Employee Spotlight: Lattes with Linda Brown
If perseverance was a person, it would be Linda Brown. It’s been almost four and a half years since Linda joined Kenna Security as a customer success engineer. Since then, she has climbed through the ranks, eventually serving as a leader in her department and, most recently, being named Director of Technical Product Management.
Across all of these roles, Linda has been the embodiment of determination. No problem is too big to solve, no question too small to answer, and no person out of reach to help. Throughout her tenure at Kenna Security, Linda has combined her intelligence, commitment, creativity, and good humor to make a tangible difference in the experience and success of Kenna Security’s customers, as well as her fellow colleagues. Regardless of what department you’re in here at Kenna Security, you know Linda as a go-to resource for understanding our technology and how businesses are using it to keep themselves secure.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up on the west side of Cleveland. I lived there until I went to college, and I miss it often. I live in Rhode Island now, which is where my husband is from.
Q: How did you come into this field of work?
A: I didn’t have a “five-year plan,” so to speak, to reach my current career. In college, I majored in Psychology and East Asian Studies, with a focus on China. After graduating, it wasn’t immediately clear to me what career path I should pursue. A family friend introduced me to a government program that would accept non-engineering majors and teach them to code. I decided to go for it and wound up learning how to code in some very antiquated languages, as you might expect in a government-sponsored program.
After I completed that program, I managed to snag a role in sales engineering which eventually led to my first position with a startup company. Later, I took a bit of time off with my kids, and when I returned to work, I moved into a support engineering position, eventually leading me into a managed security services provider (MSSP), which is when I really got my foothold in the security industry. From there, I spent some time in information security in the banking industry before I eventually joined the Kenna Security team as the first customer success engineer. My role has changed quite a bit over the last four years at Kenna, and I’ve loved every minute of it.
Q: What keeps you motivated to get out of bed and come into work every morning?
A: I’m never bored, and there’s always a new challenge. I love to solve problems and help people, whether it’s customers or my colleagues, and my roles here at Kenna Security have been a great fit for my interests and skill set.
Q: Why is Kenna Security the best place you’ve ever worked?
A: I’ve never been very good at self-promotion, but Kenna Security seems to foster a culture where recognition and acknowledgment are part of the natural order of things. I never feel like I have to try to fight to promote myself or make myself seen.
I also feel that, at Kenna Security, employees are rewarded based on their skill set and what they deliver–there is no sexism, ego, or hierarchy that gets in the way. I think that has a lot to do with our management team. An inclusive and supportive culture has to come from the top-down, exemplified by our leaders, and then bought into by individuals. Kenna has done an excellent job in facilitating a positive environment. A great example is the management training that my colleagues and I have received over the past few years. The training was phenomenal, offering very practical and actionable advice. It feels as though there is an active, constant effort to build a company culture and maintain strong values even as the company has grown over recent years.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents or unusual hobbies?
A: I’m writing a book–a fiction novel. I wasn’t always very interested in writing, or very good at it. I actually received pretty bad grades for writing in school, but I’ve spent a significant amount of time writing throughout my adult life as a byproduct of my job. I feel as though I’ve gotten a good handle on it and have come to enjoy it. I also am a voracious reader, so that has been a significant influence.
Q: When you have an afternoon with no obligations, what do you like to do?
A: I like to read, preferably outside if the weather is nice. Wherever I am, though, I expect I’d be joined by my adorable dog, Penny.
Q: What is your least favorite chore to do?
A: Ironing. I will go to great lengths to ensure I don’t have to iron any clothes.
Q: If animals could talk, which animal do you think would be the rudest? The nicest?
A: The rudest animal: Cats. The nicest animal: Guinea Pigs.
Q: Top 5 songs for your road trip playlist?
A: I couldn’t list five songs for you–I enjoy music but I don’t really gravitate towards favorites. It all depends on my mood. I might listen to 80s music or hip-hop or even classical music if the situation warrants it (like sitting in traffic). I also really enjoy listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Some of my podcast listening is work-related, but I also enjoy other topics of my own entertainment, like Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders from Stanford, Stuff You Missed in Your History Class (highly recommend), and the Money Guy.
Q: Travel by train or by bus?
A: By train
Q: Telepathy or teleporting?
Q: Glazed donut or jelly donut?
A: Glazed donut
Q: Tiny elephant or giant hamster?
A: Tiny elephant
Q: Superman or Batman?
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