Partners & Integrations

Q&A: Illumio’s Rebekah McAdams, a CRN Woman of the Channel for 2022

Illumio is pleased to announce that CRN Magazine has chosen Rebekah McAdams, Illumio’s global director of field and channel marketing, as a CRN Woman of the Channel for 2022.


The CRN Women of the Channel list honors exceptional women for their strategic vision, thought leadership and channel advocacy that impacts growth and innovation in the channel.

We sat down with Rebekah to discuss the CRN award, how channel and regional marketing has changed in the years since the pandemic began, the momentum driving Illumio’s latest channel sales and regional marketing initiatives, and her advice for women entering the tech industry.

What does the CRN Women of the Channel Award mean to you?

I deeply appreciate this honor. I think it reflects not just on me but also Illumio and the company culture. It’s an indication of the way that working here has helped me become a better marketer and strategist.

I never want to work at a company where I'm not learning new strategies and coming up with new things to try. This award is validation of another year of personal growth for me.

Ideally, this growth never stops. I’m always asking myself, “How can I continue to get better and help our team and our company overall get better at what we do? How can we all get to the next level?”

How would you describe your role at Illumio?

I’m responsible for all regional field and channel marketing for Illumio around the world. The way I look at marketing is that global corporate marketing provides the air cover globally, and regional marketing provides the prescriptive marketing strategy in the field. Everything we do starts with first looking at the data. Is there a region with low in-bound leads? Where are we with pipeline? Is there a particular stage where we aren't moving fast enough? Once we look at the data and understand it, we can build a marketing strategy to meet the need. 

How has regional field and channel marketing changed in the past few years? What’s stayed the same, and what’s different?

Like everything else, regional marketing changed during the pandemic. Everything went online. In-person meetings with prospects and customers came to a halt.

We all got used to Zoom meetings, and then we got tired of them. After two years of living online and in isolation, people’s tolerances have changed. A lot of people aren’t going to sit through an hour-long webinar now. Those webinars need to be shorter, maybe half an hour or forty minutes at most. We need more “snackable content” — information that people can consume in short periods of time, say, five to fifteen minutes.

I’m looking forward to attending the RSA Conference because we’ll finally get to talk to prospects and customers face-to-face again. We’ll get to hear about their security needs and plans, and they’ll get to see how much Illumio has grown both organizationally and in the depth and breadth of our products for Zero Trust Segmentation.

What distinguishes Illumio’s sales and regional marketing programs from those in other companies you’ve seen?

Something that's special here — and our success bears this out — is that, across the board, sales and marketing have buy-in from executive management. That support then flows down through channel sales, through partner sales, through marketing and permeates every part of the business. I believe that executive support is essential for success. Not every company provides that kind of support. Illumio does.

Since this is an award acknowledging the contributions of women in the technology industry, what is your advice to young women getting started in tech?

Never be afraid to raise your hand and ask for an opportunity. Several years ago, I was working at another company, and I wanted to expand my role into a global position there. The person who had previously covered the APAC region left the company, and that left a void. So I just said, “I'm going to do it.” I volunteered. And the company gave me a chance to prove that I could manage the role.

I leaned in, asked questions to those with more experience and worked hard to learn what marketing works best in the region. 

From that experience, I would say, “Don't be afraid to raise your hand to take on opportunities based on note having experience. Never be afraid to ask questions.”

People often talk about the need for more mentors. If somebody has not volunteered to be a mentor to you, ask for mentorship from someone. Find the people who will help you. There's always at least one person in your network that you can reach out to. Start developing your community of mentors now.

Your mentors don't have to be in your current company. They don't even necessarily have to be in your field of work. Some of my best mentors work in sales. Having salespeople as mentors helps me be a better marketing person, because I'm able to align what they see as important with what I’m developing and implementing as part of our marketing strategy.

Don’t succumb to imposter syndrome. Don’t say, “I'm not going to do it because I wouldn't be good at it.” You never know unless you try. So just try. Go for it.

For women entering tech, “Step forward. Take opportunities. Ask questions, find mentors and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. The path might be rocky in places, but eventually it leads to success.”

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