Inside Illumio is a monthly series that highlights the exceptional individuals behind Illumio’s world-class products. 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 Grant Rexer, Illumio’s Senior Customer Success Advisor, who’s based in Illinois. Hear about how he ended up at Illumio and his opinion on Chicago-style pizza.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
I’m a Senior Customer Success Advisor at Illumio. As the job title suggests, I work directly with customers – both those who are brand new to Illumio and those who are more advanced in their journey. Internally, it’s my job to represent the voice of the customer to the company. Externally, I start working with customers before a sale happens and help them implement the solution. Then, I stick around after the customer has deployed the product to help them use Illumio to solve their business problems and initiatives. My job is to nurture Illumio’s relationships with our customers.
What led you to working at Illumio?
I’ve been at Illumio for a little over three years. Well before joining the team, I had always been interested in security and technology. Even in high school I took some basic RPG classes and learned all that I could about technology. I started out in law enforcement (another form of security) as a police officer in Chicago. I was working the midnight shift for the police department, and I was working in accounting systems part-time during the day. Eventually, one of the accounting firms asked me to come on board full-time. I jumped at the opportunity because I loved technology and, most of all, I loved solving business problems. This led me to more roles at software companies and eventually back to security – cybersecurity – at Illumio.
What are you working on that excites you?
The most exciting part of my work is helping customers achieve success. For example, a customer might come to me and say they need to be PCI-compliant by a certain date or things will be really bad for their company and they might even lose their job. Being able to help the customer reach their goals makes it all worth it. Helping the individuals I work with become heroes and champions in their own organizations is a great feeling. Hearing comments like, “We don’t worry about Illumio’s software – it just works,” is really what I get up and go to work for.
How has your role changed since we started working remotely?
Prior to the pandemic, I was on site with customers several days a week. Now, I meet with customers from my home office via Zoom. When we start engaging with a customer, I just want to hop on a plane and go visit them. Obviously, I can’t do that safely right now. Building deep business relationships is different over Zoom. It works, but I look forward to the day when I can visit the customer in person again and have more of a personal approach to the work.
How do you stay illuminated during the workday?
I’m used to not being in an office, and over the years, I’ve learned that it’s all about the basics. Managing my day is important. I take regular breaks and make a point to get out of the house when I can. When I’m getting pummeled with meetings, I’ll put a hold on my calendar to make sure I have time for a break or an exercise at lunch. Another important thing is knowing when to cut off your day. I work across various time zones, so it’s crucial to make sure that working well past 5:00pm isn’t a habit. It’s all about balance.
What’s your favorite food?
I come from Chicago, so I love deep dish pizza. Giordano’s is my favorite. This might be controversial for the folks on the East Coast, but I always say, “If you can fold your pizza, it’s not a pizza – it’s a calzone.”
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at Illumio so far?
Know your limitations. Make sure you are confident in what you’re saying and if you’re not, don’t say it. Also, be sure to bring the right people and resources to the table. Don’t be afraid to ask for the team and the support you need. You’re never going to know it all. One of the best things about Illumio is the constant collaboration. You can always find help -- you just need to ask.
What career advice do you have for your younger self?
Get comfortable with change. As soon as you think you have something figured out, it’ll change. Life-long learning is the key to success, especially if you’re in technology.
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I’m really passionate about my family. Together, my wife and I have six kids, and during this crazy year, I had my first two granddaughters.
Which Illumio core value resonates with you most and why?
Build trust. As a Senior Customer Success Advisor, my job is all about building trust, both internally and externally. The customer has to trust that I’ll make them successful. It’s important that they feel that I have been here before and that I’ll help carry them over the finish line. Internally, when Illumio lands a customer, the team hopes that I’ll help to make this not just a good customer, but a great customer. Part of building trust is bringing your best – bringing the best tools and the best team to any challenge. At Illumio, making our customers successful is a team sport.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
This is a fantastic time to be at Illumio. Today, instead of asking customers what they would like to do about their challenges, we’re asking them about their business and coming to the table with solutions and advice. We’re old enough to have seen and solved a lot of problems alongside customers, but young enough to still be learning, innovating, and growing.