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 Nicole Wright (she/her), Executive Assistant to the CFO at Illumio. Read how she keeps learning new things at Illumio despite 20 years' experience as an executive assistant and why Illumio's mission helps her make a meaningful impact on the world.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
I'm a California native and currently live in Morgan Hill with my beautiful partner, Julie, and rescued Frenchie, Zoie. My daughter, Cassidy, is currently finishing up her Master's degree at the University of Nevada at Reno. Our family are big fans of ice hockey (go Sharks!), baseball (go Giants!), and women's soccer (USA! USA!).
I am the Executive Assistant for Illumio's CFO, Anup Singh. Anup brought me into Illumio in May 2019, so I'm a few months away from being at Illumio for 4 years.
I've been an EA since 1999 but have worn many other, sometimes unexpected hats along the way. I've been an ice cream scooper at 31 Flavors, vault teller at a bank, auto claims adjuster at AAA, ran a family-owned roller-skating rink, scrapbooking consultant, and assistant manager of a fitness center.
What made you interested in working at Illumio?
Until early 2019, I hadn't even heard of Illumio. I was in the market for a new opportunity, and my friend from a prior company was working at Illumio and suggested I meet Anup. She thought I'd be a great fit as his executive assistant.
After a few meetings, it was clear that Anup was a leader that I wanted to work with and that Illumio was a company I wanted to be a part of. I felt as though Illumio would offer me the opportunity to really make an impact and help make the company, Anup, and the finance team successful.
What does a day in the life of Nicole look like? What are you working on that excites you?
Some of an EA's day-to-day tasks are very cookie cutter like calendaring, expenses, travel. These are tasks that I work on every day.
But each day is different because the finance team often supports multiple leaders, teams, and projects.
This means EAs must be like Superman:
Faster than a speeding bullet: Proactive, on task, on track, beating deadlines left and right
More powerful than a locomotive: You all know who really runs the company (and world) – EAs do!
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound: Measure twice and cut once to get it done and done right the first time
What is the most important thing you've learned at Illumio so far?
Illumio gives me the opportunity to work on projects that wouldn't traditionally be a part of my role. In a startup, you can be asked to do anything, and I love raising my hand for projects that let me use the knowledge I already have in new ways.
For example, one of my first projects was building our company intranet, IllumiNation. I had worked on intranets before, but I took it upon myself to learn SharePoint to build Illumio's intranet. This project let me build a new skill while using my existing expertise on how an intranet should work.
A more recent example was being able to jump in on Illumio's diversity and inclusion efforts. These working groups included team members from around the organization. I was able to get to know new people, talk openly about difficult topics, and build a richer understanding of different viewpoints.
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I am always fighting for the underdog. Yoda would probably say to me, "Strong is the caregiver force in you!"
I support several charities that support the people I love and the betterment of humanity and our environment, including the Human Rights Campaign, the American Heart Association, the American Brain Foundation, the American Brain Tumor Association, and the Alzheimer's Association.
In my free time, I love to roller skate with my family and do all types of crafting. You name it, and I've either done it or want to try it - from jewelry making, to paper crafts, sewing, baking, screen printing, or woodworking.
Growing up, if my sister or I saw something we wanted to buy, my mom would always say, "I bet you could make that, and it would be better than the original." My sister and I would often make or replicate things. And guess what? Mom was right!
Which Illumio core value resonates with you and why?
It's hard to choose just one, but I'd have to say Bring Your Best.
First, it's a reminder and call to action for me to always show up and be ready to provide the most excellent service I can to Illumio and those that I support.
Second, it's a call to action and clear expectation of those that I work with to do the same. We all have bad days when we aren't feeling quite up to par. But knowing that bringing my best and expecting the best of others is a clear and expected value, it helps us put aside the things that clutter our workdays to perform at our highest level for our fellow Illumineers, Illumio, our Partners, and customers.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
We're in a world now where anyone from anywhere can attack a business from any device – it's not if it will happen but when.
It's important to me that Illumio is working to build a better way of securing us for the future. I believe in and support Illumio's mission to stop breaches and ransomware from spreading across the hybrid attack surface.
Every Illumineer has an opportunity to make a meaningful impact. Working at Illumio fills a side of me that wants to leave a better world.