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Attention Security Professionals: Tricia Stokes Talks Mentorship, Finding Your Passion, and Much More

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Shresta Chemarla
Published
March 24, 2022

Every month ThreatSwitch hosts a webinar on a topic of interest to the security and compliance community. Thousands of security leaders and practitioners have attended these webinars, but not everyone has an hour to spare. That's why we'll be sharing our CEO's lessons-learned each month right here on the ThreatSwitch blog.

“Find your passion and follow it because that’s where you’re going to do great things.” -Tricia Stokes

Patricia Stokes is retired from the Department of Defense where she worked as a senior executive. But that’s far from her only experience in security or working for the government.

In fact, Tricia’s spent her whole adult life in these spaces. Here’s a quick highlight reel of her experience and expertise:

  • Director of the Defense Vetting Directorate for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA).
  • Recognized member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service.
  • Director of Security for the Department of the Army as the Senior Security Advisor in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G2).

She shared a lot of great information when she was the featured guest on our recent webinar. We covered a lot of ground, but here are some of the things that stuck out as valuable for you, our audience.

Make sure you check out the webinar here for a LOT more information! (You can also read the full transcript below.)

1. Mentorship is vital, but don’t stress out finding “the one”

One of the things Tricia stressed was that, if you’re looking too hard for the “wow” factor in a mentor, you’re not going to find it. But you will just bump into people who are a good fit and you’ll know it when you see it.

It’s best to let it happen organically. You’ll find someone who excels in the same areas you’re interested in and things will click. (Plus, the most successful people don’t have just one mentor.)

And when you find those people? Tricia advises being up front and saying, “I really like you. Can you help me out?”

2. Enacting change when not everyone’s on board

In your role as a security executive, you’ll undoubtedly face resistance. Whenever there are people involved, there’s going to be conflict.

Tricia has been there – more than once – and she shared her best practices for how to handle it.

Her first piece of advice is to enlist the people who are most opposed to the new direction and really listen to them. Find out why they are opposed and ask them what tweaks could be made to make them comfortable with joining you.

Here’s what else she had to say:

  • Get the commitment of your leadership. Remember, when you’re presenting to C-level executives who aren’t familiar with security, you have to show what's in it for them.
  • Be okay with failure. What matters is that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and focus on what you learned.
  • Be flexible. Remember how Tricia talked about bridging the gap with the opposition? Flexibility goes a long way.
  • Focus on incremental success. Always make sure you’re leaving something better than when you found it and don’t worry so much about making it all the way.

3. Key takeaways and advice

Check out this list of super-helpful one-liners from Tricia.

  • Be positive.
  • Stay mission-focused.
  • Don’t surround yourself with people who are just like you. Look for diversity in thought and skill set.
  • Improve yourself first, then help others.
  • Be encouraging to others.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo.
  • Don’t be afraid to be politely bold or you’ll get run over.
  • Have fun and never lose your sense of humor.
  • Be persistent.
  • Be true to yourself.

Keep reading for the full transcript!

Full Transcript

John Dillard: afternoon everyone Thank you so much for joining today for our conversation with for stokes and we're talking about passionate security and leadership and all kinds of fun stuff.

I am delighted to welcome trisha stokes who is recently retired from the senior executive service but is currently a senior security consultant, I think, is the official title.

I’m john Dillard founder and CEO threats which and as most of you know,ThreatSwitch is software that's the modern security compliance workspace we'll enterprises manage rules like this policy i'm seeing this and try to keep it cost effective and why we do it so.

Before I jump into trisha introduction a few housekeeping items, first and foremost really appreciate the interest it's always great to see everybody come out.

glad to have you with us, if you have questions, please use the Q amp a button in zoom which can be at the bottom of your screen.

keep you can type them in throughout the webinar and we'll get to them, we have the dedicated Q amp a session towards the back half.

will cover a lot of ground so if we missed the question Mr question just know will try to follow up with a response on it is being recorded, which we will share with you after.

So, and it will also share the slides, although today is mostly a conversation, so there are an awful lot of slides to talk about so that's basically how it works here's a recap on the screen for those of you who are listening attentively.

And with that I will introduce trisha stokes tricia on who is a dear friend who i've known for many years and i've had the pleasure of working with directly.

Over the course of my career recently retired member of Defense intelligence senior executive service fcs For those of you.

Who like the short version on most recently director of the Defense vetting director Directorate at DC USA.

She was responsible for the implementation of the transfer of the embed mission over at what was then DSS and deploy in bed there, which was kind of a big deal I her.

Prior that federal positions in three military departments to Defense agencies and the combatant demand on ended up before shifting back to DC as a director of security for the Department of army.

As the senior Security Advisor in the office of the deputy chief of staff for intelligence GT, which is where we haven't me.

She was instrumental in leading several security reform initiatives so tricia seen a lot of stuff and i'm so happy to have you Tricia

The light on my first question to get us started on.

Is a story that i'm a little bit familiar with, but everybody else is not so tell us how you got here was what is the origin story attrition stokes and security, most of us got here accidentally i'm curious if that was the case for you too.

Patricia Stokes: Thanks done hi thanks for having me today and it's great working with john again it's even better working with him in a consultant capacity.

I have a new rule of thumb on joining organizations and still contributing to the mission is, I have to really be passionate about.

The person in the people that i'm working with and and and the mission and john fulfills and john's company fulfills all of those requirements so.

but I started in the government and I hate to say this, but I was 17 I graduated from high school early, and all I wanted to do was.

Work and have my own place, and so I went to the government at 17 and a half years old.

which actually served me well, because I got to be in the old retirement system because I always stayed affiliated with them really until I literally retired so.

That was a That was a one of the smartest things I think i've ever done very you know aimlessly in my life, but it worked out well so.

And I got into security through a security internship in the army did a few things starting out at 17 years old medium no experience you know what you're doing you're doing administrative stuff but you're making a paycheck.

And, but then I really decided, you know okay it's it's time for me to like grow up and you know going to school at night getting my degree, and then I got into an internship in army which which really kind of got me started, but I what I think most successful for me was I started in a special access program community Why is that important you know it's it's a niche community but.

you have to know a lot about a lot you don't get pigeonholed and one of the disciplines of security, because you have to know physical security information security upset personnel security.

which by the way, personnel security was one of the things I tried to stay away from my entire career and then I ended up.

yeah it was it.

became a big hurrah at the end, so you know, sometimes just don't know what's your what's your passion is going to end up being but um so.

I learned so much in that program and just because I had to know a whole lot about like literally a whole lot of things and and and spent a lot of time in that in that program and did a lot of operational stuff and just incredibly incredibly rewarding and.

I think I think my my passion was really and sometimes you know when you start out and some of you may be starting out some you may be, you know looking closer to retirement, some might be in the middle of your careers, but you know, sometimes you don't even know what drives you.

And, and you kind of figure it out along the way, well, I figured out pretty quick.

In working in the Department of Defense and particularly for the Department of the army that you know my passion was the warfighter.

It was the military, it was soldiers, it was sailors airmen marines it was giving and being in special access program in a real rich research and development, environment.

It just I wanted to make sure I can do anything I could give them the tools in a secure manner.

so that they could use it to be successful on the battlefield and really that just kind of became the driving force and.

You know, working in the Department of Defense for literally my my whole career.

For every military department for a Defense Defense agencies and then just the one of the pinnacles of my career was US special operations from you.

And that's where I really got to know the warfighter up and close and you know if you want to see dedication and passion, you know go to a special OPS Community you know those vela would be in shape real quick and and so.

And then that just kind of drove me for the rest of my career live literally um and I think that.

That, as I grew I kind of started figuring out what were my other passions, you know what was it that I can contribute to this mission, and I think.

What i'm what i've learned, more than anything is I ended up just loving within anything mentoring young people or helping people to you know navigate their careers into into.

You know, different places, you know, and my dad was a long term career air force civilian and he gave me some great advice at the onset of me getting into the government, and it was if you want to move up you gotta move around.

And it was really, really true you know don't stay in one place too long, do you make your contributions.

And then find out what's next you know, and you kind of keep yourself growing and keep yourself interested and then, when you're interested you generally have a tendency to do a better job and.

And so, and I think just that that broad breadth of being a generalist again because of those special access for every community upbringing.

It gave me more opportunities, then i'm not degrading or saying that you know you can't be the best subject matter expert and personal security in the world.

And that might be your passion will then follow it, because that's where you're gonna that's where you're going to do great things.

But that's kind of how I cut my teeth john and that's kind of what what drove me to you know the interest and wonderful experiences in wonderful job and following my dad's advice which gave me those wonderful john's.



John Dillard: A fantastic story, the thing that I take away when i've talked to you about this that I think a lot of security professionals struggle with, especially in mid sized companies.

That it's hard to find a mentor to to to really help you move through those things, and before I even go on to some of the specific stories of some of the big transformation efforts done any lead.

If I could just pull the thread on the mentorship thing, and is there a piece of advice you would give for security professionals who want to accelerate their careers on what to look for in a mentor because it sounds like you had a couple good experiences there.



Patricia Stokes: If you if you go look into heart you're not going to find it but you're gonna you're gonna bump into people that are just going to give you that wow factor and and.

you'll know it when you see it, you know, sometimes for women it's other women not always.

Sometimes, for, and you know just individuals it's it's um it's just that knack and that skill that characteristics, maybe it's public speaking, maybe it's passion, maybe it's just general intellect or expertise.

I think it's going to be different for everybody, and I also some of the most successful people that i've seen don't have just one mentor right you find the characteristics in several people that you.

You respect and and you ask them deliberately, what do I need to do you know to to get to that next level or what do I need to do to get that public speaking ability that you have whatever it is that you like about them.

You know that really floats your boat and and so you know don't limit yourself.

don't look too hard, but when he's buying something go after it, and just be honest with them, I really admire you can you help me.



John Dillard: that's fantastic awesome advice so let's let's fast forward and talk about a couple of the big things that you tangled with in the last handful of years you had to.

Pretty significant transformation efforts that you are the middle of one one was where we met, which was a lot of the army and God personnel security transformation work and then, when you moved over the CSA.

At DVD the transition of the ambit mission we those are those are both pretty monster issues, and so, if you look back on those number one I would love to hear this were a short story of those things.

Especially the things you're most proud of, if you think about the things that occurred over that period of time and i'll just let you take it from there, tell us the story.

Patricia Stokes: So you know I mean yeah so personal security ended up you know what I tried to stay away from not successfully.

It just ended up kept I kept running into it everywhere, I went because it's such a impetus of you know, security clearances these days, just a foundation of everything that you do in security, and so I certainly wasn't seeking it out, but i think.

Before I go into how I got into that in the army, which really is where I I totally got meshed in the personal security around.

Before that I was you know I done all these operational things I was in you know.

The Missile Defense agency, we did all kinds of operational tasks out in the middle of.

The ocean in module in and and in special operations command, we were all over doing operational test and department of the navy, we were out on out on the in the field, so I did all these operational things.

And then you get to a certain point in your career, you know growing up the ladder of the GS scale you get to a point where okay it's that next level and it's generally not an operational environment it generally.

takes you over to the policy side of the House.

And so I started doing you know just finding courses that you know what are these preparatory things, what do I have to do to get to that next level, which you know I really kind of never plan on going to a senior executive service or, to be honest with you when I started.

In the government but I ended up you know, there was, I was always like I get to that level and i'm like okay what's next come on board and and so.

For the very first thing I did is starting to go into you know preparatory courses to be an executive, you know what do I need to learn.

And a lot of a lot of training in that, but then, a lot of people that I found as mentors in that and I found a mentor and in.

In one of the undersecretary is in the Under Secretary defence, the intelligence officer wasn't called that them.

But she actually helped me move over to my first term in what was DSS at the time and I built the security professional education and development program, which is the certification program today that security professionals in the Department of Defense need to have.

In their in their portfolio to progress and that's where I learned a little bit about.

Change management and and Oh, this is a I got a good idea fairy doesn't everybody wants the good idea and the answer with no.

John Dillard: They all say yes  yeah that's that works now.

Patricia Stokes: If I was surprised, you know that people didn't want to change and and and boy did that smack in the face and savaging that program and and that's where I really learned okay well.

That didn't work really well So what do I need to do to do be successful, to get that and and that's where I really learned about.

What you need to do when you hit these kind of obstacles in trying to get something done.

And where you have controversy that and and it's it's really.

You know the things that you, you figure out is is you know what we learned was enlist the people who are the most to post in lit and listen to them.

Why are you opposed to this, and what would take you know Kim can you join us to tweak it a bit to maybe you know move it forward and.

And, and I think those were some of the big lessons learned in and speed became a real thing it was really after I left where it really became.

You know in policy, and you have to get your leadership, you have to get the policymakers wherever you are if you're in the in the industry side you know.

You gotta get leadership in the policy, the people who own the policy for industry involved and and and make your case and and and become the biggest marketer that you can.

positive influence on why this is going to make something better and and then you just become the the crusader for it, but what.

In the army when and then I moved to the army and and that's when the personal security program was just really not doing well at all in the federal government writ large army and the army.

In the Department of Defense we had the honor of being dead last.

In our in our in our time it took for army personnel to get a clearance and that was just unacceptable we're an operational element where.

We got soldiers, we got to put into the battlefield we got we got leaders really need to get the key leadership positions and so.

that's where I met this wonderful man, Mr dealer and there was a big push in the department of fence the times, do you lean six Sigma things and.

And so we and was under under my watch, you know we were responsible for personal security in the department of the army on the on the G to staff and, and so we we created a program.

We looked at ourselves in with great you know with open eyes open hearts, and you know very skeptical and not being wanting wanting to you know admit, we were we were dead last in the Department of Defense okay So what can we do to fix it, and so you know that's where we.

We really learned that we needed to figure out where we are now.

: what's our numbers what's, what are the core root causes of those numbers being what they were, and there was a really wise man by the name of john dillard who told me I needed to measure things because it kind of made sense to me after I found out for a while.

That you know if you don't know where you are you don't know where you're going and you won't know when you get there.

But of course we kind of knew where we were dead last wasn't good so we we literally took our program and really two years of time.

And we became actually the number one cycle time in in the Department of Defense which was pretty cool because we read.

I think john we were almost at a 40% error rate on our submissions and I when we finished.

or when we actually stood up our Center to centralize doing business, so we have 144 plus offices out across the United States army that were submitting things and they were submitting them probably I don't know 2000 different ways, and so we just centralized.

found a consistent process measured the hell out of ourselves and and had one way of doing business one place to call when you needed help you got consistent help.

We had consistent forms, we had consistent data and that we kept improving upon improving upon, and then we got to a point 02 percent error rate for our submissions and our obviously our are you know garbage in garbage out so we we ended up.

Because becoming number one in our cycle time and and shared a lot of that with the with the other services.

which really kind of started, then we started really looking at personal security program with even more in depth and within you know.

What are we doing, why are we doing it, are we really looking at the right things for people and that's kind of where.

We got into a started playing with the term continuous evaluation well if we're doing these periodic investigations every five years, perhaps.

We can do it better if we were looking at john every that all the time we wouldn't have to make and fill out a form every five years and then look at things that probably aren't relevant.

Patricia Stokes: And, and so, when when we, the army and it was it was it was the army that brought the continuous evaluation project forward.

When we took that to the policymakers, which i'm talking, you know, a policy makers, the Director of national intelligence, the intelligence agencies, etc, they thought we lost our minds.

And literally and I always when I when I talked about this, I always say I think this folks when we brought it to them, you know they they wanted me to commit to a psych EVAL myself.

We can't do this and it literally 10 years later, it was operation and they're doing it today and it's just a much better business model is it complete is it perfect.

No, because if anybody's work for the government or any of you industry members that work with the government, you know it takes a minute to to change policy.

And it takes a long time to implement things, but you know.

perseverance and hard work, it will get you there and it's living proof today, and I hope it just continues continues to get better because that's what it needs to do I don't think, by any means, we were done.

I don't think they're done I don't think you should ever be done, you should always look at how you can make things better awesome.

John Dillard: And if you if you think back across those initiatives.

And for leaders who were on the call because you know always there are folks on this call, who are in the middle of something.

For their own company, it could be a midsize company or could be a giant company and 10s of thousands of people involved in there, trying.

To roll something new out, it might be a system, it might be a policy change it might be an insider threat program it can be any number of things, what are the pitfalls that you would warn them about having dealt with these big big complex, multi organizational change initiative.

Patricia Stokes: So the first thing you have to do is really get the commitment of your leadership, because you know if your leadership's not behind you you're probably not gonna be successful, so you know you have to take the time to get your leadership on board, you know and a lot of times.

Leadership is not in the security community right so you're going to talk to your you know CEO or your CSO or whatever you know and who knows nothing about security, other than it's just a you know it's not one of their favorite things right.

So you've got to really put it in layman's terms.

That that they understand, and you know So what do you, what do you bring in we bring in the party and what's in it for them and.

And I think you have to realize that something sometimes things that you have wanted to try and want to dry, they just fail.

And you know what it's Okay, you know what matters is did you pick yourself up did you just yourself off did you learn what did you learn, are you going to repeat that behavior what could you do better.

You know and and and what different what outcome, did you want to get and what were the causes of not getting it.

You know and don't repeat that behavior.

Or you know again it persevere, if you want something bad enough and it's the right thing to do, and you know it is it's just you know, maybe you're not approaching it and getting the right people on board to understand the problem and.

And and just you know be flexible measure your progress, you know people want results so john also taught me in the lean six Sigma principles.

John Dillard: On no pressure you don't.

Patricia Stokes: hate to you know make your ego bigger than it is john but it.

John Dillard: To me now.

Patricia Stokes: me a few things you know and and and you just you have to you have to measure you have to know where your know where you want to go, and you know you don't don't be hard on yourself, you don't get there, all the way you know.

Trust me I went when I when we found continuous evaluation, we had the thought and like okay well it's just going to do it, you know no way if that doesn't happen.

And, and so you know but, but you can have success and quick wins, you know incremental success, you know.

show some results go brief them get them out there and then you'll you know you'll kind of get the authorization to move to the next step and that's kind of how we we did it in the army, although we put it on a pretty fast fast burn.

And then you know what I what we did in the armory did it so fast, I think that gave me false expectations, when I did go.

To do DCS error, want to implement continuous valuation and maybe we can just go do it right well you know that that took a little bit longer than that was truly you know.

A, and still is, and the me there's still changing policy that policy has been in place forever and you know but it's all Rama Rama you the other end of that now, and I think that.

You know, we broke the ice and I think now they're in kind of the continuous improvement mode, so I think it's a we're in a lot better place than then we work and that's all you can ask them did you leave it better than you found it yeah right that's great awesome.

John Dillard: So pulling that perseverance thread that you mentioned perseverance on and on, when you do these things, I mean they're they're long term, they, in some cases can take years to see through.

i'm curious about passion and drive and how you found that you know this, but maybe, especially on the bad days.

You know, you know when it when it's get a little frustrating dragging yourself out of bed and figuring out how to make it happen, how did you do that, especially when you met with significant resistance from your slide gosh Maybe I should just take the retirement and.

and get going, how did you get to that.

Patricia Stokes: I think it's just.

For me it goes back to what what drove me what was my passion and I always would come back to home base as to.

I shouldn't give up on any of this because it's going to help our soldiers get into the field and get cleared faster and it's just the right thing to do, i've as a public servant for my entire life i'm a taxpayer, you know and There was just a lot of a lot of waste and a lot of unnecessary steps to get a really not a optimum results and so.

I think I know it was it was really the the soldiers sailors airmen and marines and because, as those people are selfless and it's just amazing amazing what they do and if I could make their life better.

that's what I was there to do, I worked for the Department of Defense you know and so last I saw that I was working for them and.

And, and you should never lose sight of that and, like lose sight of you know what you're doing, and you know if you get to a point where you know every Organization has a culture right it's like every person has relations, it has a personality.

and if you get to a point in in in a organization that you have a clash between your values in that culture.

The organization's culture it's time for you to move it's time for you to move on, I can I can remember talking to many.

People who you know wanted that the upper mobility, you know how'd you get to that senior executive service level and and and I just want to get there, you know and and.

But they didn't really want to smell the Maxwell house along the way you know, and so it, I always told them and probably some didn't like it was.

Well, if this organization is not prepared to give that to you because the opportunities aren't here it's a huge God out there, go look, you know a lot of the times, most of the times and i'll speak for myself, you are your own limiting factor.

And it's really all about attitude and.

What you're willing to change and give up or be flexible to do you know to to get to whatever your next goal is.

John Dillard: that's awesome yeah and I haven't been around a couple of those stories with you.

And I can make it about the warfighter and about readiness and even even the stuff that's you know feels like it's administrative which a lot of the industrial security stuff that this audience deals with and.

Certainly, on the government side, a lot of its policy that it's hard to take the this policy problem that we're working on this administrative task and related.

To that fundamental national security or warfighter problem but it's there, and that was one of the things that I learned from you, which was to make it about that and not to lose sight of that 30 again that's fantastic.

So, leading in persuading others in this process right and and certainly part of it is you just kind of walk in the talk of what you just said and that's part of the recipe i'm sure, but I am curious how how you persuaded others to get on board with these wacky ideas that you had and.

And you know and also just to get behind you right.

yeah.

: i've been especially the leader.

And people who are not part of your direct reporting chain, how do you get them on board, how do you persuade people on this stuff.

Patricia Stokes: You know and i'm not trying to be disparaging here, but the personal security program was pretty screwed up, so it really wasn't trying to.



we're trying to say we want to fix that and so that probably was a easy easy one for me, but it really goes back to you know, presenting the problem in terms that they understand.

You know I can tell you how many general officers, I was briefing in their eyes would just roll back in your head when they when you get into this personnel security mumbo jumbo.

Languages and that they didn't understand, and so, how do you how do you relate relate it to them in.

Things that that they're going to understand and what they're going to get out of it, you know and what make sure you're clear what support you need from them.

You know and what's your deliverable going to be, and when is it going to be they want to know that they're not going to give you an open ended check.

They want to know what are you going to give me what's it going to do for me when you get to get it, and when, am I gonna what am I going to have it when we're going to reap the benefits.

telling them how much is it going to cost as always.

But it's really just you have to learn how to articulate your your message and make it really appealing you got to become your own salesman.

John Dillard: Excellent that's great now obstacles in there are plenty to go around.

mean, I mean certainly I remember this from working on the project myself and you see me more than I have you have this big bureaucracy.

It is, in many cases, fighting you don't even know it's fine you you've got you got a lot of.

hoops to jump through on top of that, you and i've talked about folklore a lot, which is this idea that people make up rules they don't act as if the rules weren't bad enough.

Keeping you from doing people make up rules do not exist, that you also have to get so out how do you contend with that stuff when which happens in companies to for sure so.

Patricia Stokes: Whenever there's going to be folklore yeah.

People just you know people interpret things differently right and their interpretation is their reality and and so.

You know what what you have to do at least in the government sector that I was in when you had those holes interpretations and we found them out, I mean we had.

really good people across the army working in security, as you know, security specialist and they always thought there were doing the right thing, nobody had ill intentions, you know, for the most part and.

But they just you know they had they had the execution of the policy just a little off and and so you, you really need to go to the authority of the policy and get back to be able to and explain it and be patient and take the time to explain it don't just you know.

You know hurdle take them take your head off, you know, help them understand because they could be your next advocate when the next guy is interpreting it the same way, they might have been, you know, and I mean policy is written.

A little bit open ended, so that you can move left and move right here's what I found out in in learning at the special access program level when it was really, really, a young whippersnapper cutting my teeth and wanting to you know do big things.

As a security professional, we should never say no.

You say how right you give them that alternative of you know well it's you know so policy says this, this is what it needs but.

And it's not saying no you can't do it, you just can't do it that way here's an alternative on how you can do so tell them, you know but security folks just have a horrible reputation out there, you know undeserving.

To be honest with you, but you know if you ask the general population in industrial security or or even in.

The government sector, you know security people they're just telling they can do it.

You know and and you got to change that you got to make them want to come to you, so they can ask you how and I learned that in special operations, because when a special operator tells you, you know you kind of get real, serious when they when they get ticked off at you and.

yeah it's that's not in their vernacular so we we learned how to say okay how.

And and that's really, really important and you got it you got to be positive awesome.

John Dillard: Well, I do want to leave time for questions, but before we get to questions, I want to give you a chance to.

You know, really.

Taking across the entire career, we talked about here and and the lessons you've learned on relationships and leadership.

What, what are the key lessons, you want to make sure this audience takes away when they're tackling what they're tackling every day, what are the key things you want to walk out today with.

Patricia Stokes: Oh so i'm going to do a disclaimer here what I might share with you now, and hopefully Oh, I was telling Christine earlier, you know if.

If you guys walk away with just one golden nugget, then I think you know it was worth tuning in today, and if you didn't i'm sorry I will do better next time.

But the disclaimer is you know what I was going to share real quick i'm just on general leadership lessons is um I didn't always practice this that.

My disclaimer is i'm going to tell you this doesn't mean that I practiced it, but I learned that I should have right.

And because I probably would have had a different outcome, or would have been a hell of a lot easier.

And, and to get what I was trying to get accomplished, and so you know I wrote these up because you know these are truly what I I gleaned over you know 40 year career.

And so, you know how do you handle complex Curie relationships and you know you take a step back and you look at yourself first right.

And you you look inward, we are not good at that as as human beings, you know it's everybody else we're looking at them what's their problem you know when their problem could be us do we look at ourselves how are we approaching the problem.

So so look at yourself first and stay whenever you do just stay mission focused, you know, make it about the mission, not the person and.

You know miserably failed at that, and certainly in certain times and and so you know it's hard because we're human beings, and we have egos and and be honest with yourself about all that.

And just remember that everything you do it's just business, you know it's not personal.

And and don't don't take it personal 99% of everything you do in business is all about relationships, so if you if.

You muck up that relationship you're not going to probably have a really good future in in in getting things done so, you know work on those relationships in that trust.

understand the goals and intentions of others, maybe over yourselves don't surround yourself with a bunch of mini us, you know.

Many Nice, I always thought oh yeah Of course I want that person because they think, just like I do well that's probably the wrong person to have like next to you, you know you want somebody who can give you the diversity and.

Diversity of thought and just have different skill sets the new and then you end up with a better outcome and a better product project or product.

You have to understand what's in it for the other person whatever you're trying to do, are you scratching their edge, or you just you know feed your own ego.

And you know is is, are you are you presenting it in an appealing way that makes them want it.

So just looking at things through the lens of others.

More so than yourself and, and again I was really good at that sometimes I was much better at that later in my career and I wished, I would have really practice that way earlier in my career.

Because I wouldn't have you know, been such a bulldozer I think I had, I had a boss once tell me, you know.

You need to walk through the garden and smell the roses don't take in the lawn mower and just no devil, you know because I was so full of vim and vigor, but it was there was there was a really good piece of advice.

And you know, innovation and security programs in there it's it's hard to find, but you can always find a better way to do something, or just improve.

What you're doing you know, effectiveness and efficiency look look for those things, and always continuously improve yourself, first and foremost, and then you can improve other things.

And you know incentivize the folks that you are trying to bring along with you, you know measure, as I said, what you're doing encourage encourage people not to be afraid and take calculated risks and.

I really believe in this one don't be afraid to challenge the status quo, if it doesn't make sense, you know let's talk about it let's be transparent let's not pretend it's it's it's what it's not you know I mean.

Patricia Stokes: And don't be afraid to be politely bold.

Otherwise, you will get run over and One of my favorite sayings, and this is mainly attributed to public speaking.

That one of my senior mentors as a deputy jitsu so the most senior Intel person civilian in the department of the army, at the time, Mr Tommy fast, one of my favorites he said, you know, on that podium be bold be brave be gone.

And he was he is just a hoot and he was very, very true, and you have to show people results.

If you're not getting results you're not going to get any attention and that's that's where those quick wins, you know even a few results, a few results in a you know it'll keep growing and you'll probably.

Do real well and general leadership just be self aware.

You know practice that those self awareness checks.

You know, learn about your myers briggs how you're coming across because it, you know how you come across you think you're coming across to others, and how you really are probably two very different things narrow that gap.

because it will make you much more successful have fun don't lose your sense of humor don't make promises you can't keep bad news doesn't get better with time, people need to hear it, even though you might know what to tell them a rather be told the truth, even if it's ugly.

don't put on facades because you will be found out immediately and you can't ever come that be true to yourself, be consistent be Sir be persistent that be true to yourself.

or so and john you can learn from a bad example and if your leader is is that person that is maybe not bad example for you, you know take those those things that that person is teaching you and just don't ever practice them.

In your relations in the future, and you know, again, I am really serious about that organizational thing if.

If it's not working for you and your organization and you have a culture of conflict, you need to move on you're not going to change the culture of the organization or you can use hurt yourself and that's it that's a really hard lesson to learn.

And it can be very damaging if you don't take care of that but there's a huge huge opportunities out there and it's amazing you know again that breath of responsibility, just helps you grow.

And, and so the more opportunities, you have just the more you're going to learn and the better overall manager or leader or you know individual you're going to be.

John Dillard: awesome.

Patricia Stokes: Those are my nuggets boy yeah I have yet one away.

John Dillard: That it's fantastic several and i'm sure everybody else did too, and I want I do want to get everybody a chance to answer ask a few questions which will get answered on the usual drill for those of you who have been.

On our webinars before we typically will ask a quick poll question here, which is simply whether you want to hear from US threats which.

On if you don't that's fine if you do that's great too so we'll throw that pull up on the screen, would you see now while you are doing that now's the time to formulate your questions for tricia so type them in the Q amp a box at the bottom of your screen.

And we will get to those shortly so we'll let the survey kind of.

run for a few more seconds here on while to wrap that up i'll wait till I see the answer stop coming through, and then I will jump to questions looks like we've got a couple right.

Out of the gate.

Five more seconds or so.

Alright alright let's jump into the questions so first one here from Michael.

is a really good one defining the acceptable acceptable level of risk in an organization is really what this is about treasure.

And the question here is subjective exercise Michael mentioned, even if you have SMEs at the table.

Where or how did you find success in getting senior leadership to agree on achieving an acceptable level of risk.

Whether it's personnel physical technical cybersecurity when doesn't matter like what's, how do you have that conversation with senior executives and making that trade off.

Because obviously you're never 100% risk free So how do you find that acceptable level of risk for it, whether that's a policy or a specific course of action.

Patricia Stokes: Well, I think it also Michael hi nice to meet you.

It goes back to understanding your leadership understanding their risk tolerance, because if you have a you know, a leader who who you know is zero risk, you know you, you probably might be wasting your time a little bit, but.

Back to perseverance, you know it's how you present it, they have to understand it in their terms of what they're going to get out of it.

And, and so again and personal security was easy because we were just really failing terribly in that mission, and it was affecting everything, so you know what is it you're trying to do and what's their pain point.

That you can fix by doing what you want to do right by maybe taking that little risk, what do you fix them on there and that just bugging them.

You know that they can just come on board they're going to see of course I want you to do that because.

That will it may be that a little bit of risk, but this is what i'm going to gain from it, so what are you going to gain what are they going to get out of it.

is really how you have to approach it, you have to put yourself in their position and and you know and again become the big market here do your research don't go in cold make sure you can have you know some facts and stats.

And and understand the risk tolerance, because if you can't explain it to them.

they're not gonna probably you know, want to support you, so you know you have to you know do your do your homework be positive be transparent, be a trailblazer don't be afraid to tell them you want to do this because don't for the benefit of the company or what have you.

And just just be honest and be yourself.

John Dillard: All right, good stuff No one from Chris on this one, you may be able to disclose what it is, but i'll let you figure out a talk around it, what was the biggest crisis communication situation that you faced in your career, how did you handle it so.

If you can't disclose what it was because of what what it was then that's fine, but maybe a situation where something hit the fan, and you had to deal with it.

And you had to.

Patricia Stokes: Bear that I don't know which one to pick because.

There was a lot of fan, but in all seriousness, that one comes to mind, and it goes back to you know my point to you that if, if you do not aren't aligned with your leaders thoughts and and their desires and their vision and their direction.

And you can't reconcile that.

And and do your job effectively without you know just being angry, or you know disgruntled or you know it's it's time for for you to to move on and.

I think the hardest thing that I did one time and was to have to go, because it was so something was so egregious to me, I had to go over my leaders head.

But I didn't do it without telling him I was gonna do it did he, like it no but I was honest and explain why I had to do it.

And what I was going to do, because if you don't tell them for a survey how they're going to find out, right after you do it right, so you know, having the integrity to.

To be very transparent and honest and open, you can disagree in a very polite manner.

And just by being true to yourself and yeah that was probably one of the hardest things I had to do and.

The outcome was was was fine for me at the end because my leaders leader supported me.

But, but then you know, shortly after that it was just it was time for me to leave that organization and find new adventures, and when I did it was just it catapulted me on to to the next new great thing in my career so don't give up awesome.

John Dillard: Another one from jake.

What training or it could have been a leadership course training relative on helped your transition into leadership, so when you were making that switch was there, something you attended some some key event some some pathway that you went through that.

Patricia Stokes: yeah a couple things I went to the Federal Executive Institute, which is one of the I would say it's one of the.

Best courses.

hat it really teaches you that now on the on the industrial side Center for creative creative leadership the darden school.

intelligence.

security and intelligence if they the dni had incredible forces leadership courses leadership in the intelligence community to it took us to.

Patricia Stokes: To University of Michigan and their business school, and so I was just I mean I don't want to say I fell upon these you know I looked for them.

And then, when you get up to the senior executive level they actually have a really good professional development program but you know look for those preparatory.

executive courses, because I took a couple of prep courses to get into the executive pool to.

And they're out there and and they just teach you those they teach you those soft skills that you realize you go in there as a you know, a hard charger and you realize holy crap I am coming across.

Like until the high, and I have got to settle it down a little bit and and learn how.

To work on their soft skills and that's really the that's what change that's the difference, so you go from you know as your career, you know, maybe now is operational.

How do you make that leap to leadership and it's really about this leadership executive preparatory and then this leadership executive courses.

John Dillard: awesome that's that's great advice on this one i'm going to ask it anyway, even though it's sort of a threats which I have a suspicion that it's one of my people it's an anonymous attendee.

But there are curious why you joined threats, which is an advisor.

Which i'll feed up and, hopefully, you will say something something nice.

Why, in the world, would you join threats which and advisor it's.

No say why do you must.

Patricia Stokes: God knows this better than anybody.

I don't know, was it six months ago, or so I you know I finally got retired and got moved to our retirement, you know home and and then realize okay what what what am I going to do myself now.

And so I started reaching out to people who, I had the utmost respect for and and.

And I just believed in their business and their business model and mainly believed in them as a person.

And, and so I called on, and I think it was just it was just funny we just we talk like old friends first and then.

It just kind of lead itself to this and I hadn't ever really seen the threats which project and product and then he gave me a DEMO.

And then, and then, of course, my mind started spinning like oh my john we could do this, we can do that, we can you know, and I did my normal.

You know where he had to say okay just take take take a chill pill and and he was kind enough to ask me to to join.

In and again in his I have not been disappointed, I think this this product in that thread, which has, is it could be it's it's just so it's so simple it's.

amazing you know it's great for the industrial security environment that's that's a no brainer, but I just think it has so many implications and applications for the government and it.

If it can be used in the government sector, I think it would just really enhance security programs across the phone space.

John Dillard: thanks for the plug every I did not be her expert to say any of those things I promise.

This week now Thank you so much for the compliment and meets time, of course, coming from you, I do have one more from Jennifer and it's, this is a good one on so.

Basically, how does the conflict effects security and counter counter intelligence that's going on right now I mean, I think.

To summarize, this one, when I started in the Community, when you started the Community, it was nation state espionage stuff that was kind of what we worried about.

And then it shifted to war on terror and more diverse threats and cyber security and it seems like this week we're kind of back to the taper pits and.

stuff and I How does that change DC essays mission and what we're focused on as the security community.

Patricia Stokes: where everybody goes into you know, the rate, which is the stuff that I loved you know I mean even even clean up on aisle nine in in in in the army, when I was there, you know and we that was that was the Hassan case that was the.

Only had so many the fort hood shooting, which was the his own pace and.

We just had so many things that we were operationally focused on to clean up.

And I think right now, you know, so you move from my kind of stated just done i'm looking at state of the art and looking at programs now i'm an operational phase again and you just turn in.

You go back to the roots, so what your your businesses, you know, and you, you you turn to the to that side, I will say one thing that I can, if you're a security professional or your account intelligence professional.

You are in much more successful together, the one thing that we did in the army G two is our counter-intelligence senior executive and me.

became one We really did there wasn't anything he did, that I didn't know about and and offer input to and vice versa, and once you don't find very often because counterintelligence and security are usually you know, like that.

The more you merge those two programs together and benefit off of each other, not realizing authorities are different completely.

But the more you empower each other with your information and knowledge and experience, the better your overarching program is going to be so make sure you know your counterintelligence people and they should be your best friends and you should be working hand in hand.

John Dillard: awesome that also Tees up just fine important we were at the end of our time here, we got a couple minutes left, so I wanted to give you a chance, just to share parting thoughts comments.

With everybody at since we're at the end of the hour on the things that you'd like for them to remember in the next 90 seconds yeah.

Patricia Stokes: I just appreciate the opportunity, I think you know you just stay true to your values.

persevere don't don't give up move around network.

build those relationships, because they will matter, and you will use them, you know, in your career and even your post career and you will always have those relationships are more meaningful than than anything you're going to be able to do in business, you know.

sell security as a positive and because it's always looked at as a negative.

You know what what it can do for you, not what you can't do because of it.

And, and that because that's that's just how it's naturally viewed.

Get out there and those associations and those communities, and you know, like you know the national classification management society and.

nda they have great network and get to know people it'll open up your mind your knowledge and and opportunities and just you know, believing in what you're doing and trying to present it in a very positive made.



John Dillard: Outstanding couldn't be said, better i'm tricia I can't Thank you enough for being here for participating on it's been a joy, both today, of course, but of all of interactions over the last.

handful of years it's always a delight i've learned a ton from you, I hopefully everybody got a little sliver of what i've been able to enjoy in working with you.

These last gosh 15 years, whatever it is, however, however long it goes back, so thank you so much for your time.

If we missed your question will be sure to follow up with you try and get you an answer and we'll, of course, share the recording and the slides and.

check out our past webinars all of them are downloadable You can check and see here somebody missed it today.

And you know they'd like to hear from trisha you can go the website and they can view it later so go check it out Thank you everyone for attending and have a great week and weekend.

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