Yulia Carlen grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1992. She was only 13 years old at the time and didn’t speak any English. This was a challenging time for her as she went through the process of adapting to a new school, a completely different environment, and a new way of life. Despite those challenges, her entire family exemplified the value of striving for better. Yulia’s parents went back to school to acquire new degrees in the US. They worked extremely hard, working two or three jobs at a time to provide for the family.
Yulia followed their example by getting her work permit at the age of 16 and later earning her degree in Business Administration and Marketing before joining a non-profit focused on investing in education for underprivileged children. Throughout her life, though, Yulia has always held a passion for event planning, project management, relationship building, and organization.
Yulia joined Tanium seven years ago when there were just under 300 employees. She began her career with Tanium as an executive assistant, where she quickly learned the inner workings of the company and played an integral role in shaping the Chairman’s Club and Sales Kick Off (SKO) programs that we see today. Now, she runs Tanium Kick Off (TKO), Tanium’s biggest, annual employee event that aims to inspire and engage with Tanium’sglobal, remote-first team. In addition, Yulia continues to run the company’s Chairman’s Club, an annual incentive program designed to honor our top-performing sales team members and many other critical external events.
We sat down with Yulia to learn more about her journey and TKO.
Why did you choose to work at Tanium?
Yulia: Tanium stood out to me because of its mission and what Tanium represents in the market. Cybersecurity is such an important topic. It should be on everybody’s mind. The other thing that impressed me was my interview with David Hindawi, Tanium’s co-founder.
David interviews and approves all the new hires, which demonstrates just how much the executive team cares about who they’re hiring and the culture of the company. David asked me questions that really showed me that he wanted to get to know me as a person. He also wanted to make sure that not only was I the right fit for Tanium, but that Tanium was the right fit for me.
How have your job and responsibilities evolved since you started working at Tanium?
Yulia: Reporting to the chief revenue officer in the early stages of my career at Tanium, I planned many company off-site events and programs. Soon, that role of planning events turned into running the company’s annual SKO event and Tanium’s incentive program, Chairman’s Club. As the years went on, I continued to demonstrate my passion for events and was soon offered a position to join the global events team to oversee the company’s mission-critical event programs.
Can you walk us through a typical day of planning for TKO?
Yulia: Large-scale events like TKO can take up to six months and beyond to organize and plan. My initial days are spent onboarding vendors, building timelines and budgets, sourcing venues, creating project plans and getting stakeholders together. I spend a lot of time in meetings with different stakeholders across the organization, making sure that content is moving forward, agendas flow, speakers are prepped, and all logistics and event operations are seamless.
My goal is to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on and where to be — down to the smallest detail. I’m always available to answer questions and guide everyone through a successful event. A lot of what I do is behind the scenes, but there is truly nothing better than when the lights go down, music is playing, and the show begins. That’s the moment when the entire event comes to life!
I’m fortunate to get to work with a lot of amazing people across the organization, and that’s probably one of my favorite parts of my job.
What makes the Tanium employee experience stand out to you?
Yulia: What I love about Tanium is that it’s all hands on deck. It takes a village to put on a successful and flawless event! Everyone at Tanium is willing to pitch in and support one another. It’s our mission to do the right thing and to win as a team, which speaks so much to our values. That’s why I feel incredibly lucky to do what I do because I have these amazing people around me that can come together to achieve greater things.
What advice would you give a person who is trying to start or grow their career at Tanium?
Yulia: I would say that I think it’s important, no matter what role you’re in, to get to know not only your immediate team members and the department you work with, but also reach out to other people in the organization. If you’re on the marketing team, reach out to somebody on the technical team and get to know them. What do they do? What is their role like? How can you work together? It’s important to take the time and let people know what your role is, what you do and how you can be helpful to them.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to be transparent. Don’t be afraid to voice your ideas, whether they’re right or wrong. Your opinions matter, and what I love about our culture and our executive team is that the voices are heard. You never know how an idea can turn into something bigger.
My other piece of advice is to take time for family, friends and yourself. I’m a wife and a mom of three very active, sporty kids. We are a very social family! We love to travel, be adventurous, hang out with family and friends and enjoy a lot of outdoor activities. This helps me recharge and reboot so I can excel in my work. Without the support of my family, I couldn’t do this job. It’s also important to take time for yourself. Maybe it’s grabbing a working out, doing yoga or going on a hike. By taking care of yourself, you’ll have the energy and inspiration to be a better teammate and employee.
What do you hope employees take away from the TKO experience?
Yulia: Our newly hired CEO, Dan Streetman, will be part of this year’s TKO. It’s going to be exciting to hear his vision for the company and our goals for the year.
TKO is our most important internal event of the year. It’s inspirational to hear from our leadership team as they share our mission and vision for the year. It’s important for our employees to walk away inspired to innovate and armed with the knowledge to better support our customers and partners in the year ahead.
“Inside Tanium” is part of a series that highlights the people and culture of Tanium. To learn more about Tanium and explore our range of career opportunities, visit our Tanium Careers page.