A marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Juliette Rizkallah brings a wealth of expertise and pragmatism to SailPoint in her role as Chief Marketing Officer.
No stranger to the world of enterprise security, Juliette leads the company’s worldwide marketing efforts, and is responsible for articulating the company vision, product solutions, technology innovations and business purpose to customers, partners and media around the globe.
Juliette has held executive positions and was an agent of growth at some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Oracle, CA, Business Objects-SAP and Check Point Software. She started her career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company and Arthur Andersen France where she acquired her business impact focus.
Juliette holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris (E.S.C.P.) in Paris, France.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
My name is Juliette Rizkallah and I am the Chief Marketing Officer at SailPoint. I began my career as a strategy consultant with a passion for business and finance. After graduating with my MBA, I moved to San Francisco, and after two years at Bain & Company, I realised the best way to stay in the Bay Area was to get into the high-tech industry. I took a job at Oracle, shifting my focus to product management and marketing and taking on more responsibility with encouragement from my champions. Over time, I moved into a pure marketing role, but I never lost my passion for business strategy. By having a general management view of the business, I have always been able to get the most impact from my team’s marketing activities and have always partnered well with other functions, especially sales, to optimise the prospecting and selling processes.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Not really, I have been taking jobs based on how much learning they would allow me to do and based on the people I would be working with. After college and my MBA, I went to consulting basically because I did not know what I wanted to do and management consulting was offering me the most variety of assignments. After that, I always look for a position at a company I would fall in love with. I had some help along the way from the people in my life who championed my career. They provided mentorship and guidance as I developed myself as a professional and leader in the high-tech industry.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Starting a family was a challenging time in my career, particularly around balancing my executive role with my new role as a mother. It forced me to slow down a bit during my pregnancy and the early years of motherhood, but it also forced me to change my work style. I became more focused, more creative, and more impactful because I had limited time and that time needed to be used efficiently.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I am most proud of having co-founded a French charity organisation named “les Restaurants du Coeur” while in college in Paris. To this day, les restos du Coeur is still the most significant charity organisation in France and feeds millions of people during the winter days. You can get a peek at me in the early days of the organisation here.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
By learning from my mistakes and failures and turning them into opportunities.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Though I personally did not have many mentors in my careers but rather champions who pushed me to my perceived limits, I do see value in mentoring especially women in my industry to help them personally and help our cybersecurity industry accelerate its evolution towards diversity. I also mentor high schoolers in my community who are doing an entrepreneurial course to jumpstart their very first business idea. I find this very satisfying and I am always amazed at how smart these young students are.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?
I believe it takes us all to truly balance the scales. For me, the idea of gender parity started with my parents who were both dentists with each their own offices and clientele. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad boasting about my mom being so great at her job and claiming that she was much better than him at running her business. That put my sister and me in the mindset that we could be great. Gender barriers were not a concept or obstacle to us, not then and not now. So, to answer your question, I think educating parents of daughters to be their first champions is where I would put my focus. When we did our women’s panel on WID this year, a male executive brought his teenage daughter to come and listen in. I would like to see all dads invest in their daughter’s development in that way, as this will be the best thing to build these future women their confidence and let them believe that nothing is out of reach if they want to work hard for it.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
I would say do not be too hard on yourself, perfection is a very elusive concept.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
At this phase in my career, I crave more peer discussions with other leaders in the field. I seek diverse opinions of multiple people of all genders, job functions, and industries to discuss not only the business but also life challenges we have and how we tackle with them.