Celebrating Women’s Equality Day

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Women's Equality Day – Recognizing Powerful Women in the WorkplaceWomen's Equality Day – Recognizing Powerful Women in the Workplace

 

Today, we are celebrating Women’s Equality Day here on the LIVEcommunity! This special day commemorates the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote in the United States. This is a time to recognize the strides women have made throughout the years and continue to make across the world. We had the amazing opportunity to connect with some women leaders here at Palo Alto Networks and would like to share their experience and advice with all of you. These women continue to inspire others in the workplace, and we are excited for you to learn more about them.

 

 

Meet DeAndra Jean-Louis, VP of Customer Success for Strata, Palo Alto Networks

 

DeAndra Jean-Louis , VP of Customer Success for Strata, Palo Alto NetworksDeAndra Jean-Louis , VP of Customer Success for Strata, Palo Alto Networks

 

Talk about your experience of being a woman in your field.

My experiences may differ from others given the fact that I grew up with boys (brother, cousins, etc..) and most of my college classes were primarily filled with men, so the awareness of challenges in the workplace for women didn't actually become apparent until it was time to start moving up the corporate ladder. 

 

Additionally, as an African-American woman who grew up in the Southern region of the US (Louisiana),  I was no stranger to the challenges that are considered "the normal way of life" for people that look like me. To stay on track, my parents did a wonderful job in keeping me focused on three goals: higher education, seeing the world, and remembering there is no such thing as a "girl job" (thanks Dad ). There have definitely been challenges along the way, but I never let those moments deter me from my course or allowed them to change the way others viewed me as a professional in the technology space.

 

How do you think women have shaped/changed the workplace?

By the numbers, women’s presence in the workplace has increased from 30.3 million in 1970 to 72.7 million during 2006-2010. In addition to that, women are now in occupations, industries, and roles previously seen as "men only" roles. Gender bias is real, but women are breaking the glass ceilings every day and proving that our productivity, creativity, and energy are key elements to an organization's success.                    

 

What women do you look up to or see as mentors? 

So many women come to mind, but here is a shortlist of the women I admire for a number of reasons:

  • Angela Merkel — For Power
  • Serena Williams — For Strength
  • Ashley Graham — For Disruption
  • Jane Moran (Unilever CIO) — For Global Career Vision

 

Are you involved in any Women organization groups? If so, tell us more!

Yes, I belong to The Athena Alliance. It is a global ecosystem of executive women, influencers, and investors. The goal of the organization is to diversify boards, develop women executives, and create businesses that are built for the future. They provide coaching to women leaders and ensure we can contribute at the highest level of impact, so everyone benefits from diversity in leadership.  

 

Learn more about the Athena Alliance: https://athenaalliance.org/ 

 

How has Palo Alto Networks encouraged equality in the workplace?  

Since joining, Palo Alto Networks has made it clear that diversity is not only top of mind, but it's at the top of the list of corporate initiatives because it makes good business sense. Most of us have seen similar initiatives at other organizations; however, Palo Alto Networks has made diversity an executive-level initiative, and I could not be happier with my decision to join such a great company!

 

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Stop stressing out about the future! And yes, you will leave Louisiana — be patient.

 

 

Meet Jane Chung, VP of Public Cloud at Palo Alto Networks

 

Jane Chung, VP of Public Cloud at Palo Alto NetworksJane Chung, VP of Public Cloud at Palo Alto Networks

Talk about your experience of being a woman in your field.

Being a woman in high-tech leadership today has both its challenges and its rewards. Although women are half the population, we typically make up less than 10% of the leadership ranks in tech. So in many internal meetings and client calls, I can find myself as the only woman in the room. 

 

This February, I wrote a blog about what it is like to be a woman in cybersecurity, and, in that blog, I said that all of my engineering training and 20 years of management experience has come in handy. The more you know, the better you can succeed.

 

 

 

How do you think women have shaped/changed the workplace?

The culture of a company improves when it reflects a more diverse range of perspectives. The presence of women in management has helped expand diversity and drive it to become a more permanent cultural change instead of a passing fad. We have to multitask as coworkers, daughters, siblings, spouses, friends, and moms, filling the gaps for our people at work and at home. We are amazing at what we do.

 

What women do you look up to or see as mentors? 

I look for women who have been able to manage a career while also raising children and sharing responsibilities with their spouses. Many of the women I respect are not famous or in high-level positions, so you wouldn’t know who they are if I mentioned their names. They are friends that still have sound minds after juggling a career while raising children, and they are my heroes and mentors.

 

Are you involved in any Women organization groups? If so, tell us more!

A friend invited me to a Watermark Conference for women a few years ago, and I really enjoyed the venue and the organization’s support for women. I am also a member of the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCys) organization, which provides content and networking opportunities relevant to women in cybersecurity. WiCys provides career opportunities, an analysis of industry trends, and advice on managing a career in cybersecurity. I am also active as an alumni of the universities that I have attended and have provided support for students who need interview coaching or general career advice. 

 

Learn more about Women in Cybersecurity (WiCys): https://www.wicys.org

 

How has Palo Alto Networks encouraged equality in the workplace?  

Palo Alto Networks encourages equality in the workplace and regularly hosts corporate-wide sessions to promote inclusion and diversity. The company still has a lot of work to do to expand balance and provide a more diverse culture but has made high strides in making this an ideal place for women to work. 

 

What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

One bit of advice I would give to all of my younger selves is to let go of anger and frustration more quickly when you hit roadblocks, learn to enjoy time spent with family and friends, and worry less about what tomorrow will bring.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed learning more about these amazing women as much as we did! Thank you to our female leaders for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts with us.

 

If you enjoyed reading this blog, feel free to like and comment down, what stood out to you?

 

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Comments
Community Team Member

 Thank you for taking the time to share these insights with us!  Very inspirational!

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Community Manager

Two great women leader stories. Informative and inspirational. 

1,156 Views
L0 Member

Thanks for sharing this with us . It's very encouraging and very positive. Its interesting that both of you have advised not to stress and worry about the future ..... really wanna know how to do that

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