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Five-minute interview: Scott Walker, Illumio

The senior director of channel and alliances, EMEA at Illumio is the latest to share some personal insights in our five-minute interview slot

Morning, Scott, tell us what you do for a living

I am senior director of channel and alliances, EMEA at Illumio.

Why are you the right person for this job?

Anyone who has worked in, or with, the channel knows it requires a huge amount of discipline and a relentless determination to bring your best every day. Anyone who has worked with me well knows I have a never-give-up, always-find-a-way attitude.

What gets you up in the morning?

The kids every morning at an awful hour...

When building a channel and taking a new technology to market, the job is never finished. It can always be bigger, it can always be better, it can always go faster. I enjoy the variety, and continuous learning of finding new ways to improve, and grow the business. No two days are the same, and that makes going to work really easy for me.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

Every single person I have worked with, in some way, shape or form, has contributed to my career, and I can think of tens of people who have made a positive contribution to my career. If I had to pick one person, it would be Antony Holdsworth. Antony gave me a job in cyber security with zero IT and security experience, so I owe an awful lot to him for giving me my first step onto the career path.

What is the best or worst business advice you have received, and from whom?

The best business advice I have been given is to listen and be thoughtful in your approach to everything you do. This is my number one priority every day. I wouldn’t say I have been given “bad” business advice, as everyone is entitled to their opinion and their approach, but it doesn’t mean I always agree. What I do is listen, digest the information and take the best step forward to a positive outcome.

What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?

My general rule of thumb which I learned is: do the hard things for an easy life. If it’s easy, it’s probably not worth doing and doesn’t contribute to your career. Never be afraid to try and fail – it’s the only time you learn and grow.

Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning ‘digital transformation’?

It’s an impossible task and nobody has ever been able to achieve this – including me.

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

The last 12 months have completely transformed the way we conduct business and, as such, the channel has changed exponentially. While organisations look at new ways to secure their infrastructure, the channel expertise, experiences and long-term relationships are more important than ever.

Organisations will always look to their channel for advice and guidance on the best technologies to help secure, but more importantly accelerate their business. Security is becoming a business enabler and a competitive differentiator for CEOs and the channel plays a critical role in ensuring companies make effective technology choices, and have the ability to deploy and manage these in the best possible way.

“Security is becoming a business enabler and a competitive differentiator for CEOs”

Scott Walker, Illumio

Tell us something most people do not know about you

I have completed the Fan Dance twice. This race replicates the final selection phase of the special armed forces with a 19-mile run up Pen Y Fan carrying a 45lb bergen.

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?

My main goal to achieve before I die was to have two children, a boy and a girl, and I am lucky enough to enjoy this every day.

That being said… I wouldn’t mind swimming with sharks and scoring a goal at Anfield’s Kop end also.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

I have to admit, I am not a big reader. I much prefer to listen to audio books on a walk, but the book I enjoy reading the most is The Daily Stoic. It blows my mind every single time I pick it up and read a page.

And the worst film you’ve ever seen?

Titanic, without fail.

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

I have the most random taste in music and my gym playlist includes everything from metal, hip hop, drum and bass to classic pop, indy.

What temptation can you not resist?

Mexican food gets me every time, and there is honestly no “off” button.

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?

My first car was a blue Vauxhall Corsa with big alloy wheels and a sub-woofer in the boot. I love fast and loud cars, so have owned quite a few, but now I have a family, I have slowed things down with a Range Rover.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Why, what did they do?

I think everyone has a story to tell and you always learn the most about people in a tough situation.

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

My favourite animal is an elephant, so I would have to pick that, although my kids told me I have to answer a giraffe because I am tall and have to duck under some door frames.

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

I can think of quite a few actually, but I think Ironman would be my best choice covering all bases – strength, speed, agility and intelligence.

And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?

My money is on the gorilla.

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