Jun 08, 2022
Inside Tanium: An Enterprise Services Engineer Speaks to the Power of Being OneselfBy Tanium Staff
Tanium’s culture is steeped in winning as a team and doing the right thing. These are not just words but actions and beliefs that permeate everything we do. Each one of us has the power to change lives for the better, whether at home, in our communities, or at work.
Tanium is committed to fostering and maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Pride month offers an opportunity to highlight how this mindset impacts those in our LGTBQ+ community. Cole Waggoner is a former military officer who changed careers in search of a safer, more welcoming environment. We asked Cole to share his story to learn more about the privilege and importance of simply being oneself.
Tell us about your background and your role at Tanium.
Cole Waggoner: Before Tanium, I served 12 years in the military as a Warrant Officer in the Alabama National Guard. Given the current political climate on transgender issues at both the state and national levels, I thought it best to relinquish my position and duty as a United States Officer and begin my journey to find happiness by living as my true self.
In 2019, I joined Tanium as an Enterprise Services Engineer (ESE) in the Public Sector. This move enabled me to apply my valuable military experience every day to improve the Public Sector’s security posture with the speed and scale of Tanium. As an ESE, I provide my customers with the technical resources and services they need to realize the full value of the Tanium platform. I have full “hands-on-keyboard” access to my customer’s Tanium equipment to operate and deploy Tanium, working in tandem with our world-class Technical Account Managers.
What’s the biggest difference between your former environment and Tanium’s?
Cole Waggoner: I certainly didn’t expect to be truly valued. In the military, you are viewed as “property” on a larger scale, and after 12 years I began to see myself as that. Joining Tanium was my first experience in the “real” world, working for a private company.
It was the first time I was seen as more than just a physical asset who could work and get all the things done. I’ve even asked other ESEs, “When is this honeymoon phase supposed to be over?” but it’s been two years, and it’s still going strong. I know the company values are genuine: we win as a team, we are unstoppable, and we do the right thing.
Pride month serves to celebrate LGTBQ+ culture and rights and illuminate the work still to be done. Why is it so important for companies to foster a diverse and inclusive culture?
Cole Waggoner: Before Tanium, I personally never felt I could be myself at work, not safely. Can you imagine not feeling safe at work? As a new hire, I took mandatory training that explicitly covered my situation. As a trans person, I honestly feel safe and loved here. This “win as a team” culture allows the prisms of my true light to shine at their brightest, which is both empowering and valuable. Not only do I benefit, but I can be a resource to help others expand their knowledge and become advocates for people like myself.
Does the cybersecurity industry have a role in supporting Pride and cultivating LGBTQ+ allies?
Cole Waggoner: The cybersecurity industry is dominated by men. I know that female-presenting individuals can still face struggles here. As a trans person, I have seen both sides of the gender fence. Are there communities out there making a difference? Yes! Will it take time for the culture to change? Yes! Just like Tanium wasn’t built overnight, this mission will take time. We can do small and big things to ensure equity for all people, not just for LGTBQ+ individuals but for everyone whose rights are not equal.
The theme of San Francisco Pride this year is “Love Will Keep Us Together”— what does that message mean to you personally and professionally?
Cole Waggoner: “Love Will Keep Us Together” means that as long as there is love in the world and people who believe in it, we have a positive force that will effect change in the world that benefits all.
Can you recommend a resource for people who want to become better allies and better understand the LGBTQ+ experience?
Cole Waggoner: Hands down, my favorite LGBTQ+ TV series is “PRIDE,” an FX Original documentary. It is a six-part series chronicling the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights in the United States of America.