It was about 8:50am on a Monday when I sat down at my home desk. I had a hastily-made coffee in one hand that I nervously sipped as I booted up my work computer for the first time. It was the same model as my personal laptop for school, but it felt strange and unfamiliar. This whole experience felt that way. I was starting an internship completely from home, with nothing but Zoom and an Outlook calendar at my disposal. I couldn’t figure out what made me more nervous, the at-home setup or the magnitude of the opportunity itself. But within minutes of my first orientation meeting over Zoom, all of those questions and doubts melted away.
At every step of the process, Illumio employees were accessible, friendly and helpful. I never once stepped foot into a bustling Silicon Valley office brimming with employees, but I immediately felt Illumio’s workplace culture in every corner of the virtual workspace. Right away, I was smoothly integrated into an accessible, precise organization system interwoven with just about every app you could ask for from a savvy workplace. Nothing came at me too fast, and likewise, I never felt like I was stuck in any kind of monotonous rut. There was always something new, introduced with just enough time to ask any questions or access any resources I needed.
The work itself was one of the most involved and exciting series of projects I have ever engaged with. I had the chance to visit every corner of the Illumio virtual workspace through interviews with Illumineers from wildly different branches of the company. In the span of three months, I got to ask about everything from the ins and outs of cybersecurity, to international tech marketing. Transcribing and editing those interviews was a great way for me to get acquainted with the comms team, who returned the favor with invitations to virtual meetings that made me feel like I was on the front lines of Illumio’s communications work.
I also had ample time to tap into my creative side with Illumio. Daily work and meetings with the creative team were equal parts inspiring and humbling. I channeled my experiences with video editing and graphical layout into tangible projects that made the rounds through the company. Likewise, I could trust the team to throw me headfirst into complex projects and challenges, knowing full well I had every team member’s support in case I had questions.
The most exciting part of the experience was how consistently curiosity and exploration were rewarded. I never once asked a question that wasn’t met with a genuine and insightful response. In the three months I spent with Illumio, there was always a tangible sense of forward progress to new topics and responsibilities. My base interest and knowledge in creative and communications work was certainly a big part of the internship. But the moment I expressed interest or curiosity in any other kind of topic, the ball was already rolling. I was able to get a tech demo from chief evangelist Nathanael Iversen’s sprawling at-home studio and discuss how it applied to my interests in film. I even got to participate in a mock cold call with the sales team, where I learned just what it meant to be called a “tough cookie” in the sales world.
When it came time to culminate and share these experiences with the company in the summer’s-end presentation, I felt all the warmth and support I could have asked for, even if I was physically separated from the team by a computer screen. In my short time at Illumio, I was able to form some incredible relationships and gain so much perspective on the industry and workplace. Even if I never commuted to the office or made the obligatory intern coffee run, I still feel closer to my coworkers from Illumio than any other community I have ever worked with.
Interested in joining the team as an Illumio intern in 2021? Learn more about the experience and check out the open roles.