From cybersecurity to social justice, Rubica CEO Frances Dewing is an agent of unexpected change

As CEO of a cybersecurity firm that’s raised almost $15 million in funding, Frances Dewing has a stunning confession to make.

“I felt very responsible about liking enterprise,” stated the co-founder of Seattle-based Rubica. “I’ve at all times had a social justice sort of pull.”

Dewing, who holds a regulation diploma from the College of Washington, labored for a nonprofit authorized help program early in her profession and was concerned with immigrant advocacy and road youth whereas in regulation faculty. However Dewing was annoyed by inefficiencies within the not-for-profit sector. She didn’t like the constraints that got here with having to ask folks for donations so as to get your work achieved.

So Dewing took a task as chief working officer for Concentric Advisors, an organization offering bodily and digital safety to outstanding and high-net-worth households. She began the cyber division at Concentric and realized there wasn’t a cyber safety instrument obtainable that met people’ wants. To fill that hole, she helped spin out Rubica in 2016 as its COO, taking on as CEO two years in the past. The corporate pitches itself as a safety resolution for folks’s personal {and professional} lives that’s accessible for non-tech specialists.

At Rubica, Dewing takes satisfaction in constructing a powerful, supportive firm tradition. She noticed proof of her office group following the demise of George Floyd in Might and the mass protests in opposition to police brutality. The Friday after Floyd’s demise, Dewing turned Rubica’s routine all-hands assembly over to dialogue in regards to the tragedy and racial inequity.

“Everybody shared actually private tales,” she stated, “they usually clearly felt actually grateful to have work be a protected outlet for them.”

In June, Dewing formed the Washington Coalition of Companies for Racial Justice, calling on Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to implement police reforms really helpful by Seattle’s Group Police Fee.

Tons of of enterprise leaders joined the coalition, Dewing stated, and greater than 80 signed the letter to Durkan, together with CEOs of some well-known Seattle startups. She’s now partnering with Cindy Bright, a area people activist, to assist native leaders higher perceive persistent points within the Black group, together with a scarcity of pay fairness, voting rights and police points. The coalition is urging corporations to set objectives for addressing some of their very own fairness points.

“I usually say that I would like Rubica to be a platform for social change,” Dewing stated, as a lot as a enterprise promoting cybersecurity. “Doing good on the earth doesn’t have to look a technique.”

We caught up with Dewing for this Working Geek, an everyday GeekWire function. Proceed studying for her solutions to our questionnaire.

Present location: I’m at present typing this whereas sitting on the financial institution of the Snoqualmie River. Usually, you’ll discover me in my home in Seattle.

Pc sorts: I’ve each Mac and Home windows computer systems for testing. However all my day-to-day exercise is on a Mac.

Cellular units: Google Pixel and an iPhone. Between telephones and computer systems, I’ve all 4 main platforms coated!

Favourite apps, cloud companies and software program instruments: I’m fairly sensible so I like apps and instruments that assist me work effectively (and securely): LastPass, Confluence/Jira, Tresorit. On the non-public aspect, I’ve been utilizing iMovie and iNaturalist throughout quarantine (to make humorous motion pictures with the children, and determine crops on hikes).

Describe your workspace. Why does it give you the results you want? I largely simply work from the kitchen desk as a result of there is tons of pure mild and I like a big, clear area to unfold out. (Regardless of all of my units, I nonetheless take rather a lot of bodily handwritten notes!) The perfect half about my workspace is all of the kid-art I’ve round me for inspiration.

Your greatest recommendation for managing on a regular basis work and life? I calendar and write all the pieces down. It helps me each maintain monitor of to-do’s and in addition forces me to schedule time for breaks and non-work issues. I’ve a excessive work capability and may focus for hours with out taking a break. However then, later, I’ll understand how exhausted I’m.

So, I actually schedule time for train and breaks through the weekdays. I additionally strive to discuss to not less than one pal on the cellphone each week, even when it’s only for a couple of minutes. I’ve realized how vital that non-work social interplay is for me, and it’s what I miss most within the COVID-19 period.

Your most well-liked social community? How do you employ it for enterprise/work? I’m not huge on social media. I mainly solely use LinkedIn.

Present quantity of unanswered emails in your inbox? 23. I like having a tidy inbox, however I additionally use it to monitor issues I would like to do. Generally I’ll learn an e-mail after which mark it as “unread” so I do know I would like to come again and replay or take an motion associated to it.

Quantity of appointments/conferences in your calendar this week? 30. Combine of inner conferences, gross sales webinars/shows and podcasts/interviews.

How do you run conferences? Depends upon whether or not the aim of the assembly is brainstorming, decision-making, or informational. Tactical conferences have a clearly said function and agenda to be efficient and environment friendly with time. The purpose is to go away with clear motion objects or settlement on a subject.

In a brainstorming assembly, I strive to discuss much less and solely ask questions to immediate dialogue, because the level is to generate concepts from the workforce, not from me. I’m additionally not at all times the one operating conferences, which I feel is vital. Particularly, if I’ve delegated choice making to another person, then I may be there to hear.

In all conferences, I at all times go away time for folks to problem assumptions and provide a distinct opinion. I actually imagine within the worth of dissent and various views in reaching one of the best end result. I might be very involved if everybody simply agreed with me on a regular basis.

On a regular basis work uniform? My go-to is denims and my Rubica t-shirt. However I’ve been dressing up extra since being 100% distant. I discover it helps me get into work-mode and makes me focus. I’m an enormous fan of Armoire for work garments.

How do you find time for household? That’s the one profit of quarantine: no journey and fewer exterior commitments. Evenings and weekends are all about household time. We spend rather a lot of time exterior, ideally on the water someplace just like the Snoqualmie or Skykomish rivers. My household is each aggressive in addition to artistic, so we do all the pieces from making up songs and puppet reveals to an intense spherical of playing cards or board video games.

Finest stress reliever? How do you unplug? Train and time exterior are my important stress relievers. I like high-intensity exercises, like Crossfit or basketball. The bodily exertion makes it unattainable to take into consideration something besides the current. If I simply go jogging, my thoughts will nonetheless be enthusiastic about work. To completely chill out, you’ll discover me out on the water or within the woods, away from town. That’s the place I actually reset. I additionally discover it stress-free to play piano.

What are you listening to? Pianist and vocalist Margaux LeSourd, Sia, Chris Cornell, hip hop’s Run The Jewels, and Rage In opposition to the Machine are at all times on my playlist. Not too long ago, I’ve additionally been listening to some outdated favorites, like The Pharcyde, Queen and Latin rockers Maná. I’ve an eclectic style in music!

Each day reads? Favourite websites and newsletters? I strive to learn information from not less than three completely different sources with completely different political slants. For my each day cybersecurity studying, I like Krebs on Safety, DarkReading, Threatpost, Hacker Information and Wired. I’m additionally on Reddit rather a lot.

Guide in your nightstand (or e-reader)? I used to be an English Lit main in undergrad, so I’ve a random combine of novels and safety/privateness nonfiction. I’m lastly working my method via “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff, and I simply re-read “Issues Fall Aside” by Chinua Achebe and “Midnight’s Kids” by Salman Rushdie.

Evening owl or early riser? I’m grumpy within the morning. Undoubtedly not a morning particular person. However I’ve skilled myself to stand up early now and I’m admittedly extra productive after I begin the day early. Left to my very own units, I might most likely sleep till 9 a.m. not less than.

The place do you get your greatest concepts? I get one of the best concepts on the most inconvenient instances — like after I’m about to go to sleep, within the bathe, whereas driving. I’ve tons of illegible scribble on receipts and scraps of paper as a result of of this.

Whose work model would you need to be taught extra about or emulate? In all probability Barack Obama. Should you’re somebody with integrity (who is actually attempting to uphold the general public curiosity), holding a high-visibility political place could be probably the most tough job on the earth. There are such a lot of stakeholders and issues to steadiness, no choice is ever clearly the fitting one, there are big penalties and no re-dos, and everybody is watching each transfer, scrutinizing each gesture, and choosing aside each phrase you say. I might be fascinated to hear the unedited model of how he approached his work day, how he made choices, and the way he balanced the public-facing and internal-facing components of the job.

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