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 Susan Fagel, Senior People Operations Specialist at Illumio. Read about the many opportunities she has had to grow in her career at Illumio and the name of her favorite true crime podcast.
What’s your role at Illumio?
I’m part of the HR operations team as a Senior People Operations Specialist, and I’ve been here for about 4 years. When I started, Illumio had about 260 employees and now we have almost 600, so we’ve changed quite a bit since I joined!
Currently, I own our immigration program as well as leaves of absences, a niche area within benefits. I work with employees with immigration needs and help our team members plan for any kind of life change, including family leave or medical leave.
A lot of my job revolves around transitions. Walking an employee through those types of situations, getting them the resources they need to understand what is available to them, and supporting them through their life or employment changes.
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved in immigration and leaves of absences that I do on the back end that people don’t always see.
What brought you to Illumio?
I had a colleague who had previously worked with the SVP of People at another company and recommended Illumio’s People Operations team to me. Illumio seemed like such a unique opportunity to learn, dive into processes, and help build a fast-growing startup.
The opportunity to wear many different hats at Illumio appealed to me. I was still learning about People Operations when I joined Illumio, and I wanted the opportunity for more collaborative experiences and to keep growing in my career. The team is amazing, and I’ve learned so much throughout my time here.
Seeing all the things we’ve accomplished, and the changes we’ve navigated through as a business is incredible. A sense of community and connection is seen through each team; people genuinely enjoy working with each other and truly believe in Illumio's mission. It’s amazing to be a part of that!
What does a day-in-the-life for you look like?
It changes every day! But I’m oftentimes working with our partners to better support employees, making updates and changes to policies and processes that we’ve outgrown, and working one-on-one with employees to assist with immigration and leaves of absences. Much of my role is being a support for employees, whether by simplifying access to resources or by meeting with them to walk through different options that are available.
We’re also focused on updating our current processes, which I’m excited about. Right now, Illumio is at an inflection point in our growth. We have a unique opportunity to leverage tools to work better for us and find ways to make them easier for our employees to use as we grow.
Our team is always talking through new opportunities to make things more efficient and streamlined, both for ourselves and employees. I love looking into the nuances of policies and processes to find ways to improve them – it’s one of the things I love most about my job!
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I discovered over the pandemic that I love to cook. I tend to glance at recipes or cooking videos for inspiration but never follow the actual recipe; I challenge myself to take whatever is available in my kitchen and throw it together. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the outcome every time!
Cooking allows me to be creative and use a different part of my brain than what’s active at work. It’s nice at the end of the day to put a meal together; it’s really relaxing. I’ve even started writing down my own recipes so I can recreate them again!
When I’m not building new recipes, I love to read and listen to true crime podcasts. Shoutout to the First Degree podcast! It’s probably one of my favorites. Sometimes I enjoy listening to stories rather than reading. I especially appreciate how true crime podcasts can bring awareness to the victims, their families, and their stories, allowing them to talk and heal from their experiences.
What is something you’ve learned in your role at Illumio?
Never be afraid of a challenge. We are still in the hyper-growth stage at Illumio. That provides so many opportunities for career advancement for those who are open to change and to trying new things.
Even if something seems like it might be outside the current scope of your role, don’t limit yourself. I've been able to try out new things that I’m interested in because I’ve asked if I could be involved. You never know what you might enjoy and be really good at!
That’s the great thing about Illumio: nothing is off limits. You can get involved in different projects and work as part of cross-functional teams. Take advantage of being able to learn new skills!
Which Illumio core value resonates with you the most?
Run to challenges resonates the most with me. Illumio provides a unique opportunity to expand your skillset. We are looking to adapt, grow, and build, so it's important push outside the box and face new experiences head-on.
Running to challenges is how we innovate and stay competitive. But this isn’t just with our partners and customers – it’s also how we push ourselves professionally to be the best Illumio team. It is great to see folks from different companies and backgrounds joining our team because it brings such a unique perspective that we can grow from. That’s huge.
What do you think people should know about working at Illumio?
It’s a fun place to work! There are so many opportunities here, and the people are incredible.
We have done such an amazing job at finding creative, engaged, excited people who want to bring their energy and expertise to Illumio. The people really drive Illumio: we hear that a lot around the organization.
It’s great to be around driven, engaged folks who enjoy their time with one another. It’s unique to have such a great group of folks cross-functionally – you don’t find that everywhere.
Interested in joining the team? Check out our career openings.