Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Sits on a company board
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse
Has written a song
Has studied abroad
Has always wanted to be a teacher
Biography and Background:
Ebba has been on the board of AlertSec since the company's start in 2007. She became the CEO of the company in 2015. As a Swede new to the United States, Ebba mastered the nuances of the Silicon Valley business culture and has used her experience as a communicator to explain the complicated world of IT security to customers. Previously, Ebba covered the tech sector as a journalist for more than 20 years and moderated events for some of the largest companies in the U.S. and Sweden. She is also a highly regarded speaker on IT security and compliance issues. Ebba has been immersed in the technology industry since she was a young girl in coding classes. She has a passion for data privacy and protection.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Since Ebba took over as CEO of AlertSec in 2015, the number of customers has grown by 30%. This growth is attributed to Ebba's efforts to increase awareness of endpoint security and her systematic approach to targeting the SMB market through customer education. Ebba's work in protecting enterprise and third-party shared data has led to groundbreaking technological advances in encrypted endpoints. As an example, AlertSec has filed two new patents in the last two years. Under Ebba's leadership, the company has broadened its product offering from providing endpoint encryption as a service for the SMB market to giving enterprises the capability to control the security on third-party endpoints. Ebba recognized early-on that expanding the IT security perimeter is crucial for any big company that shares information with third parties; these companies need a control in place to make sure that this information is protected at third-party endpoints. Listening to a market need triggered this latest product development.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Increased awareness is my main goal. In order to grow our channel partners, we need to educate them and help them understand how vulnerable customers are when endpoints are not properly secured. Not only do unprotected endpoints jeopardize locally stored data, they may also be the entry point into cloud storage, such as Dropbox, Salesforce and others, as well as access to corporate servers. As channel sales is our most important business model, I believe that giving partners a better understanding of overall IT security will be crucial for our growth. Increased awareness of endpoint security ultimately drives our business.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Ebba was recently named one of SC Magazine's Women in IT Security: Power Players and was included in "The 45 Over 45: Entrepreneurs Over Age 45 Who Are Disrupting the Way We Do Business."
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire Sheryl Sandberg for her work but even more for her outlook on life. How she dealt with the devastating loss of her husband made a big impression on me - and to share her process with the public (in her book Option B) was a gift to us all! Building a business is about failures and successes. None of us can escape life's disappointments, neither personally nor professionally, and we would all benefit from learning to practice more "self-compassion" in order to not burn ourselves out. I think Sandberg's book gives us some valuable tools toward this end.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Don't try to fit in! What makes us unique is not nurtured by trying to be normal - that only makes us average. It's a lot to ask, but hear me: don't try to fit in! It's OK to be strong! Don't waste time and energy trying to be loved by everybody. Sometimes people will only like you as long as you don't pose a threat to them. My advice: skip all that - and be strong! Also, have a lot of male friends - and learn to play by the men's playbook. Develop confidence asserting yourself among males.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I'm a big believer in using different tools to communicate complicated concepts. We need both verbal and visual tools to be really effective communicators. I'd like to be a wiz at video editing, in order to be able to create short, informative video clips that reflect my vision. As it is now, I need to explain what I want to achieve to someone else. I have a background in television, so I know it's an effective tool and a good skill to have.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I loved reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. She shared such a deeply personal story with the public - the loss of her beloved husband. She takes the reader through her mourning process and describes how her family tried to work out ways to move on in life. I learned a lot about grief and mourning from reading her book. I also shared some of her thoughts with a friend of mine who recently lost her father. The sense of loss was consuming my friend, and I could relate to her struggle after reading Sandberg's book.
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