On the lighter side of things, we talk with Stephen Cavey, Co-founder, Ground Labs about life inside and outside the office.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
My most memorable achievement would be starting a family. Most parents will agree this is a life-changing experience that brings an entirely new meaning to one’s existence. Professionally, the one that stands out is taking the risk of leaving my former organisation in the payments industry to start something new. Recognising a significant gap in the industry, I took a leap of faith and embarked on this entrepreneurial journey alongside my co-founder that became Ground Labs.
Witnessing Ground Labs grow into a global software business has been an immensely proud and memorable achievement. Along the way, we have watched many of our team members successfully grow their career with us while helping several thousand organisations address their data security and privacy risks. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see the impact our solutions have had and to know that we’ve made a positive difference in the business world.
Both personally and professionally, these achievements hold a special place in my heart and have shaped my life in meaningful ways.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
A career in computers and technology was my calling from a young age. Ever since Grade 4 when my first real computer use happened, I would sneak into the school computer room at lunch to learn as much as I could. I received my first computer at 12 years old and it was rarely turned off. This morphed into a multi-line BBS running from my bedroom and then into an ISP in my late teens, riding the wave of the dial-up Internet era in the mid to late 1990s. The ride continued as my career moved into payments, security and then onto co-founding Ground Labs.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
The management philosophy I follow is rooted in a consultative approach that prioritises empowerment and trust. I firmly believe in surrounding myself with individuals who possess extensive knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. Rather than impeding their abilities, my goal is to empower them to deliver outcomes that align with our company’s strategy and goals.
Creating an environment of trust is essential to my management philosophy. I strive to foster open communication and collaboration among team members. I value the diverse perspectives and ideas they bring to the table, recognising that their expertise surpasses my own in their respective areas. By encouraging their input and involvement, I aim to tap into their collective intelligence and drive innovation within the team.
What do you think is the hottest technology trend currently and why?
There are so many ‘hot’ things happening at the moment, however, the common trend that I am seeing across massive advancements in AI, IoT, Digital Transformation and other initiatives, is the underlying explosion of data. All of these trends are generating more data than we have ever dealt with in living memory. The challenge ahead of every organisation is understanding how to manage all of this data in an era where every country globally will have strict privacy requirements that must be adhered to. There is no silver bullet to solve this, however, every company must start taking steps to become more aware and manage this challenge in an effective manner.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
The use case for understanding data and taking responsibility for security is heading downstream beyond the technical user. Employees at every level play an important role to help with an organisation’s security posture and therefore the solutions that are employed by organisations need to take this into account and provide streamlined workflows and user-friendly experiences.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?
Spending as much outdoor time as possible with my family and friends doing things like offroad biking, wake boarding and swimming. When you’re in a role that demands your time both day and night, I take my downtime very seriously and make the most of it.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
Building a network of industry peers to test ideas with and seeking out mentors who can help you on your own journey. People by their very nature are open to helping others. You just have to ask.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?
Data residency continues to be a challenge when servicing European consumers, particularly for organisations that reside outside the EU.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
Anyone leading a company must be adaptable and this skillset has become of even greater importance as the world has been undergoing economic and political changes. By being adaptable, company leaders can find opportunity in any situation and this reminds me of Ground Labs’ roots when it was founded during the GFC. Because we remained focused on solving a clear market challenge, the opportunities presented themselves.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?
I think many see the C-level as an ultimate career goal. However, I would say do it for the right reasons and make a clear and conscious decision that this is the right path for you. Speak to anyone you can in similar roles that you aspire to. Seek out mentors early who can help guide you and provide feedback on areas to work on and evolve.Click below to share this article