Strange Renegade LogoA healthy culture in the workplace is aspired to by many, yet rarely implemented successfully.

After six months at risk3sixty, not only am I happy about my decision to join this team, but I’m also eager to see where the Strange Renegades team goes.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical about joining such a young firm. I was familiar with a few of the founding members of the risk3sixty team. I had met them for some coffee and even dinner, but it was amid the pandemic in which we rekindled the flame and gauged interest on both sides.

In 2017, there were only three members of the risk3sixty team, and I didn’t have the insight to see what direction the firm was going. Of course, Christian and Christian were confident and to me, it all sounded promising. But I struggled to jump ship from such a large firm to such ambiguity.

I’d check their page from time to time on LinkedIn to see how they were doing. I would see the posts on Facebook. I would see the custom risk3sixty coffee they would give away during presentations. It was cool.

I always felt an itch to reach out to them, but never knew when the right time would be. Fast-forward to March 2020, at the breakout of the pandemic in the US, and risk3sixty reached out to see if I would be interested in seeing how much they’ve grown and the big things that were to come for this firm. I had spent five years happily working in a public accounting firm and I hadn’t really introspectively looked at what direction I wanted to go.

The Interview

The risk3sixty team decided to have me meet with the team and see if there was a spark on both sides.

It was quite a unique interview. I met with roughly 95% of the members of the firm and it spoke highly to the effort they put into finding a Strange Renegade. During my interview, many teammates were happy to detail the difference makers here such as Phalanx. A wonderful and intuitive platform used for engagements, risk registers, etc. Also the company promoted a career-building environment. With freedom to direct aspects of the firm that you would never get at an older, more established firm. It was really exciting stuff!

After walking out of my interview, I remember calling some friends and telling them how excited about the opportunity I was, but I had obvious skepticism considering the relative newness of the firm. After receiving an offer, Shane Peden, an old colleague from early in my career, reached out to me and offered to grab coffee for what to this day I know was a candid and genuine conversation. I had known Shane for many years, and I know when he is a believer in something, he will voice his belief with conviction, even if unsolicited.

In this case, I could see the joy he had when speaking of the plans that risk3sixty had, the upcoming months, and most importantly to him, a sense of purpose in the work they were doing. He may not have known it at the time, but because of the pride with which he spoke of risk3sixty, he had sold me probably five minutes into our meeting.

No One Like The Strange Renegades

There is a culture here that has been meticulously considered and it takes the best from each teammate’s previous experiences to create a mature, well-oiled machine. That is feat for a company of any size, let alone one that has existed for fewer than five years.

Customers are surprised to know that our presence in the market is driven by just 22 individuals at the time of this writing.

Here are some of the things we do help to help establish this strong Strange Renegade culture:

  • We have a firm-wide of continuous development and managing of a knowledge database for our customers through blog posts, whitepapers, and even a YouTube/Twitch stream sharing some of our thoughts on industry subject matter, best-practices, security and compliance hacks, and current events.
  • We have been approved to create CPE trainings.
  • We’re free to drive service-lines and firm goals from a generally flat organizational structure.
  • We participate in healthy, morale-boosting opportunities such as the General 100 (100 mile team run 😊)and half-day Fridays in the summer.
  • We hold transparent quarterly meetings offering insight into the company’s financial performance.
  • Teammates hold weekly Lunch ‘n Learns to help cross-train all members on different service-lines, skills, etc.
  • We take a business-first approach in our advisory to help customers understand risks unique to their organizations.

Conclusion

Reflecting on the past six months, it’s been a wild ride. I’ve gotten to experience working on new types of engagements, such as ISO 27001, CIS Top 20, and even some custom ad-hoc internal audit, with a fresh, self-empowering presence to make decisions that I historically had to run through a large chain of command.  I’ve also gained insight in what it takes to run a prolific professional services shop, but most importantly, I’ve met a group of Strange Renegades that I feel are genuine in the firm’s interest and success. I am proud to call myself a Strange Renegade.

If you want to learn more about what it’s like to be a strange renegade, reach out to me via LinkedIn – Yousef Ali