Career Notes 8.20.23
Ep 163 | 8.20.23

Luke Vander Linden: With age comes knowledge. [VP]


Luke Vander Linden: My name is Luke Vander Linden and I am the Vice President of membership and marketing for the Retail and Hospitality ISAC, and host of the RH ISAC podcast here on the CyberWire Network.

Luke Vander Linden: I wanted to be a television producer. It was not a cybersecurity professional because that career that, uh, that possibility didn't even exist. I wanted to work in the broadcasting industry and be a Hollywood mogul.

Luke Vander Linden: So, um, my first career, by the way, was in 1977. I became a child model and actor. So it might have been a little bit inspired by my flirtation with the industry at an early age, but yeah, I majored in media studies when I went to college, basically the business behind television and while I was in college, I got a job at the local PBS station where I was living and that turned into my first, uh, the first 11 or so years of my career working in, uh, working in television. Uh, it was PBS though. So, uh, it wasn't exactly in production or, or as a Hollywood mogul, but, uh, swiftly became part of their fundraising apparatus and their membership apparatus, uh, that's what I did, I ran those for a while. I also created the online fundraising initiative, uh, for that station that was in emulated at the time by a number of other stations. Early on, that was kind of my claim to fame as the, as the internet was starting to be a thing, we, we learned how to use it, uh, and use it to market and, and to raise money for the, for our initiatives.

Luke Vander Linden: Yeah, so that's how I fell into, I guess we'll call it, uh, back, back then I was doing basically direct response marketing. So, uh, using email, uh, back then that was the best tool we had, but then that would turn into, to social media and then, uh, uh, various other tools and interestingly, after, um, I progressed through various stages in the fundraising departments at, uh, at that station, uh, I ended up going from new media, email and online to old media, uh, that turned into a job working in direct mail, uh, but it was really, um, using any tool to reach out to people to get them to take the action you want them to take. So, uh, I worked at an agency, a small family owned, uh, agency for about seven years after I, uh, after I left the station, working with a lot of public broadcasting stations, but then branching out to other areas like public libraries, uh, advocacy groups. So that got me interested in, in working with individuals who support organizations and who are active involved with organizations and, uh, I ultimately, uh, fell into the association world, uh, which is technically, uh, what the RH ISAC, uh, really is.

Luke Vander Linden: I would say the majority of my time, so I wear kind of two hats, well, three hats if you count the podcast hat, but we'll, we'll leave that one aside. But, uh, two hats really is, is the, the care and feeding of our members. So, uh, everything from, uh, when someone wants to join us making that happen to, uh, just onboarding them once they do join, checking in and make sure they're getting as much out of their membership as we can and, the big part of my day is taken up with interacting with and having calls with with our members, uh, and, and perspective members. The other hat I wear is I'm part of the leadership team and so just looking at the overall strategic direction of the organization, are we serving our members from that, from that higher, uh, altitude vantage point, uh, and making plans for six months to a year to five years in the future. So it's really great to be able to be on the ground, uh, and also up in the air, doing kind of doing both, both things, both strategic and tactical, uh, functions.

Luke Vander Linden: I'm kind of proud of, of the way I work with, um, I have a great team, uh, of four, uh, direct reports, they're amazing. I think for us internally, it's important and I think the other members of the leadership team feel this way, uh, to have a fair amount of transparency. We work with people who, uh, secrecy and non disclosure and keeping things, uh, kind of quiet is, is a key, key part of the job, but we also run a sharing community. And so, uh, just as we want our members to be, uh, feel free to share with each other on our sharing platforms, we want, um, our staff to be open with each other. We're also entirely remote. So, um, for us to create that corporate culture when you're not running into people at the water cooler or, you know, smelling someone's fish leftovers that they're heating up in the microwave from the day before, or having that, you know, office space type cubicle culture, um, uh, is important too and I think we've done a great job building a transparent and great corporate culture, even though we're flung all over the country.

Luke Vander Linden: this is a conversation I have with our CISOs all the time about, because there's a skills gap, obviously, there's a huge number of open positions, and how do you fill them and it's absolutely true. As long as you have Uh, a willingness to learn an interest, a passion about this topic. You can learn the skills and not all roles are technical. You know, I've, I've picked up a lot. It's great if you come with, and in my opinion, this is key, a good level of security awareness but again you don't have to be technical, you can go in and have a passion for it, have a passion for learning, uh, and you can learn the, the technical skills, uh, if those are required for the job. 

Luke Vander Linden: When I worked for that small, uh, family owned business, uh, the president and founder of the company once said to me, an expert is someone who's done something once. So every experience that you have is so valuable, even if you fail because you could learn something from it. This is only the third job where I've had direct reports and but I love managing people just as one example, but I've learned from the mistakes that I've made and from the way I've interacted with with direct reports in the past. And so I think I'm good at it now. I think with age comes this knowledge, but also with experiences. So, I mean, to that point, don't be afraid to go out there and fail, give it a shot. I think that's, um, one of the best ways to be successful is, is not to be afraid to fail, but to go out and give it a shot and, and learn from what, from what you've done.

Luke Vander Linden: If you think about the largest retailers who are of who are our members and the number of consumers that they're able to protect because of their membership with us, it's just, you know, it's an organization that no one's heard of, they don't need to hear about us. They don't need to know we exist unless you work in this industry. And just to me, I don't need my name to be known and just the, the, but the sheer impact this organization has, uh, is so great that I'm, to me, that's, that's just a great legacy to have.