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Building companies means building careers: why I joined Cloudflare as Chief People Officer

Building companies means building careers: why I joined Cloudflare as Chief People Officer

Building companies means building careers: why I joined Cloudflare as Chief People Officer

One piece of advice I received early in my career was to get into a transformative industry. Those words have followed me ever since, and it’s a goal I’ve encouraged many others to pursue.

For me, it meant first launching into biotechnology where I learned my passion for working with deeply technical and disruptive businesses doing things that hadn’t been done before.

I later joined Amazon at a time when it was best known as a retailer instead of a technology company as it is today. While there, I led HR for some of their most technical businesses from eCommerce to AWS. As all these businesses scaled over the next decade, I became increasingly focused, and then finally fully dedicated to, leading HR for AWS. During that time, I had the opportunity to serve as a thought partner to the AWS CEO and leadership team as the organization grew from 400 employees to 30,000.

It was at this point in my career that I realized my passion for scaling a company with practices that reinforce the mission and building programs with intention to nurture the culture. To have any impact, all this work must be in support of promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace that values individual and group differences to ensure all employees, across a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, feel valued, welcome, and integrated.

Later, I took all those learnings to Tableau as Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) before it was acquired by Salesforce. Like AWS, Tableau was ready to begin its next phase of growth and I designed and implemented the next generation talent strategy that supported the long-term growth plans for the business.

Today, as a two-time Chief People Officer and with experience and passion for scaling large global companies, building is in my DNA. That’s why Cloudflare’s bold mission to “help to build a better Internet” excites me. I am a builder at my core, and am humbled for the opportunity to help build again and to be selected to join the team for this next phase of the Cloudflare journey.

There are three things that stood out to me and made this next step an easy one:

The technology

Cloudflare caught my attention as a next generation disruptor in the tech industry by offering security, availability, and scalability of applications with no trade off with speed. The advancement of generative AI and Cloudflare’s partnership with many of these businesses as customers put it front and center at a transformative time in the tech space.

The values

It was evident with each interview how the company deeply values both its customers and its people. The transparency and keen attention on scaling what is already a very special place to work was evident with each conversation. That really resonated with me. I always view my work through the lens of how it impacts people, leaders, and customers. For me, putting both customers and people at the center of everything we do on the Cloudflare’s growing People team is paramount as we create the people strategy that supports achieving the company’s high-growth business objectives.

The culture

Too often, company culture is defined by, and confined to, employee handbooks and posters on the wall. In rarer cases, it’s something that is both innate and carefully nurtured by leaders who demonstrate their values through their actions. That’s what I’ve found at Cloudflare. The transparency, trust, and curiosity of this organization is energizing. The people I’ve had the opportunity to engage with have been warm, humble, and bright.

As I launch in my new position here at Cloudflare, my priority will be to first learn as much as I can about the people-first culture and ensure the work we do within the People team is aligned. I’m excited to bring my own curiosity and passion for disruptive and transformative companies to a new team to help Cloudflare scale and flourish, and help build amazing careers for all of our people.


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Author: Michele Yetman