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 Michael Adjei, Senior Systems Engineer. Learn about the intentionality that underpins Illumio’s collaborative nature.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
My name is Michael Adjei and I’m a Senior Systems Engineer at Illumio, based outside of London. In this role, I deliver the technical “win” when we go into deals.
Systems Engineers serve as the bridge between prospective customers or partners and how a solution works. By delivering technical expertise in a simple and concise way, our prospects can better understand what we do from a technical point of view and from a business solution point of view. For me, it’s not just about the technical solutions we offer, it’s about how we can make them relevant to the problems that our customers are trying to solve.
I am fortunate to work with many different teams here at Illumio, from sales and marketing to the CTO team, legal, and security. As a group, we make sure to deliver value to our prospects and partners on Day 1.
What made you interested in working at Illumio?
Prior to joining Illumio, I worked in the UK cybersecurity channel. I looked after pre-sales, training, and professional services with a focus on perimeter and endpoint security solutions.
When I first learned about Illumio from my manager Adam Brady, I found the technology quite interesting. It was a simple, completely innovative solution to a very elaborate and complicated challenge for organizations. Although Illumio is not trying to do a million things like a lot of other security solutions, Zero Trust segmentation touches so many parts of a business and I immediately found our technology sophisticated and elegant in its simplicity. I was drawn to that initially and knew I wanted to be part of something so unique.
What does a day in the life of Michael look like? What are you working on that excites you?
There are three aspects that make up a typical day for me.
Generally, I spend most of my time in prospect meetings, showing the technical value of Illumio, answering questions, and making our prospects feel comfortable with our solutions. I also work in the “proof of concept (POC)” phase, where we bring Illumio to life and show practitioners how it works in their own environments. Lastly, as I mentioned before, I spend a great deal of time collaborating with different teams, which is quite fulfilling. I work with Marketing and Product Management on messaging, develop blogs, and more.
This is something unique about the Illumio experience. You don’t have to be tied to your core job. Illumineers feel supported, encouraged, and empowered to stretch their professional wings, take on new and exciting cross-functional projects, and explore different areas of the business. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here that is both exciting and challenging.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Illumio so far?
I have learned that professional growth thrives in an environment that is collaborative in nature. At Illumio, there is a willingness to help, which has allowed me to develop my skillset and areas of expertise in our solution quickly and beyond what may have been possible on my own. When I first started, my colleague and fellow Systems Engineer, Migchiel de Jong, offered to help and mentor me. Others did too! It is that inclination to assist that has made the SE team, and the organization as a whole, thrive.
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I enjoy socializing, spending time with my friends and family, and anything that involves being outdoors. I am also a huge fan of documentaries, particularly those that focus on current affairs and history. I like to understand why things are the way they are. I thrive on the “why”. Recently, I watched the biographical drama “The Founder”, which explained the history of McDonalds—very interesting.
Which Illumio core value resonates most with you and why?
Onwards Together. It’s not a cliché, it’s an actual pillar of our culture. Something that drives the company and something I value and appreciate deeply. I see it in practice every day. If a colleague has a problem, people are willing to help. They jump on a call, engage in a working session, and do what it takes to solve a challenge. The culture here is not competitive, it’s collaborative. And ‘Onwards Together’ underpins all of our other core values. You can ‘run to challenges’ because you are doing so as a team. You can ‘bring your best’, because if it’s not enough to solve a problem, someone is willing to help.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
Illumio is not a company that was doing something random and stumbled upon Zero Trust segmentation. We were founded to solve a very specific problem, one that was difficult for organizations to address with the myriad of technologies available to them at the time. There is a very specific reason why our technology exists, a reason why our culture is the way it is. Everything about Illumio is purposeful. I really appreciate that, and I know others do as well.
Interested in joining the team? Check out our career openings.