Lead(H)er - Emmy Linder, Global Head of Operations and Chief of Staff at Cybereason
“I was an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces for four years and at the age of 19 commanded a team of twenty people who worked 24/7 to provide support for various operations. This was the beginning of my career because it opened my eyes to many possible career opportunities when my military service ended,” Emmy Linder the Global Head of Operations and Chief of Staff at Cybereason explained.
During her adolescence, Emmy routinely split her time between Israel and the United States, due to her father’s job. Years later upon graduating from high school, she was recruited by the Israeli Defense Ministry into Unit 8200, the elite intelligence group within the Israeli Defense Forces. This is the norm in Israel as every Israeli from the age of 18 is required to serve a minimum three (men) or two (women) consecutive years in the Israeli army. The best of the best end up in Unit 8200. Throughout its history, the Israeli army has stood for many things that translate to the business world, including its commitment to resourcefulness, diversity and technological innovation.
After four successful years of military service, Emmy decided she wanted to pursue a career in the field of software and technology. To further her education, Emmy attended IDC Herzliya, an Israeli university that emphasizes initiative, leadership and community service and received a bachelor’s degree in computer science, attributes that would help Emmy in her professional career.
“After fulfilling my military service and receiving my computer science bachelor’s degree, I embarked on my professional career and worked in product management roles at several tech companies in Israel, including Optibase and 888.com. My third stint was with a company Verint where I learned a lot about the operational side of businesses. It was the experience I gained at Verint that led me to apply to business school at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.”
Upon being accepted at MIT, Emmy packed her bags and moved to Boston. “I wanted to go to Sloan because it marries my two passions: technology and business.” At business school, Emmy focused on entrepreneurship and consulting. She was interested in gaining diverse experience outside of product management and working at a consulting firm.
After getting her Masters of Business Administration at MIT, Emmy accepted a job at Boston Consulting Group. “I worked at BCG for over five years. It was an amazing company and a really great place to gain firsthand experience with the day-to-day business challenges routinely facing companies. I learned how to solve complicated problems by working across many departments in the company to find the best solution available and making it stick by working with the people who have to touch it, implement it, and bring it through to all levels of the organization. It’s not the easiest thing, as you might imagine. This learning and training were second nature to me due to the extensive, hands on, military training I had received,” she said.
As Emmy climbed the ranks at BCG, she felt like she could continue to grow and learn but something was missing. She dreamed of finding the right technology company to work for and she would eventually be introduced to Lior Div, Cybereason’s Co-Founder and CEO. She would be offered a job at the fast-growing cybersecurity company.
“For me, there were many different factors that affected my decision—the market, the people, the product, the huge opportunity and the stage of growth that the company was at. I was also excited by the pace by which the company operated and the potential I could have helping to grow the business.”
Cybereason is the leader in endpoint protection, offering endpoint detection and response, next-generation antivirus, managed monitoring and IR services. It employs 300 talented people across the globe. Its headquarters are in Boston with offices in Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and London.
Emmy handles day-to-day business operations at Cybereason, making sure that everyone in the company is on the same page, no matter where they’re located or what department they’re in. In addition to overseeing operations, she also works with Div on strategic planning and implementation, where a lot of both short term and long term goals are created and mapped. “We are constantly evolving as a company. If we want to change our offering for a certain product or service, that touches every aspect of the business and the organization. We can pivot quickly to meet the needs of customers and the fast paced environment is like riding a rollercoaster because of the speed by which we move on a daily basis,” said Emmy.
Rapid Fire Questions
BS: How do you manage stress?
EL: Stress manages itself. Life is pretty stressful across the board. Normally, I don’t have time to properly manage stress, so I don’t worry about these things. I just go with the flow.
BS: How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
EL: Two to three. Maybe four depending on the day and what’s happening. I should mention that I have three small children. I have a five-year-old girl, an almost three-year-old boy and a ten-month-old girl, so coffee helps.
BS: What do you like to do in your free time?
EL: Beyond the obvious, “What free time?” I love spending time with my kids. Getting them outside either at a park or on a hike is always fun. If I have the luxury of actual free time, I love to find a quiet corner and read.
BS: Where is your favorite spot in Boston?
EL: The different parks of Cambridge. Our kids love running around all of the parks and playgrounds in Cambridge, it’s an easy break from the day-to-day for me.
BS: If you had to choose one thing, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
EL: I have a lot of things that I’m very proud of. On the personal side, I’m proud of my kids. I am also very proud of what I have accomplished in my career. In the end, when I have a day that I feel like every part of my life is getting the right amount of time, attention, and achievement, that makes me feel great.
BS: Ten years ago, is this where you would have seen yourself?
EL: In broad strokes, sure. I knew that I wanted to go back into technology. I knew I wanted to have a leadership position at a company. I don’t know if I would have envisioned myself at such an entrepreneurial company, that interest was something that evolved as I got more and more involved in the startup scene here in Boston. Overall, my career has not been a huge departure from what I would have expected.
BS: What one piece of advice would you give to a recent college graduate?
EL: I know you might have a set plan in your head. I think a lot of people do. But you should jump on opportunities as they come, be open to things that will take you off of your path. When I was finishing up my bachelor’s and planning on going into a development role, I got an offer to be a product manager. It wasn’t the role I was looking for but I took it, and it set my path to be much more customer and business oriented.