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 Iris Shieh, Accounting Manager at Illumio. Learn about how Illumio is her first ‘real job’ and why she is still here after three years.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
My name is Iris Shieh and I am an Accounting Manager at Illumio. I joined the company about three years ago and I’ve been learning here ever since. In my role, I cover a wide range of areas from cash, international accounting, accruals, and everything in between that’s not revenue or equity related.
Through my day-to-date activities and projects, I’ve had the opportunity to work with quite a few different departments within Illumio, including IT, Marketing, Engineering, the People team, and our international teams, which is fantastic!
Before Illumio, I worked at Ernst and Young for five years. The inside joke here is that Illumio is actually my first ‘real job’, where I’m hands-on, in the operations, and down in the details, not just auditing other people’s work.
A fun fact to know about me is that my Bachelor’s degree is actually in Biology. My background has nothing to do with accounting, but I stumbled across the profession because my mom was a Tax Accountant before she retired. She knew I was not interested in going down the Ph.D. route (I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to go to school for another eight years), so she suggested I try accounting. I spent a gap year after undergrad participating in the Santa Clara CAAP program and taking a lot of Accounting units, and the rest is history!
What made you interested in working at Illumio?
When I was exploring other opportunities toward the end of my time with my last employer, I was deciding between working for a large, public company or a smaller private organization. At a large, public company, the processes are already laid out for you, but at an earlier stage private company, I would have an opportunity to build something from the ground up and learn a lot through that process. Given I hadn’t had any operational experience, I thought the opportunity to join a company like Illumio sounded most compelling.
Beyond company size, I also had many connections to Illumio before joining. I had met our CFO Anup through my previous job, as well as many other Illumio team members like Lillia Posada, Senior Director of FP&A, Stephan Joe, VP of IT, and Zoe Yang, Director of Revenue and Technical Accounting. Even though Illumio was a brand-new company and the jump from audit to the operational side was a bit daunting, I knew I would be surrounded by smart professionals that I trust and respect greatly.
Aside from the personal aspect, Illumio also has great investors and customers, so I knew I’d be joining a well-vetted organization.
After three years, why are you still excited about the opportunity here?
The primary reason why I am still excited about the opportunity here at Illumio is the people. We have a great team that I love working with not just in my department, but across departments. I have met some amazing people here. So much of work is about the human experience and the team you get to collaborate with daily.
Aside from the people, we have a great product that I genuinely believe in. It’s exciting to work for a company that you truly stand behind.
How is your team thinking about hybrid work?
Our team is welcome to be in the office as often as wanted/needed, but we have chosen two days each week in which we all attend in person, so we can see each other and collaborate live on projects. People, especially those with children or animals at home, have appreciated the level of flexibility that Illumio has offered, but it’s also great to see friendly faces, enjoy the office snacks, and work on cross-functional projects in person.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Illumio so far?
Be flexible. You really must learn how to adapt and learn how to be proactive to meet your goals. At a high-growth company, things are constantly evolving and it’s important to focus on growth and work with your team to determine how you can innovate as a team.
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I love European football. My team is Atlético de Madrid. Interestingly, the national team I support is Germany, so, very different! I’ve been known to fly to Spain on a whim to attend a match, and on a family trip to Switzerland a few years ago, I took a one-day detour trip to Madrid to catch a game. When they come to the U.S. (which they occasionally do for exhibition games), I’ll travel to see them. I’ve also watched them in Japan!
My other passion is baking, and I often bring my latest creations into the office with me to share with the team. Most recently, I made a burnt Basque cheesecake. It’s a cross between a cheesecake and a crème brulee and it’s very decadent and delicious. Surprisingly, I didn’t find it that difficult to make due to the simplicity of the ingredients. A recipe that I’ve found and enjoy is only five ingredients.
Which Illumio core value resonates most with you and why?
Onwards Together. This value incapsulates our other core values and ties everything together. It’s no exaggeration to say that every project I have ever worked on, Illumineers really exemplify this value. Each team member is always willing to come together and bring their best to make sure we are all working toward one common goal. It’s also a sense you get when you’re at work at Illumio. Everyone is doing their best. During our departmental All-Hands, Anup invites leaders from other parts of the organization to present on what their team is working on and what they are proud of. You can tell based on these presentations that people are working really hard, together, to make the company better and more successful. It never fails to make me smile when a member of our People team, Aly, signs off her emails with “Onwards!”. It’s the spirit of our company in one simple phrase.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
You must be ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. You have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone, take on things you may not have done before, and challenge yourself to bring your best every day. Don’t worry, there will be people at the organization ready and willing to help you throughout your journey. And at the end of the day, you will learn and do more at Illumio than you thought yourself capable of.
Interested in joining the team? Check out our career openings.