ISE® Success Stories

Joey Johnson
ISE® Southeast Executive Award Winner 2017

I first learned about the ISE® Programs and Awards directly from Marci McCarthy herself. We both attended an event in Nashville and upon connecting with me there, she reached out and asked if I would be interested in sitting on a discussion panel for an ISE® Southeast Program. After that first positive experience, my involvement in the ISE® Programs grew.

I am relatively new to the ISE® Programs, but I can already say the aspects I most enjoy about participating is the high caliber of talent in those who attend, and the size of the group. Usually events for the security industry are inundated with people and it becomes a challenge to meet those you really want to establish connections with. Additionally, the large crowds make professionals far more hesitant to speak openly about their strategies and challenges. But at ISE® Programs, the crowd is the right size and is comprised of the right people—we are able to connect and are more comfortable sharing our experiences in a smaller, more exclusive group setting. I find networking to be extremely important to the growth of a security professional’s career. Leaving ISE® Programs having met ten new people with experiences related to mine is far more useful than leaving a large conference having met seventy random people I’ll likely never speak to again.

Furthermore, I always manage to take information away from the ISE® Programs I attend. Often we attend security conference events and leave without much useful information—but at T.E.N.’s events, there is always something valuable and new to be learned from those around you. The showcases in particular are very interesting—learning about the new projects and strategies that fellow executives are implementing can provide us with new tools and ideas. The ISE® Programs also allow time for questions during the showcases, roundtable summaries, panels, and so on—and that, too, is significantly helpful and unique to the environment of ISE® Programs. It fosters collaborative discussions that you don’t always find at big events.

As a nominee, being a part of the ISE® Awards process was a real honor for me because I was evaluated and recognized alongside some truly worthy professionals in security. The panel of judges consisted of significant, leading figures in the industry, and to be selected as the ISE® Southeast Executive of the Year winner by that panel was very humbling. Receiving this recognition gives my team, and the organizations we work with, a renewed confidence in our security diligence and best practices. Because I am in the healthcare industry and my company works with large, leading organizations, there is a tremendous amount of scrutiny on our security practices—and we try very hard to make security a business solution rather than a business inhibitor. T.E.N. and their ISE® Programs help promote how important security is to an organization. For many years, it’s been a “behind the curtains” job; but with the help of T.E.N., that curtain has been pulled back and our work is seen for the valuable contribution it is.

When I speak with solution providers who sponsor the ISE® Programs, I feel as if these vendors know how to read the environment they’re in. Representatives talk to the guests without being pushy or overbearing. Conversations are informative but relaxed, and they are able to explain what their solutions have to offer and how they can align with the needs of the professionals in the room. When vendors are willing to listen as much as they talk, it can generate some very beneficial dialogue. This is what you find when you connect with solutions providers at ISE® Programs.

Though I am new to the ISE® Programs, after experiencing the judging panel, going through the nomination process, and attending the Awards Gala, I would absolutely recommend nominating yourself, your team, or a deserving associate. The positive recognition, networking, and respect from the ISE® Awards is something you don’t find anywhere else. These events are all about the people in the room who deserve the spotlight. If you’re considering submitting a nomination, I ask you to think about what differentiates you or your team as a leading figure. There are exceptional leaders out there who know how to make the right decisions and choices that encourage positive growth and change in the industry. Those are the people who will take security to new heights. If you believe you have made those decisions—or know someone who has— submit a nomination for the ISE® Awards. You never know what the recognition will do for you and how you can take part in changing this industry for the better.