Team Member Spotlight: Anne Vondrak, Director of Strategic Partnerships
August 11, 2021
As an experienced automation industry executive, Anne Vondrak understands operational concerns and how to prioritize investments in cybersecurity. Having worked 20 years at Rockwell Automation in commercial and business roles prior to joining Claroty, Anne understands the needs and concerns of OT operators. A triathlete and ironman competitor, Anne’s competitive nature is a perfect fit for the ambition and culture of Claroty. Having talented and competitive individuals with the background and expertise Anne has is essential to Claroty’s continued growth and success, and a large part of why Claroty was able to secure an OT security record $140 million in funding earlier this year.
Q: Being a fast-growing private company, Claroty is a bit of a new challenge for you in terms of company size and ambition. How do you view that transition and what benefits have you found from your experience and relationships?
I’ve always worked for large, publicly traded companies, so coming to a start-up after 28 years in the automation industry was a big change. In the past year, I’ve touched almost every transaction between Rockwell or Tripwire and Claroty, from opportunities to invoicing!
Q: You spent more than 20 years in different roles with Rockwell Automation, how does that experience relate to your role with Claroty?
I believe Claroty is a great place to leverage my experience in sales, business management, marketing, and partner development and management. It’s great that I get to use skills from both my commercial and business experiences at Rockwell Automation, as well as my past relationships in those businesses, from the CEO—my former boss—to many other former colleagues throughout their organization.
Q: You studied engineering at the University of Auburn. What was it like pivoting from a technical perspective to some of the more interpersonal and customer-facing positions you’ve held? How has that engineering background benefited you throughout your career?
I was hired from college into Rockwell Automation’s sales training program, and at that time, they hired only engineers, because we could more easily relate to Rockwell’s technical offerings and our customers’ applications of those products. I feel it was a great application of my industrial engineering degree and my people skills. One of my favorite roles was managing the operator interface business…I felt the business management role truly leveraged my technical and commercial skills to make me run on all cylinders.
Q: What made you want to work in the industrial cybersecurity space?
I was looking for a new challenge when I left Rockwell in 2015 to go to ProSoft—where I also worked with Tripwire and managed both of those divisions’ relationships with Rockwell Automation. It was there that I got exposed to endpoint cybersecurity. I also recommended Tripwire to choose Claroty—because I knew that Rockwell was fully committed to its partnership with Claroty.
Q: Why Claroty?
When I saw the largest three automation companies invest in one company, Claroty, it was a testament to their confidence in Claroty. I also had seen how excited Rockwell leaders were about Claroty. Coming here was not a difficult choice.
Q: Rockwell was one the earliest investors in Claroty, as well as a long-term customer and close partner. With your perspective having joined Claroty from Rockwell, how do you see this relationship continuing to grow and provide even greater value to Rockwell’s customers?
Rockwell’s relationship with Claroty began with Rockwell reselling Continuous Threat Detection (CTD) through its services team. Now in 2021, we’ve expanded sales operations globally beyond the services sales team to their industry sales teams, their channel, and we’re collaborating with their business units to become a part of their portfolio—and they also just re-invested in our latest funding round. Cybersecurity is a start-up area within a 118 year old company, so our relationship is just getting started!
Q: What are your favorite aspects of your role as Director of Strategic Partnerships?
I enjoy the fact that I get to build upon my prior relationships at Belden and Rockwell, and provide them with mutually beneficial solutions.
Q: What are your favorite aspects of working at Claroty?
I love the pace at which Claroty can move—although it is sometimes a challenge for my partners! Product launches took more than 12 months at prior companies—sometimes years!
Q: How have you kept sane in the pandemic?
I have three kids and enjoy outdoor activities. Fortunately, I was always able to go outside, so even when the gyms were closed I swam, ran, and biked—when I wasn’t closing a quarter at Claroty!
Q: Do you have any tips for staying productive while working from home?
Having a room with a door is key to minimizing interruptions. Also, try to set boundaries, because it is easy to neglect boundaries when your office is so easy to get to! Dual monitors are a must have as well!
Q: Any favorite vacation spots? Is somewhere top of the list for your next trip?
My family is all in Florida, where I grew up, so Sarasota is a favorite. I’m also hoping to schedule my first trip to Tel-Aviv in the coming months!