International Women's Day: A Look Inside

Community Team Member

The LIVEommunity at Palo Alto Networks celebrates International Day of Women on March 8 by walking the talk on belonging, inclusiveness, and doing our part to close the gender gap in cybersecurity and technology. 


Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 7.07.12 PM.pngIryna volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank. The practice of giving and feeding people in need reinforced values instilled at an early age.

Our celebration of International Women's Day begins in our own community, with Senior Front End Web Developer, Iryna Charkashyna.




You might not find Iryna’s name sprinkled generously throughout the discussion forum, for her important role instead results in the quiet assurance of a pleasant, smooth user experience in our community.


Think of Iryna as a super-talented chef creating custom delicacies that make the LIVEcommunity restaurant a dining experience worth repeating.


If you enjoy the site design, look and feel, gizmos, graphics, animation, and cool features in the LIVEcommunity, you have Iryna to thank.


Iryna’s success requires not only the technical skills of a software developer and programmer, but the eagle eye of a designer and the imagination of a visionary.




Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 6.04.46 AM.pngIf you like what you see in the Live Community, you have Iryna to thank - go ahead, leave a comment and a high five below!IRYNA STRUTS HER STUFF

This creative programmer lends her talent to building great ports of entry in the LIVEcommunity. One of her favorite sections in the community is Getting Started with VM-Series in the Public Cloud. Iryna likes the complexity of the work she did using APIs to build this section, as well as the aesthetic and design skill she brings to these pages.


Check out her original, graphical tribute to International Women's Day here and on our home page, too!


In addition to software development and design skills, Iryna is a Certified Lithium SaaS Platform Administrator, great news for the LIVEcommunity, which is hosted on the Lithium (now Khoros) platform. As such, Iryna oversees the highest security clearance levels in the community. Additionally, she shares responsibility for keeping the LIVEcommunity safe, spam-free, and performing optimally.




Iryna was born in Siberia on a small military base. The family's home offered a clear view of the Ural mountains, whose steep peaks and ascents must have suggested that gazing admirers, under the spell of the mountains, set out on a lifelong quest to conquer new heights. We think Iryna was so inspired. Her goal of realizing great potential helped her enjoy a rich association with the arts, gymnastics, and academic and professional pursuits. 

The only daughter of father, Vladimir Naskovich, an army engineer who achieved the rank of colonel in the air force, and mother, Nina Konopatska, an executive secretary for a top firm in town, Iryna grew up in Belarus, sharing her childhood with one brother.


me-strawberry-farm.jpgLife on Babushka's farm instilled an early love of growing her own food and sharing with others. Iryna still enjoys harvesting from the fields and gardening. Here, she's picking strawberries.

Owing to the benefits of a large and loving extended family, Iryna and her brother spent much of their childhood on Babushka (grandmother) Olga’s farm, helping with the animals and crops, living responsibly on the land, and practicing environmental stewardship before it was even a thing. Iryna remembers, "Grandmother Olga had 11 children, and she’d always say, ‘You might be amazed by what you can accomplish!’ She certainly encouraged me to amaze even myself!"


Bolstered by the solid rock that is Babushka, Iryna yearned for academic and professional pursuits that would eventually take her far from home. Her experiences would then lend an informed and well-rounded perspective to her dreams. Iryna’s curiosity and bright mind catapulted her into computer programming, a profession she finds immensely rewarding though still dominated by far too fewer women than men.


By the numbers? Sometimes the disparity was as high as 500 men to 10 women. But the gender gap proved undaunting for Iryna. She completed an MS in Computer Science and Applied Physics, then went on to pursue studies in Java and JavaScript, as well as digital media and internet services.


me-office1.jpgThe gender gap was no obstacle for Iryna, who holds an MS in computer science.


Iryna’s coworkers and colleagues admire her determination and tenacity at problem solving.


In ‘debug mode,’ Iryna is thorough and relentless.


In creative mode, she is imaginative and professional, combining color, texture, theme, purpose, and the elements of good design to deliver a finished product with polish and originality.


Iryna inspires all those around her. She once had the entire office either playing tennis or trying to learn. If music is playing, expect to find Iryna dancing.


She's also fun and outgoing, and makes work fun -- whether she's writing code or sorting donations at Second Harvest Food Bank. Her sense of humor, smile and laughter are welcome extras we hadn't even counted on!


The long hours Iryna may invest in a project simply speak of her dedication to the success of our team and the work we do.


We took advantage of this International Day of Women to shoot a few questions Iryna's way:


QUESTION: How would you persuade or entice a recent graduate to pursue a career in computer science, technology, engineering, IT, infosec, or cybersecurity – what would you say?


IRYNA: A career in computers, programming, or high-tech is fun! It’s never boring, as you’re always learning new skills and exercising your brain! Software development skills ensure that you’ll be a top-notch candidate or entrepreneur in technology, commanding a good salary, respect and independence. Technology is a great career choice, and computer programming or software development really lets you practice creative problem solving.



QUESTION: How do you measure a successful day at work?


IRYNA: A successful day is when you learn something new, fix a problem, and help others. Always help others. I like being able to do something out of the box that you never did before or ever even thought you could do. Move out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself with success!



me-tennis1.jpgAn invigorating tennis match ends in victory!

QUESTION: What are some ways you like spending your time away from work?


IRYNA: I love salsa dancing and playing tennis, and I’m pretty good at both.


Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 7.48.16 PM.pngDancing salsa all night is a great way to unwind from the detailed precision of programming.




I like spending time gathering fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the field, and gardening, too, because I am reminded of my childhood memories on Babushka’s farm.  Other favorite pasttimes include swimming in the ocean, cooking and baking, art and painting, too! I also enjoy travel – I had a great time in Ecuador, Mexico, and New York last year. I love seeing my mother and visiting family back home in Belarus, too, but the trip takes a long time.



Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 3.43.03 AM.pngWe think this critter, Tony, occupies a good deal of Iryna's time away from work, too!QUESTION: What were your impressions of the Watermark women's conference you attended with others from Palo Alto Networks and other major Silicon Vallley companies?


IRYNA: Watermark was different from anything I’d ever experienced. Usually, I’m only coding and doing my job, not at a conferences like this.


At Watermark, I remember thinking, I have never seen so many women together, and I feel so powerful, like we could rule the world.


We can make a tremendous impact because we have children, raise them, work hard, take care of the entire family, and still look great!


We women are simply unstoppable! We just need to believe we can do anything we set our minds to and try!




Iryna continues, Grandmother Olga had 11 children, and she’d say, ‘You will be amazed by what you can accomplish!’ She certainly encouraged me to amaze even myself!


Women in technology have already achieved a lot just by being there, trying to code or design, thinking out of their comfort zones, yet consistently performing even with the distraction that families, illness, and other responsibilities can bring.



me-Monterey.jpgIryna enjoys a peaceful moment on the Monterey Bay.


WORDS OF WISDOM: Always go after what challenges you, and go after what you want. Live life to the fullest, enjoying what brings you happiness. Never lose sight of who you are, where you came from, and draw strength from the power and triumph of your journey.


Community Team Member

Iryna is one of the hardest working employees that I know. She is always there to help and her work always looks top notch. Glad to work with her.

Community Manager

Thank you @jdelio for your nice words about me :-)

Thank you so much our @editeur for writing about me, as a sofware Dev I'm always behind the scene :-), invisibly doing what I'm most passionate about.

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