Charmaine Wilson-Jones built her career in intelligence at the industry’s equivalent of Apple, Google or Microsoft: the Department of Defense. Like the tech giants, the DOD has a global reach and nearly unlimited resources. Unlike these companies, however, the DOD’s mission is literally life and death, with employees like Wilson-Jones charged with defending the United States and its allies from physical and cyber threats.
Wilson-Jones spent eight years at the DOD before moving to the private sector to join managed intelligence company Nisos. Although going from government to the private sector is always an adjustment, Wilson-Jones told Built In one thing that didn’t change was the quality of her colleagues.
“I knew Nisos was the place for me when I was blown away by our technical experts and my fellow analysts,” said Wilson-Jones.
WHAT IS MANAGED INTELLIGENCE?
In addition to monitoring and alerting customers to security threats and breaches, Nisos’ analysts investigate who is behind them and offer answers to case-specific questions. The company takes what it calls the “dogpile” approach: filling teams with diverse skill sets and experiences to enable them to smother bad actors from all angles.
In addition to the skill of her colleagues, Wilson-Jones was also impressed by the company’s culture, which she described as warm and welcoming to new joiners and built on a foundation of autonomy and flexibility. Nisos is currently growing its team, and Wilson-Jones walked Built In through what new hires can expect.
Very streamlined, and there was a genuine effort made to get to know me, my interests and career goals. In the first weeks, I met one-on-one with our senior VP of intelligence services, who welcomed me and ensured I was adjusting well. Many leaders claim to have an open-door policy, but Nisos actually puts that into practice. My new coworkers, particularly those who started only weeks before me, also reached out to introduce themselves and share their insights.
Additionally, Nisos introduces new employees at all-hands meetings by sharing a unique fun fact about them. Mine was that I’m an avid crocheter and had previously made baby beanies for all my coworkers who were expecting. I’ve learned so many fascinating things about everyone through their fun facts. Nisos really has some interesting people!
What pleasantly surprised you after you joined?
“We work together” is a Nisos core value, and the collaborative culture was one of the reasons that I joined the company. While this is true, I was pleasantly surprised by how much autonomy and flexibility Nisos provides. I’m given challenging projects and the ability to lead engagements with clients. Of course, I can always ask for help, but I appreciate the trust placed in me by my leaders.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how much camaraderie there is since we’re a remote company. Nisos hosts remote social events and in-person meetups every year. We also have several fun and hobby-based Slack channels. It’s really important to me to be able to maintain close ties to my coworkers, and Nisos has actively facilitated that.
When did you know you made the right choice in joining Nisos?
I’ve always believed that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room! Across Nisos there are decades of diverse intelligence experience in federal, state and local government as well as the private sector. Although it can be intimidating to be surrounded by such deep expertise, everyone is always willing to share their knowledge and help. It’s a wonderful environment for learning and growing.
“I’ve always believed that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room! Across Nisos there are decades of diverse intelligence experience.”
How have you hit the ground running since you joined and what are you most excited to accomplish over the next quarter or year?
I have dived into client engagements and become a trusted member of my team. I have stepped up to lead complex cases and answered difficult intelligence questions for our clients. I have also worked with our director of learning and development to leverage our in-house expertise to host monthly professional development workshops for analysts, which contribute to long-term career development and increase efficiency by spreading cross-functional expertise to all teams.
What aspect of your professional growth are you most excited to evolve?
I’m most excited to grow my client relations skills. I’m a people person at my core, and I really enjoy getting to know our clients, understanding their concerns and working as their trusted partner in managed intelligence. I’m also looking forward to continuing to evolve my technical and cyber analysis skills by learning from our in-house experts and obtaining some technical certifications.