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Take the Road Less Traveled

A Slice on Brad Brooks, CEO and President of OneLogin

Brad Brooks’ love for technology was sparked at the young age of 10 years old… It all started when his dad brought home a shiny new toy, a Texas Instruments PC. It didn’t take long for Brooks to start hacking code on this PC, and the rest was history. Brooks is now CEO and President of OneLogin, the identity platform for secure, scalable and smart experiences that connect people to technology. With the OneLogin Trusted Experience Platform, customers can connect all of their applications, identify potential threats and act quickly. To date, OneLogin has raised $175.2 million in funding.

When it was time for Brooks to attend college, it was no surprise that he chose to study Computer Science. Brooks quickly found that this route wasn’t right for him for a couple of reasons: he wasn’t learning anything new and he was much more of a “social animal” than his classmates. Although he still had a strong passion for technology, he decided to follow a different path during this time and pursued the business track.

After college, Brooks went back to his passion, technology. He has since held positions across the nation in places like New York, Seattle, Houston and now, San Francisco. Brooks joined OneLogin as CEO and President and still works with one of the founders, Thomas Pederson. “There’s something special about founders. They’re the ones that have the original idea but more importantly, they went through a lot of hard times to get you where you are… There are still a lot of underpinnings about what this company is based on: who they were as human beings, their thought processes and belief processes that still carry through to this day.” Brooks notes he’s worked hard to preserve the groundwork the two founders have built from day one under his leadership.  

Brooks took on the CEO role with full knowledge of the responsibilities… including fundraising. Luckily, he’s had previous fundraising experience at companies such as DocuSign and can now share valuable insights he’s learned along the way. “People are not investing in just the business, they’re investing in the leadership… You have to get very good at not only telling your story in a way that gets the right movie playing in investors’ heads but also gets them to believe in you as the leader.” Brooks describes the CEO role to be unique because you are responsible for staying with the company all the way through, and “you can’t jump ship”, even when things get tough. 

Brooks has undoubtedly learned many lessons from his career throughout the years. What’s most surprising is, his biggest learning didn’t come from his work experience, but from his first day of seventh grade. “I remember walking into school and seeing a lot of nervous faces and some kids were crying. I was looking around and that was the first time I had the epiphany that everybody else is just as nervous and frightened as me. It just struck me, that knowledge that everybody was feeling exactly the way I was underneath my own skin. It gave me an incredible power of saying, ‘I’m not any worse off than anybody else here, I’m in the same situation. Let’s go take advantage of that.’ It gave me an incredibly calming effect.” Brooks has applied this mantra to every step of his career, especially when he inevitably had to take risks and overcome obstacles. 

Along with his seventh-grade epiphany, Brooks’ advice to young professionals is that it’s okay to have roadblocks and hiccups in your career. “There’s no career role, decision or anything that you can make that is so risky that it’s going to derail your entire career… You’re going to go out there and take chances on roles and go in a very different direction. Some of these things are going to work out wonderfully, other times they’re going to work out terribly. It’s all about knowing there are some experiences worth learning from, even if it’s risky.”

“It’s the road less traveled and some of the most rewarding experiences can happen when you don’t get so caught up in the moment.”

Brooks is now on a mission to make a positive impact on his employees. He recalls “getting his shot” early and wants to create an environment that teaches and fosters intangible learnings. Brooks hopes that in 10 years, his former employees will be in various leadership positions and can look back and say that his leadership gave them what they needed to succeed. “At the end of the day, it’s about the people, and did I help make them successful. If I do that well, I’m going to be very satisfied.”

Founder Bio

Brad Brooks received his Master’s in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He’s previously held leadership positions at Lucent Technologies, Eron, Microsoft and DocuSign. Brooks is currently CEO and President at OneLogin. Connect with Brooks on LinkedIn.

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