life—things will not come together, either at all, or to meet the company needs.” Some topics that were discussed in the Q&A session revolved around common challenges we see not only for women in tech, but women in all industries, including imposter syndrome, navigating difficult conversations, earning and maintaining respect among male colleagues and superiors, and advocating for fair and equal pay. Tami’s mantra, “be graceful, have humility, and always be the only ONE you in the world,” resonated with our group, because not only did it remind us to be kind to ourselves and our colleagues, it reminded us that we each have our own unique strengths and experience to bring to our roles every day. She closed out her session with challenging the group to ask difficult questions and be self-aware. “I shared a lot of my background of stories with you here today for two reasons: to show you ways you will always learn and ways you will evolve,” she said. “And really the most important thing with these stories, is ways to reflect and help you grow to that next level. What are those things you need to overcome? And who can help you also reflect?” So as I reflect on this amazing session, I want to ask you all: how are you going to bring your best, authentic self to work tomorrow? Suggested reading: Women Making an Impact: Catherine Lee on Building a Balance Between Career and Family Women Making an Impact: Pratima Rao Gluckman on Overcoming Obstacles in Tech Fri, 25 Feb 2022 08:00:02 -0800 Suruchi Sharma https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/wize-speaker-series-spotlight-tami-booth MLK Jr. Day 2022: What His Legacy Means to Us at Zscaler https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/mlk-jr-day-2022-what-his-legacy-means-us-zscaler Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity for us, every year, to not only reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King, but also assess how we are honoring him and his message, and embodying his work in our own lives. To me, this day marks a time to recognize a great American leader. We often associate Dr. King with his speech during the March on Washington and his dream that “[people] will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” While this is a part of his legacy, he was also passionate about creating basic economic and human rights for all. He truly and deeply cared about people and used his ministerial foundation to spread the message of love and positivity for fellow human beings. His adversaries saw Dr. King’s ability to bring people together as a personal attack on the established racial hierarchy rather than an opportunity to bring peace to a turbulent time in history. I’ve listened to several of his sermons and speeches, and his gift was in his ability to affect core emotions into action. He had a strong but humble presence that people gravitated toward. “The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.” Dr. King’s words aimed to break down walls of hate and negativity that were so prevalent during the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King also penned, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” I think in my parent’s generation, and even in my own generation, we were taught to not make waves and to “fit in” to succeed in corporate America. Gen Y and Gen Z have debunked that way of thinking and have required that today’s companies address issues of equity and inclusion, or the company will not succeed. This has opened the door to discussions around race, gender, sexuality, class, and more that previously were not formally discussed within companies. The outcome of this is that people feel more comfortable bringing their whole selves to work and are open to real discussions to educate, enlighten, and bring down the wall of fear. For our Black Employees at Zscaler (B@Z) employee resource group, this MLK Jr. Day is especially ceremonious because it marks the one-year anniversary of our very active group! We’ve been busy over the past year—from leading company-wide events like our Juneteenth celebration and organizing panel presentations to hosting book and movie discussions and playing an active role in bringing a formal, corporate-wide mentorship program to Zscaler. I think B@Z embodies Dr. King’s dream of inclusiveness, equality, and peace. As such, we asked some of our B@Z members to provide some insight into what MLK Jr. Day means to them. Ambreen Lakhani, business operations manager at Zscaler, said MLK Jr. Day serves as a reminder that we need to be compassionate and of service to each other. “Dr. King was all about service to humanity,” she said. “As he said, ‘Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service ... You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.’” To honor Dr. King’s words and legacy, Lakhani intends to organize a day of service for Zscaler employees in San Jose this month. Katie Campbell, regional sales manager at Zscaler, said MLK Jr. Day embodies the will to do what is right. “One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is ‘the time is always right to do what is right,’” she said. “[The message is simple], yet powerful: It reminds us that no matter what the circumstances or potential reactions could be, we need to do what is right every single time. This carries over into all aspects of our life - from how you treat your co-workers to how you interact with family & friends. I believe that by doing what is right and treating people right, it's hard to go wrong.” Campbell said her experience participating in B@Z has been illuminating. “Being a part of B@Z this past year has been really impactful for me,” she said. “Listening to my Black peers and hearing their experiences, I've been able to gain a different perspective and become an ally in new ways. I look forward to another year of learning from my colleagues and growing my understanding of what they go through on a daily basis both inside and outside the office.” B@Z has made great strides in our first year. As Dr. King inspired, we will continue our programming in the coming year with a focus on building community, mentorship, and open communication with the ultimate goal of improving equality and inclusion. Mon, 17 Jan 2022 09:00:01 -0800 Michelle Smith https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/mlk-jr-day-2022-what-his-legacy-means-us-zscaler Reflecting on One Year at Zscaler https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/reflecting-one-year-zscaler I just finished my first year at Zscaler, and as many do when they cross such milestones, I spent a little time reflecting on how my time at the company has gone so far. My gut-level feeling is that it has flown by and that it’s been a lot of fun, but why? What has driven those feelings? One year in and it's no mystery to me why the company is growing at such an astounding rate. Our products are very well aligned with security and networking trends, providing critical tailwinds for the business, while at the same time, we have an extremely hardworking, customer-obsessed team doing their best to stay ahead of the competition through continuous innovation. Customer obsession Zscaler is by far the most customer obsessed company that I have worked for in my career. Everything is oriented around the needs of the customer, and nearly everyone, from the top down, is expected to spend significant amounts of time directly interacting with customers. The result? Products and services that are very well aligned to customer needs. Many years ago, just after I got into Product Management, I remember being excited about a new feature we decided to build into one of the products that I was managing. The idea, built around a Microsoft feature known as Kerberos Constrained Delegation, came out of several discussions with an important customer. We (I) thought we got it, and proceeded with several months of development work. It wasn’t until we shipped the new feature that there were several elements that meant it wouldn’t work across the broader set of enterprises that I had imagined eating it up. To make matters worse, there were a couple of critical design choices that made it not suitable, even for the original customer we brainstormed with! As a company, Zscaler is very open to innovative and new ideas, however, we are constantly challenged to build conviction first. Conviction that comes not from 1 or 2 or even 5 customer discussions, but from dozens. Deep, firsthand understanding of the needs of many customers results in products that are well-aligned to the needs of the market and that could quickly achieve widespread adoption. Intensity There’s no shortcut to rising to dominance in a competitive space—it requires working hard and keeping a fast pace. Zscaler is most definitely not a place to “rest and vest.” A lot is happening all of the time, and you will be stretched and challenged constantly, but this is most often what leads to significant personal and professional growth. Over the years, I’ve found that the majority of people start to feel comfortable once they’ve truly mastered their role. After an initial struggle to get up to speed, they turn on cruise control and coast, performing their function successfully - but not to their full potential. The others? They get uncomfortable when they start to plateau, squirming until they can find the next bigger stretch assignment or role. It is folks that can find their way to this latter group that continue to grow their careers in the long run. If you find yourself in this bucket, always seeking the next bigger challenge, Zscaler is the perfect environment for you. Alignment One of the things that has amazed me most about Zscaler is that everyone is absolutely aligned on strategy. This obviously starts with a clear communication of strategic priorities and objectives from the top. But it also requires carrying forward those objectives throughout the organization. This isn’t always so easy. Early in my career, I worked for an organization where the top leadership was attempting to drive an exciting new strategic agenda. Unfortunately, the effort went nearly nowhere. Why? The next layer of leadership didn’t believe in this new strategy, and continued along the old path. Anyone that has ever tried to row a boat in different directions knows exactly how this ends... Snacks!?! Every great company has areas where it needs to improve, and I must admit that my first year has been lacking in the snack variety department. Admittedly, I have been working from home and the snacks in question are purchased by me at the local Costco, so one might argue that this is entirely my fault, and that argument would be correct. But still, how many times can I eat the same mixed nuts, hummus, and protein bars? On to year 2… This first year has been a blast, and has included plenty of interesting challenges for me to dive into. As I embark on this second year, I’m looking forward to more challenges, new snacks, and to finally meeting so many of the co-workers that I know only via Zoom meetings. Wed, 01 Dec 2021 13:04:01 -0800 Rich Campagna https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/reflecting-one-year-zscaler Women Making an Impact: Catherine Lee on Building a Balance Between Career and Family https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/women-making-impact-catherine-lee-building-balance-between-career-and-family This year, at the annual Zscaler Sales Kickoff (SKO) in August, we were joined by powerful and inspiring women who shared their stories of setbacks, persistence, and triumphs. Supported by the WIZE (Women in Zscaler Engage) employee resource group, these accomplished women are challenging gender bias head-on and changing the world for girls and women everywhere. Long before Catherine Lee became a powerful businesswoman and Partner Marketing and Enablement Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan at CrowdStrike, she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up: a mum. “I’ve always wanted it all,” she said. “But first and foremost I knew I wanted to be a mum—I’ve known it since I was a small girl. As I grew, so too did my ambitions, and while I never wanted to build my own empire, I knew I also desired a successful and fulfilling career that provided independence.” Lee, who lives in Sydney, Australia, found a way to have it all: an impressive, impactful career in communications and marketing and, in her words, “two human children and one fur-child.” But this dream wasn’t always easy to achieve and finding a balance between family and career priorities proved challenging at times, leading Lee to identify a critical flaw in the work-life balance of a woman. “Overwhelmingly for women, being a mum and having a career seem to be mutually exclusive, but they shouldn’t have to be. I was fortunate to be able to continue to build my career where I left off after having my children, however, my experience isn’t typical for many women. It’s no secret that the gender divide can happen at any point in a woman’s career, but none more glaringly so than when a woman pauses to have children.” As Lee articulated in her keynote at SKO, many women take maternity leave after childbirth (if they have the option)—sometimes for six months or more—and if a woman has multiple children, this time off can add up, leaving some women feeling “behind” in their careers. Rejoining the workforce can also have challenges of its own. “The reality is that most women who rejoin the workforce after maternity leave will rejoin on a lower scale – be it in a part-time capacity; or a more flexible, lower-level job,” she said. “And while we’re working our part-time lower-level job, we’re also feeling guilty about not being a 100% present mother.” But Lee took this feeling and turned it into action, of being impactful and intentional in both areas of life, while focusing on individual priorities and goals. “The guilt is real. But I’m here to tell you that it’s OK,” she said. “You don’t need to be mother of the year, you don’t need to be on the executive committee. Being impactful is more than that. It’s important to recognise that being impactful at work is not about the hours you work, it’s about what you do during those hours. And to be an impactful mother, it’s equally important that you’re present and intentional about what you do during the hours you don’t work.” WIZE is one of many employee resource groups at Zscaler that celebrate and elevate our diverse cultures and unique worldviews. You can be a part of it. Explore career opportunities at Zscaler to join a global team that puts its people first. Continue reading our Women Making an Impact series: Pratima Rao Gluckman on Overcoming Obstacles in Tech Wed, 24 Nov 2021 05:00:01 -0800 Suruchi Sharma https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/women-making-impact-catherine-lee-building-balance-between-career-and-family Helping Veterans Transition to a New Mission https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/helping-veterans-transition-new-mission When Nathan Green started thinking about life after serving in the Air Force, he had no idea where to start searching for a new career. He only knew military life — the requirements to be met, the mission to serve, the camaraderie, and day-to-day skills to succeed. But what to expect when making the transition to the private sector was a complete mystery to him. "I think the hardest part for me personally is understanding the perspective in the private sector,” he told me. “I'm used to leading and being put in high-pressure situations. In the military, everyone has the same priority—it's all about the mission. The mindset and perspectives in the industry are different. I want to learn these variables and how the commercial sector does business." Nathan discovered the DoD SkillBridge program through one of his mentors. A few weeks ago, he launched his internship into industry with Zscaler. Through SkillBridge, Nathan is "test driving" our company through hands-on learning, mentorship, and guidance. The program provides him first-hand experience on what to expect in corporate life, with the military still backing him. The DoD SkillBridge internship provides transitioning service members, who have at least two years Time in Service (TIS), the opportunity to test drive a company, apprentice/job shadow, and learn more about a potential new role. During the 180-day internship, the intern still remains a government employee and, as such, continues to be paid by the government. While a job with the interning organization is not guaranteed, the opportunities to deliver value are endless. Through this daily interaction, service members are able to illustrate the quality of their work, display their camaraderie, and become a known asset to the company at large. Regardless if the service member receives a job offer or not, through on-the-job training and immersion, service members transition from the military better equipped to develop their next Courses of Action (CoA) and plan their civilian career. Jeffrey Adorno is another veteran who came to Zscaler through SkillBridge, and is now someone I can proudly say is my Zscaler colleague. When I asked him about his internship experience, he said he “wishes more service members not only knew about the program, but also took advantage of the time to disconnect, decompress, and refocus.” Jeff shared how his SkillBridge experience was critical in his transition from a 21-year Army career to the civilian workforce as it gave him a framework to learn and understand the key differences between military service and the corporate world. That understanding gained through an open learning environment, which internships are designed to do, was key in setting him up for a successful transition into civilian life. Many service members enter the military at a young age, right out of school and are trained to focus solely on the mission at hand. They are not afforded the time to plan for what's next or even be aware of the options available before they take their leave of government service. SkillBridge and other DoD programs were created to help them transition and educate them on the different career paths available. Zscaler understands the value in investing in strong partnerships between the military and industry, the exchange of ideas helps to push modernization forward. The Zscaler SkillBridge Internship At Zscaler, the SkillBridge program is defined by each service member’s needs. We partner with future participants to figure out what they want out of the internship, what their goals are, what motivates them, and how they can make an impact. Once the goals and objectives are laid out, the internship plan is outlined and put in place, but we remain flexible to adapt to what the service member wants to get out of the program. Each experience is customized to the participant's personal career goals. It could be as simple as getting exposure to a tech company. This is a key component, as when I started planning my next steps after the Army, I needed to understand what I didn't want to do as much as what I did want to do. With so many options and paths to take, honestly, I was kind of lost. My biggest struggle was not knowing what I didn’t know. For 22 years, the military programmed me to think a certain way. Not really knowing what the commercial world had to offer was a big question. This is a unique and challenging transition for a vet—whether they have served two years or 20making the jump from a service career to private/industry can be daunting. SkillBridge helps service members ease into that transition by providing a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that assists vets like Nathan, Jeffrey, and myself in finding exciting post-service careers. It wasn't too long ago that I went through this process myself. I was the first person to move through Zscaler’s SkillBridge program and am now closing in on celebrating my two-year anniversary at the company. I had no idea if I would be a fit in a fast-growing cloud security company. Yet, I did know of Zscaler’s solid commitment to supporting veterans as they transition from government service into the private sector. The Zscaler team, from the leadership down to my colleagues across departments throughout the company, was not only highly supportive of my transition out of service but also in helping fuel my career growth. SkillBridge is not the only program we support—or that is available—for mid-career service members. Training With Industry (TWI) is a 10-month exchange program and Defense Ventures Program (DVP) is a 6-week immersion program, where the service member remains on active duty but joins a company where they can "see under the covers." The purpose is to understand the business model and the technology to use in the military role. The service member also brings operational experience and knowledge of the DoD's needs and culture to the company, which is valuable for organizations like Zscaler. We are just kicking off our participation with TWI and are excited to be hosting our first DVP service members now. I am proud to work for this company and grateful to be in a position to mentor and help others who may be on similar paths become aware of the opportunities out there and programs like SkillBridge and TWI. My best piece of advice for success in transitioning to civilian life: the earlier you can start the process, the more you will get out of it. I wrote a series of articles about the phases of transition that I posted on LinkedIn during my transition a couple years ago. Start here with Phase 1 because I think it's important to do some soul searching. SkillBridge and other internship/exposure programs are Phase 3. SkillBridge, as with any internship, is what you make of it. In the military, you're told who you're going to work for and what you're doing. That's not corporate America. Finding the right program and fit for you is vital. Challenge yourself, be open, and ask questions or you might not end up in the place you really want to be. That's why we let the interns help shape the program here and expose them to people throughout the company. If Zscaler seems like a place you’d like to explore, reach out. We’d love to talk to you. Fri, 19 Nov 2021 06:00:02 -0800 Patrick Perry https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/helping-veterans-transition-new-mission Honoring Vets @ Z on Veteran’s Day 2021 https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/honoring-vets-z-veteran-s-day-2021 Zscaler prides itself on innovation, customer obsession, and securing the future, but our people make it all possible. Because we have a hugely diverse workforce composed of people from a wide range of backgrounds and walks of life, we are stronger, smarter, and more creative. Since its inception in 2007, Zscaler has been committed to supporting veterans and those in transition from the armed forces. This Veteran’s Day, we’re honoring Zscaler employees who have served in the armed forces around the world, and we are proud to announce the formation of our new veteran Employee Resource Group (ERG), Vets @ Z. Vets @ Z aims to create a community to support, uplift, mentor, and build connections among veterans, while helping to ease the transition for those exiting military service and entering the workforce. Everyone is welcome—whether you are currently serving, have served, want to support those who have served, or simply want to learn more about the military, Vets @ Z intends to start and continue the conversation while building community. Hear from some of the founding members of Vets @ Z about what the group means to them and what it aims to accomplish: Jeffrey Adorno, Manager, Emerging Technology – Federal at Zscaler, served 21 years in the U.S. Army, supporting the Secretary of Defense, Special Operations, and the Intelligence community. To him, Vets @ Z is an important piece of Zscaler’s vibrant culture fabric. “Establishing a veteran ERG is about solidifying bonds within the veteran community and reaffirming a personal commitment to leave no veteran behind,” he said. “Transitioning from the military is a unique and continuous process that affects each veteran differently, and extends to their family, local community, and personal engagement within the company.” Patrick Perry, who has been closely involved in the veteran community at Zscaler since he joined in December 2019, is Director Emerging Technical Solutions DOD | IC at Zscaler, and served in the Army, completing seven overseas tours before retiring in 2019. He sees Vets @ Z not only as an opportunity to connect those who have served, but also to create awareness and understanding. “I think there is a lot of misunderstanding between military veterans and the rest of the civilian population, mostly due to misrepresentation in the media, but that translation gap can be eliminated,” he said. “Vets @ Z doesn’t aim to gain favor for veterans over other people, but rather to share military culture with everyone and erase misunderstandings. We want to bridge that gap, be known as a veteran-desired place to work, and become a beacon of support to the military community.” For Jake Kennedy, Regional Sales Manager – Enterprise at Zscaler, Vets @ Z provides not only community, but also the camaraderie that he valued during his seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps. “Groups like Vets @ Z provide a place to honor and support, directly or indirectly, those who have served in the military,” he said. “For veterans, it serves as a place to rekindle the camaraderie and kinship that many individuals lose touch with after their time of service. Our overall mission is to build a community for those who have served, are serving, or want to support service members at Zscaler. We also aim to support veterans both inside and outside our organization through community initiatives, partnerships, and projects.” Arne Diaz, Sr. Sales Engineer, is both a six-year Zscaler veteran and an eight-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran, traveling to more than 15 countries during his time in the service. To Diaz, Vets @ Z has the potential to provide support in many different areas. “Camaraderie is something that all veterans share no matter what branch of service or which country you served,” he said. “It's also the most missed thing about having served. It's a common bond that brings us all close together and says, ‘you can count on me.’ Anything we can do to bring everyone together gives us an opportunity to collaborate on ideas and things we can do to help others.” Diaz emphasized that Vets @ Z hopes to provide a platform to address important topics such as PTSD and transitioning out of the service, while supporting recruitment efforts for veteran candidates and fostering career development for veterans at Zscaler. On behalf of all of us at Zscaler, we want to thank military veterans everywhere for your service and wish you a happy Veteran’s Day. To learn more about our employee resource groups and why Zscaler is a great place to work, visit our careers page. Thu, 11 Nov 2021 06:00:01 -0800 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/honoring-vets-z-veteran-s-day-2021 Women Making an Impact: Pratima Rao Gluckman on Overcoming Obstacles in Tech https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/women-making-impact-pratima-rao-gluckman-overcoming-obstacles-tech This year, at the annual Zscaler Sales Kickoff (SKO) in August, we were joined by powerful and inspiring women who shared their stories of setbacks, persistence, and triumphs. Supported by the WIZE (Women in Zscaler Engage) employee resource group, these accomplished women are challenging gender bias head-on and changing the world for girls and women everywhere. Pratima Rao Gluckman is a woman of many talents. Not only is she a Senior Engineering Manager at electric vehicle company Rivian, she is also a dedicated mother, published author, motivational speaker, and champion of gender equality and female leadership. In her book, Nevertheless She Persisted: True Stories of Women in Tech, Rao Gluckman details the leadership journeys and mindsets of 19 successful female technologists in Silicon Valley to highlight the challenges and victories that come with being a woman in tech. "Throughout this book, there are two consistent lessons,” Rao Gluckman said. “First, persist. Regardless of what society expects of you or tells you to do, persist with your own vision of what you want to achieve in your life. The tailwinds of persistence will help you soar. The second lesson is that we all have the power to change the world for someone else. If each one of us makes it a point to intervene in one woman’s life, we can get there, slowly but surely—one woman at a time." Though Rao Gluckman knew she wanted to be an engineer from a young age, she faced hurdles along the way while navigating an industry that is largely dominated by men. “My ‘aha!’ moment arose in 2016, when I realized that the professional roadblocks my female colleagues and I were facing weren't just coincidental,” she said. “They were the result of unconscious gender bias in the tech industry. As I looked around for information on how ambitious women could break the glass ceiling, I realized there was little out there. I had to discover it on my own.” From tackling imposter syndrome to finding mentors, Nevertheless She Persisted gives readers an intimate look at what it’s like to be a woman in tech, as well as insightful advice about how to identify and overcome these challenges. Rao Gluckman’s passion and ultimate goal today is to make the tech industry a place where everyone can thrive in leadership, regardless of their gender. "In my work as a mother, a writer, and a female leader in the high-tech field, I feel as though I am casting stones into turbulent waters by telling the stories of nineteen women who hold senior positions in the high-tech world of Silicon Valley,” she said. “Why do I want to do this? I want to cast a stone representing limitless possibilities, the concept that anything is achievable, for my daughter and all the daughters out there. I want to cast a stone representing acceptance of female leaders for my sons, and all the sons out there, so they know how to accept, embrace, and love living in a world that is supportive of female leaders." WIZE is one of many employee resource groups at Zscaler that celebrate and elevate our diverse cultures and unique worldviews. You can be a part of it. Explore career opportunities at Zscaler to join a global team that puts its people first. Further reading: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day How Zscaler’s New Mentorship Program Elevates Learning and Growth Fri, 24 Sep 2021 08:00:01 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/women-making-impact-pratima-rao-gluckman-overcoming-obstacles-tech How Zscaler’s New Mentorship Program Elevates Learning and Growth https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/how-zscaler-s-new-mentorship-program-elevates-learning-and-growth It is no secret that we’re better when we work together. Learning from and working with individuals who come from different backgrounds and have varied experiences inevitably expands our own experience and allows for a broader point of view—whether personal or professional. Mentorship, in this way, is an incredibly useful tool for career growth, which is why Zscaler has launched the new Zscaler Elevate mentor program. Personally and professionally, mentorship has been invaluable to me. I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors over the course of my career, who come from all different types of backgrounds. They’ve helped me navigate career decisions, difficult projects, colleague relationships, and more. Taking a presidential approach to career development — by surrounding yourself with advisors — is a great way to learn and grow. I genuinely believe I would not be where I am today in my career without mentorship, so I know it’s important to offer the same opportunity for the brilliant minds at Zscaler. Suruchi Sharma, Director, Digital Marketing at Zscaler, shared that in her experience, mentorship often provides a much-needed outside perspective. “A great mentor elevates and inspires you to go above and beyond,” she said. “We often can’t see ourselves the way other people do, so it is valuable to have mentors who can listen, guide, reflect, and hold you accountable as you grow. My mentors have been pivotal in helping me make sound decisions that not only propelled my career but also supported me in my personal growth. And for that, I am forever grateful.” Marcus Johnson, South Area Director at Zscaler said that mentorship has made all the difference to him. “A trusted mentorship relationship enables both the mentee and mentor to reach their full potential,” he said. “As a people leader at Zscaler, I attribute past mentors for providing unbiased advice, critical insights, and relevant knowledge, which has had such a profound effect in my life. Throughout my career, mentorship has taught me the importance of feedback and that ‘all feedback is a gift.’ Without question, mentorship has driven me to find greatness in every opportunity life presents." According to a study from Olivet University, more than 75 percent of aspiring leaders want to have a mentor, yet only 37 percent have one. At Zscaler, we’re aiming to change that. The new Elevate mentor program, piloted by our internal employee resource groups (ERGs)—WIZE, B@Z, and AAPI, leverages an intuitive SaaS platform to facilitate mentoring at scale. It connects Zscaler’s best mentors with those looking to learn and grow, based on skills and development areas. The platform then guides its users through their mentoring relationships; tracking progress, skills, and feedback. The key goals of the Elevate program are to: Define and develop pathways to career goals Hone leadership and self-advocacy skills Encourage connectedness in a digitally dispersed working environment Expand professional network Foster generosity and giving with professional development The easy-to-use platform powered by Guider, provides Zscaler mentors and mentees simple sign up, mentor matching based on profile, skills, and development areas, seamless scheduling through calendar integrations, and guides and information on how to get the most out of Elevate. At Zscaler, we prioritize our people and are always searching for ways to enhance each employee’s experience to help foster growth, learning, and inclusivity. Some of the Zscaler core values include teamwork, open communication, and passion, and as the company grows, it’s important to uphold these values by connecting people. We are excited to see how our values will be supported by the Zscaler Elevate mentor program. Now is the perfect time to make the move to Zscaler! For more information, explore our culture and careers. Thu, 05 Aug 2021 10:00:02 -0700 Nicole Bucala https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/how-zscaler-s-new-mentorship-program-elevates-learning-and-growth Zscaler + Coursera: The Journey to Leading at Z https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-coursera-journey-leading-z Since its inception, Zscaler has always prioritized its people, searching diligently for the best talent and making employee retention a key focus. However, every company has its challenges with hiring and retention, and Zscaler is no exception. When I joined Zscaler in August 2020, I was the first member of a new team called talent development. My first goal was to assess the health of our people and culture strategies to figure out what was working well and where we could make improvements. Over several weeks, I spoke with leaders and team members across the company. There were a number of things that were going exceptionally well—we had a strong cultural compass in T.O.P.I.C. (Teamwork, Open Communication, Passion, Innovation and Customer Obsession), we had a high-performing recruiting engine that was scaling to enable our growth, and we had a team of people and culture professionals who were seen as true business partners. That said, we also had opportunities to be more intentional with our investments in the development of our people, especially our managers. For that reason, we set out to build programming that would enable all Zscaler leaders, aspiring through senior-level, to live and lead by our Leadership Principles. Based on what we learned through our discovery process, we set four design principles to guide our work: Leadership is a journey The best leaders are always looking to learn, grow, and improve. Everyone is great at something, but no one is great at everything Each of us has strengths. The magic happens when you can help people and companies leverage them. Development can be really simple Clear expectations + an understanding of how you’re doing against those expectations + focused opportunities to improve = Development. No one likes being told what to do, but most people appreciate a bit of direction Mandating training can undermine impact. Approaching development too “laissez-faire” can lead to it being deprioritized. Giving people “freedom within a framework” will leverage the benefits of both with the challenges of neither. In February 2021, we launched Leading at Z—clear expectations, a measurement tool we call the Manager Effectiveness Survey, and focused development opportunities aimed at enabling our leaders to live and lead by our Leadership Principles. To help us drive adoption, one of the greatest measures of success, we’ve built a microsite where all Zscaler employees can access each element of the program including development content from partners including Coursera, ExecOnline, and Rapid Learning, to name a few. This site is also where our people access crowd-sourced TED Talks, books, and other materials that align with our Leadership Principles. In a recent webinar with Coursera’s Deborah Mussomeli, I described how Zscaler is elevating training with the Coursera platform as we build a workforce for the cloud. Register here for the webinar. Leadership is a journey Leadership is a journey, one without a well-defined destination. With Leading at Z, we set out to enable Zscaler leaders’ success by helping them to enhance their skills and develop new ones. We do this by helping them understand where they are in their journey, and by offering the focused development that enables them to unlock their potential. We’ve only just got Leading at Z off the ground, but we’re thrilled with the engagement. We’re now focused on creating the virtual communities that enable our leaders to learn and grow together. Further, we’re leveraging our Leading at Z learnings to build the program we call Succeeding at Z, which will enable all Zscalers to identify their professional ambitions and progress towards them. Since its founding, Zscaler has focused on building a lasting company that enables its customers to succeed in the digital world. It is incumbent on the company’s leadership to create an environment that attracts great employees and allows them to thrive. Leading at Z is just the beginning, and I’m excited about its early indicators of success and the launch of what’s next. Stay tuned. To learn about career opportunities at Zscaler, please visit: zscaler.com/careers Tue, 29 Jun 2021 08:00:02 -0700 Brandon Bouwkamp https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/zscaler-coursera-journey-leading-z How Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone Will Change Your Career https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/how-getting-outside-your-comfort-zone-will-change-your-career We all have aspirations of the person we want to become and the things we want to achieve. Humanity has benefitted countless times from the ripple effects of such visions. But ask anyone who tasted the success of their dreams in fruition, and you will learn that you cannot become the person you are destined to be if you stay in your comfort zone. Realizing your wildest dreams requires growth, expansion, and change. You have to commit, at least temporarily, to the struggle. If something scares you a little, if you have butterflies in your stomach and you are wondering, “Can I do this? Am I going to fail?” Those are signs of leaning into the challenge. Growth happens when you stretch yourself and change the narrative about what is possible. True success stems from taking risks, being unafraid to fail, and committing to constant learning. Throughout my career, it’s also been clear to me that an individual’s path to success will accelerate through outstanding leadership. I’ve been fortunate to learn different leadership, communication, and management styles, as well as go-to-market systems, processes, and methodologies from exceptional leaders. I believe in paying it forward. As I’ve gone through my leadership career, it’s been my mission to build foundational platforms through which others can learn, grow, evolve, and become the best versions of themselves at a broad scale. Our ambition at Zscaler is about more than just numbers. We are building a true “home” for talented people who can grow with us for many years to come. I’ve had two recent opportunities to reflect and share my ideas around the building and executing a Go-To-Market motion. As I discuss in the webinar with Sandi Lurie, VP of Talent Acquisition at Zscaler, it’s imperative to present your Team with the right opportunities on an ongoing basis. It was clear to me that Zscaler was an exceptional opportunity to shape an industry and provide the platform for everyone involved to experience expansive personal growth. We have the chance to do something special and say, “let me rediscover and reinvent myself, and I’ll build a platform for others to do the same.” I also had the pleasure of joining a recent Podcast episode with People.AI. We discussed more of the methodology behind cultivating success strategically and at scale. One key element is to deliver consistent training for both individual contributors and their leaders. If we can create an environment where intellectual, professional, financial, and career growth opportunities abound—then not only will revenue inevitably follow, but we will have directly changed people’s lives. That is the legacy I strive for and is the basis of the platform we’re building and refining at Zscaler. Zscaler is growing at hyperspeed. With the broad and lasting adoption of zero-trust and working-from-anywhere, we are the entity to guide companies into the digital future and secure their cloud transformation. Our Zero Trust Exchange is a purpose-built and cloud-native, cohesive platform and is truly the only one of its kind. By believing in our mission and disruptive technology, we find and nurture the greatest minds to continue innovating and moving the company forward. When asked about the reasons why she is excited about working at Zscaler, Dawn Ambrose, Channel Account Manager at Zscaler, explained: First, it’s the technology. Zscaler is the right technology at the right time. Second, it’s the people. People truly matter. Whether you’re early in your career or you have many years under your belt, Zscaler will stretch and teach you new ways of doing things that will stay with you long after your tenure here. And last but not least, it’s the opportunity. Where else can you go to work and help address a 72 billion dollar market just over the next two to three years? It’s incredible. If you’re looking for a life-changing opportunity, want to work with a platform built for continuously evolving and learning, and grow alongside a leadership team committed to your success, explore our open opportunities. Additionally, listen to the Podcast Episode and listen to my webinar on what it means to work at Zscaler, why taking risks is essential, and how our company truly makes a difference in our customers’ lives and our people. Mon, 21 Jun 2021 12:59:55 -0700 Dali Rajic https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/how-getting-outside-your-comfort-zone-will-change-your-career Celebrating Juneteenth — Listen, Learn, and Reflect on African American History https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-juneteenth-listen-learn-and-reflect-african-american-history Most people are familiar with the celebration and history behind Independence Day. While the United States became free with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Black people had not been freed from slavery at that time. As a result, many in the Black community feel somewhat disconnected from the Fourth of July holiday—a great day for America, but not for Black Americans. In fact, Black people were not declared free for another 87 years. And even still, it took an additional two years beyond Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation for the last enslaved people to be freed in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth provides a day of remembrance and reflection for all Americans, and it’s extremely gratifying to see that Juneteenth is gaining the attention it deserves as a landmark day in American history—just this week, Juneteenth was established as a federal holiday with unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate. Let’s take a closer look at the day’s origins and how the Zscaler community can contribute positively to the conversation surrounding this annual day of recognition. The first Juneteenth: a brief history For those unfamiliar with Juneteenth, we would like to share a bit of history, beginning with the General Order that was issued on June 19. It isn't talked about nearly enough, but it is the reason behind today's reflections: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865. What does this all mean today? June 19, 1865, also known as Juneteenth, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is a celebration of the journey and freedom of Black people in this country. We embrace this moment to acknowledge the many contributions that Black people have made to American culture and honor those who died for our freedom. Juneteenth is the real "Freedom Day" for African Americans. But to have true freedom, we must continue to break through the systemic barriers that have plagued African American communities for centuries around the world. To me, Juneteenth is a day of empowerment. As the company-wide programming and committee chair of B@Z—Zscaler’s internal network of African American employees and allies—I believe that empowerment is about leveraging our platforms, exercising our voices in everyday moments, and being intentional about our actions for change. Zscaler’s Juneteenth Town Hall Celebration Zscaler is honoring Juneteenth by hosting a company-wide Town Hall celebration to educate, empower, and uplift employees. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resource group, B@Z, has curated a cultural visual experience along with an intimate conversation with Marvin Whitaker and Michelle Smith on the importance of Juneteenth and the impact systemic racism has had on the Black community. We also wanted to share some resources that we are excited about. These organizations not only support Black businesses, but also leverage technology to build momentum behind these initiatives: MyBlackReceipt, launched June 19, 2020, is the first “Buy Black” movement that quantifies collective purchases from Black-owned businesses. This movement encourages consumers to support Black-owned businesses and show their support by uploading receipts—starting Juneteenth, sales totals will be shown on a live counter. When you support a Black business owner, you support Black jobs, Black causes, and Black wealth building. So, find Black businesses and upload your receipts! WeBuyBlack is an online marketplace where customers may purchase everything they need from Black-owned businesses, helping to build social and economic justice globally. Sellers may register to sell their products to a diverse, open, and international market. The site was launched for public purchases on June 19, 2015, which marked the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. I’m proud to be a part of B@Z and the Zscaler community as a whole. The services that Zscaler delivers are consequential, and it’s exciting to work alongside people who are empowered to do their best work and are passionate about bringing positive change to enterprise customers. As we all reflect on Juneteenth, let’s celebrate empowerment in all its forms—in our professional lives, in our personal quests, and in the memories and the progress the day represents. And let’s all commit to paying it forward, as there is still much work to be done. Additional resources about Juneteenth The Root: https://www.theroot.com/on-juneteenth-pulitzer-prize-winning-historian-annette-1847110783 PBS: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/ History.com: https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth Wed, 16 Jun 2021 17:56:28 -0700 Tyrin Ford https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-juneteenth-listen-learn-and-reflect-african-american-history Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Pooja Deshmukh & Dorothy Meshack https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-pooja-deshmukh-dorothy-meshack In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential and powerful women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Pooja Deshmukh is a Principal Product Manager at Zscaler who feels proud of the impact she’s been able to make in her time with the company as it continues to grow. “When I look at my career at Zscaler, it's been an amazing ride,” she said. “I definitely feel proud of the tangible contributions I could make to Zscaler's business, including introducing a new product line, seeing our top deals, raising the top line, and building teams from scratch. It has always been fun to work with some of the most talented minds in the industry.” She said if she could give her younger self any professional advice, it would be to be more assertive to make sure your voice is heard and to get a mentor early on in your career. As far as advice for women wanting to get into technology, she recommends to always continue learning. “I would really like to quote my mentor, "the best way to learn swimming is to just jump in the pool." So just jump right in. Get a start. Ask questions. Be at it. Focus on building the building blocks,” she said. “It may be the basics of algorithms, it may be the basics of mathematics, or Have your basics right and build on it.” “The technology field is a rapidly changing field. You need to embrace the change. Know that you have to keep up with the pace, and never shy away from learning opportunities.” Outside of work, Pooja enjoys staying active and has picked up a new active hobby during quarantine. “I like to really stay active, maybe a simple walk, a jog, or a bicycle ride,” she said. “But I was never into weight training. Quarantine life gave me an opportunity to focus more on isolated activities. So I picked up doing weight training in the last year.” Dorothy Meshack is a Value Creation Analyst located in Bangalore, India. She is proud of never missing an opportunity to learn and recommends that any woman wanting to get into tech should take the plunge. “I'm extremely proud of having the ability to take up challenges and also balance that out with a mindset to learn,” she said. “I think it's extremely important for everyone to have a learning mindset because learning is a continuous process. And the minute we stop learning, we pretty much drag ourselves down.” “The advice that I have for women wanting to get into things into technology is don't think twice. Just go for it,” she said. “We need to have more women in technology, where we do not continue to have gender disparity. We are in 2021. We really need to beat that. And for us to beat that, we need to have more and more women joining technology, more and more women in powerful positions.” Dorothy cites her mother as her greatest inspiration when she was growing up. “Despite being a homemaker and not having hardly any exposure to the corporate world, she's always taught me to make the right choices and to always stand up for myself. She's given me the power to be independent. And that's extremely important.” Outside of work, Dorothy enjoys cooking, spending time with family, and gardening. "I really enjoy cooking and spending a lot of time with my nieces and nephews who are all 3, 4, or 5 years old. And I love gardening. That's actually another hobby that I picked up during quarantine. It gives me such a sense of calm to be out there." Tue, 30 Mar 2021 08:00:01 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-pooja-deshmukh-dorothy-meshack Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Pratibha Nayak, the First Female Zscaler Employee, on Shaping Zscaler and Staying Curious https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/pratibha-nayak-first-female-zscaler-employee In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Pratibha Nayak joined Zscaler in 2007 and was the first female employee at the company. Located in Bangalore, India, Pratibha currently serves as a Senior Principal Engineer for the UI team that manages APIs for Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA). “The best aspect of my role at Zscaler is that I get to design and come up with software solutions that can leverage our core complex product underneath and deliver it to the customer as a sleek, user-friendly interface that meets their requirements,” she said. Q: What are you most proud of in your career? A: Joining a startup at a very early stage has given me an edge in understanding the very core fundamentals required for building a world-class product from the ground up. Looking back now, after more than a decade, I feel very proud of the gut decision I made to join Zscaler at a point in time when the startup culture in India was less experimented and sought after. Q: What advice do you have for women wanting to get into tech? A: Today, there is never a dearth of opportunity to learn and succeed in the emerging tech industry. It’s a matter of being passionately curious about what interests you. In short, just take the plunge. Q: What do you like to do outside of work? A: I like to spend time being outdoors and in nature. Even taking a stroll just to catch a sunrise or sunset across the horizon brightens up my day. I also enjoy playtime with my two young kids, especially when they include me in their role-play activities to play Madame Gazelle from Peppa Pig when they are short of participants! For more about how Zscaler is celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month, read this blog: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Dianhuan Lin and Wendy Case Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Ashley Albiani on Staying Motivated and Effecting Change Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Wendi Lester and Marina Ayton Thu, 25 Mar 2021 15:00:02 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/pratibha-nayak-first-female-zscaler-employee Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Dianhuan Lin and Wendy Case https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-dianhuan-lin-and-wendy-case In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential and powerful women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Dianhuan Lin is a Principal Data Scientist and has been with Zscaler for two years. She prides herself on never shying away from a challenge and fully embracing opportunity when it presents itself. “In my career, I am most proud of being able to follow my passion and choose among opportunities, instead of having the opportunity choose me,” she said. “As far as advice I have for women wanting to get into tech, I’ve found that there is always this negative voice that says, ‘this is too challenging’ or ‘this difficult for women.’ And I always turn those negative thoughts into positive ones, translating it into, ‘that's exactly for me.’” Dianhuan believes big dreams can be achieved through small efforts when you put in the necessary work. “As Jay, the CEO of Zscaler, said, ‘it doesn’t matter whether you are a woman or a man—dream big. It is important.’ Once we take that first step or dream big, we must then work backward in terms of what we need to do, take little steps, make those marginal gains. And one day, you'll be surprised how far you have come.” Outside of work, Dianhuan enjoys hiking and painting, and during quarantine, she has picked up other creative endeavors. “I started learning how to play piano during quarantine with an online tutorial,” she said. “Although I'm not good at music, I try to get out of my comfort zone, and right now, playing music is my favorite.” Wendy Case is Director, Regional Sales for the Midwest Major Team at Zscaler and has been with the company for more than three and a half years. A true tech veteran, Wendy has been in the industry for more than 20 years, and didn’t initially know if it would be the right path. “I took a chance on technology years ago after graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in finance and a minor in accounting and Spanish,” she said. “I'm so glad I did because tech has great opportunity. I gave it a chance and thought, if it didn't work out, I could always get out of it. But look where I am now, twenty-something years later, still here, still in technology.” Reflecting on the International Women’s Day theme for 2021, Wendy said that she wants to normalize the technology field as a viable option for all women, even if they don’t have a technological background. “I definitely encourage young women to get into technology. When I think about the International Women’s Day theme, ‘Choose to Challenge,’ I am passionate about challenging my own daughters, as well as their friends, to think about technology as an option,” she said. “There are so many opportunities and so many things that women can take advantage of in a technology company. I think it's an underserved market and we need to keep getting the word out about that.” She also stressed the importance of advocating for yourself, staying hyper-focused on your goals, and chasing your dreams. “If I had one piece of advice to give myself from years past, it would definitely be to lean in. I wouldn't have known what that term meant 20 years ago, but I definitely know opportunities passed me by because I didn't lean in,” she said. “I didn't voice my opinion. I didn't let leadership know what I was interested in pursuing. So I'd highly encourage my younger self to do that. And I encourage all the women at Zscaler to do that—make sure that you are heard. Make sure that people know what you want to do, and they can help make your dreams come true.” For more about how Zscaler is celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month, read this blog: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Ashley Albiani on Staying Motivated and Effecting Change Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Nicole Martinez on Influential Women and Giving Back Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Wendi Lester and Marina Ayton Thu, 25 Mar 2021 00:00:03 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-dianhuan-lin-and-wendy-case Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Ashley Albiani on Staying Motivated and Effecting Change https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-ashley-albiani-staying-motivated-and-effecting-change In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Ashley Albiani currently serves as Senior Commercial Counsel for the Legal team at Zscaler. She joined the company in November 2016, and in that time, she has not only grown in her own career, but also mentored and advised interns that have gone on to have successful careers of their own. “I’ve watched legal interns go on to work other coveted internships, pass the bar exam, and/or accept impressive full-time positions as young attorneys,” she said. “It’s rewarding to think that their success is at least, in small part, due to the mentorship and positive experience they had while working with me and the rest of the Legal team at Zscaler. I am genuinely excited to see where each of their careers takes them next.” Q: What advice do you have for women wanting to get into tech? A: ‘Cross-train’ – Search for opportunities to learn a new skill. Offer to take on a project that doesn’t fit within anyone’s current role or look to where you can add value to other internal teams. This will not only make you a more valuable employee, but keep work from becoming dull and demonstrate that you’re motivated to excel, even outside of your comfort zone. Q: What professional advice would you give your younger self? A: Do some research before attending a conference, webinar, or other professional development event and come prepared with a few questions related to the topics. This will make it easier for you to follow along with the presentations and help you get the most value out of the event. Also, I’d tell my younger self to invest more in $ZS! Q: Based on this year’s IWD theme, “Choose to Challenge,” how will you plan to celebrate women’s achievements and forge a path for future rockstar women in tech? A: I plan to actively look for areas where there is gender inequality and encourage others not only to recognize those gaps, but discuss them. Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in history (or present-day), who would it be? A: Ruth Bader Ginsburg - The amount that she accomplished for women’s rights, among so many other things, is incredible, and I’d love to hear every detail of her life story firsthand. She also had a great sense of humor and I’d like to think, along with most women in the legal world, that we’d be best friends. Q: Is there anything you’d like to add about your career journey or women in tech? A: I’d encourage everyone to check in on themselves professionally at least once a quarter. Ask: ‘Am I enjoying this work? What could make my work-life better? What progress have I made toward my goals?’ This isn’t anything original, but an important reminder that you need to carve out time to think about the bigger picture in order to grow and stay happy. Outside of work, Ashley loves to snowboard, surf, hike, play board games, and go wine tasting. During quarantine, she re-watched Jurassic Park and read the book, while also picking up a couple of other rewarding hobbies. “Since quarantine, I’ve been moonlighting as a Chair Yoga instructor for my grandparents,” she said. “I’ve also been practicing the piano again. I gave it up when I was younger, so my mom is now thrilled that those lessons did not go to waste!” For more about how Zscaler is celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month, read this blog: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Nicole Martinez on Influential Women and Giving Back Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Wendi Lester and Marina Ayton Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Melissa Balentine on Professional Growth and the Evolution of Zscaler Tue, 23 Mar 2021 08:00:01 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-ashley-albiani-staying-motivated-and-effecting-change Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Nicole Martinez on Influential Women and Giving Back https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-nicole-martinez-influential-women-and-giving-back In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Nicole Martinez joined Zscaler in 2016 and is currently Sr. Manager, Cloud Operations at the company. Throughout her career journey, she has seen significant technological evolution, learned important lessons about navigating tech as a woman, and dedicated herself to encouraging and empowering women in the industry. “I started my journey in technology many years ago directly out of college working in IT support,” she said. “I worked for a female executive who led her team with grace and encouraged the growth and development of all her employees.” “I've carried with me the grace and patience of that first female leader I had at the start of my career,” she said. “She taught me that even if you don't know how to do something, don't let that stop you—dive in and explore every opportunity, find your interest, and learn all you can about it. I've also learned that it's OK to be thought of as nice or ‘the quiet one.’ You don't have to be the loudest voice in the room to make the biggest impact.” “Technology is constantly changing and we should be changing with it, growing, and exploring,” she said. “I choose to continue to support the growth and opportunities in tech for women by always being supportive of other women and sharing what I’ve learned in my journey.” Q: What are you most proud of in your career? A: Building a team from the ground up, of which two-thirds are women. Q: What advice do you have for women wanting to get into tech? A: Do it, educate yourself, seek the knowledge, and take the leap. It's very rewarding to see the impact of your work in the world. Q: What professional advice would you give your younger self? A: It's going to be OK, say yes when opportunity presents itself. If you make a mistake, learn from it. Q: Who was your greatest inspiration when you were growing up and why? A: My mom. She was always supportive and from a very young age she told me I could do anything if I apply myself, work hard, and never give up. Q: What do you like to do outside of work? A: Help others. I sit on the board of a non-profit that provides services to Veterans and others in need. We do this by pairing them with Service Dogs taken from shelters and rescues. I am a founding member of this non-profit and we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year. https://operationfreedompaws.org/ For more about how Zscaler is celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month, read this blog: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Wendi Lester and Marina Ayton Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Diana Vikutan on Developing Zscaler and Honing Multitasking Skills During Quarantine Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Melissa Balentine on Professional Growth and the Evolution of Zscaler Celebrating Women at Zscaler: How Jey Govindan Empowers Future Generations of Women in Tech Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Sandi Lurie and Karen Mayerik Thu, 18 Mar 2021 08:00:01 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-nicole-martinez-influential-women-and-giving-back Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Wendi Lester and Marina Ayton https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-wendi-lester-and-marina-ayton In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Marina Ayton has been at Zscaler for a year and a half and currently serves as a Regional Director for the UK team. Her career journey has been eventful and fast-paced, and she hopes to continue that success in the coming years while mentoring and fostering career growth in others. “The thing I'm most proud about in my career has probably been my progression over a short amount of time. I have been promoted about eight times in the last six years,” she said. “And I think just the nature of working for a high-growth company that operates on a totally meritocratic basis gives you a huge opportunity to grow.” “I would say that recently, my complete career highlight has been having the opportunity to become a leader,” she said. “And with that comes a huge responsibility, right? To help train, and develop all of this talent—high potential, incredible individuals—to support them on their next phase of growth.” “I think my favorite thing about working in technology and for a company like Zscaler is the environment that's built around it,” she said. “We have this incredible culture of excellence, which has been developed, which gives you this kind of huge feeling of pride as you're working alongside some of the industry's best and top performers. Outside of work, Marina enjoys being in the outdoors skiing and playing tennis and squash. She also sits on the board of the Prince's Trust RISE program, which is a youth charity that helps young people aged 11 to 30 get into jobs, education, and training. Wendi Lester began her journey at Zscaler in February 2020 and is currently the Director of Global Real Estate and Workplace Operations. She has served as a mentor to many and believes in the power of personal connections to succeed and build a career you love. “What I am most proud of in my career is the people that I've mentored and worked with that have grown and matured and become leaders at other multinational companies,” she said. “The advice I would give to women who want to get into tech is: be brave and be willing to network and be willing to get out there, try something new, and to want to engage with people, because it's through building relationships and networking that you will find your best success,” she said. “And you will be able to find advocates, and you'll be able to find people that you can mentor, and that will be very fulfilling in your career.” For more about how Zscaler is celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month, read this blog: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: How Jey Govindan Empowers Future Generations of Women in Tech Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Sandi Lurie and Karen Mayerik Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Melissa Balentine on Professional Growth and the Evolution of Zscaler Wed, 17 Mar 2021 08:00:01 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-wendi-lester-and-marina-ayton Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Melissa Balentine on Professional Growth and the Evolution of Zscaler https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-melissa-balentine-professional-growth-and-evolution In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential and powerful women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Melissa Balentine, Senior Vice President, Finance has been with Zscaler for more than five years. In that time, she’s seen Zscaler grow and go IPO and has honed her professional skills to make a difference and find fulfillment within the company. Q: What are you most proud of in your career? A: Going through the IPO process at Zscaler, and the ultimate public offering, was one of the most important projects in my career. Having built internal reporting to support being a public company, I got the opportunity to see firsthand how this information is shared and used by the outside analysts who would eventually value Zscaler. Having all of this preparation leading up to the day we listed the stock, and to be in NYC for the big event, was exhilarating. Q: What is one of the most valuable skills that helped you get to the role you have today? A: Executive presence. As I’ve grown in my career, the ability to project confidence through effective communication and presentation skills has become more critical. I work to “read the room” when I host meetings to be sure my message is understood. Additionally, one of the most valuable skills I have honed is complex financial modeling. I spend time researching modeling inputs and understanding their relative impact on the financial results of the company. The models I build can be very large and cumbersome. What I’ve learned is building the model is only half of the work; the other half is taking the result and simplifying the message to be easily understood and explained. It isn’t necessary to show all of the steps and analysis, but instead to draw clear, concise conclusions allowing executives to digest and act. This step takes as much effort as building the model itself and is equally important. With this skill, I have the tools to not only prove out certain trends and theories through financial modeling, but also the ability to enable key decision making based on the modeling results. Q: What do you like to do outside of work? A: I like to unwind by working out, from my early morning workouts on my Stairmaster to local hikes on weekends. I also enjoy reading–mostly historical fiction. Since the shelter-in-place orders, I have enjoyed watching home renovation shows. For more about how Zscaler is celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month, read this blog: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: How Jey Govindan Empowers Future Generations of Women in Tech Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Sandi Lurie and Karen Mayerik Tue, 16 Mar 2021 08:00:02 -0700 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-melissa-balentine-professional-growth-and-evolution Key Takeaways From a Year of Remote Work https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/key-takeaways-year-remote-work It's a Monday morning in January. Heavy snowstorms move across Germany leading to traffic chaos on the roads and in the air. My first thought when I opened my eyes was, “nice, you don’t have to race to the airport, potentially get into a traffic jam on icy roads, rush through security to reach a flight in order to attend a business meeting in Hamburg, London, or Prague, only to find that the flight was cancelled due to the weather conditions.” Since mid-March 2020, our everyday working routine has changed considerably. Negativity aside, many of us simply have a different day-to-day now. Today, not only can I sleep a bit longer, but I can also start my day with my new routine of doing sports, getting a healthy breakfast and my favourite coffee from my own espresso machine, while still arriving on time at my laptop for my first meeting, without having travelled a single mile (except for walking from the kitchen into my home office). This is what I consider to be a luxury in my new normal way of working. Working for Zscaler enables me to work totally remotely, in line with the required contact regulations of the pandemic, and still be productive. Due to the time I don’t have to invest to reach customer headquarters, I’m even able to facilitate more remote meetings per day than I would have been able to via in-person meetings. Moreover: working remotely was always part of my employee contract, as I am enabled technically via Zscaler to work from wherever I want to. Nevertheless, a huge percentage of my working life was filled with meetings across European cities and sleeping in hotel rooms to be on time for early morning workshops on infrastructure and security requirements for the future way of working. Before COVID-19 hit, I was travelling at least four out of five workdays to attend in-person meetings with customers and prospects to consult them on their digital transformation strategy. Miles were piling up on my Lufthansa frequent flyer card and my car’s tachometer, not to mention the heavy use of my Bahncard. Looking back at the first year of working constantly from home, I’ve come up with a positive balance in many areas. Before the lockdown, approximately 284 days of the year would have started with a stressful early morning routine. Working from home saved me about 24,750 kilometres on motorways and 195,000 air miles. I even had the time to dive deeper into this calculation: the amount of carbon dioxide that this workload of travelling would have created is equal to the production of 41.58 tons ...just produced by me, myself, and I. The last year was record-breaking in many ways, but I want to take a moment to emphasize these staggering environmental statistics. My normal working habits in my role on the road is causing an average of 41t of CO2 per year. Just as a reference, a normal German habitant should produce something around 7.9 tons. Besides the stress and amount of money that travelling eats up, I was astonished by this high number. Every single kilometre with my car produces 102g of CO2, and each air mile by plane produces 200g. Of course, it would be possible to optimize the number, for example by replacing my diesel with an electric car (which would require 62g per km instead which would be a marginal gain already) or I could try to reach my targets more often by taking the train and calculate with longer travel times instead. All in all, my personal carbon footprint would still be high. The real change was forced on me by the pandemic with the consequence of exchanging face-to-face meetings through online interactions with colleagues, partners, prospects, and customers. Having a look at my individual contribution to air pollution, I can only underline efforts of various green organisations to more regularly avoid travelling for the sake of working from home. Greenpeace has requested to have a certain amount of work-from-home days each week. The organisation has found that at least one third of the German workforce (25 - 37%) has been working from home since the first phase of the German lockdown in mid-April 2020. The Work from Anywhere Trends Dashboard from Zscaler replicates these findings - the amount of remote user traffic has risen steadily since the first lockdown, showcasing that companies have adopted the new working from anywhere paradigm slowly. For reference, making a permanent habit of working remotely one or two days per week would save up to 5.4 million tonnes of CO2 in Germany. Personally, I’m of the strong belief that the possibility of being able to work from home is one of the positive side effects of the dark times resulting from the global health crisis. However, I’m coming across a lot of different opinions, and offices are still full of employees (not only in industries where remote working is not feasible). I was curious to understand the reasons for these different habits of continuing to work from corporate offices. Outside of technological reasons, like missing infrastructure to enable efficient and secure remote access, other factors prevent people from working from home. Not being able to structure a working day while working from home is just one of the arguments I’ve heard let alone families who have to share limited space in a household with kids and try to juggle between facilitating a job and monitoring homeschooling efforts while also keeping children happy and motivated. Not seldomly, it was the employer that demanded to work from office spaces as there still seems to be a certain reluctance to trust the productivity of remote workers. Experience proves these sceptics to be wrong, as best practise examples of Zscaler customers show (Working from Home: Greater Efficiency brings productivity). Given the right technology infrastructure for fast and reliable remote access, staff is as productive working from home, if not more productive, as some of the typical office distractors are being reduced. Some early adopters have embraced the work from anywhere mentality full-heartedly and don’t regret it. My daily online conferences show the differences, reflecting which companies have adapted fast and are able to enable their workforce to keep the business productivity going. My personal takeaways from this “new normal” are that you have to adapt to get the most out of your daily online meetings. Virtual interactions require as much preparation time, if not more, to live up to all expectations of a group of meeting participants. You can’t have a face-to-face chat during a coffee break or at the bar in the evening to make sure that you have brought your point across. You need to follow up with more phone conversations or meetings and need to invest more time to accomplish a mutual understanding for a project’s success. I also have found out that it is super important to stay motivated about little successes, as we all miss the bigger events to look forward to, like our next big adventure in a foreign country. The last year has shown that this way of doing business is feasible. I, for one, have grown to be an expert timekeeper and learned how to differentiate between working hours and leisure time, and I don’t want to miss my newly-won freedom that I don’t have to spend travelling. Even if it might still take some time to convince all remaining sceptics, the year of lockdown has catapulted many organisations into the future way of working today. We have grown accustomed to video conferencing and will have to keep the habit of making an educated decision, when a personal contact is the preferred option for a meeting, once contact restrictions will be loosened. So the question has to be: what did we learn in the last year, that is here to stay? I personally have made up my mind already. I’ll have a closer look at my carbon footprint moving forward. The environment will profit from it. Mon, 15 Mar 2021 01:00:02 -0700 Kevin Schwarz https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/key-takeaways-year-remote-work Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Diana Vikutan on Developing Zscaler and Honing Multitasking Skills During Quarantine https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-diana-vikutan-developing-zscaler-and-honing In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential and powerful women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Diana Vikutan, Director of Cloud Operations at Zscaler, manages a team of Program and Project Managers and was the first Program Manager at Zscaler when she joined six years ago. Diana and her team oversee platform and private infrastructure programs as well as cross-functional and internal CloudOps projects. “I’m so proud to be a part of Zscaler’s success and growth story and part of the great team that helped to move a promising private company to a global player and an industry leader in the cybersecurity space,” she said. Q: What advice do you have for women wanting to get into tech? A: Just do it! Make that first step, whether it’s getting a technical degree, completing that training course, or landing a first job, you have to make an initial effort no matter how small it seems at the time in order to see results in the future. Without trying, you would never know what you are capable of. If I could give my younger self any professional advice, it would be to not be afraid to take risks! Q: Who was your greatest inspiration when you were growing up and why? A: I’ve never considered a particular person as my inspiration. I’ve always preferred to set my own goals. At the end of the day, you can only be successful when you don’t compare yourself to others but compete with yourself instead. Q: Have you picked up a hobby during quarantine? A: During quarantine, I’ve definitely taken my multitasking skills to the next level as a working mother of a toddler! For more about how Zscaler is celebrating International Women's Day and Women's History Month, read this blog: Fostering Corporate Inclusivity: Honoring Zscaler Leaders on International Women’s Day. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: How Jey Govindan Empowers Future Generations of Women in Tech Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Sandi Lurie and Karen Mayerik Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:00:01 -0800 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-diana-vikutan-developing-zscaler-and-honing Celebrating Women at Zscaler: Sandi Lurie and Karen Mayerik https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-sandi-lurie-and-karen-mayerik In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re recognizing influential women at Zscaler who have made a significant impact within their careers, teams, and on the Zscaler family as a whole. Karen Mayerik Karen Mayerik is a Sales Engineering Manager for customers that are in education and state and local governments. “If you love problem-solving, tech is an amazing place to be,” she said. “I get a lot of satisfaction from meeting with customers, understanding where they're having challenges, and being able to solve those problems for them. There's something that is really creative as part of that process.” Outside of work, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, ages 10 and 12. “We love to go to the lake as a family,” she said. “And we actually have a rule that when we're on the boat or around the campfire, we put all of our devices away, so it's always a nice break!” Sandi Lurie Sandi Lurie has been Vice President, Talent Acquisition at Zscaler since July 2020. “Our job is to attract and hire top talent into the company while maintaining an exceptionally high bar for candidate experience,” she said. “Watching the careers of people that I've worked with and hired in my past companies is extremely rewarding. Everything from leaving the talent acquisition career to go into HR business partner or operational roles, or seeing people that I hired into their first job now running talent teams at scaling companies themselves, I love seeing people succeed.” Outside of work, in non-quarantine times, Sandi loves to travel, attend live theater shows in New York, and spend time with friends and family. Within quarantine, however, she is mastering eyelashes and the art of banana bread baking. To learn more about the powerful women at Zscaler and how we’re celebrating throughout the month, read our International Women’s Day blog. Further reading: Celebrating Women at Zscaler: How Jey Govindan Empowers Future Generations of Women in Tech Wed, 10 Mar 2021 08:00:01 -0800 Kristi Myllenbeck https://www.zscaler.com/blogs/zscaler-life/celebrating-women-zscaler-sandi-lurie-and-karen-mayerik