Career Notes 10.8.23
Ep 170 | 10.8.23

Suzie Squier: You're never alone. [President]


Suzie Squier: Hello, my name is Suzie Squier. I'm the president of the Retail and Hospitality ISAC, or Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

Suzie Squier: I think, uh, I, all I can remember is that I wanted to live in Montana for a while. I don't know why, but I thought it would look like a great state and then I have no recollection, then I studied English in college, and then someone told me that, were you going to be a teacher? And I was like, absolutely not. So I do recognize that I did not want to teach. So that's about all I have as far as what my career path was. I actually started as a biology major, switched to English, with a minor in history and a minor in Latin, and I went into public relations work.

Suzie Squier: What led me into PR was an internship. I was a, probably a senior in college. I'd worked all my life, but not, like, career oriented, just odd jobs. And I realized I needed to, like, figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So there was an internship with a small PR firm, so I joined them, uh, moved on to a marketing position with a credit union, the financial institution, uh, worked my way up to, uh, I think it was a director level at that one and then I moved to another, ended up as a vice president and then I think a senior vice president of marketing with them, uh, took a little bit of a break, uh, for some family, uh, you know, caring for my, my mom and our children. So I, I did that and then did some freelance writing at the time and then when I decided to go back to work, I reached out to my buddies and said, Hey, need a job, and a friend of mine's husband was looking for, uh, an editor for their association magazine, so it's the American chemistry council. So I went over there and worked with them for a good number of years, probably, I think everywhere I worked, I worked about 10 years, maybe not that long at ACC, and then moved over to the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Suzie Squier: When I was there, we served the largest retailers in the country. And, uh, end of 2013, beginning of 2014, there were some significant breaches within the retail industry and our team was working on that. The government affairs team was working on the, on the legislative side, cause there's a lot of commotion on the hill, uh, about it and, uh, I worked with a colleague on the operation side and we pulled together, uh, people who had a new title that we, I was not that familiar with chief information security officers, uh, pulled that group together and we created what was then called RCISC, yeah, Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center, um, back in 2014, probably finished incorporated in 2015, created a board of directors. Then went back to my other job, thinking that that was completed and then the board, uh, pulled me back in 2017. And here I am, since then.

Suzie Squier: I came from a membership background and a marketing background, so I'm still very involved in our membership side. I, you know, really look forward to setting up calls. I had earlier a call today with the chief security officer at Expedia, one of our member companies and so I try to have as many membership calls during the week that I that I can. But of course, you know, as the leadership of the organization, I'm also obviously very aware of our financials and, um, our, you know, we have, I have three great leaders on our leadership team. One who oversees our HR and our finances and operations, someone oversees our membership in marketing and communications, and then our VP of Intel operations. So a lot of it is obviously staying in touch with them and then, um, trying to stay out of our staff's way as much as possible, but I know I can, I can ask questions and jump in and they're, they're a great team to support me.

Suzie Squier: I'm definitely hands off, love people do it, but I am aware of things that are going on and if I notice that things are not getting done, or if someone said they were going to get something done and it doesn't get done, I do have a very weird memory for remembering things like that. So, um, and then I check in, but most of the time, um, I just like to do what I can to support our team, uh, to make their jobs easier. If I am going to create anything that's annoying, I definitely jump in to help, you know, whether it's a, you know, installation or anything. If it's a big project, then I want to be a part of it to help, uh, ease the load for the team as well. And then, um, you know, just make sure everybody's got, got what they need to continue to serve our members and to fulfill our mission.

Suzie Squier: I love to look at other ways to handle a situation. I think I'm pretty good about thinking outside the box and uh, I think when you can kind of just walk and think about things, it allows you to have that time to take things into, um, into perspective. I also have realized over time that I'm never in this alone, whether that's your personal life or your work life and even here, uh, in addition to a great team, all great team. We have a, we have a, I really think we have a fabulous team. Um, I also have a great board of directors, and these are men and women who have, you know, great careers in, um, not only as information security professionals, but as professionals within their organizations. So, you know, when you step back and you think you do have resources, uh, even if it's not related, if it's related to maybe like a personnel issue or something, but not necessarily on the board duties, I'll reach out and call that, you know, set up a call and, and get their perspective on things, how they've handled situations or, or what have you. So I feel like there's always resources out there that you can turn to when you're going through any sort of a challenge or question or things like that.

Suzie Squier: One thing that I continue to say is that you have to jump in. It may be a frightening project you're doing. It may not be something that you're particularly comfortable in. But, um, but jump in anyway, and even if things are not going well, that's still a learning curve, uh, and then also what I like to say is just be curious about things going on. What, wherever you are within your organization and, uh, just try to learn and you don't have to be an expert, but just be curious and absorb because you just never know when an opportunity like mine did, you know, I knew nothing about this, but I knew how to manage projects and I knew how to run budgets for my job. You just never know where those kinds of skills or where the opportunity may lead you. So I just think that you just can't be afraid to take that step, even if you're, you may not, you may not work out and that's okay.