On the RISE: How Jessica Sargo Empowers Brivo’s Channel Partners

On the RISE is a new column by SIA in partnership with SSI that profiles the next generation of security industry leaders.

On the RISE is a new bi-monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with Security Sales & Integration profiling the next generation of security industry leaders. This column is part of SIA’s RISE initiative, a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security through networking and career growth events, education and professional development offerings and scholarship opportunities.

For this installment of On the RISE, SIA spoke with Brivo Channel Marketing Manager Jessica Sargo.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I joined Brivo in 2018 after working in the training industry for more than five years. I’m a proud graduate of the University of Florida and moved to the D.C. area after graduation. I love to travel, spend time with family and friends, and try my best to follow the moves of my favorite dance cardio class.

What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?

I admittedly stumbled into the security industry at the recommendation of a friend and former colleague. While I was unfamiliar with it, she spoke very highly of Brivo and the opportunities to grow within the industry. Having had experience working within the channel, I thought it would be a great fit to bring my experience and also expand my marketing skills.

What has your career path been?

My first role out of college was as a marketing coordinator for a project management training company. While I was initially focused on events, I was given more responsibilities in demand generation, channel engagement and sales enablement. As my responsibilities grew, I was promoted from marketing coordinator to specialist and eventually marketing manager. Of all my responsibilities, I was always drawn to working with channel partners, so I’m grateful that my next step in my career led me to my current role.

Who has influenced you or mentored you – either within the security field or outside?

Being new to the security industry, I was incredibly lucky to start at Brivo under the leadership of Steve Van Till, our president and CEO. In my first month at Brivo, I, along with other new employees, was able to meet with Steve to directly learn the state of the industry as well as how our company fit in. Learning from Steve’s wealth of experience as a thought leader helped accelerate my understanding of the industry.

What advice do you have for young professionals just starting out in the industry?

My advice to any young professional, regardless of industry, is to not be afraid to ask questions. Specific to the security industry, I think it’s important to dig into any technical aspects that may be new to you (and sometimes intimidating, regardless of your role). I would also advise them to stay immersed with everything the security industry has to offer, from networking groups geared to young professionals or women in security to educational opportunities like conferences and webinars. Meeting and learning from colleagues across the industry helps to deepen your knowledge, and you’ll also find a sense of community across the industry.

How do you think the SIA RISE community can help foster the careers of young people in the industry? What does the program offer that is most important to you/your company?

I first became involved in the SIA RISE community at the inaugural AcceleRISE conference. As someone fairly new in the industry, I benefited immensely from being able to hear from my peers on how they started in the industry and grew to be recognized as emerging leaders. As a SIA RISE scholarship winner, I have been empowered to pursue professional development that is unique to my role.

The fact that SIA RISE is committed to providing opportunities like events, scholarships and educational programs for young professionals shows that the industry is invested in the success of me and my peers. It’s important that we, as future leaders in the industry, know that we have a community at large rooting for our success and, in turn, the future of the industry.

What have been some key accomplishments and/or efforts in your time at Brivo growing and strengthening partner relationships?

In my time at Brivo, I’ve been able to work on different initiatives to help support our partners. In addition to helping strengthen our webinar program, which provides our partners the product and sales information they need for their business, I was also part of a team that created and managed our partner conference. Our partner conference grew from 30 participants in the first year to 120 in the second year, focusing on giving our partners an opportunity to network and learn best practices from our product and sales experts as well as each other.

A key accomplishment from my time at Brivo has also been to streamline and grow our onsite technical training efforts from eight classes in 2018 to 13 classes in 2019, including two international offerings, with an average class attendance of 22 participants.

What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?

Our tagline at Brivo is “Simply Better Security,” and I am proud to work for a company that offers just that. Whether I’m speaking to someone in the industry or family and friends, most everyone understands the need for access control; however, when you get into the benefits of a Cloud-based solution, that’s when Brivo — simple, better, secure — really shines. Hearing how our customers, from small businesses to schools to multifamily properties, leverage our solution to keep people safe cements that our work is important.

How do you define success?

I define personal success through the lens of how I can help other people. Putting people at the center of any goal, professional or personal, helps me feel more energized to try and make a difference. I also find that with this approach, it pushes me to be more open to collaboration as I want to ensure I achieve the best result by any means necessary.

Tell us about your past experience in the training industry, how you have leveraged it in your role leading onsite technical training efforts at Brivo and how the program has grown and evolved as a result.

The training industry was my first introduction to B2B marketing and the channel. When we sold training programs to enterprise clients, we also had to help them communicate the value of training to their employees so that they would actually enroll in our courses and reap the benefits.

When I joined Brivo, I knew I could leverage my experience to help streamline and grow our onsite training programs in order to get more technicians certified. Through cross-departmental collaboration, I led the initiative to bring an event management solution to Brivo that automated previously manual processes, allowing us to scale the program. I also leveraged my experience in communicating the value of training to create a dedicated microsite for the training program, allowing us to better market it through the creation of collateral, email communication and sales engagement initiatives.

What do you believe are the top trends impacting the industry and why?

Two trends that I believe will continue to impact the industry the most are the effect of cybersecurity on physical security and artificial intelligence (AI). As more physical security systems are propelled by technologies like the Internet of Things and blockchain, the types of attacks on these systems will continue to evolve as well. The security industry will have to constantly pioneer new programs to protect customer data that will ultimately be leveraged by every global entity.

Artificial intelligence is disrupting every industry, and when it comes to security, there are countless opportunities to use AI to assess threats. From video to alarm monitoring and deployment, AI is already being leveraged to develop solutions. AI will allow the development of more automated and flexible security solutions that provide smarter information to security professionals.

What are some of the top challenges and opportunities you’ve seen when it comes to marketing in the security industry, and how are you and/or Brivo addressing them?

At Brivo, we have always focused on building and maintaining strong relationships with our partners. Whether it is a business leader or a technician, we believe it is our responsibility to provide them with the best tools and programs to enable them to provide simply better security to their customers. This is, and will continue to be, our focus at Brivo.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I’m a theater geek. I grew up performing as a kid, and when the itch struck as an adult, I was fortunate to join a community theater production of Guys and Dolls. Musicals are my favorite, so I’m excited for the adaptation of In the Heights that is set to come out this year, as the soundtrack has been in constant rotation for me since I first saw the show.

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