Everbridge’s LGBTQ+ and Allies Employee Resource Group, BridgeOut, is honoring Pride Month with exciting events, a Spotify Playlist curated by BridgeOut members, and some reflection. Below, BridgeOut Co-Chairs Darren Oddie and Chris Carballo share their views about why Pride matters, both historically and in the current climate.
Tell us the songs that define you, or make you want to sing and dance… A great song elevates our mood. Some songs resonate so closely to who we are, they could define us. Add to the BridgeOut playlist!
Pride Perspective: Darren Oddie, VP Marketing EMEA
I was born in the same year as the first US gay pride marches, one year after the Stonewall riots. The importance of these events meant nothing to me whilst I was growing up. My deprived northern English hometown was a riot, but only in the turbulent personal life that I lived. Differences were cause for attack, not celebration.
In that environment, I always knew that I had to live a lie to ensure I was safe. I became comfortable with that lie and got on with the same things as my peer group. It was only when I moved to London during my college degree that I became dissatisfied with my lie and questioned why I couldn’t be me. For the first time, I became aware of other people living their life authentically.
The first stage of my coming out process, self-acceptance, took years. The next stage of sharing my secret with others added extra years. I had already graduated college and was on a prestigious graduate training scheme, and yet, my complicated coming out process was defined by my conflated working-class and gay shame. Let’s be clear, this wasn’t all in my head and of my own making. I had experienced enough direct prejudice throughout my life to justify my feelings. Gay and working class were anathema to the UK political classes during that time, and extensive negative media coverage reinforced every self-destructive feeling I had.
Conversely, my trauma had given me strengths of determination and resilience and I knew that I wanted to break barriers. My family, friends, and colleagues were unanimously supportive of the real me and this strengthened my resolve to be active in fighting for equality. That’s why Pride Month is important to me.
Raising visibility, that people like you have also gone through the same struggles, and we are here to help and support. It’s a fight against shame, hate, violence, fatalities, discriminatory legislation, and more. Given that over twice as many countries criminalize same-sex sexual conduct versus those countries that recognize same-sex marriage, it shows that the global fight for freedom and equality endures.
Pride Perspective: Chris Carballo, Sr. Manager Content Strategy
I grew up in Caracas, the biggest city and capital of Venezuela, a geographically rich and diverse country that sits along the northern coast of South America, facing the Caribbean. Much of the political and economic influence of Venezuela has been brought on through the tumultuous production and sale of oil, globally. In the late 1960s, Caracas was also heavily influenced by America’s oil families as well as western Europeans who immigrated to Venezuela during the post-World War era of the mid-twentieth century (mostly Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian immigrants). My country has always been riddled with political and economic crises, and it was always my perception that, given the number and intensity of the issues that Venezuela has faced in the past half-century– hunger, extreme poverty, hyperinflation, dictatorial regimes, unimaginable insecurity and high rates of crime– gay rights were never on the political agenda nor part of the conversation. And sadly, it remains that way. Of course, gay life has always been a part of Venezuelan social life–and it continues to develop as acceptance broadens. But growing up, one’s ability to be “out” was tethered to socioeconomic status.
In middle school and high school, I was the target of bullying because of the pervasive machismo environment that is integral to social life in Latin America; I didn’t participate in sports, and I consider myself to have been more empathetic and compassionate than other boys my age. Despite the occasional bullying, I was able to react back with a joke or a strong argument to justify my personality and worldview (thankfully). When I became a professional in marketing- an industry, largely composed of women and other open-minded people, being gay always made me the “cool kid.” Although I found in marketing and advertising the passion to work in something I truly like, to this day I am not quite sure if I chose this career because it seemed “easier” to be my true self. I was always drawn to chemistry, and actually, it was my top selection when applying to colleges. But, if I think back even further to myself as a kid, I’m almost certain I wanted to be a dancer, but I never found the support or encouragement I needed to pursue such a path.
I never really struggled with coming out, and I don’t think I have a well-defined “coming out story.” I simply kept living my true life (again thanks to my personality), being careful where I needed to be, waiting for the right time to start a relationship and reveal to those around me that I was gay. Today, the majority of my family and
friends have been very supportive. This is the result of tough and uncomfortable conversations with them throughout my life. In particular, my mom initially struggled with our relationship after I came out; however, she moved to Spain over 14 years ago and although we’re separated geographically, the fact that she’s now in a more open-minded and unashamed society has helped her to understand me even more and it has brought us closer to one another.
In 2017, I got married to my partner of five years, and we did it because we wanted to be together in this new country, the USA. It opened so many doors for both of us when we moved here from Venezuela in 2014. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to marry my partner, and I was totally okay with it because there were bigger problems to focus on when I was living in Venezuela. Today, I am grateful for being in a society where we can be together and feel confident to be who we are, despite the many challenges we still face as a community.
For me, Pride matters also because it shows that gay rights and liberties are part of the social and political discussion, unlike in Venezuela. Pride, at least in the US (and in some other countries), shows that people have mobilized to fight for the rights that they deserve, which makes you feel comfortable about living here. We often do not realize how important representation is. Had I had someone to guide me or to look up to on how to navigate life as a gay man, I’m sure things would have been easier, or at least the path
would have been clearer. Thanks to my open communication and by living my truth, I cleared the path for a couple of cousins to come out as gay and bisexual. Like my experience, they never had a coming-out moment–they were just truly themselves. After several conversations with my cousins, I want to believe I helped them to be who they wanted to be and not be afraid of hate. I have been doing the same, and I have even learned from them and their unapologetic selves.
I still have so much to learn, and so many people to support being represented. In the end, I only put the “G” on LGBTQ+ but we are a vast and diverse community. All members have my support and I will continue to help them find–and generate–representation in the same way my close friends and family helped me to shine and to be heard.
I’m an optimist and believe that change is always good and things are going to be better if we act. I want to live in a world where I do not need to Google search if it’s safe for gay people to visit a country or a city, nor feel the need to adjust and “be careful” for outwardly presenting as a gay man. I recently had the privilege to be a panelist on the Global Pride Panel and I thank Everbridge for letting employees express themselves, and for the opportunity to let us gather to celebrate Pride Month.
Why Does Pride Matter to Employees?
Why does this matter to the corporate world? The corporate world has a duty of care and human rights responsibilities to meet and can be agents of change. This was noted in the United Nations’ Standards of Conduct for Business. Five Standards were set that all businesses should adhere to:
- At all times, respect human rights
- Eliminate discrimination in the workplace
- Provide support in the workplace
- Prevent other human rights violations in the marketplace
- Act in the public sphere in the community
As employees and Co-Chairs of BridgeOut, we want to be agents of change. We can influence our colleagues and communities to drive progress and not to allow tyranny to stall any advances we’ve made during the past fifty years. Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, or an ally, we all need to actively support and promote LGBTQ+ visibility. June is the month we honor our Stonewall riot community. Every day, of every month, of every year, is when we support and advocate LGBTQ+ visibility around the world to honor our global human rights.
At this time, we reflect on a quote from a 2011 United Nations Human Rights Council report, “The application of international human rights law is guided by the principles of universality and non-discrimination enshrined in article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. All people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including in respect of rights to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH TO ALL
“I remember a time before COVID-19 when Everbridge helped turn a scary situation into a good one,” said Maureen Beyer, a mother of a Beverly Farm resident. “My son was at a college campus when a critical situation arose with a college student and a firearm. I was quickly notified by Everbridge that Beverly Farm was on it. It was so nice to know that even when my son was off-campus, he was protected. Because of Everbridge, Beverly Farm was able to come pick up my son and keep him safe, and I was notified the whole time.”
The global pandemic has reinforced the importance of timely communication, especially for those who are separated from their loved ones. Beverly Farm, a planned community for nearly 400 individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, deeply understands the need for consistent and clear communication, especially during the pandemic. Although Beverly Farm has used Everbridge’s platform for four years running, it has increased its residential updates in COVID times, easing parental feelings of security during a season of global insecurity.
Located in Godfrey IL, Beverly Farm is home to residents who come from all over the United States, and it is celebrating its 124th anniversary this year. Beverly Farm provides physical and emotional safety and a dignified quality of life with opportunities and challenges to each resident. Residents live in one of four housing offerings depending on their individual needs.
Everbridge provides its Critical Event Management (CEM) software service to Beverly Farm pro-bono, and Beverly Farm uses Everbridge to communicate with residents’ parents. Beverly Farm sends weekly updates and critical alerts to all parents together, as well as information and updates segmented by a resident’s housing. This ensures parents receive the best amount of specific and clear information about their child and the Foundation.
“Everbridge has been especially helpful since the advent of the Delta variant,” says Kevin Weible, a Marketing and Communications Manager at Beverly Farm. “Everbridge has templates to quickly send updates to the proper parental segments, allowing me to communicate to the correct channels painlessly.”
Everbridge’s relationship with Beverly Farm launched in 2018 when Everbridge’s own Strategic Account Manager, and mother of a Beverly Farm resident, Betsy Pilla, learned in a parent meeting that Beverly Farm planned to purchase a less sophisticated messaging program similar to Everbridge’s offering. After the meeting, Betsy asked Beverly Farm’s Interim Executive Director at the time, Sandy Ferris, if she had heard of Everbridge.
“Sandy’s research indicated that Everbridge would be a better fit, and we welcomed the opportunity to help them get set up on the system,” says Betsy Pilla. “I asked MJ McCarthy, SVP Account Management at the time, and Jaime Ellertson, then-CEO if they would accept Beverly Farm into our Pro Bono program; once approved, the whole Everbridge team jumped in to eagerly support the Farm’s effort.”
Although Betsy Pilla and Sandy Ferris could not have foreseen the global pandemic, they understood the value of broad and quick messaging, reminding us that one can never be too prepared for disturbances.
“As a parent, it gives me peace of mind to receive alerts through Everbridge,” says Betsy. “It’s hard to be apart, so the updates remind me that my child is in good hands.”
Beverly Farm does wonderful work in fostering a purposeful life for residents, and Everbridge is grateful for its partnership with Beverly Farm. Beverly Farm provides care and support, and Everbridge is simply the vehicle that allows parents to see the reaping of the seeds sown, creating connection and security despite physical distance. If you feel compelled to contribute to Beverly Farm, you may give here.
In 1993, I started my career by moving to sleepy Richmond, Virginia to join a financial services division that would later IPO in 1994 as Capital One. Capital One utilized digital technology to enable a disruptive business approach, collectively called “Information-Based Strategy,” that would transform an industry and result in blistering growth, increasing its net worth by 2,200% in 20 Years. While Capital One represented my first experience with the potential to solve previously intractable problems with technology-enabled strategies, the evolution of cloud-based models ushered in a new era of digital transformation which has profoundly impacted every business, government and individual in ways both positive (e.g., better, faster, cheaper) and challenging (e.g., risks/threats, complexity, heightened expectations).
From my work as an executive at leading multi-national technology solution providers, I’ve seen first-hand the immense responsibility that is placed on leaders in both private and public sectors to navigate, manage and respond to an almost continuous stream of challenges, issues and threats. That responsibility, called Duty of Care, is the explicit contractual and implicit emotional tie that every organization (business, government, healthcare or university) has with its employees, customers, partners, residents, first responders, citizens, patients, students or faculty (i.e., all of us).
Businesses of all sizes, healthcare organizations, Governments, States, and local communities, face an evolving risk landscape, an increasingly mobile and distributed workforce, and escalating cyber and physical threats. Many businesses face the daunting expectation from senior management that they must decisively assess, respond to, and manage critical events for customers that expect near real-time responsiveness. The advent of the internet of things (IoT) further adds to the scale and complexity (e.g., Cisco forecasts 30B connected devices by 2020 with 5 quintillion bytes of data produced every day) required to protect not just people, but also critical assets and digital brand.
Consider a quote from an employee of a large biotechnology company after a 2016 bombing at a Brussels metro station:
“That is the same exact train that I take to work every single day, and if I hadn’t received your message, I would have potentially been on that train.”
A life potentially saved, thanks to an employer leveraging sophisticated global risk intelligence in order to quickly identify and communicate to employees in an affected area. A business living up to their ‘Duty of Care’ responsibility.
Or this recent story from The New York Times (May 3, 2019): “One of the biggest storms in years was bearing down on Odisha, [India] … Cyclone Fani. …as of early Saturday, only a few deaths had been reported, in what appeared to be an early-warning success story … [moving] a million people to safety really fast … this is so different from 20 years ago, when a fearsome cyclone blasted into this same area, killing thousands.”
A government adhering to the responsibility for the safety and well-being of their constituents, residents, visitors – potentially saving thousands, if not more – when a crisis strikes.
Solving these complex global risks reliably and at-scale presents daunting challenges that requires an organization that combines the right mission, with the right technology, teams and leadership – all at the right time – to make a profound societal and business impact.
Everbridge, if you are not already familiar, represents one of the rare businesses that has the potential to impact lives across global communities and companies. Everbridge’s landmark Critical Event Management (CEM) platform, along with its dedicated team of global professionals, emboldened by an equally committed customer base, helps to save lives, safeguard and protect critical assets and preserve continuity of business and IT operations for organizations around the globe.
And, the examples speak louder than words. Everbridge commits itself to developing and deploying technology that can deliver early warnings and proactive two-way communications to potentially save many thousands, if not more lives over the years. It is a company that enables the State of Florida to mobilize the right resources and communicate the right messages during historically devastating hurricanes. It is a company that has been selected by entire countries, like Australia, to build and deploy their nationwide alerting systems. It is a company that helps financial technology organizations respond to and restore IT operations in minutes versus hours, helps public authorities reunite missing children with their families, and helps to keep business and supply chain operations running in the face of almost daily disruptions. Other innovative Everbridge customers include nationwide clients such as Sweden, the Netherlands, the Bahamas, Singapore, and Greece; 9 of the 10 largest U.S. cities; and over 25% of the Fortune 1000, including mainstream brands like CVS, Facebook, Hilton, and Starbucks.
Everbridge’s technology, supported by the vision laid out by the company’s leadership team, including my incredibly accomplished predecessor (recent EY “Entrepreneur of The Year” winner) and Executive Chair Jaime Ellertson, helps security, risk and resilience professionals to meet high expectations. The company’s Critical Event Management platform helps transcend and overcome disjointed processes and siloed teams, privacy and regulatory concerns, and a deluge of employee location data and risk information to ensure true operational and brand resilience.
As a former customer, I have personally experienced the Everbridge team’s passionate commitment to the mission of keeping people safe and businesses running around the globe. It’s the type of mission that is worth uprooting one’s family for… a decision that I did not take lightly.
Considering recent events, ranging from the powerful hurricane Barry that hit the Gulf Coast, blackouts impacting parts of New York City, and earthquakes near Los Angeles, I am humbled by the responsibility that Everbridge bears to the resilient first responders, emergency and security personnel, and all of the people they serve during the increasingly unpredictable events that continue to transpire.
I am personally inspired by what Jaime and Everbridge accomplished in fostering the right mission with a solution that keeps people safe and businesses running while building a team of people that truly care from the front line to the C-suite.
As the established Critical Event Management market leader, Everbridge occupies a unique position to enable a global ecosystem to evolve CEM for the challenges of the future. As CEO, I am even more motivated by the opportunity for Everbridge to expand its status as a customer-focused, category leader by partnering with organizations on their journey to centralize and optimize crisis, supply chain and business continuity planning, management and response.
So, now in 2019, I am moving to the not so sleepy Greater Boston Area, where I look forward to utilizing my experiences over the past 25+ years from hyper-growth early Capital One through digital transformation leader Rackspace, to fulfill my own personal Duty of Care by helping advance Everbridge’s important Mission to keep people safe and businesses running. Faster.
David Meredith serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Everbridge, the global leader in critical event management and enterprise safety software applications, where he leads the company towards delivering on its mission to keep people safe and businesses running. He joined Everbridge in July 2019.
Everbridge Wins BCI European Award for Continuity & Resilience Innovation 2017 Earlier this month Everbridge attended the prestigious annual BCI European Awards ceremony and scooped the award for the Continuity and Resilience Innovation 2017. The ceremony took place in Edinburgh, UK, and was attended by the business continuity industry’s leading professionals. Everbridge won against strong competition from Crises Control & Barclays Group Resilience and was complimented on our platform’s strong features and customer case studies. The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) is the world’s leading institute for business continuity. Established in 1994, the BCI has established itself as the leading membership and certifying organisation for Business Continuity professionals worldwide. BCI Awards take place at locations across the globe. The programme recognises innovative technology and showcases examples of business continuity strategy and planning. This year’s BCI European Awards recognised the outstanding contributions of business continuity, risk and resilience professionals and organisations living or operating within the European region. The awards are judged by an independent panel of industry experts. This year’s panel consisted of:
- Rich Bogle MBCI: an established professional in the business continuity industry and VP of Business Continuity for Synchrony Financial
- Martin W Fenlon MBA BA (Hons) Dip BCM MBCI: Head of Business continuity at Serco/EPC and business continuity advisor to the Houses of Parliament
- Pete Frielinghaus MBCI: director of the African Chapter of the Business Continuity Institute and a member of the BCI Global Membership Council
- Ahmed Riad Ali MBCI: one of the leading business continuity consultants in the Middle East and worldwide
Network outages. Security breaches. IT interruptions. We’ve all lived through them, whether we were aware of them or not. And while they are inconvenient for you and me, they wreak utter havoc on organizations. As these types of incidents increase in regularity, we decided to take a much deeper look into how companies are responding to these IT communication challenges today – and what we found was pretty interesting.
Everbridge recently surveyed 200 individuals responsible for their company’s IT operations. The survey questions focused on the impact that IT interruptions had on their business – as well as the impact they had on their own personal and professional lives. All of the findings can be found in our e-book, “Current Trends and Concerns in IT Communications,” but first, let’s take a minute to walk you through some of the highlights right here.
IT Incident Frequency – Real-World Stats
Respondents reported dealing with a whopping 30,000 IT-related incident in 2013, which averages to 150 incidents per organization. These stats included things like hardware failures, individual app and network outages, lost connectivity between sites or regional offices and data center performance issues. While we all know that IT outages are increasing in regularity, these findings drive this fact home even further.
Top Challenges with IT Outages – Communication and Time
Close to 50 percent of respondents said that communicating and collaborating quickly and effectively with impacted customers during an IT incident was their top challenge. Other major challenges included keeping internal stakeholders informed of the severity and likely duration of the outage and having the proper time to repair the problems.
What exacerbated many of these challenges was the method in which IT teams communicated with stakeholders. Brace yourself: 78 percent of respondents still rely on manual phone calls to communicate when an IT incident occurs. In today’s mobile workforce, that is simply not an effective or appropriate means to reaching those impacted! Repeat after me, “automate your IT incident response and communications process.”
Impact on the Business AND the Professional
Not surprisingly, 41 percent of respondents said that their organization experienced decreased customer satisfaction as a result of IT incidents. But what is often overlooked is the impact these incidents have on IT professionals themselves. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that they experienced personal stress as a result of IT incidents.
If this survey tells us anything, it’s that organizations have a lot of work to do. They have to look critically at their IT outage response and communication processes and deploy automation tools to ensure that (1) the right experts are engaged as quickly as possible during and service outage to resolve the issues and minimize business disruptions and (2) the impacted stakeholders (customers, employees, management) are kept informed during (and after) the incident.
IT Alerting — We Are Here to Help
To read more about how companies are impacted by IT outages, don’t forget to read the free e-book. You can also learn more about Everbridge’s recently released IT Alerting solution, which is designed to improve IT incident communications.