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      INAP Executive Spotlight: Matt Cuneio, Vice President, Network Operations Center


      In the INAP Executive Spotlight series, we interview senior leaders across the organization, hearing candid reflections about their careers, what they love about their work and big lessons learned along the way.

      Next in the series is Matt Cuneio, Vice President, Network Operations Center (NOC). He oversees our customer support teams, ensuring that our customers get top tier technical support. During his two-and-a-half-year tenure at INAP, he’s aligned all support employees to form team of roughly 95 members who support customers across all INAP products. This shift has yielded fantastic customer surveys and has put INAP on the map for top-notch service.

      Read on to learn more about what makes Matt tick, and how he’s worked to shatter silos in order to build a stronger INAP.

      The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

      What do you think makes the NOC team successful?

      Hustle! Customers want to be ‘happily uninvolved’ in their products and services. When they log on, they just want things to work. It’s really that simple. When that does not occur, responsiveness and crisp communication is the key to a good experience. I’ve been in the industry 20+ years now and what sets INAP apart is our product and engineering team. They work around the clock to ensure our platform is robust. When events happen, it’s all hands-on deck and we work together to drive resolution. We have industry leading ASA (Average Speed to Answer) times and our customer surveys reinforce our effort to be a ‘Best In Class’ support organization.

      What do you love about your role in tech? What is the best part of being in the industry?

      I love people, and I love having the ability to set people up for success. I’ve used this phrase over the years: Come, Grow and Go. I want people to come into the support organization. I want them to take advantage of the opportunity to crack into the industry, to learn technology and to grow their skillset. And then I want them to spread their wings and make a difference—make a difference for the company, their families, their community. Having the opportunity to lead in the technology industry is exciting and very rewarding.

      Of all the qualities you possess, which do you think has the greatest influence on your success?

      When I started at INAP, the silos that existed were extreme for a company of our size. I’ve been able to bring folks together. If I were to market my skillset as a leader and what I can do, it’s that I’m pretty damn good at bringing people together. The talent we possess as a company is unrivaled in the industry. We have some of the greatest engineering minds I’ve ever been around. Aligning all of this talent and getting everyone to pull the rope in the same direction is what we will do better than anyone in the days ahead.

      What does a typical day look like for you?

      One thing I tell our leaders is that the NOC life is a ‘lifestyle’. Last night I was on the phone with a customer at 9:30 and helped them work through their issue. It’s a 24/7/365 gig. There’s no walking away at 5 p.m. when you’re done with your last call. We have a great team, we have fun together and the feedback we receive from customers makes it all worth it.

      What advice would you have for someone pursuing a career in tech?

      Zone in on certifications. I talk to my kids about this, about getting their CCNA and the different technology tools that are available. There is a lot and it’s always changing, so if you can get in on the front end of technology, then that’s going to really benefit you.

      And my other advice is to be a great teammate. If you’re a great teammate and you work hard and you give your best, it’s going to work out. I’ve seen it time and time again with people who have worked for me. It’s what’s worked for me personally. If you treat people with respect, if you hustle, if you don’t cut corners and do the small things right it will all work out. Pay attention to the details. If you focus on the basics, success lies ahead.

      Who are some of the people that have mentored or been your role models throughout your career?

      I love this question because I’ve been incredibly fortunate in this area. So many people to talk about, but I’ll keep it to two. Keith Hayes took me under his wing and gave me my first vice president role. I still talk to him often. He taught me those core principles of treating people with respect, staying grateful and having a servant approach in leadership. Greg Wood is another mentor who has had a lifelong impact on me. He really emphasized the relationship piece. He stressed that you can get things done by yourself, but you can get a lot more done as a team and with people aligned and all focused on the same thing. And he gave me a lot of great tools to do that.

      What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?

      People make the difference. Process, products, services are all critical to success. The foundation of delivering the business though all comes down to having the right people in the right place. Treating people with respect and encouraging them has a greater influence than constant criticism. Mistakes happen, and when they do it’s critical you address them head on. But an energized, motivated workforce can accomplish great things and that’s what we have in motion here at INAP!

      Laura Vietmeyer


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      INAP Executive Spotlight: Jackie Coats, Senior Vice President, Human Resources


      In the INAP Executive Spotlight series, we interview senior leaders across the organization, hearing candid reflections about their careers, what they love about their work and big lessons learned along the way.

      Next in the series is Jackie Coats, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. In this role, she puts her passion for helping employees and leaders unlock their potential and accomplish goals to good use.

      In our conversation, Coats discussed what drew her to this role at INAP, how she’s working with the other senior leaders to build a strong company culture and much more. Jackie brings her enthusiasm to the forefront of everything she does. Read on to learn more.

      The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

      You joined INAP in May as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources. What excites you most about this new role?

      The people at INAP are what attracted me to this role. I’d been consulting on my own and wasn’t in the market for going back to a regular full-time gig. I had the opportunity to come on as a contractor for INAP earlier this year. Every single person that I interacted with was smart, helpful and aligned with taking the business forward. The opportunity to be part of this team was a key driver in accepting the role. And as the company has now moved from public to private, I have the chance to build people functions that support the organization.

      You came into this role during the COVID-19 pandemic. How does this impact company culture and what’s being done to connect with employees during this time?

      The good thing is that our President and CEO Mike Sicoli genuinely cares about every single employee. It’s refreshing that he doesn’t delegate that to me alone as head of HR. All the senior leaders give a lot of thought to not only the productivity aspect of these times, as it’s important to keep a business running, but the emotional and personal impact that employees have undergone as a result of being remote. We’ve increased support tools and we’ve done surveys to check in with individual employees to take the pulse of the organization. We’ve connected leaders and given them tips on how to stay in sync with their teams. We’ve encouraged video one-on-ones in team meetings and all hands, etc. It’s something we definitely won’t stop beyond the pandemic. Knowing how our employees are feeling is important.

      With all the social unrest going on in the world, diversity and inclusion is really important. Can you tell us about the steps INAP is taking in those areas?

      We finalized the selection of a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant partner, and they have an amazing approach and lots of tools and partnerships that will help guide us. We’ll be doing work as a senior team, both together and individually, which I think is vital. We’ll also be doing an assessment of the organization to really get a baseline of where we stand. This consultant partner will help us identify areas where we need to focus.

      It’s obvious from looking at the organization that we need to support the growth and professional development of our women and people of color, because as you go up in the organization, there’s fewer and fewer people in those categories. We’ll be working on development activities and support for those individuals. We’ll take a hard look at our policies and practices to consider how we promote, hire and transfer.

      What changes have you see related to diversity and inclusion over your career? What do you still want to see?

      What I have learned over the years is that grassroots-type exercises really are more valuable than big, government-mandated exercises. I’ve seen a lot of success with mentoring programs where you identify individuals and what they’re trying to achieve from a development perspective, and you match them with a senior person who has that expertise. Both parties learn a tremendous amount.

      The need to hire quickly is generally what drives the hesitancy to take the time to find a diverse palate of candidates. As an organization and as a society, it’s absolutely critical that we develop our minority applicants and employees and go the extra mile to find people that bring diversity to the organization, because it’s critical for our success. There is a lot of data that shows businesses that are diverse are more productive and more successful.

      You’ve worked in HR for other tech companies prior to joining INAP. What do you like best about being in the industry?

      I’m a big believer that when you have pride in your organization, and in the products and services offered, employees are loyal and engaged. For me, technology touches absolutely everything. The fact that we’re powering and supporting businesses that are making our economy go brings a great sense of pride. And learning that some of our customers are in the gaming industry, I can connect that to having a kid who does all that stuff, so I love that.

      How you go about setting goals for your team?

      You need to have an overall vision for where you want your department or function to go. I talk a lot to my team about what we’re trying to achieve and what success would look like. We’re looking to add value to the organization, not just from an administrative or transactional standpoint. Our goal is to become consultative to the business leaders and help leaders and managers make excellent people decisions, support the growth of their individuals, improve the productivity of their teams, break down communication barriers across departments, recognize high performers and key contributors. That’s the big picture in what we’re trying to do.

      Did you take any detours to get to where you are today?

      I have a fashion merchandising degree and started in retail as a manager right out of the gate after graduating from college. Right away, I gravitated towards leadership and management. I realized that I had good transferrable skills, like hiring, coaching and training. I ended up taking a personnel training coordinator job at Lowe’s Home Centers, which tied the retail in with the HR function, and immediately saw a huge path of opportunity for me.

      Of all the qualities you possess, which ones have the greatest influence on your success?

      Enthusiasm. I bring a lot of positivity and enthusiasm for things that I believe in. My function should enable success, not get in the way. I have a quick ability to identify things that are getting in the way for people, and if they’re open to hearing it, I’m pretty good at helping them adjust their style to help them grow.

      What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?

      It’s important to surround yourself with people who possess talent and skills that you don’t have. I’ve learned to appreciate that you don’t have to have it all. You have to know what you need and you have to be able to find people to build a team with complementary skills. Bringing those complementary skills out in each of them has really helped me find success, for me and my teams.

      Is there anything you would do differently now if you were just starting out?

      I would’ve spent more time learning about data and metrics, and how to utilize them. Most business rely on data to help inform decisions and the people function is no different. Productivity, employee satisfaction and demographics are all KPIs that leaders need to know. Knowing the KPIs for your business helps to eliminate subjective decision making.

      Laura Vietmeyer


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      Connecting Our ‘Inner Networks’ Through Yoga, Powered by INAP


      As the new reality of the work from home lifestyle began to sink in, we at INAP started looking for new ways to connect with our employees, partners and clients. Enter INAP Marketing Specialist Nicolette Downs. As a yoga instructor and owner of Chicago’s own Big Shoulders Yoga Studio, she’s graciously stepped onto her mat to offer twice-weekly yoga classes via Instagram Live.

      “The virtual INAP yoga classes are a great break in the day and have helped with my flexibility and focus,” said Matt Cutler, National Account Manager.

      You can join Downs and other members of the INAP family on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. All you have to do is follow us @poweredbyinap on Instagram and you can join the free classes in real time or watch them on our Instagram story for up to 24 hours after the live class. The 30-minute classes are the perfect way to take a short break, connect with others, reconnect with yourself and get your body moving.

      “It’s great to take 30 minutes in the middle of the day to step away from my desk and move my body,” said Kandace Hyland, Senior Marketing Manager. “I come back re-energized to do whatever project I’m working on that day.”

      Attending live classes can also bring some much needed routine to your day, as Human Resources Generalist Anastacia Cesario can attest. “Taking live classes during this quarantine helps me feel like there is some sort of normality in my day still and helps me stick to a schedule.”

      Yogis of all levels can participate, whether you’re a seasoned expert or have never taken a yoga class in your life.

      National Account Manager Joseph Shaughnessy has been able to find a new challenge and goal to strive for through these classes. “I’m still trying to perfect my ‘crow pose,’” he said. “A lot of practice is needed!”

      You won’t need any special equipment to participate. If you don’t have access to a mat, a towel or blanket can serve as a stand-in. Downs often offers up substitutes for the typical props used in the yoga studio at the beginning of the live broadcast and throughout the practice.

      We hope we’re able to provide the small break you need in your day to keep you feeling grounded as we make our way through these unprecedented times. And as always, we’re here to help you find the solutions you need to maintain your connectivity, whether it be through yoga to keep you up and running, or an IT solution to keep your business going.

      Know Your Yoga Moves

      New to yoga and want to be better prepared? There are many poses to explore in class that aren’t covered below, including crow pose, which Shaughnessy mentioned he’s working on and is a pose that allows you to get some “network uptime.” But the poses that follow are some of the moves you’ll frequently see in our classes.

      Downs also provides modifications during the class in order to help accommodate limitations.

      Backbone Connection Pose (Downward Dog)

      Yoga Downward Dog

      This is a common pose across all styles of yoga. This spine-lengthening pose will help you shake off long days sitting in front of a computer.

      From all fours, ground your hands into the mat, putting the weight into your thumbs and forefingers to take any strain off of your wrists. Lift your hips and bend your knees, coming onto the balls of your feet. Bring your shins parallel to the mat and keep your sit bones lifting high and back and you straighten your legs. Once in position, you can peddle out your feet as you work to melt your heels toward the floor.

      Hyper-V (Boat Pose)

      Yoga Boat Pose

      This pose will really rev up your core. You’ll begin seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Lean back slightly and lift your legs to bring your shins parallel to the floor. Maintain tension in your core to ensure that your spine doesn’t round down. We want a nice straight back and a lifted chest in this pose.

      As you maintain the balance on your sit bones, straighten your legs to your comfort level. In the photo above, Downs in demonstrating the maximum extension. Lift your arms and reach forward, keeping your arms and hands actively engaged. We’ll typically draw several rounds of breath in this pose.

      To release, exhale as you lower your legs and hands to the floor.

      Network Branch Pose (Tree Pose)

      Yoga Network Branch Pose

      Challenge your balance! Throughout this balance pose, keep your gaze fixed on an unmoving point in front of you. Begin by standing on your mat with your arms at your side. For this example, we’ll pretend you’re starting with the balance on your left leg. Shift your weight to your left foot and bend your right knee.

      Lift your right leg or use your hand to draw your right foot alongside your inner left thigh, your left calf or your left ankle, depending on your flexibility level. To protect your knee, do not rest your foot against the knee joint.

      Place your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Then, press your palms together in a prayer position at your chest, with your thumbs resting on your sternum. You can stay in this position, or take the balance a step further by reaching your network branches up overhead.

      Web Firewall Application Pose (Warrior II)

      Yoga Web Application Firewall Pose

      This pose will give your quad muscles a run for their money. Step your feet apart, using your mat or towel as a guide. Raise your arms parallel, palms facing down, and reach them actively out to the sides. Keep the front foot pointed forward and turn your back foot out. The front and back heels should be aligned as the feet run perpendicular to each other.

      Bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. This is where you’ll feel the quad go to work. Anchor this movement of the front knee by strengthening the back leg as you press the outer back heel firmly to the floor. Turn you head forward to look out over your fingers.

      Concluding the Practice

      Yoga Sealing Practice

      Each practice concludes with savasana, or what we’re calling NAP Pose. You’ll get a chance to lie back on the mat, relax and thank yourself for the work you just did. Then, after that final relaxation, we seal the practice by sitting cross legged and saying, “Namaste,” which roughly means, “The light within me honors and respects the light within you.”

      Join us on Instagram Live for free yoga classes!

      FOLLOW INAP ON INSTAGRAM

      Laura Vietmeyer


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