Role: Resiliency Program Lead, Security
Background: Ross joined Bridgewater in 2015. He is currently the Resiliency Program Lead for Bridgewater’s business continuity and disaster recovery programs, which protect our critical operations and technology. Before this, Ross worked in Bridgewater’s Security Operations Center, where he managed end-user reported security events and enhanced Bridgewater’s case management and reporting systems.
Describe a project you’re working on:
Beginning in the early part of 2020, both my professional and personal life has been consumed with COVID-19 response. Ensuring Bridgewater’s operations remain viable amid any crisis is the core of my responsibilities here. For Bridgewater to respond well to an event of COVID-19’s magnitude, it takes more than just one person or one team — it takes the whole organization. It’s been inspiring to see all aspects of the company rally around this global problem to meet our core resiliency goals while caring for each other in incredibly creative and unique ways.”
What is the favorite part of your job?
The people. This organization is full of incredibly bright, talented people that are thoughtful about problems big and small. Coupled with that, the folks here care deeply for one another. That is a refreshing combination to have in your work life.
What meaningful impact have you been able to make here?
This is outside of my normal job responsibilities, but I am very proud of how I’ve been able to participate in community initiatives that help foster our meaningful relationships. From finding a creative way to celebrate a birthday to organizing a Hunger Games-style paintball match to settle an office bet — these things are incredibly rewarding to invest time in.
What is an interesting business challenge that you’re trying to answer?
My specialty is within business continuity. It’s a practice that (prior to COVID-19) few knew about unless your work directly interacted with it or you experienced a crisis. An ever-present challenge in the field is to find a natural home for the practice in an organization. At Bridgewater, fitting the resiliency program within the cross-disciplinary groups of the Security department has been a rewarding challenge that has paid off immeasurably in our companywide response to COVID-19. Rather than having a small team that’s considering the resiliency problem, we have aspects of the entire department and underlying connections throughout the rest of the company to coordinate and mobilize a fast response. This helped us react quickly, efficiently and in the least disruptive way possible when the COVID-19 crisis began.
What is a failure you’ve faced, and how have you handled it?
Early in my time in Security Operations, I built and ran a bad process. As it happened, I was totally oblivious to how bad my process was, until someone else popped it as a problem. We had someone lead my team through a diagnosis session, which I still remember clearly to this day. The person leading the session plainly walked my team through what we’d built, presenting an objective point of view. From this discussion, the faults became blatantly obvious – even though I hadn’t perceived any of them prior to walking into the room.
That moment showed me how big of a blind spot I had for myself. Since then, I’ve learned to constantly ask myself, “What could I be missing?” And when I do perceive problems, I have the tools to both thoughtfully diagnose why the bad outcomes occurred and understand who needs to do what differently.
What are some examples of meaningful relationships you’ve been able to build here?
Last summer, I decided I wanted a life change and moved from Connecticut to Manhattan. A dozen friends who were all Bridgewater employees or Bridgewater alumni made finding an apartment so much easier. They told me what to look out for in a building, sent me great listings, attended open houses on my behalf when I couldn’t be there. It was a wonderful experience made possible by the people I’ve met here.
What have you learned about yourself from working at BW?
I’ve learned that I’m terrible at so many things, and it’s fantastic. At Bridgewater, colleagues ask you the tough questions from a place of seeking to understand and working to improve. It’s what can we fix? What should we place guardrails around? From my perspective, that is treasured here, and rare to find in other places. I find it comforting to have an unvarnished view of my strengths and weaknesses that is free to be shared. It takes getting used to and my ego still pops up more often than I’d like, but the supportive environment is second to none.
Looking ahead, what projects are you most excited to tackle?
As of this writing, my team is working to determine what the “new normal” of Bridgewater’s operating environment will be through the remainder of the Coronavirus crisis and once we are able to return to “business as usual” conditions. There are no easy answers and I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own, but I know that Bridgewater and the teams we have in place are up to the challenge. I am looking forward to seeing what we come up with.