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Illumio Culture

Inside Illumio: Chris Clarkson

Inside Illumio is a monthly series that highlights the exceptional individuals behind Illumio's world-class products. Each post will peek behind the scenes to spotlight a member of our team. Come get to know us a little better and learn more about what makes Illumio's culture so unique.  

This month, meet Chris Clarkson, Global Partner Engineering Director. Learn why Chris believes a growth mindset is essential to cybersecurity, what makes Illumio a great place to grow, and the two subjects you can find him reading about in his free time.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?  

I joined Illumio a little over two years ago as a Channel Systems Engineer. I’m now the Director of Global Partner Engineering at Illumio leading our pre-sales partner program. I feel very privileged to lead a talented team and leverage their wisdom to empower our partners.  

I see my role as a very key component in driving excitement and knowledge around Illumio’s technology in our partner ecosystem. I’m focused on understanding how we can support our partners’ businesses and ensuring they have the best technical knowledge to bring value to customers.  

What made you interested in working at Illumio?

The technology. Zero Trust Segmentation is an incredibly interesting, disruptive space. And it also brought me back to my roots.  

Before joining Illumio, I had spent about eight years in identity security, but I got my start right out of school in networking and network security as a data center engineer. I moved through operation centers into network design and then into consulting where I got experience working with the channel and partner ecosystem before I returned to the vendor side.  

Joining Illumio felt a little bit like home because I was going back to the network space. I’d also built a well-rounded understanding of Zero Trust over the years, especially where identity and networks merge. This made the role a great fit, and I’m thrilled to now be leading the global partner engineering team.  

What does a day in the life of Chris look like? What are you working on that excites you?

My day always starts with exercise and coffee. From there, it can really vary. I could be running enablement sessions, attending an event, meeting with leaders in our technical partner ecosystem, or collaborating with my team on ways to build out our partner pre-sales and enablement practices. I’m also travelling quite a bit, and I really enjoy meeting our team and partners in person. No one day is the same – that’s what I love about my job.  

I'm particularly excited for the launch of our pre-sales expert certification later this year. We've already released the first steps in this enablement path, and we’re continuing to add to it. I enjoy finding creative ways to enable and excite our partners about Illumio and help them tell our story.  

What is the most important thing you've learned at Illumio so far?

The power of collaboration. I believe in winning as a team and learning from each other. Illumio has such a wonderful depth and variety of experience, and I think it's very important that we unlock that power to help our customers and partners.  

What are you passionate about outside of your career?

I really enjoy fitness – being able to get out and cycle, run, hike, or go to the gym.  

I also like to read, especially about history and philosophy. I heard a quote once, “If you want to learn something new, read an old book.” I think there's a lot of wisdom that comes from historical challenges which can help us in today's world.  

And of course I like food, and I love to cook. I don't get as much time to cook as I'd like to, but if I get the opportunity on weekends, I enjoy trying to make something from scratch. It doesn’t always come out great, but I love to try!

Which Illumio core value resonates with you and why?

All of them are important and have their purpose, but the one that resonates with me the most is run to challenges.

A growth mindset has been so important to me over the years. It’s helped me overcome my own challenges and push myself to reach difficult goals. I believe it’s the same in cybersecurity. We need to be constantly learning, and we’re always going to be challenged. Having a strong growth mindset allows you to run to – not shy away – from those obstacles. I find that really rewarding.

What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?

Illumio is a great place to work if you want to grow. We’re in a part of the cybersecurity industry that is disrupting the status quo.  

Unlike other most established or traditional cyber categories, Illumio is paving a new path. We’re constantly innovating and evolving – and part of that challenge is changing people’s mindsets around security. There’s so much to learn working with a company that is redefining segmentation and what a secure, resilient network infrastructure should be.

Interested in joining the team? Check out our career openings.

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Assume Breach.
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