The Power of Leading From the Front: Encouraging Industry-Wide Diversity and Inclusion

Mark McLaughlin


At Palo Alto Networks, we believe a diverse and inclusive culture with people of different backgrounds, thoughts and ideas is instrumental in finding the most creative and effective solutions to the toughest cybersecurity challenges organizations around the world face today. This belief is an essential underpinning to achieve our mission of protecting our way of life in the digital age.

We have made significant strides in this mission, not just in the development of our next-generation security technology, but also in initiating industry collaboration by bringing together partners and competitors alike as a founding member of the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), coming together to share threat intelligence information in a coordinated effort against cyber adversaries. This is one example of how we have led from the front to further our mission for the greater good with marked success.

Now, in an effort for Palo Alto Networks to continue to lead from the front, I am honored to take part in the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, which I believe will be instrumental in encouraging industry-wide collaboration to encourage increased diversity and inclusion in workplaces across industries. This initiative aims at rallying the business community to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcomed, and employees feel comfortable and empowered to discuss diversity and inclusion.

Speaking from experience, we know this must not be just a pledge on paper; it requires active participation, and we are pleased to have some progress already underway to share. For example, the Palo Alto Networks Women’s Networking Community, founded by several female leaders at our company, provides career development, inspiration and networking opportunities for women across and beyond the company. The goal is to create a community that supports and fosters the development and achievement of women. We have seen consistent growth in membership and, as of May 2017, have over 300 active members.

As part of the White House’s Joining Forces initiative last year, we pledged to train 400 veterans and transitioning service members over the next five years. We believe vets are well-suited to transition into cybersecurity because their service gives them skills that make them uniquely qualified. As one of our veterans’ initiatives, we partnered with the organization VetsInTech to assist veterans transitioning into the private sector through cybersecurity education and training.

Whether through our own programs or alliances with larger initiatives like the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, we are committed to the development of these professionals and, in particular, underrepresented groups.

We look forward to continuing efforts in our own organization, participating in the initiatives’ dialogues and sharing best practices to continue encouraging diversity and inclusion initiatives across industries – and to lead from the front.

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