Erica Smith | Vice President of Business Operations | Global Learning Systems

Erica Smith: Out with The Old, In with The New

Change is constant, and the leaders who adapt to the changes quickly can thoroughly transform their work with a unique vision. They constantly decipher the necessities of a dire situation and imply their experience in enhancing their problem-solving capabilities. They focus on creating a results-centered approach to their work. These administrative characteristics have brought a change, and leaders are admired for influencing enduring change. One such leader is Erica Smith, who has made her mark in the cybersecurity industry.

Erica oversees the Business Operations as the Vice President at Global Learning Systems. She works to create sound processes and best practices to cultivate client relationships. She partners with her colleagues to help deliver products and services to organizations globally with one goal in mind – to help those organizations foster a security-minded culture and change their employees’ behavior. Together, they solve enterprise training and compliance challenges on a global scale, providing continuous learning, automation, assessments, Managed Services, and metrics to identify gaps, show improvement, and realize goals.

Get On Board

Erica embarked on her corporate journey at the age of 19. She managed her studies and a full-time job in Fortune 500 company at entry-level. Interestingly enough, she had no desire to remain in the corporate world. She had her sights set on a teaching career. She has always enjoyed the satisfaction that comes with helping people grasp a concept. Once Erica had completed her degree in Christian Education, she set forth to make her move away from the corporate world. At that time, things in her department began to shift, and amid the shift, she found herself creating new ways to complete her department’s work in a more automated fashion. Her ideas were well-received, and for the first time, she felt drawn to the corporate world. She liked solving complex business automation problems and the success that came from her solutions.

Eventually, the news of Erica’s successful program reached other areas of the company. She often found herself in situations where she was expected to complete the work of other departments. When she would complete the job ahead of schedule, she was criticized for not using their tools and processes, which were archaic. The quality of work was superior to previous work, yet she was constantly facing opposition in implementing new tools and strategies. She approached her manager about these issues and was told to continue to adhere to their processes. She took one for the team, and very deflated, went back to doing the work.

Eventually, Erica grew tired of the steps backward and decided it was time for a fresh start. Little did she know then that one decision would forever change her life and her career trajectory. She walked into the doors of Global Learning Systems in the fall of 2003 and was hired on the spot. It hasn’t always been sunshine and roses, there have been major challenges and learning curves along the way, but each has shaped her into the leader she is today.

A Strong Industry Influence

During Erica’s tenure at Global Learning Systems, she has been a part of a team that knows to learn and customer service. Her team has developed and implemented successful cybersecurity awareness training programs for hundreds, if not thousands, of small, medium, and enterprise organizations across the globe. It is exciting to lead such a talented, diverse group of people.

GLS listen to its customers and implement the solutions and services they need to succeed in their cybersecurity awareness training program. In the almost eighteen years she has been at GLS, it has seen the true culture change in the organizations implementing its programs across all industries. From small business to large enterprise, GLS handles each customer like they are its only one. It’s hard to find that level of service in today’s fast-paced world, and it has made all the difference.

When Erica shifted from a brief stint in sales to a more administrative/operational leadership role at GLS, she had customers who refused to let her go as their salesperson. She maintained their accounts for a few more years, and then she convinced them to make the shift to another competent, talented saleswoman on her team.

Stepping Up to The Challenges

One constant challenge Erica faces with her team daily is resourcing – which is a significant problem to have on their hands. The demand for GLS’s products and services is steady, and due to its tailored solutions, Erica’s team is at the forefront of customer implementation and engagement. Having enough people seems to be the biggest problem. They are actively recruiting and hiring new resources to keep up with demand in the market. It’s an exciting time to be part of the cybersecurity industry.

Another challenge that comes up from day to day is the competition in this industry. Cybersecurity as a sector has grown, and there seems to be another cybersecurity awareness training provider emerging. Staying relevant, differentiated, and unique is a key mantra for Erica’s team each day as they plan, develop, sell, manage, and lead. They have found success in most of the ideas and some failures. But every day, they come prepared to tackle the day and the challenges it may hold. Dedication is plentiful on this team, and for that, she is grateful!

A Sneak Peek

In the upcoming future, the goal for Global Learning Systems is to take its award-winning content and services to all parts of the globe. Through its growing partner channel network, new products and services, and soon-coming platform, there is nothing that it cannot achieve.

Another goal is to expand its marketing efforts within various areas, including more virtual events, social media, organic and paid advertising. GLS will continue to expand its staff by attracting fresh talent through internship programs and veteran leaders within the cybersecurity industry. Internal programs and incentives will expand, including community involvement, benefit and wellness programs, tuition reimbursement, and scholarship.

Passing The Entrepreneurial Drive

In her advice to emerging women entrepreneurs, Erica says, “I would encourage women to step forward. Do not be deterred or intimidated by the vast knowledge in this industry or by the people that seem to have it. Be confident and take chances. Own your knowledge and experience and prove it through action rather than words.”