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Illumio Culture

Executive Spotlight: Todd Palmer

Illumio’s Senior Vice President of Global Partner Sales and Alliances, Todd Palmer

We’re back with another Executive Spotlight post! This showcases the integral leaders and executives responsible for shaping our culture and driving business here at Illumio – exploring everything from their business priorities and leadership philosophies, to what they like to do in their spare time.    

Below, Illumio’s Senior Vice President of Global Partner Sales and Alliances, Todd Palmer, shares his thoughts on the importance of leading through empowerment, the market challenges and opportunities he’s currently focused on, and why he believes trust is the foundation of everything.  

Can you walk us through your career journey and how you ended up at Illumio?

I’m the Senior Vice President of Global Partner Sales and Alliances at Illumio and lead the commercial sales business.  

I first started in technology in 1997 in Arizona after being recruited by Computer Associates. I started there as a sales representative and quickly moved to a sales manager and eventually regional manager for SoCal. After a few years, I was shipped to their New York headquarters for an executive rotational role where I learned about other parts of the business to prepare me for bigger roles in the company. They first offered me a role in Singapore to run their Southeast Asia business, but I declined (at the time we had 3 kids under 5 years old and a dog). They then offered me the opportunity to run their global partner programs and marketing. That’s how I got into the partner world.  

Since then, I’ve spent some time at a few high-growth emerging tech companies during which time I realized I love to build go-to-market models and highly efficient indirect sales models. When I was introduced to Andrew Rubin, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join Illumio. It was the right time, right market, right investment level, right financial backing, huge commitment to building through partners – something that doesn’t happen very often.  

How would you describe your leadership style?

As far as style, I would say I have more of a “coaching style.” As leaders, it’s our job to set clear goals and overall strategy for the organization – and then it’s our job to hire the right people and empower them to do what we hired them to do, not to do it for them.  

I've always believed that you should look for three things when you hire people:  

  1. They are passionate about what they do.
  1. They can build and execute a plan focused on results and outcomes.
  1. They think really, really big.  

Illumio’s opportunity is huge, and it’s important that we empower our teams to meet that opportunity.

What’s the best business or leadership advice you’ve received?

“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” This is from Tom Mendoza, a legend in Silicon Valley; he preaches this all the time. I think it rings true in everything we do at Illumio: our employees, our partners, our customers.  

People’s careers are going to be impacted based on their purchasing decisions. They want to know that you’re in it with them – that you have their best interest and their business in mind.  

What are some of the market challenges and opportunities that Illumio’s focused on right now?

Helping our customers and partners understand how vital microsegmentation is to their security or to the growth of their companies is critical to our success. Because of that, my team and I are maniacally focused on creating qualified opportunities with our partners (people our customers and prospects trust) to build a large, scalable business with them.  

An important part of this work is enabling our partners to not just sell Illumio's platform but help guide customers through their Zero Trust journey. Zero Trust Segmentation is essential to any Zero Trust strategy, so we’re focused on creating enablement resources for our partners that will further enable customers as they build Zero Trust.

What Illumio core value resonates the most with you and why?

Build trust. The foundation of everything is trust. I just saw a quote from Ernest Hemingway in one of our conference rooms, and it is powerful: “The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.”  

People often say that trust is earned, but I don’t necessarily believe that. I think it’s important to start with trust. We’ve done a great job at Illumio hiring the best talent in the industry, and it’s important that we trust them to do the work that is needed and in the best interest of Illumio.  

What do you do when you’re not leading partner sales and alliances at Illumio?

I love spending time with my family. My wife and I have three awesome kids and one crazy dog.  

I’m also a foodie and love to cook. In fact, on day one at Illumio, I signed up to be part of Illumio’s Smoke Club and am looking forward to joining the team when they smoke meat at headquarters. I love to be surrounded by friends and family and cook for everyone.  

I am also a big music fan. My entire family loves music. In fact, my mom loved music, and took me to my first concert, Foreigner, on the Foreigner Four Tour when I was about twelve years old.  

What makes Illumio and the people here special to you?

This is an easy one. Illumio is a flat organization – there are zero politics and no hierarchy. Everyone is willing to jump in and help.

Interested in joining Todd's team? Check out our career openings.

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