ValiantCEO Magazine is delighted to present an exclusive interview with Jeffrey Engle, the esteemed chairman and president of Conquest Cyber. Engle, a decorated combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient with a rich background in risk management and national security, is at the forefront of securing our nation’s critical infrastructure and safeguarding against cyber threats.
In this enlightening conversation, Engle shares his unique perspective on cyber defense, drawing from his experiences in U.S. Army Special Operations and his leadership in the realm of cybersecurity. With a passion for fostering collaboration and building resilient teams, he unveils his groundbreaking initiative, “The Thin Digital Line,” aimed at uniting experts from diverse backgrounds to defend our digital frontiers.
Join us as we explore the mind of a visionary, delving into Engle’s journey, insights, and mission to protect our way of life from the ever-evolving landscape of cyber warfare.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Jeffrey Engle: I’m the chairman and president of Conquest Cyber, a company purpose built and demand driven to address critical gaps in our national approach to cyber defense.
I bring a broad spectrum of experience in risk management, national security and business process optimization, and am responsible for the development and implementation of all strategic initiatives, including cyber risk management and secure digital transformation programs.
Prior to joining Conquest, I served as vice president and general manager of Federal at United Data Technologies, Inc. where I spearheaded the growth and development of the federal business unit, among other responsibilities.
Before shifting my focus to the cyber domain, I served in U.S. Army Special Operations, and am a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. I’ve received two awards of the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, two awards of the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and more.
I recently authored a book, All the War They Want, which presents counterintuitive problem-solving techniques, using as its case in point one of the most existential threats to our national security and American way of life: cyber warfare.
In writing this book, I drew on my experience as a member of the U.S. military’s elite special ops community, my Brazilian jiujitsu training and my leadership of Conquest Cyber.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Jeffrey Engle: There is a persistent conflict going on in cyberspace, and our country must improve its operational capabilities to thwart our adversaries if we intend to protect our way of life.
In late 2022, I had the idea to create an initiative called The Thin Digital Line to address this threat head-on by harnessing the collective strengths of the best and brightest in cybersecurity to achieve mission success in the Fifth Domain.
I named it Thin Digital Line in alignment with other initiatives that honor the people who stand between our populace and those who would disrupt our lives. Those protectors include the armed forces (Thin Green Line) and first responders in our country’s service professions (Thin Blue Line for police, Thin Red Line for firefighters).
Thin Digital Line represents our vision of uniting cybersecurity, technology, risk, compliance and national security experts — the private and public sector professionals, vendors, and customers — behind a shared purpose: standing on the thin digital line between order and chaos, protecting our way of life.
We have now made that initiative a 501(c)(3). Instead of just symbolizing the new frontline in protecting our way of life, it is now a standalone organization, allowing us to actionably reach further and farther than our own community.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle to keep talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued, and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are you adapting to the current shift we see?
Jeffrey Engle: To address this growing concern and retain our valuable employees, we have adopted a mission-focused approach that emphasizes a broader market realization of our purpose being bigger than any individual.
As a company, we have established a solid plan and continue to foster an environment of trust within our team to create a workplace that motivates and engages our talent effectively. By aligning our goals and objectives with a clear mission, we can provide a sense of purpose and direction that goes beyond individual tasks.
Here is a two-fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Jeffrey Engle: “Delta Force” by Col. Charles Beckwith is the book that has influenced me the most. It offers a captivating and firsthand account of the creation and development of one of the most elite special operations forces in the world.
The book provides insights into the mindset, training and operational techniques of Delta Force, which ultimately inspires a desire for personal growth, leadership and resilience. For me personally, this book encouraged me to continuously push my limits, embrace challenges and strive to constantly improve my personal and professional life.
From a business perspective, the book serves as a source for building high-performance teams and cultivating a culture of excellence. It highlights the importance of effective leadership, trust and collaboration in achieving extraordinary results. It underscores the significance of a clear mission, defined values and a strong sense of purpose.
The book I’ve gifted the most is “All the War They Want” (my book) and next to that, “Team of Teams.” Piggybacking off “Delta Force” by Col. Charles Beckwith, my book and “Team of Teams” highlight the importance of breaking down silos and promoting a culture of trust and cross-functional collaboration to overcome organizational barriers that hinder effective communication and collaboration.
They emphasize the importance of challenging traditional hierarchies to cultivate a culture of innovation and adaptability. Both “All the War They Want” and “Team of Teams” are valuable resources for leaders, managers and team members looking to navigate complexity and drive success in today’s fast-paced and interconnected world.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Jeffrey Engle: Business is indeed about overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunities for growth. However, the real challenge we face today extends beyond the realm of business alone. Society as a whole seems to lack clarity of purpose and perspective.
It’s intriguing to draw a parallel between the conceptual differences of fascism and communism and how, despite their disparities, they managed to achieve strategic convergence.
In a similar vein, we have observed individuals who aim to bring about societal changes adopting the very aggressive and exclusionary tactics they intended to combat.
This paradoxical shift is concerning as it perpetuates a cycle of demonization and further hinders progress and understanding. To address this challenge, we must strive for open dialogue, empathy and a shared commitment to finding common ground, even amidst differing viewpoints. We need to foster a society that thrives on collaboration.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Jeffrey Engle: Running a company is undoubtedly an all-consuming endeavor. It goes beyond being a mere job that one can disconnect from at the end of the day. The relationships with team members, investors, customers and partners are not static; they evolve and change just as individuals, environments and organizations do.
In many ways, it resembles the challenging and ongoing responsibility of parenting. It’s not something that can be done flawlessly, and you can’t simply walk away when so many people depend on you, even in moments of mistake or uncertainty about the next steps.
In aviation, they teach pilots to continue flying all the way to the scene of the crash because stopping prematurely would result in catastrophic consequences. Similarly, in running a company, you must persevere through challenges and maintain composure.
Mistakes may occur along the way, but with a clear head, they can be addressed, repaired and learned from, ensuring that the organization and its stakeholders continue to thrive, even with a few bumps and bruises.
What does “success” in 2023 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Jeffrey Engle: For me, success is more than just achieving personal goals or financial milestones. It is about witnessing the genuine excitement in people’s eyes when they truly comprehend the vision and purpose behind what we are striving to accomplish.
It is a gratifying experience to see individuals find a purpose that goes beyond themselves, embracing a cause that resonates deeply. But the true impact comes when they, in turn, share that enthusiasm with others, creating a ripple effect of inspiration and motivation.
While I may only have the capacity to reach a limited number of people directly, real change is achieved when our ideas and efforts reach an exponential scale. This scalability is essential not only to drive transformative change, but also to safeguard our critical infrastructure and way of life.
By expanding our reach and influence, we can protect and enhance the foundations upon which our society relies, ensuring a better future for generations to come.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jeffrey Engle for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Jeffrey Engle or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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