A Day in the Life of Angela Grady: Conducting and Connecting our Global Team
It's no easy task driving the operations of a company with hundreds of employees, but someone has to do it. For Angela Grady, our chief of staff and vice president of operations, that means driving efficiencies and scale across the company and aligning the executive team as Okta (and our customer base) grows around the globe.
We recently sat down with Angela to learn more about her responsibilities at Okta, why hydration is crucial to success and how her background in public and analyst relations led to her career in operations. (Here's a hint: Sometimes, it really can be about the people you know.)
What are your responsibilities as Okta's chief of staff and vice president of operations?
As chief of staff, I work with the executive team to drive collaboration and alignment, and ensure we are appropriately investing in areas that drive our core initiatives. As head of operations, I'm responsible for the Business Operations & Systems team under Jake Randall, the Data & Analytics team under Cathy Tanimura (a former "Day in the Life" subject) and the Sales Enablement & Training team under Courtney Skay. It's our collective job to provide visibility into the business, to drive process efficiency and automation, and to enable our sales organization.
And although it's not in my title, I'm very committed to mentorship and encourage one-on-one meetings with people all the time, even if they aren't reporting to me directly, or on my team. I really value flat organizations and it's important to me to get to know the many people I work with. I will always make the time to sit down with them. Just put it on my calendar!
How did you get into operations?
I started out in public relations working at Steve Jobs's NeXT Computer, which was an amazing experience. This eventually segued to an analyst relations role at Sun Microsystems, where among other things, I prepared the executive team for our annual analyst conference. One of the executives I worked with later approached me about moving to an operations position in her organization. Although I was new to this type of role, I had a great relationship with her so she took a chance on me and I started to focus on operating models. I LOVED this work! That executive ended up getting recruited to Salesforce.com, and she, in turn, recruited my manager and me to come run professional services. Because of who I was connected with, I wound up changing my career and my company.
Two things: market opportunity and the people. I learned early in my career that without market opportunity, even a company with great products won't make it very far. Okta has not only built great technology, but there's also incredible opportunity to leverage it. I also knew Okta CEO Todd McKinnon from my time at Salesforce.com and was always impressed with him. When I joined Okta, I saw it as an exciting opportunity to help him grow the company. It's another example of how one connection can lead to another.
How has the company grown since you first joined?
Our team has has grown from 260 to over 600 employees worldwide in the 17 months I've been at Okta. Beyond people growth, we've also grown as an industry leader and are especially proud to have created the IDaaS category, and to continue pioneering innovation in the space. It's a critical part of any company's trajectory when its product has legs, industry validation and thousands of successful customers. Those early years of fast growth are amazing, but now the path as a global, mature company is different. Instead of continuing to make little leaps, we need to scale on a global level, and helping create those opportunities is very exciting for me.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Okta?
One of my favorite memories was the first time Ryan Carlson shared our new branding with the executive team. I was so impressed and felt so proud not only to be a part of this company, but also to be here during this time in our company's history. I feel so fortunate to have a key role in helping to shape our future (quick shout out to my amazing Operations team, because they truly are extraordinary, and I couldn't do it without them!).
What's the first thing you do when you get to the office?
The first thing I do is fill my thermos with water. My typical day consists of running between back-to-back meetings, so it's important to stay hydrated. If you see me with a red cup in my hand, don't worry – it's not what you think!
If you could define Okta in one word, what would it be?
Unstoppable. We've reached a point where it's our market to take. We are at the stage where we have enough customers, revenue, market share and legitimacy, and now it's up to us to take it to the next level. Let's go!
Think you might have what it takes to join our growing team? We want to meet you. Check out our careers page for available positions.