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The National Cybersecurity Alliance is pleased to present the eighth edition of our Board Member Spotlight.
Our Board member companies are leaders in cybersecurity education and awareness and are an integral part of making the organization a successful public-private partnership.
Get to know David Behen, Vice President, Chief Information Officer at La-Z-Boy, in this Board Member Spotlight.
Why do you serve on the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Board of Directors?
I serve on the National Cybersecurity Alliance Board because I think cybersecurity is one of the most critical issues that organizations face today. I like having the opportunity to work side by side on the Board with global leaders from some of the most cutting-edge companies. Cybersecurity is a team sport! Networking with and learning from the best professionals in the industry makes this fun.
How does La-Z-Boy’s cybersecurity interests align with the National Cybersecurity Alliance mission to educate and empower our global digital society?
At La-Z-Boy we are aligned with the NIST framework, with a strong emphasis on cybersecurity education and awareness. The mission to educate and empower the global society aligns with La-Z-Boy’s mission. The opportunity to educate and empower is an objective I can support. I’m excited to be a part of it!
Prior to joining La-Z-Boy, you spent over six years as a Cabinet Member for Governor Rick Snyder as the Director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget and Chief Information Officer for the State of Michigan. What did you learn through your experience of leading initiatives aimed at improving government through technology?
I learned public service is a noble vocation, and I was driven by the ability to enhance people’s lives through the use of technology. The opportunity to work with a technology-smart leader in Governor Snyder was a great learning experience. In that role, I partnered with federal and state governments, foreign countries, private and public sectors – I had a truly global experience! I also learned that in leadership roles it is important to be a humble leader, to trust your team, and to build a culture where everyone can be successful.
How does your experience working for the State of Michigan compare to your position as a CIO at a retail, manufacturing, and distribution company? What are your favorite aspects of each?
Being a CIO is similar in both the public and private sectors – you get to be entrenched in the majority of the organization’s innovation and work streams. It’s the same whether at the state or at La-Z-Boy, nothing happens without IT! That has been a lot of fun. My favorite aspect of being a CIO is leading great teams, Michigan has great public service teams and La-Z-Boy has great innovation and customer service teams.
What is the best part about being a Chief Information Officer?
I love being a CIO because I get to work and be deeply involved with all the different business partners in my organization. It allows me to have a broad view of everything going on in my company. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the great leaders at La-Z-Boy, including CEO Melinda Whittington, CFO Bob Lucian, and the entire talented leadership team. I enjoy learning about new technology and how it can transform an organization. Of course, I enjoy leading great teams of people – they are what really motivate me every day!
Can you tell us about the impact that recent innovations in technology has had on retail settings? How did COVID affect the industry?
If you think about innovation and technology, COVID moved people online faster than expected. Luckily here at La-Z-Boy we already started down that path pre-pandemic. The pandemic accelerated the process we had already started. Retailers who could adopt quickly have had a fair amount of success despite recent challenges.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 was your first Cybersecurity Awareness Month as a Board Member at the National Cybersecurity Alliance! What were your biggest takeaways this year and what did you think about the campaign overall?
Cybersecurity Awareness Month was excellent this year. I think the entire team at the National Cybersecurity Alliance, led by Lisa Plaggemier, really got the cybersecurity education and awareness message out to a broader audience. By educating so many people we have a better chance of being successful in this industry. Again, working together to ensure others are thinking about cybersecurity in a new and different way will go a long way in our battle with cyber. Ending the month at Nasdaq was a good way to cap off the month – finally, being in person was an added benefit!
If you had to pick one of the weekly themes for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022, what would you choose and why?
I might name one of the weekly themes “Cyber: A Team Sport.” I say that because cybersecurity cannot be solved by any one organization. We all have to come together and share knowledge, best practices, frustrations, victories, and really decide how all areas (government, education, and business) can come together to combat the threat of cybersecurity. There are a lot of smart people, teams, and organizations facing these threats and we are better together and not in silos. I think the Cybersecurity Awareness Month highlights this…each day we are getting better because of organizations like the National Cybersecurity Alliance and programs like Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
What is the best book you read this year?
It is a tie – Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet and In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.