In this employee spotlight, see what a day in the life looks like for Dervilla Lannon, Vice President of People at Verkada. (And if you’re interested in joining us in our mission of making the world safer, check out our open positions!)
What is unique about working at Verkada?
I truly believe what makes Verkada different is the people, in addition to our products. The passion and enthusiasm that employees exhibit each day is wonderful– It’s incredibly motivating and energizing. The employees are definitely our biggest asset (and I am not just saying that just because I am the VP of People)!
I knew I wanted to join the team when I met the CEO, Filip Kaliszan. I was impressed by his vision to build not only amazing products, but a truly successful company. When I met Filip, I was seeking an opportunity to accelerate my career in a space where I could have a positive impact. Before joining Verkada, I spent over 10 years at the world’s largest asset management company in the legal and the financial technology departments. I was fortunate to work at a financial tech startup that had been acquired, which gave me a taste of Silicon Valley and I was ready for my next opportunity. I was excited to join a hyper growth tech company focused on the safety of people and assets.
What does your day-to-day look like?
As the VP of People, my role varies by day, which makes it actually really exciting. One thing that stays constant is a morning phone call to my parents who are based in Ireland. Outside of that, my day-to-day involves a lot of meetings with employees, my team, and Filip discussing different aspects of the employee lifecycle. I also spend time recruiting top talent to join both my team and other teams at Verkada. The other big part of my role is executing on employee related initiatives, generally with the aim of making Verkada an amazing place to work so that we can continue to attract, retain and motivate world-class talent.
What’s been your favorite part about being the Vice President of People?
Launching initiatives that are specifically focused on enhancing the overall employee experience is what I enjoy the most in my role. Since I’ve joined, we have launched four Verkada communities: Pride at Verkada, Women at Verkada, the Multicultural Community, and most recently Parents at Verkada. Each community represents what our employees are passionate about, and it’s been incredibly inspiring to see the success and growth of those communities.
I’ve also enjoyed being part of the expansion of our employee benefits program and designing recognition awards. We have enhanced our employee benefits beyond core health benefits, gym, commuter benefits and unlimited time off to cover extended parental leave and fertility benefits amongst others.
I’ve always been passionate about giving back to the community, so working alongside my colleagues to find ways to connect with our surrounding community is definitely one of my favorite parts of the role. For example, we launched free weekly COVID testing for the San Mateo community. We’ve sharpened our focus on giving back to the communities in which we operate through donations and volunteering. Our employees have volunteered at a number of events, such as vaccination clinics for the Latinx community in San Francisco, the Samaritan House of San Mateo’s Holiday Program, and we have partnered with the San Mateo parks committee to assist with the clean up of beaches and parks. These have been great opportunities for me to get to know our employees and for us all to contribute to very worthy causes.
What is the mission of your team?
The mission of my team is essentially to make Verkada an amazing place to work. In executing that goal, we want to make sure that each part of the employee lifecycle is a positive experience. From the interview process to onboarding, we’re ensuring that we’re fostering an inclusive environment. So our team focuses on the day-to-day work required to ensure that people feel welcomed and supported throughout their employment at Verkada. From my experience with more traditional HR organizations, the answer to many employee requests has been “No”, and as a result HR is seen as a blocker to employees. When I took this role on, I knew that I wanted to change that.
“I envisioned my team creating structures where people can grow, develop, and thrive in their careers. With the initiatives that have been implemented at Verkada, I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
The greatest inspiration in my life has most definitely been my parents. They are indefatigable, thoughtful and authentic people. I started my career working for my dad and learnt a tremendous amount from him. He managed a meat processing plant, a company he worked at for his entire 36-year career. I spent all of my summers during high school, undergrad, and law school working for him. My mom had a very taxing job at home raising six children. My parents instilled in me a belief that you can achieve a lot in life by working hard, treating people well and being intellectually curious, which I am incredibly grateful for and feel that those are traits which are valued at Verkada.