EXCLUSIVE: Journey to leadership

Tina D'Agostin - Alcatraz AI and journey to leadership

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Tina D’Agostin, CEO, Alcatraz AI discusses her leadership role in the security industry and how she is helping to mentor the next generation of female changemakers.

Leading up to becoming the CEO of Alcatraz AI, I spent the earlier part of my career learning everything I could about how to not only drive innovation but motivate teams to reach a shared goal. An important piece of this has included mentoring and collaborating with other women in the field.

My leadership journey in the security industry started after studying international business, which also took me abroad to London, where I traveled extensively to other countries and developed a love of architecture. These loves of technology, business and architecture then culminated and I began my career out of college in the building technology space with a focus in security.

Prior to joining Alcatraz AI, I was working for the largest global system integrator in the world focused on delivering smart building technologies. It allowed me to apply my passions to solve real, human challenges: prioritizing safety while also maximizing comfort.

I met our founder, Vince Gaydarzhiev, a couple of years ago and then became interested in how AI has evolved to underpin many essential aspects of our lives and how Alcatraz was creating the next generation of access control. 

After learning more about the technology, roadmap and vision, I knew that Alcatraz AI had the opportunity to completely transform and disrupt the access control market by utilizing biometric and opt-in facial recognition solutions to make the world safer. Not only was Alcatraz AI on a mission to revolutionize the access control experience using the unique power of the human face, but also doing so with the highest level of accuracy and privacy. 

Mentoring women in security

I became CEO of Alcatraz AI in 2021. In these first two years (and from my 20+ years of previous leadership and management experience), I have developed some core philosophies around overseeing teams and mentoring women:

  • Instill confidence wherever you go, with everyone you meet. When you carry yourself with poise and self-assurance and fight the urge to succumb to imposter syndrome, you can achieve great things within leadership or otherwise. It’s easier for people to believe in you if you believe in yourself first
  • Leverage and lean on your emotional intelligence. Use your skills to develop and refine a strong sense of situational awareness and forge strong, enduring connections with colleagues, bosses and mentors
  • Furthermore, always keep in mind that helping others can pay back in dividends. As the saying goes: if you want to fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
  • Always approach your next assignment with curiosity, openness and enthusiasm. Make the most of each opportunity. This spirit is captivating and makes others excited to collaborate with you

I encourage women to view being diverse in the security space — and technology as a whole — as an advantage. In a male-dominated industry, embrace being a woman as your key differentiator and a way to stand out by offering unique perspectives.

It’s important to take each opportunity as it comes, but also always have your next three steps in mind. This is required to excel in any industry, but particularly security. Innovation and human-centric technology solutions are required to solve the challenges of not only tomorrow, but decades to come. I wholeheartedly believe women are going to be a key leadership force in ushering in the next generation of security.

This article was originally published in the March edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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