From Partner to People Manager

Shizu's Motivating Career Journey

By Raven Willis

May 24, 2023 | min
Shizu Okuda-san headshot

Meet Shizu Okuda-san, an inspiring leader who has marked her X at Nutanix in Japan. Shizu's journey with Nutanix started with an ambitious leap, transitioning from selling products as a partner to becoming a sales representative. Over time, she's leveraged her hunger and support at Nutanix to advance her career into becoming a manager of her channel sales distributor department. Join us as we sit down with Shizu to delve into her career advancements and why Nutanix is the place to be.

Walk us through your path to Nutanix.

Before joining Nutanix, I worked for a Japanese manufacturer and IT products distributor. I came across Nutanix products when I started selling them as a partner. I joined after being offered to help expand their business in Japan. At the time, the Nutanix Japan office was a complete start-up environment with only a dozen or so employees. Today the team in Japan is more than 100 people.

The main reason why I enjoy working at Nutanix is because of its product and philosophy. With a focus on “making IT invisible" from the beginning, I strongly believed that Nutanix could help the complicated 3-tier system and various issues that made users unhappy. After being with the company for almost 8 years now, I still feel the same way!

Describe your career development at Nutanix.

I started out as an Inside Sales Representative (SDR) and we all worked together to handle the necessary tasks. I am not the type of person who likes monotonous work, so working together with my team to accomplish tasks was both challenging and enjoyable. However, with experience in sales and marketing, my hunger to meet with customers face-to-face grew stronger. I asked for a change in position and was transferred when a channel sales position became available!

As I gained experience as a Channel Sales Representative, I grew to become a manager of the distributor department. I appreciate that my past supervisors have always made it a point to ask what type of career I‘m pursuing. 

The big difference now that I am in a higher position, is being more conscious of what I need to do for the company and industry as a whole. The teams at Nutanix are very flat, so even with my position change, team members are always open to talking to me about what I need to change, and I am happy to be working with my team.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

I actually enjoy my job as if I were playing a role-playing game. I start out as a single person, but as I gain distributors and partners on my side, I strengthen my team and eventually deliver Nutanix products to end-users. This is what makes my job worthwhile.

Another reason I have worked here for so long is because of all the good people. Everyone is very open and responds immediately when I ask for help. In addition, a rewarding aspect is being paid well for the work you do. I love driving cars and driving around with my husband on the weekends is my idea of bliss and thanks to Nutanix, I am able to enjoy my hobby!

Ms.Okuda (Right) at a 2019 alliance vendor event in Las Vegas US.

Speaking of hobbies, how do you feel about your work-life flexibility?

Nutanix is a company where it is very easy to have an excellent work-life balance. If I get stuck at work, I can adjust my schedule to finish early and work longer for another day. It’s not hard or frowned upon to take leave or time off. In fact, I want my team members to refresh themselves.

I feel that the culture places a lot of importance on the balance and flexibility of its employees. Since COVID, Nutanix has introduced quarterly well-being days off from work. 

We currently have a hybrid work style and I love that it’s up to teams whether to go into the office. It is also a great place to work in terms of diversity and inclusion. Although the number of women in the Japan office is still small, I have always felt adequate and comfortable in our environment.

Ms. Okuda enjoys another hobby, playing golf with a good view on weekends.

Why Nutanix?

Nutanix is a place where everyone is unique. Everyone can express their individuality and be themselves. There are many different kinds of people and no one denies their personalities, and can all work while expressing their own colors. Of course, the environment at Nutanix today is different from when I first joined, but those who have a proactive attitude will really enjoy this environment.

As our values, "Hungry, Humble, Honest, with Heart" express, it’s not just about achieving the numbers, as experienced with other foreign companies. This is a company that values the human side of its employees. Some may think that a foreign company is a bit intimidating, but I would like to build a better Nutanix with people who can bring new unique perspectives!

Thank you Ms. Okuda for sharing some of the passion you have for your #LifeAtNutanix! If you are interested in joining our team, please check out our open positions here.

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