Employee Spotlight: Apples with Anna Garcia
If our customers succeed, we succeed. This mission can seem intimidating, but thankfully, Kenna Security has dedicated Customer Success Engineers like Anna Garcia working day-in and day-out to ensure our customers are achieving the results they want in their vulnerability management programs.
Anna couldn’t be a better fit for this type of role: she is a passionate people person, eager to build relationships and help others in any way she can. She is razor-sharp and fiercely dedicated to her work, and her bravery and curiosity constantly push her into new adventures—whether it’s a new role or a new travel destination. There’s no shortage of positive qualities that Anna brings to our San Francisco office, our customers, and the company as a whole: good humor, friendship, support, and an unyielding smile.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in a pretty small town in Michigan called Battle Creek. It’s pretty tiny, but its claim to fame is that it’s the headquarters of Kellogg’s cereal—home of Tony the Tiger. I was born and raised there and then went to college in Holland, Michigan. I moved to San Francisco, California, the spring after I graduated.
Q: How did you come into this field of work?
A: My career path has been a bit unusual. I actually started at Kenna Security in February 2017 as a Sales Development Representative (SDR). I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but I was actually looking to pursue a Sales Engineering role instead because it has more of a “people” component. I really love engaging with people and building relationships. While the SDR position wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, it was a great opportunity to move out to San Francisco and get my foot in the door.
After about nine months, I moved over to the Marketing team as a Marketing Communications Specialist. I served in that role for nearly a year, and by the end of that time, I was largely managing field events. I wanted to get back to the technical side of things, and the stars aligned for me to join the Customer Success Engineering team at a junior level, working with small customers and doing some of the administrative things. Over time, my responsibilities have grown and I really love the role. I get to use my technical background but also foster relationships and practice critical thinking. It’s a perfect fit for me.
Q: What keeps you motivated to get out of bed and come into work every morning?
A: I’d say there are two things: our customers and my colleagues. I’m definitely a people-pleaser and my number-one priority is always making our customers happy—making sure that I’m doing whatever I can to make their experience with Kenna better and help them to see the value in our technology. I ultimately want to help them to succeed with their vulnerability management program.
And, of course, there’s my colleagues. Everyone at Kenna is really fun. It’s so great to be able to work with friends—people you come to know well and build friendships with.
Q: Why is Kenna Security the best place you’ve ever worked?
A: I honestly think it comes down to the people at Kenna Security. One of our core values here at Kenna is “Trust,” and I truly see that in action day after day. I always know that my coworkers have my back, and I know that we’re all working towards a common goal and everyone is doing their share to get us to our end goal. It’s not a micro-managing environment; there are high expectations but it’s collaborative. I feel empowered to do my work and always feel supported. And I think Kenna has done a great job maintaining that part of the culture as the company has grown. It’s a really exciting time.
Q: Do you have a role model? If so, who is it?
A: As cliche as it is, I’d say two of my biggest role models are my parents. Especially now that I’m older, I value my relationship with my mom and dad so much and I really look up to them, respect them, and appreciate them.
My dad just retired from a long career in medicine and he’s such a tireless, hard worker. The hours he used to put in and all the late nights, on-call surgeries, and checkups he used to have to do blows my mind. I never fully appreciated until recently how much he didn’t bring his work stress home with him or let his exhaustion affect his involvement with my siblings and I. Despite what he dealt with at the office, he was always just our happy-go-lucky dad.
My mom, on the other hand, was a stay-at-home mom with four kids, and she put everything she had into that. She is super selfless and did everything she could to make sure we had the best childhood growing up. Even though she didn’t have an office job or a career, she’s still one of the smartest, strongest women I know and keeps herself extremely self-educated.
I definitely aspire to have the work ethic and ambition that they have!
Q: Have you ever used YOLO as an excuse to do something?
A: The summer after I graduated, I packed my car and drove all the way from Michigan to Alaska and spent about 6 months living and working there.
The previous summer, I visited Alaska for the first time with my parents just for vacation and I was totally blown away by how awe inspiring and beautiful it is. I never got the chance to study abroad in college because I played on the tennis team, so really wanted to do some sort of traveling or fun adventure once I graduated. My parents didn’t want me to travel alone internationally right away, so I thought Alaska would be the closest stretch. It really does feel like a completely different world up there. So, I packed up my car and one of my best friends and I spent a week driving up through Canada and into Alaska. She flew back once we arrived there, but I stayed in Alaska for the summer and got a job working at a restaurant.
It really was the best summer. I lived in a small town called Seward—one road in, one road out—right on Resurrection Bay. It’s about two hours south of Anchorage. It truly became my happy place.
Q: What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
A: After my Alaska trip, I went to Europe for six weeks. I started in France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom (London), and finally Ireland. Part of the trip I spent traveling with some friends, part of it I did alone. It was such a fun experience—even the parts where I traveled alone. I think traveling alone teaches you a lot of valuable things: being aware, of course, and also just being comfortable with doing things by yourself and being alone with your thoughts.
Funny story, though: The last week of my trip, I didn’t have an itinerary until a week before. I booked my flight and car, with a plan to see a bunch of the sites. When I get to the rental car spot, I was told you have to be at least 23 years old to rent a car. I was 22 years old at the time. I eventually did manage to find one (after paying an arm and a leg). Of course, as soon asnot until I got out to the parking garage, I remembered that they drive on the opposite side of the road in Ireland. I felt like Cameron Diaz in “The Holiday” driving to my hostel in downtown Dublin, yelling “I hate this! I hate this! I hate this!” the whole way. I was so grateful when I arrived without having hit anyone or anything. It didn’t think it was funny at the time, but now I definitely can laugh about it!
Q: What is your ideal way to spend a Sunday?
A: I think my ideal Sunday would be grabbing a coffee, going for a walk on the beach, and then going to a yoga class. When I’m not working remotely, I actually teach at CorePower near our office twice a week; it’s kind of my gateway to relaxation. I love to stay active, so any day where I can do some activities like yoga, tennis, or horseback riding is ideal.
Q: What are 5 must-have songs on your road trip playlist?
A: That’s hard! I would say:
- Off Your Skin or Lost by Emily Afton
- Backseat Driver by Shakey Graves
- Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker
- Say my Name by ODESZA
- Happiness (acoustic) by needtobreathe
My music preference really depends on my mood and the weather. If it’s sunny and warm, I’ll have country music blaring with the windows down (I’m a Midwest country girl at heart), but if it’s cold and rainy, I prefer something a little darker or heavier beats. It all just depends.
Q: Hot dog or hamburger?
A: Hot dog
Q: Hot weather or cold weather?
A: Hot weather
Q: Teleportation or mind-reading?
Q: Live in a treehouse or in a cave?
A: A treehouse
Q: Superman or Batman?