Panel with Jennifer Sand, Michael Kostrzewa, Tracy Reinhold, Imad Mouline
PROACTIVE LEADERSHIP STRATEGIES TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE AND BUSINESSES RUNNING AMID UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDING THE 2020 US ELECTIONS / Transcript
John Maeda: [00:00:00] Welcome to the proactive leadership strategies to keep people safe and businesses running a bit uncertainty surrounding the 2020 us elections. I am John Maeda, the Chief Customer Experience Officer at Everbridge. It’s my honor to be the moderator today, we have a powerful set of panelists.
We’ll be weighing in from different perspectives, technology, policy and, actual experience, on the ground, literally with, these kinds of situations, we are going to see unfolding and are unfolding right now. First of all, my first panel, this will be Chief Technology Officer Imad. He is the chief visionary of the future of critical event management and is a key startup and tech leader here in Boston. Welcome.
Imad Mouline: [00:01:01] Thank you.
John Maeda: [00:01:02] I also have here a vice-president Chief Security Officer, Tracy Reinhold. He is our in-house security expert, CSO at Fannie Mae Walmart and two decades serving in the FBI. Welcome Tracy.
Tracy Reinhold: [00:01:18] Glad to be here
John Maeda: [00:01:22] We also have the vice president of product management of critical event management. Jennifer Sand. She is our product and technology expert, formerly of cloud walk accord by Cisco Compuware and Merlin one. Welcome Jennifer.
Jennifer Sand: [00:01:38] Thanks John. Happy to be here
John Maeda: [00:01:42] and last but not least. We have our tactical resolution team manager, Michael a , former Connecticut state police commander who led counter terrorism, critical infrastructure protection unit.
And also ESPN global security manager is also a CPP. It’s a high-status certified protection professional. Welcome, Michael.
Michael Kostrzewa: [00:02:05] Thank you, John. Appreciate you having me.
John Maeda: [00:02:08] Perfect. Okay. So first of all, we are lucky to have Michael who represents our team, in what’s called RIMC important aspectsof the Everbridge universe.
And, there are the analyst reports have already been pushed out to your customers, but I thought I would share with you some context to past presidential elections, I’ll go over them briefly. when you’re looking back into the past, you can be considered predict the future, but we can also know how the present fields.
So 2000 presidential election protests were held in dozens of cities across the country, including in front of the Supreme court in Washington, DC. 20 years ago 2000. In 2004, after the presidential election protests activities occurred on the day after election day in over 80 cities across the country without significant incidents in 2008, after that presidential election and the days that followed, there were isolated reports of targeted attacks against the president’s supporters and destruction of property.
In 2012 after the presidential election claims of election regularities were raised and at least several protesters reported the day after the election, four years ago, 2016, but then selection. Thousands of demonstrators in at least 25, us cities took to the streets of protest after the election. So that’s the sort of a context of two decades after elections.
And before we jump into that, I want to share the incredible vision of critical event management as led by our chief technology officer Imad Mouline.
Imad Mouline: [00:03:54] Thank you very much. I’m certainly hoping that this critical event is going to be resolved and mitigated soon. just a couple of thoughts on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. ever bridge was founded in the aftermath of the tragic events of nine 11. It’s a solution. It’s one that helps us keep an eye on all of the things that organizations care about the most typically starting with people, right? So it’s people, assets, operations, brand, and reputation, but we also constantly look for things that organizations worry about the most. today that would be pandemics, right?
So we’ve really created a platform that every part of society plugs into factories, universities, corporations, airports, hospitals, governments, right at the municipal level at the state level, even at the country level, in some cases. And we’ve also created a platform that touches everyone that’s what’s needed for critical event management.
John Maeda: [00:04:59] Thank goodness you didn’t stop going because it’s definitely needed right now. Like it turned to the rest of the panelists to go through some questions that we gathered.
First of all, to Tracy. What lessons has history taught us group pass selections, given your rich federal Experience.
Tracy Reinhold: [00:05:18] So let me put that into context first. I think that. History has shown us that the country as a whole is very resilient. and that humans in general have the ability to overcome adversity.
So while the election, potential disruption of civil society is a reality. I think we all understand that. I think that we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the institutions that make this country great. continue to function and will continue to function during any sort of disruption post-election.
and I think we see that if you think back to the election between George Bush and mr Gore and the challenges that presented themselves in the state of Florida. it didn’t end up disrupting society. It was a brief pause in the electrical process that allowed us to consider options on how we resolve those issues.
And I think the same thing will manifest today as we continue to embrace the great institutions of this country. And it allows us to put everything into perspective. This will be a blip, in the greater scheme of things. And I think if we look at it that way and we trust in our institutions, we will be fine.
John Maeda: [00:06:31] That’s well put, just looking at our history of elections. This happens every time the country pauses. And we will get through this. You’re saying better. Right? Tracy,
Tracy Reinhold: [00:06:41] What I think is it reinforces the idea that the democratic process works. if elections are contentious, that’s okay.
It’s the process itself. That reinforces what it is that makes this country what it is today. And he think about that. The fact that we can have a pant, that peaceful transition of power is amazing. When you look at other countries who have struggled with this concept. So the fact that we continue to do it every four years is a Testament to the will and the determination of the people of this country and the institutions that make it great.
John Maeda: [00:07:18] Thank you. Tracy movingto Michael. So Michael, what are some of the dynamic challenges you are seeing related to demonstrations, protest and civil unrest events throughout the country?
Michael Kostrzewa: [00:07:30] I think from the law enforcement perspective, you have to take a brief look at the causes or combination thereof in this instance of, These disruptions, they’re generally focused on political, economic and social issues.
In this particular election, I think we have a trifecta of all of these or combination thereof, looking at the political we’ve seen a very divisive and polarizing election, Left wings, different viewpoints and increased tensions over time. economically we’re. Stricken with, challenges through COVID-19 in the ambiguity that local state and national responses have in regards to shutdowns and policies of dealing with this pandemic, which is also affecting markets, large and small businesses, unemployment mental health education, and basically every household.
You look at the social aspects, there’s people out there, exercising and protecting their constitutional rights. there’s been recent law enforcements of incidents, cries for social justice, and other solidarity events across the nation.
Government has done a enormous amounts of planning and preparation, increased mutual aid and tear responses at the local state and federal level. And it’s acted as like a triage or prioritize to react reassess and recover.
And I think that’s similar to what businesses seeing, they have a duty and an obligation, the safeguard, their personnel, their infrastructure, their delivery of goods and services and their critical supply chains. And this is a challenge that, again, planning and preparation and triage and prioritizing, is essential and having the tools to do that.
John Maeda: [00:09:08] Michael. how might law enforcement and other government agencies be preparing differently for this election in the last crisis followup for the federal level?
Michael Kostrzewa: [00:09:18] absolutely. in discussing this, I think they’re going to be largely utilizing both recent and historical data analysis. especially lessons learned, to proactively develop robust all hazards, strategic planning and mitigation processes. including multiple scenario contingency plans to minimize and or eliminate any potential disruptions it’s along the lines of prepare plan and mitigate.
I think they’re going to be leveraging technology to identify, assess, and take prop action in order to address and resolve the risk or issue quickly and effectively that falls a line of identify assess pact. And the important thing is reassess. And then repeat as, situations develop. the ultimate goal Tracy alluded to is, protection and preservation of personal rights, persons and property. And I think with the myriad of potential events and the dynamic fluidity of these, versatility and adaptability will be, largely dependent on timely and accurate information and information sharing to determine the speed and talent.
Tracy Reinhold: [00:10:23] So I think, one of the things that Michael alluded to is that the vast majority of this will fall on state and local law enforcement as opposed to federal agencies. And I think that’s an important distinction. when you look at how a company, how a country responds to this sort of event, federal agencies as a whole will probably Institute continuity of government operations, in the event that there is a civil unrest where they are physically located.
But the federal government will be reluctant. And rightfully so to engage in state matters. And I think that when you look at the capabilities of state and local law enforcement, they’re very robust. They live in the community, they understand the community so they can take a pulse check.
That may not be available for an outside federal agency that comes into a region, from a national perspective, the federal government will oversee the election process, which they always do. but individual agencies, FBI, DIA. CIA DEA, et cetera, will continue to operate as they always have, but they will also put into effect their crisis management plans, which allows them to activate their continuity of government, process, which is the same thing as a business continuity plan for the private sector, so that the government will continue to function regardless of a disruption that is there.
But I think it, and Mike was very humble about it, but I think that the state and local law enforcement bears the most significant challenges when it comes to election disruptions.
John Maeda: [00:11:58] Our vice-president Jennifer, who really is overseeing how product and technology can answer. What I think was brought up the frequency. Is increasing and tech has some relationship.
Jennifer Sand: [00:12:11] I think that it’s important when we start to think about how ever bridge is being used across different verticals, what our customers are dealing with or ready and what they already have underway. And then what they’re having to layer on top of that, when you think about something like the upcoming elections, and, potential civil unrest.
In this year, we’ve seen, an increased frequency of these types of critical events. And what that’s doing to our customers is we’re also seeing that they’re having to overlay their responses to multiple events simultaneously and think about how those events interact. So as an example, for retailers, they have a very large distributed footprint, so they can be simultaneously impacted by hurricanes as well as civil unrest.
And they need to be able to respond effectively, leveraging a very distributed, employee base in order to, orchestrate that response. and that also applies by the way to retail banks. and Finserve. from a manufacturer’s and pharmaceuticals perspective, they’re already looking at potential supply chain disruptions, as they’re prepare for COVID-19 vaccine availability.
So when you layer civil unrest on top of that really it’s, just additional complexity that they have to consider. And when they think about those types of supply chain disruptions, with high-tech financial services and other corporate customers, we’re seeing a lot of return to work initiatives.
So now when they’re thinking about how do we safely reopen our campuses, they not only need to think about it in the context of the pandemic, but they also need to think about it in the context of, their employees potentially being impacted while they’re a to, and from those locations that they’re reopening.
And then of course, for our higher ed customers, they are very focused on campus safety. In general, and that includes a new contact tracing efforts that they’re rolling out. But then campus safety is also going to have to be expanded, to think about potential civil unrest impact. And then finally we do have a very large customer base across state and local governments who continue to use our platform for their COVID-19 updates.
And we expect other emergency alerts to continue to be, issued as well, through next week and beyond.
John Maeda: [00:14:20] And then Jennifer, when you think of, you being someone who’s worked in the cloud staff technology space for so long and looking at the kind of technologies that, guide as products, there’s this notion of a compound event.
Or like multiple things happen, supply chain, this vaccine here, or whatever. Can you talk a bit about how people can best prepare for that from the technology perspective? And I’ll ask Tracy the same question for, from what his experience of how it was. It has been, always been done. Go ahead, Jennifer.
Jennifer Sand: [00:14:52] I think there’s a few things that, our customers can do to best prepare. Firstly, they should be planning on using automation where they can, in order to reduce the human workload. They also need to figure out how they might prioritize their response efforts. So for example, we just released a new capability called the impact tracker and we’re working with a number of customers right now.
to implement that new impact tracker, what this capability does, is it augments the automated correlation that our platform does, and we identify automatically, who or what’s within their organization might be impacted. This impact tracker then takes that correlation to the next level and allows our customers to survey the folks who would be responsible for those facilities and ask them what the state of that facility is and what the actual impact from people with boots on the ground.
So that way they can combine that automation in the platform with real field level knowledge about the actual impact and bring that human element in at the same time that allows them to prioritize effectively when they’re responding to these large compound events.
John Maeda: [00:16:02] So it allows for a decentralized approach using mobile. And it’s also leveraging the kind of automation that we can plan and prepare for in the cloud. Tracy, compound events?
Tracy Reinhold: [00:16:13] Technology helps corporate security manage critical events, which is fantastic.
But before they even get there, they have to be able to understand what are the key capabilities of the organization they’re trying to protect. So if they don’t focus on what is important to the company, then the best technology in the world is not going to help them because they might be misdirected.
So it’s when you look at it, if we use COVID as a baseline, And everything above that, civil unrest, weather events, supply chain interruptions, all of a sudden you have a lot of noise that you’re responsible for, but in order to triage that noise, you have to say, so what critical capabilities does this company need to sustain in order to remain in business?
And then leverage that technology to help you address those individually. we always say what got us here is not going to get us there. And corporate security as a whole has a tendency to rely on what they know as opposed to what is new and what is promising in the technology field. I would argue that to be effective in today’s society from a corporate security perspective.
you have to prioritize what’s important to the company, but you really have to leverage technology to get it done quickly and effectively so that you can protect the company. You’ve been charged to protect
John Maeda: [00:17:33] your story to history and security across federal and corporate. when you consider that you chose to join ever bridge, that’s a pretty big vote of confidence, but what did you use before CEM?
Tracy Reinhold: [00:17:46] So can we talk about call trees and it didn’t work,
John Maeda: [00:17:52] I can sense some stuff there. All right. Thank you, Jennifer, given tech, tech is a lot about remote work has always been a paradigm for developers and a lot of different roles in your experience. since many workers are still working from home, how can a company protect remote workers?
Do you see any trends in that?
Jennifer Sand: [00:18:12] yeah, we are seeing some trends in that, but firstly, the first thing that I want to talk through is something that ever bridge has been doing with customers for quite a long period of time now. we actually do provide our customers the ability to, protect their employees regardless of where they work from.
And that’s because we not only have the ability to understand. It’s the static locations, such as where, the employees work with office building. They work in potentially, but also, their dynamic locations. So where, what is their last known location? What is our expected itinerary? So due to the fact that we handle both static and dynamic locations, it means that we can enable our patients.
Where they’re working from now in terms of trends that we’re seeing, we are seeing an increased trend of customers monitoring their employees, home addresses. The, one of the things that we did talk about, in terms of trends across verticals was for some of the verticals. they operate in this very decentralized way.
when you think about retail, they have that distributed footprint, and that becomes, something that’s applicable across the spectrum. Now. because now everyone is distributed. Not everyone is coming into sort of the centralized office, right? And so we’re starting to see that decentralization and that need to respond in that similar way.
Applying, regardless of the specific vertical. The other thing that we’re seeing an increased trend of with our customers is they’re starting to designate a group of workers as remote and a group of workers as onsite. And we’re also starting to see more shift work. it’s not necessarily shifting. Work, but due to the need to maintain social distancing, then they’re starting to basically apply shifts to their workers for who is in the office versus who is working from home.
So that is something that is, a little bit new. that’s being applied a lot more broadly, that is historically been, applied much more into, specific verticals, such as manufacturing or retail.
John Maeda: [00:20:07] So you’re saying that if I’m like that there were those telephone, terrible California wildfires, separate Cisco sky becomes orange.
You’re saying that a company is able to have the headquarters running with CEM, and then as everyone distributes to remote work from home, that’s the same system is able to keep everyone together and safe. Is that right?
Jennifer Sand: [00:20:28] Exactly.
John Maeda: [00:20:30] Very cool. What can a company do to make their employees feel safe during these times, Jennifer, you want to start?
Jennifer Sand: [00:20:37] I think that it’s really important that our, the company is proactively reach out to their employees and send communications, to, check in on their wellbeing.
So be proactive about that. and also ensure that employees understand that there are response plans in place. Should any employee or facility or aspect of the organization be interrupted. also be sure to provide employees with contact information and access to resources so that they know who to turn to.
If they’re impacted by critical events. and finally, possibly one of the most important things to do is to execute drills ahead of time so that everyone is familiar with the technology that you’re using to do all of those things. So they’re not getting familiar with it at the very last minute when it is an emergency,
John Maeda: [00:21:24] Tracy when you think of proactive actions, organizations can take, who don’t have the, what comes to mind?
Tracy Reinhold: [00:21:29] So I want to harken back to what Jennifer mentioned, and that is drilled or training, right? You play like your practice is so made sure that your drills are realistic, that you’re managing those expectations.
And the second thing is to engender trust with your employees. And that’s actually accomplished by transparency. So if there are issues that are facing the organization, the company needs to be as transparent as possible to engender that trust from the employee base so that when they do practice or when they do have an event, there’s a confidence level that the organization is looking out for their welfare at the same time that they’re looking out for the continuation of business.
So I think if you look at it that way, technology is a great enabler for that. But technology without trust, the two T’s, right? If you lose the trust, you can have all the technology in the world and nobody’s going to use it because they don’t trust you. So those two together, actually allow an organization to proactively address critical events in a way that protects the employee and maintain business continuity at the same time.
And it’s done in a way that really exemplifies why you want to work for that company. They care about me as an individual, they have taken the time to inform me of this event and they have the tools and the resources necessary to mitigate it if it actually comes to fruition. So I think if you look at it in that respect from a C CSO perspective, that’s what I’ve always tried to do is to make sure that we have that transparency, that our drills are realistic.
If you fail in a drill, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s pointing out some area where you can actually have improvement before the actual event occurs. So just in a nutshell, that’s what I think is important in order to protect the employees of an organization
John Maeda: [00:23:25] You can have all the technology in the world, but if no one trusts you, who’s going to listen to you?
What are some unique circumstances which may arise on and after election day that perhaps we haven’t seen in past elections first, Michael, then Tracy,
Michael Kostrzewa: [00:23:40] Thank you. I think a lot of the unique circumstances surrounding this election are, primarily focused on the interference of the electoral process.
that includes poll monitoring and poll security issues that we likely haven’t seen before. as news reports and people are aware that, the different parties are urging people to closely watch the polls to ensure fairness and report any discrepancies. there’s been unprecedented early voting and mail-in ballots across the country.
that’s all complicated by different rules and deadlines by state to state, local, to local areas, regions and voting districts. just recently today I was already closed some of the polling places due to COVID concerns, for the battleground States and Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
I’m sorry, Iowa, are not allowed to count votes before election. And what’s that mean? It means that there could be some delays, obviously some speculation about the results. and the other thing we’re seeing is also the poll security. this is something in the past we really haven’t dealt with at this magnitude.
each state has a different stance on how polling, places are to be secured. some places are using, uniform presidents of law enforcement. some States are using the non-uniform presence of national guard in some States, and others are considering it. there’s also. Security and safety at the sites, which is coming to a debate about, recent legislated weapons policies at polls.
So you’re looking at a variety of issues. again, looking at some of the inefficiencies that may be a concern, perceived their actual in the election process due to COVID-19. And the way that this election is being conducted, that includes the time to vote, how the votes are going to be counted.
And how they’re going to be certified. those all presents any significant challenges that we haven’t dealt with in the past. in the last thing is obviously the uncertainty of verifying those results. Timely declaration of winners and the associated legal challenges that come with that, these as a combination of all these, they’re likely to add to a lot more uncertainty that we’ve seen pre and post election that we probably have in many years. And I know Tracy can expand upon that and, offer some great insight from the federal level.
John Maeda: [00:26:05] this isn’t a competition folks, but this is a, this is lovely. How you laying that out? Tracy, go ahead.
Tracy Reinhold: [00:26:11] so one of the things I want to mention, and I think it’s a benefit of from current times is the number of early voters that we’ve already had, and the increased presence of voters at the polls. We’re going to have unprecedented numbers of people voting this election cycle that we’ve never had before. So earlier this week, we were already passing the 50 million votes that have already been cast for the selection. So while there’s no question, there’s going to be some uncertainty as to outcome is I suspect for a matter of days.
I think if you take a different spin on that, think about how much this is, action needed or. Activated our vote or our general population towards their responsibility to vote. And I think that can’t be underestimated. And when you look at the early voting, there were 50 million votes in before the last debate.
So 50 million people had already made their decision. And to Michael’s point, now the challenge is going to be from an administrative perspective. How do we ensure that the votes are counted? So I know, so I live in North Carolina. one of the things that I can do in my state is go online and see if my vote was accepted.
so there’s, once again, technology to the rescue, allows us to leverage technology to be better informed. and we have a responsibility as citizens to make sure that we’re, we are as informed as possible before we vote. When we vote and after we vote and technology, just like it, doesn’t critical event management is being leveraged to help us quantify the vote and to dispel any preconceived ideas of interference.
The other thing is when we look at the 2016 election, we had, the allegations of substantial foreign involvement in the election process. What that’s done to Michael’s point is actually allowed us to. Ramp up our security around vote, counting and around our polling stations, both physically and electronically.
So when you look at what the federal government is doing today, as far as monitoring potential interference, there are agencies out there that. From that I’ve worked with in my past, that are actively seeking any sort of interference from a foreign government or a foreign sponsored entity that could interfere with our election.
So while 2016 was the first blip of that really made mass notification. Pardon the pun of a foreign interference. Now we’ve actually put together mitigation strategies at the federal level to address that so that we can make sure that our elections are fair and open to all of our citizens.
John Maeda: [00:28:53] Know, it’s a mind boggling how the perspective of cover. So that’s the surface and I just want to have a handoff to our vice president of CEM, Jennifer, to share how this docks into cm.
Jennifer Sand: [00:29:07] Everbridge offers a number of solutions to help our customers mitigate risks for their organizations and our solutions can be easily size to fit your particular needs, priorities and urgencies.
So we have customers currently rolling out new capabilities to prepare for the weeks ahead. And where we continue to stand by ready to assist our customers who need any additional assistance or new capabilities, during this time. So as we are, preparing for next week and beyond, we are also rolling out a few new capabilities for our customers.
And if you’d like more information on this. Then you can feel free to reach out to us. here at Everbridge and we are offering, a free two week trial of our risk intelligence, and that includes this new U S election feed.