Nowadays, Lee Tschetter helps sell Okta. At one point, though, we had to sell him on Okta.
Needless to say, we couldn't be happier that he's converted and joined the Okta team. In his past life as a systems and solutions architect for Land O'Lakes, Lee's team leveraged an Okta competitor for their identity solution. However upon learning more about Okta, Lee not only knew it was the right solution for identity management, he had to be a part of it.
Read more to learn about Lee’s work and his passion for our product in the latest installment of our “Day in the Life” series.
What do you do at Okta?
I’m a senior sales engineer covering the Central US Region and based in Minneapolis. Basically what that means is that I work with our Central sales team to help prospects understand the technical aspects of Okta. I give presentations and set up proof-of-concept environments to help prospects understand what our solution does and how it can work in their environment. This is all done to support the sales team and make sure they’re on target with their timelines.
I spend the majority of my time interacting with customers either in person or on the phone. There are many different architectures, problems, use cases and scenarios that I encounter every day so I’m constantly learning and growing. Just this past week I met with 12 different customers in the Minneapolis area and have 10 more customers in flight.
How did you come to this role? Or, in other words, why Okta?
Well, for more than 15 years I worked in various IT engineering, security and architecture roles at large and small companies in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area. Being an SE was something I had previously considered, but I never found a product I really wanted to represent — something I believed in enough to give up some of my general engineering skills, which happens naturally when you focus on a single product instead of being a generalist. I wanted to represent a product that I would be willing to put my reputation on the line for; something I would be proud to sell to my peers at companies in my region.
And I have a lot of peers who have shown interest in Okta. I’ve been a member of the Twin Cities Identity And Access Management User Group for over three years and been involved with the Minnesota Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Chapter as a long-time member, and as a board member for the past year.
But those hesitations dissipated when I interviewed with Okta and saw what the product, the people, and the company was really about — defining cloud identity as the future of enterprise IT. After just one day at Okta’s corporate office, I knew I had to be part of this.
What's the best part of working at Okta?
That’s easy, it’s the people. The product is awesome, and it mostly sells itself, so it's the people who really make my job enjoyable. I can honestly say that I work with some of the smartest and most dedicated people I’ve ever encountered. This talent and dedication goes all the way from our leadership to our support staff, professional services, sales engineering and sales teams. There are no weak links and we all win (and fail) together.
And there’s something to be said for the inherent teamwork and collaboration across Okta. When I worked in large enterprise, I always saw snippets of infighting or political battles between coworkers or between teams. But at Okta, you rarely see so much as a frustrated exchange or even an angry side-eye. I’m convinced that’s because everyone’s so dedicated to our product and to customer’s success that we don’t have the time or the energy to waste on the petty things.
What is most rewarding about your role?
Working with customers that get to see immediate benefits from Okta is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
Right now I’m working with customers in various industries, including higher education, law, healthcare, construction and banking. After spending just a few hours with the solution, they realize the options for what they can do with Okta are endless. Many of these companies also want to use Okta for external use cases — connecting their application or portal with hundreds or thousands of people using the Okta APIs. (Many customers share similarities with the way Rotary International has connected its millions of members by using Okta to secure its MyRotary portal.) One customer even wants to re-launch their company’s entire IT infrastructure in the cloud and sees Okta as the foundation for that initiative.
What is your favorite memory from working at Okta?
My third week at Okta I gave an Okta presentation at the IANS Conference in front of a room full of people. I was not only new to Okta, but I was just learning the ropes as an SE – and, on top of that, had very little experience presenting in front of large groups. It was the truest definition of trial by fire, and I miraculously came out unscathed! Actually, my presentation was very well-received and we even saw a deal originate from that event. When I look back on it, I know I was able to make it all come together because I believed in the product and company right from the beginning.
If you could define Okta in one word, what would it be?