Celebrating Women’s History Month - Q&A with Montre Bhiwandiwala

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Join us in celebrating Women’s History Month! We honor the strong pathfinders and trailblazers who came before us and those who continue to push for a more just, equitable society. While International Women's Day was first celebrated on March 8 in 1911, Women's History Month grew from a Women's History Week, first celebrated in 1978. Two years later in 1980, March was designated Women's History Month.


This whole month 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 a female leader here at Palo Alto Networks, Montre Bhiwandiwala, Director, Network Security Customer Success. She wants to share her experiences and advice with all of you. Montre continues to inspire others in the workplace, and we are excited for you to learn more about her.


LIVEcommunity Team: How long have you been working in IT/cybersecurity, and how did you get into the field? Can you talk a bit about what it’s like to be a woman in a historically male-dominated field, and how the industry has changed since you’ve changed (if at all)

Montre: I have been in cybersecurity for a little over 3 years but been in Tech for almost 20 years. Honestly, I don't see that as a downside but an opportunity to work intelligently and create a positive impact on the organization and help bridge the preconceived gap that this industry has. It is very inspiring to see some of our women exec leaders and how they are helping shape the industry and the future.


We have come a long way from the days where I graduated with a CS degree and got into the engineering field to now see so many young women engineers and leaders. I have been very fortunate to have a great tribe of men and women leaders here at PANW and the respect we have for one another.


LIVEcommunity Team: How do you think women have shaped and changed the workplace / PANW?

Montre: Some of the women leaders that I have had the opportunity to work with have not only been inspiring but very passionate about what they do. Growing up I always believed that I would like to work in a space that I love and am immensely passionate about and I truly feel that here at PANW. For me, work is worship and I do see those traits in a lot of our leaders today that just bring joy to my heart and have made me realize if we truly mean business everyone around you is going to support you to achieve that.


LIVEcommunity Team: Who are the women you look up to? Are there any important mentors or influences in your professional or personal life you’d like to share with us?

Montre: Personally, it has been my mother and my sister that I have learnt so much from and I am ever so grateful for that. Right from compassion, to empathy, to being a good human being at the core of it all.

Professionally, I have had the privilege here at PANW to work with some really intelligent and kind women leaders. I am sure as we go along this journey, I will have the opportunity to work with more women leaders.

LIVEcommunity Team: We would love to hear more about your relationship as a mentor to other women in the field. Are you involved in any women's organizations or groups? Is mentorship part of your professional ethos? If so, tell us more!

Montre: It is a complete honor to be able to mentor people and I have had the privilege of mentoring a few here at PANW and also outside of it within our South Asian community.


LIVEcommunity Team: Do you have any morning rituals that you can’t go without? Or: What’s one thing you do to set your day up for success?

Montre: I try to begin my day with a gratitude exercise and warm glass of water 🙂 and if I am lucky enough I try to do my Pranayama for 7 to 8 minutes. This really helps me set the happy and calm vibe for the day.


LIVEcommunity Team: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Montre: I am going to sound cliche but I honestly do love everything about my job. Starting from our people here at PANW to our customers and partners and last but definitely not the least my scope of work, which allows me to create a positive impact and the opportunity of helping our customers create a secure environment for their respective organizations.


LIVEcommunity Team: Where will we find you on a weekend?

Montre: Depending on the weekend but indulging in some outdoor activity, enjoying some good food and wine or working away. 😀


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

Montre: Spend more time with family. Being an immigrant in America and being away from home, spending time is more of a luxury but hoping to bridge that gap after 20 years of being here in California.

LIVEcommunity Team: Misc, put anything else you’d like to mention here!

Montre: Honestly very proud to see all that our women leaders, peers and team members have been doing and the path created by them which will help thousands of other young women who are getting ready to embark upon their professional careers.


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