Corey White 00:04
I’m on this earth to evolve, my soul has to get better in this life journey, right? And so, where I wish somebody told me growing up, that there’s gonna be adversity in life, because what we actually are told, and what we expect is, is gonna be easy. I’m gonna grow up and get a job and make a lot of money and be rich and live happily ever after.
Adam Baruh 00:42
Welcome to The Change, where we share stories and inspiration from servant leaders working to normalize the mental health conversation and increase empathy in the workplace. I’m your host, Adam Baruh. It’s been almost a year since I started working on this podcast. In that time, I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking with true game changers, people making a difference in leadership, mental health awareness, authenticity, and even trauma healing. I’ve been incredibly inspired by the conversations I’ve had on this podcast. And so I’ve decided to narrow the focus of the change by focusing on stories of servant leaders working to destigmatize the mental health conversation, and increase empathy and emotional intelligence in business. We all know the old saying, the only constant in life is change. So let us introduce someone who is honoring their authenticity as a servant leader, with heart and humanity. Corey White, welcome to The Change.
Corey White 01:39
Well, Adam, I love that intro. Yes. Thank you for having me. This is exciting.
Adam Baruh 01:43
Awesome. Yeah, I’m super excited. You’re here. Alright. So you know the drill. You’ve done this before. Let’s start with the basics. Who is Corey White? And also if you would take us to where things all started for you?
Corey White 01:54
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I’ve tried to give a nice abbreviated version. But I’ve been doing cybersecurity for 27 years. But that’s not who I am. It wasn’t who I am is an authentic person outside of that, and still growing and learning and authenticity. Because I don’t think you ever like get there like, Hey, I’m authentic. A checkbox? No, it’s not that simple. Because every single day, there are life lessons that that I learned and, and I tried to evolve and grow in that. But what I’ve done is I’ve merged the two together, because I grew up in, in the 70s, and 80s. When I got into the business world in the 90s, then the the mindset was, oh, this is the, this is the business work, Corey, you have to put on that persona, and be a business person, and then your home and outside work is a totally different person. And in my life, I’ve realized that’s really hard to do, and also somewhat stressful, because you got to pretend to be something that you’re not in the business world. So our company Cyvatar I started this so that not only myself, but every employee can show up authentically. Now, there’s a caveat to this. You cannot show up and be an asshole, okay. But you can show up authentically and be you. Like, um, you know, our business, we don’t judge you based on how you look or talk or, you know, your tattoos, whatever, we don’t care. We want you authentically doing what makes you happy. And so that’s one of the reasons why we started this business. The other thing is cybersecurity. Cybersecurity as an industry was that being authentic. And so I’ve been doing it for 23 and a half years, I realized there has to be a better way. Because the number of hacks are going up and and spanned and cybersecurity is going up. But something isn’t tied together. It’s a very immature industry that is not focused on the end customer getting to an outcome of being secure. And so I built the business in a subscription model. And again, I love the title to change, how do we change this for the better and improve society and our members. So that’s kind of my why that’s how we got here with Cyvatar and myself after 27 years in cybersecurity.
Adam Baruh 04:14
All right, so you and I grew up in the same era. We’re both Gen Xers growing up in the 70s. So we had Dabney Cole is Dabney Coleman, that actor and all those wargame movies, you know, was WarGames itself with Matthew Broderick, I think?
Corey White 04:30
Yep, yep. 100 %.
Adam Baruh 04:32
Yeah. So I’m curious how you actually, you know, got into cybersecurity, like what led you there? I, you know, for me looking looking at this. I see a lot of people kind of from our generation growing up at the time that we did, you know, that it kind of is no surprise, you know, when people kind of end up in those roles kind of growing up in the era that we did, but yeah, tell me what it was like for you. How did how did you? How did you get there into cybersecurity?
Corey White 04:57
Well, it’s interesting because it didn’t start Cybersecurity because that did not exist back in those days, right? So it, it started with, I never got I got my first computer, I want to say it was like 83 or so my both my parents were teachers, and my dad had this IBM computer that was there, it was just sitting there, and they weren’t actually using it. And so he brought it home. And so he had to take it back at the end of the school year, but he brought it home. And so I’m sitting there on this, you know, IBM with a CRT and the green screen, all that stuff, typing in like basic programs, and enduring all kinds of cool little programs. But for me, it was magic, you could take this computer and create anything. And so it was interesting. One of the things that I’ve realized about my life, because my dad was also in construction, he loved building things, he could build anything. But I’m also that person. I love building and creating new things. I took a really cool test called a spark type test that a friend of mine, Jonathan fields does. And I turned out to be a maker, I like to create things. That’s my passion. So as a kid, Mike, my passion was creating things then when computers came, and I could create programs and build things that was really, really interested. And that got me hooked. And so how I got into cybersecurity is when I graduated from school with a cis degree. My first job was at Microsoft supporting Windows 9495. And it was August 24 1995. It was the first computer first computer operating system that had a TCP IP stack. Okay, that could connect to the internet. So Internet Explorer 1.0 and exchange 1.0. That was my first gig. So I got exposed to it there. Then my next gig and consulting, my, my job was connecting companies, large global companies to the internet, because nobody knew anything about it. So I did that. Then the next step was, oh, wait a second. You guys need a firewall. So I put in the first Cisco pix firewall, I can 1997. So so that’s how I got into security. Next thing I know, I’m the security guy.
Adam Baruh 07:12
It’s so you know, interesting to think back to that time, like the concept of even a firewall. Like, it was like the wild west of the Internet back then, like nobody really had a gate. There wasn’t really much game planning going on. It was more kind of like responding to events that were happening, you know?
Corey White 07:29
Yeah. Yeah, for sure.
Adam Baruh 07:31
All right. So when we last spoke, I shared some of my own imposter syndrome with you. And you mentioned experiencing this yourself. But you described impostor syndrome is more of like a fronting syndrome. So what did you mean by that?
Corey White 07:45
Well, it’s interesting that we talk about impostor syndrome. But in this, this world, I want people to realize is what I’ve realized, is when you talk about change, so you should always be changing and involving and growing. So if that’s the mindset, you’re never actually an imposter. Okay? So, you know, me, this is my first time being CEO, I’ve run and build organizations before. But like, I can say, I’m an impostor, because I’ve never been a CEO before. But the challenge in life is that we all should be evolving and growing and pushing, because if you’re not pushing, then you’re actually going backwards. Dr. Joe Dispenza. A is amazing guy, he talks about that. And when I was, you know, about 3435, he said, the average person, they stopped growing new synaptic pathways and their brain because they You just fell away and you’re like, Oh, well, I drink red wine. Or I take no vacations, I go to the beach, I go to the beach locations, and you end up doing the same thing over and over again, you’re not challenging yourself to grow. But I heard that I was like, Oh, my God, like, I gotta keep growing. So the real answer is, you’re never actually an imposter. You should always be pushing the envelope and doing new things. And so that whole imposter syndrome, I think, is just something that we’ve created. In my mind, I see it as more of a limitation that say, Hey, I’m an imposter. There’s everybody that has been doing something for a long time. They had a first time doing it. So it to me, I don’t think of it that way.
Adam Baruh 09:21
Yeah, absolutely. Um, the first two episodes of The Change, we spoke about emotional courage, it was just kind of getting out of your comfort zone, kind of with the focus of, you know, you know, where you’ve had mental blocks where you’ve had limitations, your own limitations that have prevented you from going forward. And, you know, for the most part, it’s fear based and, and I get it, I it makes sense. I’ve been there. I mean, personally, you know, in my career, I started out in college, doing environmental studies, and then while going to school, I worked for the National Park Service and then I got into it and then I was A wedding photographer. And so I’ve kind of, I can fully attest to the statement you just made. Because, you know, for me, the majority of growth in my life has been when I’ve pushed myself and at times, it’s been an explicit thing that I set out to do, where I kind of, I saw that I was held back, and I saw that I was living based on fear in certain areas. And so it’s important to do that. Now, i and i also completely get what you’re saying around imposter syndrome. Everybody that’s going to be in a new situation they haven’t been in before, I think is going to feel that. And so, you know, is it imposter syndrome? Or is it just adapting to some new situation where perhaps you’re a little fearful? And so I think it’s the fear, really, that is wrapped around this concept of imposter syndrome. But you know, it is, at least the the consequences of that impostor syndrome are something that should be taken note of, because if you have the self awareness to kind of recognize, you know, what’s happening with you, if you’re feeling a certain way about what you’re doing, it’s that self awareness, I, for me, I think is the key to kind of recognize, okay, you know, yes, I mean, what I’m doing is new to me, like, I don’t need, for me, at least, you know, I’ve spoken about this on on this podcast, you know, in five and a half years ago, when I found it sweet centric, I was never a CEO before. So I think for the first few years, I really struggled. I just, I did not have the self awareness to recognize, you know, the aspects about my personality and my skill set that were true. And and that I felt are my calling. I didn’t really recognize those. And so it made me think that I had to be something that I wasn’t. And that’s where the resistance in that the anxiety that was built up, because there was conflict internally with me fighting, just trying to understand my identity. And so it wasn’t, yeah, it’s really interesting imposter syndrome. On another podcast that I produced, one of the guests didn’t like that term and prefers to use the word imposter-ism, which is, you know, I think she was just kind of defining just the act of what happens and not, you know, when you hear syndrome, it’s kind of like, you know, something, a condition that you have to deal with, you know, but it all, you know, again, it just really comes down to the self awareness, and then having, having the courage to say, you know, I don’t have to have all the answers, and that’s okay. I think, you know, in the business world, you know, being a better leader, what I realized last year, being a better leader wasn’t in knowing everything there is about NetSuite, which is the platform that my consulting agency works on. It wasn’t you know, having to be all charismatic and be that CEO that you see on TV, it’s really just being vulnerable. That’s where I’ve learned is the power of leadership is showing vulnerability, and providing a safe space for my team to, to be themselves to show up in their authentic selves. So, again, I think it kind of for me, I look at self awareness is really where that’s the thing you should strive towards, because that’s going to allow you to be your authentic self. Right?
Corey White 13:33
Yeah. 100% agree in with an example I’ll give and this is just something that hit me. You heard my story about getting started in 1995. Well, when I started web one came out. But guess what they didn’t teach in school, internet, nothing. TCPIP nothing. So when I got out of school, I had to learn that. So I’m spending my night in Denise Eaton guard, grand slams and endless coffee, because you’re reading books, I get bored, and I’ll fall asleep if I was sitting at home or just striking, so I had to get out of the house. But I learned web one. So I was at South by Southwest a few weeks ago. And I’m talking to all these web three Metaverse, NFT people, and I’m explaining a few things. Number one, well, you can do web three. But if you ignore web, one, web two basic hacks, then like phishing, then you’re still going to get hacked, okay. But what I learned is I asked everybody, they were so knowledgeable about all these new things that I didn’t know a lot about. And I’m learning I’m like, studying now. I’m not going to the Denny’s but I am standing. My new Denise is playing well. I’m gonna play and I’m learning. But the point of it is, I had to learn web one outside of college. And so I spent a lot of time learning that and so I have a choice. I can say, Hey, I’ve been doing this 27 years. I know CyberSecure Are they not going to learn web three? Or do I challenge myself and say, I’m gonna learn web three? And keep on learning that I think that’s what we all have to do is not be afraid of it. Oh my god, there’s this new thing. You know, there’s, there’s, there’s the metaverse, and I’m scared, no, no, go into it and just learn it just like you did when you were younger. I think we make these limitations upon ourselves. But we got to realize that we got to go and face these challenges. And the last thing, I’ll talk about fear, what I’ve learned is, yeah, we’re always going to be afraid, even the most courageous people out there, they are afraid. But the fear only happens before, once you get to the other side, then it’s nothing to be afraid of, you’ve already passed it. And so you literally have to still do it, and then get to the other side. And then it’s nothing to be afraid of, you’re like, Oh, I did that I survived, maybe I wasn’t great at it. But that’s so bad. And then you’re okay, and ready to do it again. And there’s a great book by Steven Kotler from impossible. And it talks about the possibility and it breaks down fear and the science behind getting over that that hurdle. And it was just brilliant, the way he explained that.
Adam Baruh 16:11
Yeah, I mean, I understand fear, and I understand the resistance to it. Because it’s hard. I mean, it’s scary. It’s, you know, makes you be vulnerable. And that’s uncomfortable in many areas. But like I just mentioned moments ago, that’s where most of the growth has been in my life. Where there are hard times and in confronting that fear, absolutely. But, you know, I think you hit the nail on the head, you know, fear, I think we fight against it so much, there’s so much internal conflict, because we think we have to fight fear, we think that fear shouldn’t have a place within our mental landscape. But fear can be such a powerful tool, when you recognize it, and you allow it, but you don’t let it guide you. But you allow it to be there, and you try to learn from it, and you try to work with it. Because it’s that thing that’s pushing you towards, you know, expanding yourself and expanding your self awareness. So, you know, for those that have encountered fear, and, you know, dealt with a lot of conflict, trying to shove it away, I encourage you to maybe rethink that belief system, that fear is bad. And, you know, I’ll turn it over to you in a second. But one of one of our guests that we had previously, her name is Samantha J, she has a business model where, you know, she’s advocating to allow our inner business Emperor and Empress to guide us in entrepreneurship and leadership. And she has a book called stand up, speak up that that talks a lot about her methodology. And I really think it’s a, it’s a fantastic methodology. And in that book, she describes the sabotaging drama king and queen within us, that is out to fight against the other important work that we’re doing. It’s just adding drama, it’s this fear, you know, it’s based on fear. And so she talks a lot about, you know, don’t fight it, just recognize the drama, King and Queen within you is there and work with it and allow it and it’s simple to say, I know, there’s, you know, a lot of conflict around getting to that point where recognizing that, that fear can be our friend, but, you know, are there other times in your life where you’ve kind of made the same or similar type of, you know, Revelation where, you know, you kind of recognize that you were perhaps, you know, making a decision in a kind of a fear based way, and you’re able to kind of see that and make decisions that allowed you to grow.
Corey White 19:03
Yeah, yeah. So, a few things and I’m gonna go deep on this one here. Yes. Okay. When I was my first gig, when I was working for Microsoft, I realized how how much beer held me back and this is 9596 timeframe. And I printed it out on on the computer, this little sign and had it from my desk right in front of me, staring at it all the time. And it simply said, I have no fear. And I did that for several months. It’s right there like other channels, and to myself, in my spare time, like it has no fear, because I realized I started pushing the envelope so much and it scared me. I was like, oh my god, I gotta take this thing down a little bit. But it helped me I was so focused on overcoming it. Now the other thing that my pivot to where where we go deep. I’ve I’ve been doing a lot of I read extensively, but just the concept of having a Soul, depending on what people believe in, but the end of the day having a soul. You know, what I’ve realized, at least for me is that I’m on this earth to evolve, my soul has to get better in this life journey, right. And so, where I wish somebody told me growing up, that there’s going to be adversity in life, because what we actually are told, and what we expect is, is going to be easy. I’m gonna grow up and get a job and make a lot of money and be rich and live happily ever after. Nobody says that you should appreciate and embrace the adversity, because here’s the thing, I had, you know, bad autoimmune diseases, and, you know, stomach ulcers, and arthritis, all kinds of stuff in my 20s, really, really, really sick. But yo, hit 30 years later, I’m a biohacker, and an in really, really good shape and health. If I never went through that, I would not be as healthy as I am right now. And I’m very happy with my, my health level and, and where I am right now. So that helped me. I had also throughout all that process, I had to become mentally strong. If I didn’t have the adversity, I wouldn’t be mentally strong. Okay, exactly. And you think you take my professional career of just being a minority executive, sometimes I think, get the opportunities. And you only know why you just sometimes it is not there. So I had to work hard to be better. I had nothing was given to me ever. But you know, now I’m a CEO, I’m happy for where I’m at. But still, nothing is never given. There’s no easy path. But I’m very happy where I’m at, if I didn’t have bad adversity, and I can go through a lot more, all of it shaped me all the way from losing my mom, when I was in my early 20s. that shaped me is really, really hard. But it made me stronger, it made me persevere. It made me go out there and be able to take care of myself, there was no backup plan. So if we actually told everybody, which, you know, I’m telling my kids, it got to lead them through this is that the adversity you go through, that’s what makes you better. So you can get to the other side. And you have to keep continually learning to improve. But if you have it easy, we’ve all seen the rich kid that has everything, and then they turn out to be nothing, because there’s no challenge in their life, right. And so the challenges is what makes us good. It’s makes it better to learn from. And so if people want to go into life, and expect that challenge, then it makes you better is the other side. And I’m not a Biblical person. But one of the things I heard a really good Baptist preacher say this, and I love it. We all are probably familiar with Psalm 23. But when he says, if you notice, he went through the valley, he didn’t stay in the valley. And I remember hearing this like by 30 years ago, like, Oh, my God, he’s right, you go through it, things happen in our lives, you go through them, you come out on the other side, so you have to expect to come out on the other side with the wisdom of what you went through, and use that for the rest of your life. And I love love that concept.
Adam Baruh 23:21
You know, we spend so much time as parents teaching these hard skills like reading and math and all this stuff, and, you know, things that we think are the best way to prepare our children for the world. And I don’t know why. But a lot of that is really focused around career and job right. Which, you know, it’s important to be able to take care of yourself and provide for yourself and your family. But, you know, I really think as parents, what’s the best way we can prepare our children for the future and the world that they’re going to live in with all of the changes that are expected. And that’s being able to understand that the world is a challenging place filled with adversity that you’re going to deal with, day in and day out, there’s, there’s going to be roadblocks, there’s going to be hurdles, these are character building. And so perhaps, you know, as parents if we spent more time preparing our children to know that that’s going to be part of life, and to you know, build their response systems and how they respond to stress and anxiety where, hey, listen, these things are expected. And you’re going to get through the other side, and adversity is there to teach us and, you know, when we, when we’re not fighting against it all the time, it could be such a great tool for learning. I think it’s so important that parents, you know, work to prepare their children, you know, with that skill set, you know, prioritizing that even over, you know, things that are learned in school and even I think it’s important for schools to kind of focus on, hey, you know, life is hard, it’s fun. And it’s good. And you have to work towards making sure that you keep your head in the game and, and even having it be fun can be work, but, you know, understand that life is gonna be full of challenges. And that’s okay. That’s kind of its, that’s kind of how it’s always worked out. Right?
Corey White 25:25
Yeah. And let me touch on that as a parent. And a disclaimer, I I’m definitely not a parenting expert. But the exactly. You all say all this stuff, make it go the hill go round.
Adam Baruh 25:39
I’m sure my wife is hearing me say this. And is just like, “What? Those are my words.”
Corey White 25:44
Exactly. But what I learned just from myself, is that a few things if you look at the educational system, both my parents were teachers growing up, okay. But they sent me to private school. And I remember being a kid asking you guys, our public school teachers would like to send me to private school. They didn’t really answer they just said, yeah, exactly. And so now being an adult, I get it. And I researched the public school system. It was built in the 30s. Right? And, and the mindset was, we need factory workers. So they essentially trained everybody the exact same way, right? So you could go and work on an assembly line. But last time I checked, nobody is going to work in a factory. And so the system that we have in public schools, which I get, we can’t change, because it’s so you can’t, this doesn’t apply to everybody, it’s very hard to go and revamp the whole public school system. But what we ended up doing was ripping our kids out of the public school system, and oh, huge kudos to my wife, and for homeschooling our kids. But, you know, they’re able to get through the curriculum so much faster. They’re at, you know, really, really high levels across the board. They’re learning stuff. And you’re now at nine that I learned in high school. And, and it’s effortless. And the other thing, which is, is something that I didn’t even think about or estimate, but they spend their extra time. They’re accomplished ice skaters at nine. Yeah, they, they, they make their own clothing, they go the fashion camp. And so when they go to school, think about this. They go to school with the clothes that they have made sometimes, right? So we buy, but for the clothes that they’ve made. And so when I was nine, I really, really cared about what everybody else thought. And so I tried to buy the instant fashion stuff and everything else. But you know, their clothes isn’t necessarily perfect, because they made it themselves. But in homeschooling, nobody cares. And they’re twins. They don’t care what other people think. And not I cared what other people thought I had to get approval from other people. It took me 37 years to get to the point where I could not care what people think anymore, and it took a long time. So what we are trying to do, what if you can grow up and not care what other people think, be an individual, know what your your innate skills are, like one of my kids is really artsy and creative. And she literally covered colors outside the lines all the time. But other one is analytical and detail oriented and loves puzzles. And so we know what those skill sets are. So we’re just trying to figure out and expose them to as much as they can, so they can figure out what what’s going to make them happy in life. And so it’s a new way to think about your raising kids. But it’s, it’s worked well for me because I was at rebel. I was at rebel in college and in high school as well. And not like doing bad things. But I just didn’t agree with the school system. Because growing up when your parents have the teacher’s manual for some of those classes that you’re in, and you know, not that I cheated, but I knew the answer. But the answer didn’t. Actually some of the questions were really, really subjective, right, based upon your experience and what you see in my experience. Now if you haven’t, I was eighth grade, I got sent to the office, unfortunately, the teacher was reading in and then we had the story read at night and then she asked questions about it. Why did they call little Johnny and his really long, complicated last name? Why did they call him by his full name? And I said because he had a funny last name. And then the teachers like No, no, no, they didn’t know him very well. That’s like my neighborhood if that’s your last name, they’re gonna call you by all name and tease you about that all the time. And I was like, is that what The Book says? And obviously being a teacher is key you know that and see gotten out. But, but it’s not textbook look like it. Life is not textbook. And that’s what we’re told. And there’s a really good NASA study when NASA was trying to find a way to build new rockets. And so their problem was, nobody was creative. And then they did a study on kids, it’s like five years old, and the creativity was like an dandies. By the time they were in high school, it was less than 5%. So the construct of the school system ends up sucking out that creativity, and make everybody exactly the same. And you get into the real world, then where you’re like, wait a second, if I’m just like everybody else, I don’t stand out. I don’t have any, you know, differentiating thing about me, and I’m a big music guy, you know, big music artists, you know, Lady Gaga and Prince, nobody. These are individual people doing their own thing. They don’t care what other people think. And that led to their success. And so it ends up working against us, teaching everybody to be exactly the same.
Adam Baruh 30:59
Super interesting, you know, you gave me a really good segue for kind of where I wanted to go with this. But before I go there, I definitely want to give shout out to your wife and for all of the parents that are homeschooling. I think it’s for me as an outsider to it. It seems like such a really incredible commitment. And, you know, what a gift that you guys are giving to your children?
Corey White 31:25
Yes, thank you for saying that.
Adam Baruh 31:27
Absolutely. So, you know, conformity. That’s, that’s kind of the theme I wrote down as you were speaking that word. You know, it’s really interesting that we do celebrate, you know, we do look up to and kind of idolize these musicians and people that that are really unique in their own way. And, and that’s, you know, kind of the source of their success. Yet in business and in school. It’s all about conformity, right? It’s all about fitting in and doing what everybody else does, which is crazy that, you know, that that’s kind of the belief system that our society is adopted. And so you know, where I wanted to go with this was talking about ego. And I’m curious, you know, if you see a connection between conformity and where ego shows up, especially in the tech industry, you know, the tech industry can be notorious for a lot of ego. I’ve experienced it in my career. You know, for me, as a software developer, there’s, there’s always a lot of ego between different people’s personalities. So how have you experienced ego in your tech career? And where do you see that relationship between ego and conformity?
Corey White 32:36
Yeah, wow, that’s a great topic. Everybody has an ego, we all start out with that. And at least in my life, I’ve had to learn how to you rip it apart and tear it down. And thankfully, I’ve had life events that have done that for me, you know, whatever you think your, your, your the top shit, then Oh, something will happen and it will tear you down so quickly. Right? So I’ve definitely had that happen. And you realize that, you know, you don’t take yourself too seriously. Right? Um, you know, what, what helped me on that journey is, is a Eckhart Tolle reading the power of now. Yeah, and, and, you know, just, I had, it was one of the few books I had to read, and actually literally rethink everything. And you, you take, for instance, like, you know, the seven deadly sins, and pride in particular, right? Like, I grew up my dad, and we work construction, and he, if I didn’t do a good job at that he, like, son don’t have any pride in your work. And, and, and so, you know, I was just always taught that that was a good thing. But then I learned that pride is an ego based thing. You hear people say, you swallow your pride, but then I had to learn that. Yeah, you do have to swallow your pride in in so many situations, and not let that guide you. And so when I read that book, probably about 15 years ago, I had to really, really rethink everything. And it helped me tremendously to start removing the ego from everything. And now, you know, how does that relate to the tech industry? Well, the tech industry is pretty interesting in running this business, where in the tech industry is all about showing how smart you are, hey, I know tech better than you and think about penetration testing, I’m a better penetration tester than than you are. So I hacked into this network and, and got domain admin, you’ll faster than anybody else. Well, if you really, really, you know, double click on that, the reason why companies do penetration testing is and this is, you know, ties back into, you know, getting a first principle thinking you do a penetration test to figure out where your company may be vulnerable. So if and so you can fix those vulnerabilities. And so, the penetration test is a one time activity 50 new vulnerabilities come out every single day, every A pin penetration tester has different methodologies. So he may he or she may find one thing. But then another thing could be there and more come every single day. So that’s not the best way to see how your company can be, you know compromised and how to fix it because your ultimate goal, and first principle thinking is take it down to the core and build it up to the actual right solution. So if you look at it, at the core, you want to be secure. So you got to build up to actually being secure. And the easiest way to be secure, is to make sure you don’t have any vulnerabilities at all. So continually expand and patch your systems, make sure you have multi factor authentication, make sure that you have your proper endpoint protection, blocking, blocking the execution of malware. Those are the basics. And so in the tech industry, we celebrate penetration testing, but penetration testing is the ego based activity, that doesn’t actually solve the problem. Okay. So and so, you know, that’s rapid throughout cybersecurity, you have, you know, big companies building up the best new cool tech. But if you look at it from a people process and technology perspective, I could have Yeah, that would make it non technical. Say if I want to secure my house, I go and I buy the best AI door lock monitoring camera, everything, all the bells and whistles and and then I bring it home to my house, I put all this new AI newfangled technology on my kitchen counter, did I secure my house? No, I just bought technology, I just bought a product and cybersecurity. We just byproducts Oh, this is a cool product, it’s gonna save the day. It doesn’t. You still get hacked, you got people process and technology you need people implementing it means managing it and maintaining it and a process to get to an outcome of actually being secure. And so ego has driven so much in the tech industry, to where we want to build a new, coolest thing. But the answer to solve the problem is actually really simple. And think about your house, hey, I want secure my house, I have all this cool tech, let’s not just make sure my door is closed and locked all the time. Well, if I just did that. And in cybersecurity, we don’t do that. We’ll alert you when something bad happens, we’ll sell you amazing products and everything else. But you don’t actually just make sure the basics is done. So it really really is a big problem in the tech industry.
Adam Baruh 37:27
All right, yeah, you gave me a perfect end to talk about Cyvatar. So let’s shift gears and tell us about the work that Cyvatar does.
Corey White 37:37
Yeah, I literally just explained it. Let me let me bring it home. After 23 years of doing running penetration testing teams during some of the largest cybersecurity incidents in the world. Like when OPM offers a Personnel Management, that is the Personnel Management, division for our US government. This happened in 2016. You can google my previous companies silence and an OPM it’s all public information, where he testified in front of Congress, and so on and so forth. But here’s the thing. What if instead of responding to these incidents, instead of doing penetration testing, back to again, first principle thinking it doesn’t actually solve the problem, we’ve made a ton of money, Adam made a ton of money responding to incidents, if the money is there. But if you lead with love and actually care about your customers, if you just help them to patch their systems, secure them in a efficient way. Like we have a guarantee of 90 days or less that you’ll get the systems patched and you’ll scan patched on a continuous basis, because cybersecurity is not a one time activity, I use these one time assessments, then then, you know, they’re obsolete the next day. So we had to build a subscription model where we’re continually doing it. And and last time I checked Most of my customers, they don’t have a malware analysis team. Okay, so if I created some brand new malware, and I called it when word dot exe, and put the you know, Microsoft logo on on the icon, most people are gonna think it’s Microsoft Word, but it’s a key logger key logging access into all your systems. And if you have a web three, setup and I can get access to your crypto wallet because I’m key logging every stroke, I see everything. So it is really, really simple to solve this problem. And that’s what we did. We made cybersecurity into a subscription based business. We we democratize we let the scanning external scanning that’s free, okay. We charge a ton of money for that cybersecurity policies that every company needs. The spring log into our platform, you get that for free. We don’t charge you to tell you what is wrong. We charge you to fix it and maintain it. So think of it like your auto mechanic, right. I know I need to get my brakes done. I need to get a tune up. I take it to the auto mechanic. I like, and then he comes back with a detailed report of all the issues of home with my car and tells me exactly how to change the spark plugs and, and fix my brakes and everything else. But he doesn’t fix it. And he charges me 5000 bucks. Wow. Yeah, that is a security assessment. That’s the security assessment. We do that all day long and doesn’t solve the problem. So we’re one of the few industries I can’t think of another one that is that backwards. And the value prop. So Cyvatar solves that.
Adam Baruh 40:32
Okay. So when your LinkedIn profile, you said your leadership styles focused on an employee first approach, because I’ve seen the positive impact of happy employees and a great culture on customers. So can you tell us more about how you lead and what you learned as he grew to be an employee focused leader?
Corey White 40:52
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And there’s so many references about it now. But I think when you first get into business, you’ll see all these companies, say, customer first customer first, well, that doesn’t work. Because imagine if you work for a customer, first company, but your bosses are mean to you, they’re assholes. The culture sucks. Are you actually caring about the customer? Can you take care of a customer? If you’re disgruntled and not happy with the place you work? No. But imagine if you aren’t happy with the place you work, not disgruntled, your boss has your back, then it is easy for you to take care of, in our case, we call a members, your members. So it most people don’t think of it this way. You know, Simon Sinek talks a lot about this in a TED talk. But yeah, you got to take care of your employees first, and I was just reading a stat around successful companies. Employee first is the way to do it, then customer second, because your employees take care of your customer. Absolutely. That is absolutely important. But it also the last thing I share with that is, I’ve been that employee. And I’ve seen where you your bosses don’t have your back. And then you have sometimes you’re stuck in and and you want to take care of your your customers at that point. You’re worried about politics and right and who’s asked I need to kiss kiss to not kick butt kiss? Make sure I’m doing well.
Adam Baruh 42:27
Right? It’s maybe sometimes you need to kick it.
Corey White 42:29
Yeah, probably both. But um, no, no, I don’t want anybody in our company worrying about all of that. And not to say everything is always perfect. But it we strive to get things resolved and have everyone comfortable. And in this company. And that’s what I mean by that every single employee they want. They have my cell phone, I call them welcome into the company, and we have this similar conversation, so that I’m always available to them, to support them. And then ultimately, the last thing I’ll say is that my job is to hire the best exec team I possibly can. And that means I’m freed up, you know, and my co founder, Craig Goodwin, who is amazing as well, we’re freed up to be there supporting our employees is having a back. But if I’m too busy in the weeds, I can’t do that.
Adam Baruh 43:17
Yeah, yeah, that’s important. That’s an important distinction. That’s kind of where I was up until I realized, you know, early last year, I, you know, I’m not really going to be able to do the things I want to do in my company until I get myself out of the weeds. And you know, that I had to make an investment around that, you know, I had to hire some expensive people to kind of take over some things I was dealing with, it’s important, and I completely echo what you’re saying, you know, we we have that employee, first mentality, my company, but at the same time, we don’t sacrifice customer service, like customer service is, is, you know, very important to us. And so the way that we get there is Yeah, taking care of the team first. And so we do things like we just started, we just started. So it’s not something you know, I can proclaim, we’ve been doing forever, but corporate meditation. So now on Thursday mornings, we have a session, it’s, you know, the company, there’s no expectation that employees have to use their PTO or whatever it’s like, on our dime, you know, like, take a half an hour if you’d like we’ve got this online meditation session, it’s a good way to just kind of get your, your your body and your mind ready for the day both, you know, professionally and in your personal life for whatever may come. And that’s just one way to do it. Another thing that we’re, you know, kind of working to put in place are better supports systems around our remote workforce, you know, this kind of a work in progress, but, you know, remote, there’s, there’s so many caveats around a distributed workforce model and how to support those employees. And, you know, we’re striving to be very involved ested in in trying to support our remote employees better, but what is what do you guys do? What are some things like with your, you know, your leadership approach and your employee first approach? What are some actual things that you guys are doing, you know, beside the open door policy that you have? Where that shows up?
Corey White 45:17
Yeah, first and foremost, I want you to share after this, the, the details around your meditation, I’ve meditate, I encourage you to meditate. But we don’t do it as a group. And so you know, definitely share that the the continuous learning aspect, I’d love to people are open to that and incorporate that into what we do. Few things, it was interesting, I’ll tell you at least one quick story. But at my last company, every single, you know, a lot of people on my floor at the level on the 11th floor, we had salt lamps. And if you’ve ever had a big one in a small room or gone to salt cave, you can actually feel the difference. It’s just a different energy level. And so it being a thin kind of company, the things that I do, everybody gets day one, they get a very, very nice bottle of wine. And they get their own salt lamp. So the company, everybody is remote. And so everybody on the desk has their salt lamp, right there in front of them. And so that’s, that’s like a good start in introduction. And some people like I’ve never worked for a company where they want, we get a nice bottle of wine and a salt lamp and the CEO calls you up. And then the other thing that we do, which I think is really important is transparency and accountability. So we’ve all worked at companies where you’ll have somebody is not carrying their weight in. And in companies, especially larger ones, you can hide, you can not be doing your job not hitting your numbers. And it just nobody knows. Well, we have daily KPI calls as part of our scaling up construct of the business. And so we go through marketing, KPIs, sales KPIs, and you’ll see, hey, I’m one salesperson, oh, that person needs work to do. Everything’s public, we’re not calling anybody out. But you’ll see that it is a company dashboard that is available across the board. And so it uses us at the motivational technique, but you can’t hide in this company, I can’t hide, are there things that I need to do that I’m accountable to this company. So we all have responsibilities, and everybody has to do their part. And so that’s how we function. So that is a nice steady flow. And using one of my favorite words is flow state, I literally want everybody in their flow state. And sometimes I’ll call up people and ask, Hey, I see you’re not really in flow seems to be something going on. And usually I can kind of spot it and have a conversation. And, you know, just circling back to love versus fear. We’ve seen employees where, you know, something isn’t right. And most of the time people ignore that. They don’t you check in because what if they say something you don’t want to handle? Right? Right. And you just you just want to try to hide does a fear based approach. But if you call them up and say, Hey, what’s going on, I see, hey, your numbers aren’t as good, how are things anything I can help with? Nine times out of 10 is something we can help with something we can figure it out. Last month, I had an employee that I thought was going to really, really good job. But there was some areas that just weren’t really should have been. And I call the person up and, and we talked through it, and I came up with a really good solution that helped them get focused and be more of their flow state and like work in their passion. And at the end of it, he came back and said, Corey, thank you, you actually motivated me, I’ve had this little side project that you know, could turn into a business, you being an entrepreneur, and telling me I need to be in my flow state and focus on that. It gave me courage to say, I’m gonna go and do that. And, and he loved the company, I was very, very happy with that outcome. Like you shouldn’t be in your workplace, forcing something that is uncomfortable, or trying to do something and not taking that risk and jumping. So I encourage people to jump and I love to lose people, because they’re going out to pursue their passion, and not trying to force it into our company and try to do what we want them to do. Do your own thing. So that’s those are a few ways that we’re doing that in our company. Lots more we can do it learn but but there’s a few things we have in place.
Adam Baruh 49:42
Yeah. And I remember from when we first spoke, you mentioned flow state. So can you describe just for audience what that is? Exactly. And then also, you mentioned about a podcast. I think that you’re about to launch possibly or it’s underway. Love, Hustle, Flow, if you would talk about those three things flow state and then the podcast.
Corey White 50:02
Yeah, yeah. Great. Thanks. So, um, the podcast, we originally launched it in the fall, but that was struggling trying to find a name for it. And, and I think we call it like circuit breakers. And I freaking hated that. So I was like, we can call it that. The stop, let me just think about it. And then, you know, and one of my meditations, I get a lot of stuff comes to me in my meditations, that, how do I live my life, I try my best. I’m not saying I’m perfect at everything all the time. Look at life and look at people look at situations through a lens of love. Okay, that’s first. And then second. tussling is out there trying, you gotta go and push the envelope and try, because a lot of people that they pray or meditate or whatever, but they don’t do the tripod, they don’t. So they wait for it to come, no, you got to go and try and do that piece. And then once you put it out there, and there’s science behind this, and quantum physics, once you put something out there, you just come back and you wait, you flow, and you let it let it come to you. And how that is so powerful is being able to be in that natural flow state. And it goes back to what I said originally, I’m a natural, you know, maker love building new things. So you’re not gonna see me, you know, managing my calendar, trying to schedule meetings, because I actually truly suck at that. And so I have somebody that does that for me. But my flow state is you building, creating, building a vision, and then having really, really smart people to make that actually happen. And so I think everybody needs to live in their flow state. And in our company, I want everybody doing what their natural flow is. Because if people say, Hey, you do what you’re passionate about, then you never work a day, I truly, truly believe that. And so I want people doing this, this should never be a job. It should always be in doing your natural flow. And it’s effortless. Because if you have to force it, you’re not going to be good at
Adam Baruh 51:58
100%. Exactly. Alright. So what are three things you would tell anyone looking to get into a leadership role? Things that, you know, you perhaps learned along the way, but are, you know, the core tenants of leadership?
Corey White 52:12
Oh, wow. I don’t know if I get all the court tennis. Right? Correct. But I’ll tell you what works for me. The first thing I learned is in in a leadership role, a lot of people, they’ll take Oh, this is the best person at doing that job in that group. And then make them the manager. But those are two separate jobs, right? Like the there’s a complete flip, you got to learn how to have everybody’s back and enable them to be better. So, you know, I just relearn to read all about this in the past week, where there were themes that, you know, in our company, we weren’t doing the way we should have done initially. And I’m thinking I know how to fix that. And I almost jumped in and did it. And I was like, I had to stop and empower and allow the team to do it. And you take any basketball reference to Michael Jordan, or Magic Johnson, right? Is those assist, and working as a team, which made it successful. And so this is another exercise of removing the ego, which which is important. And, and what the second thing with leadership, and it kind of ties into the first is looking at it from the perspective of leading from behind, like, you’re not special. And a lot of people think, Oh, I got this title, I’m special. You’re not, you’re just another person with another job. And everybody needs to do their job, to quote Bill Belichick, but doing your job. And so it doesn’t mean that you tell people what to do. If you’re a leader, and you have to tell people what to do. I think you feel that being a leader, absolutely. People, you’d have to educate them along that path. And so that’s, that’s my second one. And the third one, again, these all kind of tie in and is that you, you have to learn this you have to one of the first things I do when I became a leader is I went to management training for new managers show back in 2006. And I was like, Oh, I’m gonna be a director running the team. How do you do that? One, I went and I read every single book on how to do it. But then to I went to management training, and I learned so much and one of the key things was delegation, learning to delegate to people and not take everything on. That is the only way you can scale a business is that delegation process otherwise, you’re just doing all the work and gonna burn yourself out and the business won’t grow?
Adam Baruh 54:40
Yes, sir. I can attest to that. I love it. So tell us what we can expect from Corey White in the next couple years. What are some things that you’re working on?
Corey White 54:49
Wow, okay. Um, here’s the thing. I’m very much a Go big or go home kind of guy. Yeah, like you only got the you got the you got this one lifetime. Well, if you Okay, Netflix, right? And no, a lot of people kind of use them as a sample because they usually successful. But let’s go back to the beginning, Netflix, for a billion dollar company have a blockbuster out of business with just a process. Okay, that’s all they had, you have a process of you getting DVD sent to your house. Now there was not even any streaming capability. But now there are I think it’s 200 billion probably in growing. But it was just a process. And so, in tech, if you don’t have any tech, on day one, it is really hard to get investment is really hard to build a business. And in Cyvatar started with a process. Now we have a platform, we have tech, everything else. Now you look at Netflix today, they have content, right, a lot of content. And they have streaming which the whole industry is copying. And if you think about back to our point around outcomes, you want to have a everybody wants an outcome, people need to start thinking and outcome, because the outcome in movies is to actually watch the movie. It’s not to say, Oh, I bought the best DVD blu ray player, you didn’t get to watch the movie. Or I drove to target a Walmart and I bought the movie. And now I gotta come home and why it’s not about that I can press a button right now and stream. Any movie I want right now, you know, there’s on Netflix or some of these other streaming services. So they actually changed the industry to be more efficient. Cybersecurity is still in the dark ages. Cyber tar is the company to change this industry, to where is more efficient, and the outcome in cybersecurity is to be secure. Not the byproduct not to do an assessment, not to have a list of stuff is wrong, is to actually be secure. So we’re going to change the cybersecurity industry so that especially small to medium sized businesses, and we’ll get into enterprise as well. They actually will get an outcome and the outcome guaranteed and 90 days or less, that is unprecedented in cybersecurity, but that’s what we need. And now give me one really quick example here. We all got affected by the Equifax hack. Okay. And so the Equifax hack, they had a server outside their firewall on the DMZ, basically, it they did I assume they probably didn’t know about the asset. Number one in any cybersecurity program, is it asset management, you can’t secure what you don’t know you have, right? You like at home, I can’t lock my door if I don’t know if the door right there, right? So that’s number one on the list. And then you know, second to that is I need to scan and vulnerability scan, everything is supposed to the internet, because the hackers are scanning you about every two seconds. And so when they see that it is a new vulnerability, they’re gonna try to exploit it and get onto that system immediately. So if you were scanning and patching, you knew that system was was vulnerable, and then got it patched in a reasonable amount of time, then again, that system doesn’t get attacked. And then lastly, when the hackers get onto that system, and try to drop their malware onto the system, if you had Endpoint Protection configured to block the execution of malware, then it probably doesn’t get dropped and executed. And then we don’t have to monitor our credit scores. So that is a basic thing. And Equifax is a large company. And so when you think of a large company can’t get those basics right, then small to medium sized, absolutely can’t get it right. So they need for a savitar type of business, cybersecurity as a service is absolutely needed with a guarantee. And once again, I’ll say last thing really quickly, I think this is an important, distinct distinction. My co founder Craig brought this up to me, he says there’s a lot of companies that they do monthly billing, and they say a subscription. That’s not true subscription. Through subscription means you can cancel any time. Yeah, like if I want to cancel Netflix, Spotify, whatever, I can do that right now. Okay. And, and so with with that cancel anytime, ability, the onus is just switch, the onus is on the company to deliver value, because if they Netflix thought giving me good content, and value almost stopped paying my whatever it is 99 A month or whatever. And so in cybersecurity, we give value first is as opposed to you know, putting the customer on the line and say, hey, buy this product, and then we’ll walk away and you know, contact you in nine months and try to get a renewal. That’s not giving value first. And then same thing with a penetration test. You do a penetration test security assessment, you give them the list of stuff wrong, then they gotta go fix it. They still haven’t gotten value. So giving value value cybersecurity value is absolutely core to what we’re bringing to the market.
Adam Baruh 1:00:07
That’s awesome. So disrupting the cybersecurity industry with cybersecurity as a service. I think that’s phenomenal and doing it in a sustainable way and employee first mentality, you’re, as a leader, you’re showing that you can disrupt and have a successful business while taking care of your team. So, Corey, thanks so much for your time today and for being our guest. It’s been great to speak with you and hope to have you back again someday.
Corey White 1:00:36
It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for the time.
Adam Baruh 1:00:39
You got it. As a transformative servant leader, Corey White as a proven entrepreneur focused on innovating and creating new paradigms in the security industry in life. His leadership style is focused on an employee first approach, because he has seen the positive impact of happy employees in a great culture on customers. He has chosen to take a people centric approach to life to let all outcomes be driven by that philosophy. 25 years of experience in the security industry has seasoned Corey to create the next exponential evolution. Corey is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive and Experience Officer at Cyvatar, leading the future of cybersecurity with effortless, fully managed security subscriptions. As the first cybersecurity as a service provider savitar empowers their members to achieve successful security outcomes by providing the people process and technology required for cybersecurity success. You can read more about Corey on our website, eiqmediallc.com/the change. Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti. You can listen to more of Shane’s music at www.shanesuffriti.com If you have a story to share about making a difference in the lives of people you lead, or if you want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all for listening. We’ll see you next time on The Change.
EIQ Media, LLC 1:02:06
The Change is produced and distributed by EIQ Media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship and more.