Inside Illumio is a monthly series that highlights the exceptional individuals behind Illumio’s world-class product. Each post will take a 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 Gianfranco Spatola, IT Administrator. Hear about his experience as an Illumio employee and which core value resonates most with him.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
I was born and raised in San Jose, so I am a Silicon Valley native. I attended San Jose State University and received my degree in Business Administration with a concentration in management information systems. While there, I was always interested in cybersecurity-related coursework, so upon graduation two years ago, I sought out opportunities in the industry and joined Illumio through its internship program.
I kicked things off by attending our global team offsite, Onwards!, and RSA Conference within my first few weeks, gaining a first-hand look at our business and industry as a whole. The internship provided a great opportunity to gain real-world experience, so when I was offered a full-time position a few months later, I quickly accepted. Now, I work as an IT Administrator, where I support the organization to make sure all users are up and running and assist with troubleshooting.
What does a day in the life of Gianfranco look like? What are you working on that excites you?
It goes without saying that in IT, every day is different. I usually start each morning by reviewing everything that’s happened since I left the office the night before and building out my priorities for the day. From there, I am often pulled in a few different directions, and am constantly readjusting my daily to-do list based on the needs of the organization. Aside from the daily duties, I have several weekly deliverables, like preparing for new hires, that I facilitate for my larger team. In terms of exciting projects, we are working to onboard a new tool that will enhance our IT processes and user experience, so it’s been really fun to learn about that process and make sure our organization is prepared for this change.
How do you stay illuminated during the work day?
I’ve got a really great team, so I would say that the people here keep me illuminated throughout the work day. If there is ever a challenge that I may be struggling with or frustrated by, I know I can go to any one of my team members to hash it out. I’ve learned that with collaboration, anything can be resolved.
We’ve also got a great office here in Sunnyvale, so you may find me stepping away from my desk occasionally to stay illuminated. It clears my mind to walk through the halls, bump into individuals from other teams, and engage them in a quick conversation. There are so many interesting people working at Illumio, it’s always great to chat with people I don’t get to work with on a daily basis.
What is the most important thing you've learned at Illumio so far?
My classes at SJSU taught me a lot about working with people, but at Illumio, I’ve learned a great deal about communicating to different departments within the company. Different people within the organization have different needs, but it’s my job to communicate with them in a way that allows us both to be successful. I am a bit of a reserved person by nature, but when it comes to helping people, that’s never an issue.
What's your favorite restaurant in the Bay Area?
I may be biased, but my favorite restaurant in the Bay Area is actually owned by my parents – Paesano Ristorante Italiano in downtown San Jose. My favorite dish is something I would often get as a kid, veal scaloppini with sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and black olives in a balsamic vinegar sauce. I loved it so much that they actually named it after me: the Veal Gianfranco!
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I grew up playing soccer and it’s still incredibly important to me. I used to play for the San Jose Earthquakes Academy as a forward and/or wing and still love to play when I have the chance. In general, I like to spend my weekends with my friends, and Sundays are reserved for family time.
Which Illumio core value resonates most with you and why?
I like all of our core values, but the top three that resonate most with me are: Bring Your Best, Building Trust, and Run to Challenges. I feel that each of these are meaningful not just in my work life, but also in my personal life. I want to show up for my colleagues in the same way I would show up for my friends and family: as trustworthy, reliable, and resilient. And, as a part of the IT team, there are a lot of challenges that we come across, but the only way to tackle them is to run toward them and face them head-on.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
I want people to know that there are lots of opportunities for growth at Illumio. And not just in the sense that you can start as an intern and grow in your career as I have. In a startup environment like ours, there are lots of opportunities to explore a number of different roles and to take on more responsibilities along the way. I’ve enjoyed watching myself and my colleagues grow over the last two years. Working with everyone here is a real pleasure.
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