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 Sudha Iyer, VP of Product Management for Illumio’s cloud solutions. Learn why she’s still passionate about cybersecurity after 25 years in the industry, what strategies she uses to build trust with team members and customers, and how her natural curiosity led her to Illumio.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
I lead Product Management for Illumio’s cloud solutions. I started back in February 2023, and within six months, we were able to put together Illumio CloudSecure and help Illumio continue to work towards becoming a Zero Trust platform.
What made you interested in working at Illumio?
I wasn’t looking for a new role, but Mario, Illumio’s Chief Product Officer, convinced me that my skills could be used to help Illumio build CloudSecure.
I am a builder — that’s just how my brain is wired — and that makes me have a bias for action. I consider myself a lifelong learner and spend all my time trying to figure out how things work, not because someone is asking me to but because I’m naturally curious. I think those personality traits made me a really good fit for the opportunities and challenges in my current role. I’m glad that I joined — I’m enjoying the ride!
What does a day in the life of Sudha look like? What are you working on that excites you?
My days are usually filled with external and internal meetings. The work my team does requires a lot of cross-functional collaboration, across engineering, marketing, operations, finance, and sales. There’s a constant evolution of keeping everyone on the same page. I’m also increasingly meeting with our customers to learn their use cases and pain points to continue driving innovation at Illumio. In fact, between May and October 2023, I had the good fortune to meet with 30 Illumio customers.
The thing that excites me about my work is trying to solve difficult problems — and in the security space right now, there are plenty of them! The one that’s most top of mind for me is how to build a hybrid cloud solution. We’re asking questions like, What are we hearing from conversations with customers? And how do we break implementation down into smaller milestones? I love representing the voice of the customer in my role and building solutions that solve real problems for them.
What is the most important thing you've learned at Illumio so far?
Leadership — how to influence and prioritize teams, processes, and resources. It’s something I’m learning and practicing every day, but working at Illumio makes it an easier task. Everyone is willing to help. Every team cares about solving problems and making Illumio the best it can be.
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
Oh, a million things! I don’t have enough hours in the day. I’m passionate about music and art, and I teach children on the weekends about my religion and eastern philosophy.
I’m also passionate about cybersecurity whether I’m at Illumio or not. I’ve worked in the industry for 25 years. I’m always keeping up with what enterprises are doing, what’s the next big thing in the industry, and what new problems are emerging. I think cybersecurity is something that I will be interested in for the rest of my life; it’s just as much my hobby as it is my job.
Which Illumio core value resonates with you and why?
Build trust is key. I can’t get my job done if people don’t trust me. Without trust, you can’t move a finger. And I think that extends to our customers, too.
I believe every conversation matters — I try to practice, authenticity, truthfulness, and listening in as much as I can. These strategies are some of the most important to building trust with my coworkers and Illumio customers.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
People are fabulous at Illumio. Everyone is energetic and engaged. It's a great place to grow and learn from each other.
We are also working to solve difficult challenges with a unique perspective. If you’re someone who is looking for challenges in your career, enjoys solving hard problems, and wants to fix real problems customers are facing, this is the place for you.