Meet Shae Fadaei, Brightspot's Director of Information Security. In this interview with Rose, Shae discusses the challenges and rewards of her role on the frontlines of customer and employee security at Brightspot, shares some professional growth insights and reveals a few of her favorite hobbies outside of work.
How long have you worked for Brightspot? What brought you here?
I've been with Brightspot since June 2022, so a little over a year now. Initially, I didn’t know about Brightspot because I live on the West Coast, but I discovered the company through a LinkedIn job posting. After interviewing with CIO David Habib and further rounds of interviews, I was instantly drawn to the company's friendly culture as well as the role's challenging scope. I was thrilled to land the job.
Can you tell me more about your role as Brightspot's Director of Information Security? What is a typical day like for you?
As Brightspot's Director of Information Security, I lead a small team of three, including two engineers and a third-party consultant. We focus on three main areas: ensuring the day-to-day operations are secure, safeguarding the Brightspot platform for our customers, and supporting sales and marketing through compliance and certifications.
A typical day involves checking in with my team and monitoring our support channel for urgent tickets. I'm also active on Slack to keep an eye on any security-related discussions. My day is a mix of addressing immediate needs and working on ongoing projects, such as evaluating new security tools or conducting vulnerability scans.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job here at Brightspot?
I think one of the things that was very challenging for me at the beginning was that Brightspot is very complex and it was difficult for me to figure out who is responsible for what. I didn't always know where I should go and who I should talk to if I had a question or if there was an issue. Also, we have internal tools and processes that we have developed over time—things like Ops Desk and Dari—that are specific to Brightspot (and save us so much time and energy!) but are not typical things you would find on the market. So, some of the challenges that we experience are because Brightspot is unique and it’s sometimes difficult to find solutions that work with Brightspot internal tools.
How have you grown professionally since starting at Brightspot?
Since joining Brightspot, I've grown significantly in my role. I've become a more effective manager and tackled challenges I'd never faced before, such as overseeing security in a cloud environment. While I continue to learn, I've gained valuable experience and knowledge compared to a year ago. I've also become more comfortable admitting what I don't know and leveraging the expertise of others, recognizing that no one can be an expert in every aspect.
What traits are most important to making you successful at your job?
To succeed in my role as a security specialist, it's crucial to stay composed under stress. Situations can be alarming, but maintaining balance and control is key. Effective communication is also vital; if you notice an issue, speak up and don't hesitate to ask questions or admit mistakes. Lastly, a willingness to continuously learn is essential, especially as new tools, vulnerabilities, and methods emerge regularly. Keeping up-to-date with industry trends is a must.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Do you have any advice for everyone to stay safe online?
So, for Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I recommend keeping these tips in mind. First off, always use strong, unique passwords and make sure to enable two-factor authentication whenever you can. I highly recommend using a password manager. Stay on top of software updates and use antivirus software. Be extra cautious with emails and links, especially if they're from unfamiliar sources and watch out for phishing attempts. Be smart about what you share online and don’t overshare on social media. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure, and don't forget to back up your data regularly.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
Aside from the talented team, my favorite part about working at Brightspot is the culture. It's a place where everyone is eager to collaborate and solve problems, making even routine days enjoyable. I also take pride in our product; despite being a mid-sized company, Brightspot has a really excellent reputation. The positive feedback from customers confirms that we're offering a great tool, and that makes me proud to be part of the team.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
Outside of work, I'm passionate about traveling and seize any chance I get to explore new places. I'm also a board game enthusiast and enjoy playing with friends and my partner. I love staying active through hiking and spending time outdoors.
What is your favorite season of the year?
I used to live on the East Coast in Pennsylvania, and back then I think my favorite season was spring. After the long winter it was so refreshing to enjoy the changing weather and chance to get outside more. Ever since I have moved to the West Coast, however, I don’t really experience the change of seasons as much. Given that I don't get to experience as much of fall here in California, when I travel I like to go to places where I can enjoy the fall foliage.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
Maybe the one that comes to my mind right now, especially because I’ve been in Germany, isThe Lives of Others. It's a German movie and is set during the Cold War era and when the Berlin Wall came down. I need to rewatch it soon. It's a cool movie.