Invitation Homes LP
Robert is the Vice President, Information Security and CISO for Invitation Homes, and he is responsible for leading their Technology Security Program. Robert’s career spans over 20 years in leading global teams in the delivery of IT security operations.
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Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.
I have been very fortunate to have been in technology operations, delivery and risk management throughout my career. My first job after college was at AT&T managing telecommunication switch operations, delivery and support, and this role included leadership of large teams, cross-functional projects, customer service, security and compliance. That initial exposure put me on the technology risk management path to this current point in my career.
What is one of your guiding leadership principles?
Being a servant leader. Clearly outline the objective and allow for your team to actively fill in the details with their expertise. High-level example – Objective is going north, if the teams go a little northwest or little northeast, you are still directionally good. You are in the quadrant of acceptance and there's no doubt a collection of significant learnings on the journey will be beneficial in the future. Learning on the journey is the value-add with leadership – “Enabling your teams to be smarter tomorrow, than they are today.”
With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CISO going in the next 1-2 years?
I believe the disruption is more of the evolution of the CISO role - parallel to the CIO evolution, but on an accelerated growth scale. CISOs must continue enhancing their business acumen for meetings with executive leadership teams. The recent SEC Cybersecurity Rule supports how cybersecurity is recognized as a business element for companies and boards to address.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CISO?
Develop good skills to assess business processes for risk. Spend time developing and sharpening communication and presentation skills, as they are essential in having a business discussion on risk. The CISO role is one that needs a good balance between thoughtfulness before speaking, technology curiosity and business acumen.
Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.
- My high school in Detroit, Michigan, was on the sweatshirt Eddie Murphy wore in the movie 48 Hours.
- I wrote a book, totally non-technical. It was a tribute to my mother, who passed away from Alzheimer’s.
- Coolest professional athlete meeting…. A few years back, I was walking through the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas and met Julius “Dr.J” Erving. He was so cool. While he enjoyed his cigar, he gave me a smile and nodded his head at me. Being one of his biggest fans, that still stands-out to this day!
What is the value of joining an Evanta community?
The ability to connect and have deep discussions with my peers is an item I truly enjoy. The CISO community is filled with extraordinary leaders, and I value the time we spend together.
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