Whitman at Work: From Syracuse to Success, a Journey Through Business and Technology
I don’t do what I do for awards, but it’s nice to be recognized.
Picture this: It's 1995, and the internet is starting to take off. The World Wide Web is a new and exciting place, and people are still figuring out how to make the most of this revolutionary technology. In the midst of this digital boom, Faraz Siraj ’95 is trying to figure out what to do with his career. Little did Siraj know, he was about to embark on a journey that would take him through the world of business and technology, leading him to great success.
Siraj graduated from the Whitman School with a degree in marketing management. He had dreamed of living in New York City and making it big in the world of business, but he didn't know exactly how to get there. So, after graduating from Syracuse University, he moved back home to Virginia and landed a temporary job while he figured things out.
At the time, email was just starting to gain traction and the idea of a website was still a novelty. Siraj had been introduced to these concepts while at Syracuse, and his familiarity with the technology made him a valuable asset to UUNET (later acquired by Verizon). Before he knew it, he was offered a full-time job.
“Initially, I had my heart set on marketing, but a fellow colleague convinced me that I had the skills for sales,” says Siraj. And so began his journey through the world of business-to-business technology sales.
As the internet continued to expand and evolve, Siraj grew with it. He stayed with the company and became an expert in business-to-business technology sales, always focused on solving customer problems and challenges. Siraj was also part of acquisitions, including Sourcefire, acquired by Cisco.
Over the years, Siraj has been honored with many awards and accolades, including recognition by CRN Magazine as the 2021, 2022 and 2023 CRN channel chief. CRN Magazine also recognized him as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs in 2019. Siraj comments, “I don’t do what I do for awards, but it’s nice to be recognized.”
“I don’t do what I do for awards, but it’s nice to be recognized.”
— Faraz Siraj ’95
Now, over 25 years after he graduated from Syracuse, Siraj is still going strong. He recently started a new job as the vice president of Americas channels at Lacework, a Mountain View, California-based company that concentrates on cloud security. There, he's focused on partner strategy and execution alongside Lacework's mission to securing the cloud.
Giving Back to Whitman Students
Throughout the course of his career, Siraj wants to help others achieve their dreams and is actively involved in mentorships. He stays connected to Whitman, coming back to campus to speak to students at Goodman IMPRESS programs and club meetings, even holding one-on-one sessions with students to discuss career and development. He is also active with University events held in the Washington, D.C., area, where he is located.
During one session, Siraj met a student who had her “dream job” interview coming up. Siraj coached her on how to approach the interview, how to research the company and how to make her stand out to the recruiting team.
“Within a week, the student contacted me to let me know that she was a finalist for the job,” says Siraj. “When I opened the email from her, I could hear and feel the jubilation of her landing that role. It was the greatest satisfaction knowing that I was able to help someone else from Whitman achieve their goals.”
Siraj’s journey from Syracuse to success is a testament to the power of education, perseverance and mentorship. As the critical technology evolved and transformed the business world, he used the skills he learned at Whitman to adapt and grow with it, becoming an expert in business-to-business technology sales. His dedication to mentorship has helped students achieve their dreams, as well. As Siraj continues to make his mark on the world of business and technology, he serves as an inspiration to all those at the Whitman School who dream of making it big.
By Kimmy Kimball G’13 (NEW)