Q&A with Neville Vincent: Meet Okta’s Vice President, Asia
From the plans for Okta’s expansion across Asia, to the biggest challenges facing the industry, our Vice President, Asia,Neville Vincent, elaborates on these questions as well as what to expect when joining his team.
We are so excited you joined Okta! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am very fortunate to be in Asia and the benefits it has given me over the years. I’m English by birth and education but certainly international by nature. My first international experiences came from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus when I was still stationed in the UK. From there, I lived and worked for four years in Hong Kong, seven years in Korea, five years in Australia, and for the last 10 years here in Singapore. My extended time in each of these countries has really enabled a deeper appreciation and understanding of different markets and cultures across Asia.
Why did you choose Okta as your next career adventure?
I have been in technology all my life and have seen many trends and companies come and go. The metamorphic rise to ignominious falls. As I have gone through my career, I've looked for those special players. Sometimes the timing and opportunity didn’t work out; other times it did. For me, Okta is one of those special players and the time was right. Okta is the category creator; in my view we lead Identity. Identity is becoming such an important strategic topic, so I wanted to work for the largest leading Identity provider before they really took off. That is Okta.
One of the reasons I wanted to work for Okta now is its current size and point of expansion. Okta today has a global population of some 6,000 people and nearly $2 billion in revenue, with hundreds of people in Asia already today. We are established in Asia (with entities in Australia, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, India, and Japan). This provides the foundations for accelerated growth.
There is always a little bit of luck when joining a new and exciting company. Mine was that I knew some people already working in Okta, and they were telling me so much about the culture, and that really intrigued me. It’s a really, really positive environment to work in, where people are genuinely concerned about the outcome of the customer, partners, and their teammates around them. It is a very customer and problem-solving-centric company with a very outward-looking perspective. What I enjoy the most is that everyone just wants to get on, do the right thing and be highly collaborative.
What are Okta’s plans for expansion across Asia?
Okta has been quite traditional, and rightly so, in how it has approached Asia Pacific by addressing the two major markets of Japan and ANZ first. Okta has been in these markets for six and 10 years, respectively, and enjoyed great success.
Now, we are pivoting to expand our focus to other emerging, developing, and mature economies of Asia. This next wave of expansion for Asia is just an ongoing long-term commitment that Okta has had to the Asia Pacific region.
Our expansion plans are very clear; we have a very strong investment focus in India. The India opportunity is now primed to really accelerate around an Identity-first mindset. We have just launched our new office in Bangalore to much fanfare. It's exciting times for Okta in India. We are in India for two reasons: firstly, to service the opportunity and also to take advantage of the tremendous talent pool in India and set up an innovation hub.
We have hired a new country leader and are continuing to hire new sales, pre-sales, and channel people. Our sights are also firmly set on the ASEAN nations, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea. We have distinct expansion strategies for each of these markets where we are seeking salespeople in local countries who speak the local language and have existing relationships with customers and partners.
It’s a very exciting time in Asia for Okta. We’re investing, we’re growing, and we’re hiring across the region.
Ribbon cutting for the Bangalore office
How would you describe your leadership style?
The people who know me would say that I am very vision orientated. I like to set out a vision and a true north of where we are going and why we are going there — what is the opportunity profile and how we all play a part in realising our potential.
Collaboration is also a big thing for me. A lot of people talk about how it takes a village to raise a child and lots of analogies like that; for me, technology is a team sport. I believe to be successful at what we do, it's all about collaboration.
What should sales professionals/anyone else expect when they join your team?
We are a sales organisation at the end of the day, and we hold ourselves accountable for the performance of the business. So there's high energy and a desire to win.
It’s a highly collaborative, hard-working culture where we get on and do the right thing. We are looking for people who want to take advantage of the unique opportunity that Okta has to offer.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the industry?
Right now, all organisations are looking to reduce costs, to do more with less. It’s really tapping into a deeper understanding of customers' business challenges and showing them real solutions to real problems, not just promoting new technology.
As someone with a rich and diverse background, having lived in various countries and now leading our Asia Sales team, how do you perceive Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) within your organisation? What does diversity mean to you, and how do you envision creating an environment that fosters inclusivity and reflects diverse employees from different cultural backgrounds, genders, and skill sets?
Earlier, I mentioned how fortunate I have been to live in Asia and the benefits it has given me. One of those benefits is a deep understanding of the power of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Seeing, living, and experiencing how different cultures and people from differing backgrounds solve problems together, fail together, and succeed together. What this teaches you is the power of true acceptance of what different people bring to a team. I would like to feel it is ingrained in me due to the diversity of my life experiences in Asia.
If you are interested in joining our APAC team, please view and apply for our current openings. Stay informed about the latest news, events, and career opportunities at Okta by signing up for our Talent Community.