Inside Illumio: Wassim Daghash
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 Wassim Daghash, Senior Systems Engineer at Illumio. Hear about why he loves the mix of software engineering and sales in his role and what makes his work all about running to challenges.
Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do at Illumio.
I joined Illumio almost four years ago and work as a senior systems engineer based out of Australia. Previously, I worked as a software engineer for other tech companies and startups in Israel before moving to Australia.
In my current role, I take all the amazing work that our engineers do and provide a “last mile delivery” to customers as part of the sales process. I help initiate discussions about what our customers want to accomplish, what their pain points are, and how Illumio’s products can solve problems for them. I meet with people all day; I like figuring out a customer's problem and finding ways to solve it with Illumio. Being able to use my software engineering skills while interacting with customers keeps my job interesting.
It sounds like you started as a software engineer. What made you transition in your career?
When I moved to Australia, I began working remotely for a U.S.-based company. When you move to a new country, you want to get to know people, but working remotely made me feel isolated and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to find a role that was more dynamic than software engineering.
It so happened that my previous employer needed a sales consultant to cover Asia Pacific. Through this role, I discovered that I loved being in front of customers. I can use my software engineering background to work with customers and solve their challenges, no matter how big or small. After that experience, I wanted to work more on the sales side, so I joined Illumio. It’s nothing that I planned for! I just discovered I love something that I didn’t know existed.
What led you to Illumio specifically?
I missed the startup life: the dynamic nature and innovation at startups is quite fascinating to me. I wanted to work on something new. A colleague I had worked with for over five years and greatly respected moved to Illumio, and I followed him. We still work together today!
What are you working on right now that’s particularly exciting to you?
I love being innovative about ways to fix customer pain points and finding ways to translate how our products can help customers solve their problems. In Australia, there have been a lot of recent cyberattacks on industrial systems, so I’m working on finding ways to better secure OT systems with Illumio.
Every customer's needs are unique, and it’s exciting to help build something new with each customer while finding ways to use Illumio's existing products. The support I get from everyone at Illumio is amazing. It’s really an environment that encourages innovation which I love.
What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned at Illumio so far?
There are many ways to close a deal – you have to be strategic and creative at the same time. I didn't start out in sales, but I've learned so much about how to communicate with customers throughout the sales process at Illumio. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different people and organizations throughout Asia Pacific and the United States. It's been fun learning about different cultures and industries.
What are you passionate about outside of your career? What do you do for fun?
That changes all the time! My wife and I used to do a lot of traveling, bush camping, 4-wheel driving, and exploring remote locations across Australia. Imagine going to a campsite where there’s no humans for hundreds of miles around! Now that I have children, we opt for campsites that are a little less remote. There are many great areas to explore in Australia.
My family and I also go to the beach and are learning how to surf. I always pair my visits to the beach with a warm cup of coffee – the ocean is really cold where I live!
Which Illumio core value resonates most with you?
Run to challenges. That’s the core nature of my job and part of the fun! At any given time, we are figuring out how to close a deal, fit into an organization's budget, and work within a network's existing technology constraints. I love figuring out how to solve customers’ problems with Illumio’s products.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
There is a lot of encouragement to innovate. And the innovation isn’t only about technology: it’s about how to deliver a message, market a product, almost every part of your work. It’s important that Illumio nurtures that.
The other important thing to note is that the Illumio experience is more personal. The people here are helpful and want to enable you to succeed. It’s a special environment, one you do not find at every startup.
Interested in joining the team? Check out our career openings.