Justin Whitehead, Digital Silence
Promote this Nomination
Justin Whitehead, Digital Silence
|Job title of nominated professional (or team name)||Chief Executive Officer|
|Company (where nominated professional or team is working)||Digital Silence|
|Company size (employees)||10 to 49|
|Headquarters Region||North America|
Justin Whitehead is a fervent believer in leading by example. As a former US Army Airborne Infantryman, he understands the importance of strong leadership and teamwork built on trust and mutual respect. He takes that approach with his team and with his clients. It’s easy to sell cybersecurity services by sowing fear and uncertainty, but Justin built Digital Silence on a culture of reassurance and trust. Rather than use his deep cybersecurity experience to scare potential clients or audiences, he communicates in a way that helps people understand complex topics.
While Justin has a wide range of security experience, he is also a strong enough leader to know that different perspectives and experiences create a better team. As a result, he pursues diversity in his teams and has found that different perspectives ultimately lead to better outcomes and better protection for their clients.
In starting Digital Silence, Justin wanted to build an organization that could sustain itself far into the future. Like a law firm, Digital Silence prepares the next generation of employee owners. In mentoring early-career team members, Justin encourages conference participation, speaking engagements, continuing education, and professional certifications. He looks for opportunities to help people grow into their careers – not for the company’s benefit – but for their personal growth.
He created an employee-owned company rather than seeking private equity funding to ensure Digital Silence could stay true to its mission: to do cybersecurity right. The only way to do that is to lead by example, which Justin Whitehead does each day.
Beyond his commitment to his clients, Justin is committed to improving cybersecurity as a whole. To focus on global and diverse security issues, Justin plans frequent trips to Belize, where the Digital Silence team teaches high school students about computer science and security and develops vital career pathways for the students. Throughout the year and beyond the program, Justin stays in touch with students serving as a resource for them as they develop their careers.
As a CEO, it’s easy to get caught up in running the business, but Justin stays in the digital trenches serving as an occasional penetration tester and security researcher. His commitment to rolling up his sleeves and doing the work makes him a more decisive leader and keeps him connected to his team.
While their company’s financial performance often measures CEOs, there is more to leadership than a P&L statement. Digital Silence continues to grow and have incredible success, but Justin’s commitment to his team is also worth noting. As an engaged leader, he checks in on his team, helping them grow their careers through professional development opportunities. He also checks in on them as people, understanding if they face any challenges and helping when he can. Additionally, as a believer in his team, he asks his team to be creative and develop tools to solve problems. In most businesses, the company owns the IP. Not at Digital Silence. They help bring the product to market and ask for no profits, only the ability to use it.