Happy International Women’s Day! We’re showcasing some of the women of Radiant all month long and I can’t think of a better person to highlight today. Lisa Grady has been a key player at Radiant Logic for half her life—and much of the company’s existence. She started the same year the Identity and Access Management tech stack was launched, so she’s seen this industry grow and evolve from the beginning of the IAM era. The year will sound familiar for another technology-driven reason—it was Y2K and no one was quite sure what would happen when all the clocks clicked over from 1999 to the year 2000.
Lisa has played many roles over the years. She was hired as the start-up’s only Systems Engineer, but “Back then, we were a very small team and I answered to whatever title was needed to fit the narrative. I was the Product Evangelist when I was doing webinars. On calls, I could be anything from the Product Manager to a Systems Engineer, or even a Senior Solutions Architect on the sales side.” These days, her job is still huge and covers a lot of essential ground, but she’s now a Product Manager, where she’s focused on product and strategy, helping lead the future evolution of our Identity Data Fabric and the Intelligent Identity Data Platform that makes it possible.
How She Got Here
As a business major in college, Lisa had to select an area of emphasis. Something about Management Information Systems (MIS) sparked her curiosity and sent her down the technical path she’s still on—one that has wound its way through all the modern innovations of IAM, from its beginnings in 2000, through the 2010 introduction of blockchain and the Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) cloud, right up to today’s world of multi-cloud deployments, Zero Trust architectures, and the rise of identity fabric and cybersecurity mesh (both of which rely on the unified identity data foundation only Radiant provides).
The world has changed in many ways since then. As she explains, “Tech is more welcoming for women now. Back when I started, it felt like I was the only one.” But Lisa’s quick to point out that she hasn’t experienced the same discrimination as other women trying to break into tech. “Maybe it’s where I live in Northern California. And maybe it’s because we were a start-up back then,” she says. “There weren’t many rules or procedures in the early days. We were basically all in the same boat together. Our founders were both French and they were open to women. As tech-minded folks, I think they saw something in me. They appreciated my quickness, my technical acumen. I was a valuable asset to them and worked hard to stay that way.”
The Start-Up Spirit: Growing Up with Radiant
In the early days, there were only a handful of people working at the corporate headquarters in Novato. “I shared a small office with a developer and Claude Samuelson, the VP of Engineering, who was also a co-founder. That’s where I began my Radiant career.”
The year after she started, the world experienced huge ruptures, with the crash of the tech industry and the 9/11 terrorist attacks putting the importance of cybersecurity front and center. The next year was a testing time for the small start-up. “How do you navigate having to lay off all but ten people?” Lisa says. “We had to go bare-bones. It was very tough and we all lived very lean until we could get back to full strength.”
Growing the Business, One Meeting at a Time
Start-ups are often a scramble, full of lean years and heroic efforts. Lisa shares the story of Dieter Schuller—now the Chief Revenue Officer—getting them a meeting with a bank in Indianapolis at a critical moment when they really needed to land a customer just to keep the lights on. She and founder and former CEO Michel Prompt flew to Chicago to meet up with Dieter and by the time they arrived, the last flight out to Indianapolis had been canceled.
“Dieter insisted on driving us, so there I am with these two guys, trying to catch a little sleep in the back, while we drove through the night to our hotel in Indianapolis. We arrived around 2 AM and while I certainly didn’t get much sleep, we made our meeting and the bank became a customer. And that saved us, really. We were so slim on resources during that time, but I knew I couldn’t leave then. The company needed me and I couldn’t leave them in a lurch.”
Just Like Family
All these hardships forged stronger bonds within the small, scrappy team. And Lisa kept blazing a trail through the growing organization, taking on tech support roles, product training, recruiting, strategy and positioning—you name it, she’s probably done it somewhere along the way. Her deep connection to her coworkers remains today, 22 years later. As Lisa says, “when you’re working with family, you never want to let them down.”
When it comes to Lisa, that sense of loyalty is shared by her team. Prashanth Godey, Radiant’s Director of Systems Engineers, has worked with Lisa for more than 20 years and says “she is, without a doubt, one of the biggest professional assets to this company. We’ve faced a number of challenges and overcome many obstacles together, but she always has the drive to keep going. I really appreciate the way she takes on challenges with such a positive attitude.”
What’s Ahead for Radiant 2.0
You may have noticed some changes around the joint, starting with our brand-new website and the blog you’re currently reading. It’s been an exciting shift. As Lisa explains, “We were founder-led for more than two decades, so it’s a big change. Radiant was their baby, their dream, their vision. It’s a very different relationship with the new management team. They don’t have the same connection or need for control and they’re ready to move in new directions and take advantage of new opportunities.”
And with Lisa helping drive product direction, I know we’re in good hands…after all, as a customer once said of Lisa, she is “extremely intelligent, resourceful, with a tremendous attention to detail…a consummate professional in every sense of the word. I wish she worked at my company.” At Radiant Logic, we know we’re lucky she works at ours.
PS: We’re celebrating the badass women of Radiant all month, so check back next week to hear how a young Radiant developer got her start—and inspired me to learn how to code!
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