Read our interview with the RISE Committee’s new chair, Matt Feenan, as the Security Industry Association (SIA) spotlights a young professional on the rise!
Matt Feenan of Axis Communications has been named the chair of SIA RISE, a networking group that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security industry. Matt joined Axis – and entered the security industry – in 2014 and hasn’t looked back since. While looking for new ways to enhance Axis’ presence within SIA and strengthen his own knowledge within the security industry, Matt joined the RISE program as a steering committee member in 2018. Matt will serve as the RISE committee chairman in 2019 and help RISE grow program membership and provide members the resources and opportunities they need to be successful in the industry.
Here, SIA speaks with Matt about his background and role at Axis and in the security industry, the RISE program and working with SIA.
SIA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Matt Feenan: I’m a senior business development marketing coordinator at Axis Communications and work out of the U.S. headquarters in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. I was born and raised in New England, and I live in Boston. Outside of work, I’m an avid soccer player and fan, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things alternative/indie music.
SIA: What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?
MF: I joined the security industry through the recommendation from a relative. She mentioned that Axis was a great place to work. As time’s progressed, I’ve become a major advocate for the company and the industry as a whole. Axis is constantly working to innovate for a smarter, safer world, and it genuinely feels good to work for a company that is driving that change. The societal importance that comes hand in hand with working in the security industry is unique and assuring – I take pride in knowing that the work we do within this industry makes an especially positive impact in both local communities and on a global scale.
SIA: What has your career path been?
MF: I started working as an intern for Axis Communications in 2014 while I was still in college and fell in love with the company and its culture almost immediately. Fast forward a couple years later, and I’ve jumped around between our business development, national accounts, partner marketing and business development marketing teams. I now sit on the latter as a senior coordinator focusing on hardware and software partner program marketing and our marketing presence within industry associations like SIA.
SIA: Who has influenced you or mentored you – either within the security field or outside?
MF: My current manager, Kelly DeLeo, is an incredible influence on me. She is one of the most gifted marketers I know, but she is also extremely selfless and well respected as a leader. Her diligent approach to developing and executing on marketing strategy and her thoughtful and educated approach to management make her a truly admirable businessperson. She expects a lot out of me and my teammates, and she brings out the best in our team to help us navigate our journeys in becoming the most efficient value creators that we can be.
SIA: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
MF: As an enthusiastic music fan and an avid writer, I love contributing to my own personal music blog on a weekly basis. I used to have a weekly radio show in college, but when the show abruptly stopped upon my graduation, I needed a new outlet to keep listeners (and myself) happy and occupied. My blog was born shortly thereafter, and it still serves as a great medium to share the incessant music research that I conduct in my free time. You can check out the blog and its eclectic array of new music content at feenyfresh.wordpress.com.
SIA: What advice do you have for young professionals just starting out in the industry?
MF: Learn and network – there are a lot of experienced and insightful industry veterans that have a ton of accumulated business acumen at their disposal. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when reaching out for guidance – it’s admirable to want to learn more. Not only that, but the relationships you build early in your career can prove essential when you’re presented with future opportunities for learning and growth.
SIA: What do you think you need to enhance your career?
MF: The more learning opportunities, the better. As an Axis employee I have a solid grasp on the ins and outs of network video and our other network security solutions, but there are more loosely related security markets that I haven’t had the pleasure of learning just yet. That being said, industry-wide training opportunities are key initiatives that the SIA RISE committee plans to provide for young professionals and industry newcomers in 2019!
SIA: What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
MF: The SIA RISE program was vital for me and several of my colleagues to connect with other young professionals in the industry at the onset of our careers. SIA RISE does exceptionally well with offering industry-wide networking, educational and leadership opportunities that really help young security professionals like myself hit the ground running. Several of my colleagues have also taken advantage of the SIA RISE scholarship program, which offers young professionals a valuable opportunity to subsidize their education and/or training as it relates to the security industry.
SIA: How do you and your organization engage with SIA and the RISE program? What are your plans for involvement going forward (e.g., events, accessing member resources)?
MF: I will be the chairman of the SIA RISE program in 2019 and work with the RISE committee to help engage young professionals in the industry by bridging their learning gaps and providing them the resources they need to succeed as newcomers. Axis also has numerous staff involved with other SIA initiatives focused on security within vertical market segments, such as the Women in Security Forum and the Cybersecurity Advisory Board. Over the next year we will continue to drive security standards, policy and insight within these committees, while also participating in SIA activities like regional SIAThere! events, Securing New Ground, SIA Gov Summit and the SIA webinar program.
Are you a young security professional under 40? Join SIA’s RISE program. We’re a group of up-and-comers in the security industry trying to help each other grow our careers, expand industry knowledge, further professional development and have some fun together. Get started by filling out the form on the SIA RISE page, or contact SIA staff liaison Bryan Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. While you’re at it, stay in touch with us on LinkedIn and Facebook.