The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Awards were announced April 15, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place virtually May 27.
Next is Chief Executive Officer Award finalist Tina Kuhn, who’s president and CEO of CyberCore Technologies. Here, she talks professional achievements, learning from failures, career advice and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2019/2020?
Well, we all made our way through a pandemic! What I am proud of is how much the CyberCore team rapidly adjusted and continued to deliver products and services during difficult circumstances. We figured out how to reduce cost and maintain the business without any layoffs or business loans. Our business development stayed very busy, resulting in winning 11 contracts in 2020.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
I am proud of how the CyberCore leadership team has transformed CyberCore. My team embraced a lot of change over the past 2 years including an adjustment of many of their roles and responsibilities. We transformed our infrastructure and internal systems, rebranded, created discriminators in the market, grew our engineering services, diversified our customer base, and built a significant business development pipeline while maintaining over a 50%-win rate.
What are your primary focuses areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
CyberCore is a leading provider and integrator of information communication technology systems and cyber solutions, specializing in supply chain risk management to protect our customer’s IT equipment from external threats. My primary focus with CyberCore is to continue protecting our customer’s IT equipment from external supply chain threats.
Because 70%-80% of reported cybersecurity breaches come through the supply chain, CyberCore will continue using security practices that are certified through ISO 28000:2007 Supply Chain Risk Management and ISO 20243-1:2018 Mitigating Maliciously Tainted and Counterfeit Products.
What’s one key thing you learned from a failure you had?
The most important lesson I have learned is to get back up from a failure, adjust and then create a new path. To know I can bounce back from mistakes is freeing and allows me to take calculated risks with my career.
Learning from my mistakes helped me grow, acknowledged my strengths and weaknesses, and taught me to engage with people from various backgrounds and experiences. This type of engagement challenged me and pushed me to view things from various perspectives. While being challenged is difficult, I believe my decisions are better as a result of listening to others.
As an ancillary to this, learning to quickly admit to a bad decision, and remaking the decision or rapidly adjusting the decision, has allowed my team and I to keep a fast pace, change courses when necessary, and to not be afraid.
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?
I am proud when I see people whom I mentored or managed grow in their career. I feel happy when I know I’ve helped provide opportunities for others to learn and grow or I was able to create a career opportunity for someone. I have been able to see people I mentored go on to have leadership positions and successful careers.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t let other’s judgement of you run your life and don’t be afraid of failure. When I look back at my career, there are times where I got stuck and didn’t take an opportunity when I should have. Sometimes, it was when I was afraid what others would think; sometimes, it was when I didn’t believe in myself; and sometimes, I was afraid of failure. I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell her to trust her abilities and believe she will succeed.