Charles Church of Sevatec: Personal Brand, LinkedIn

Posted on April 13, 2011, by , under Featured Interview.

Charles Church, cybersecurity expert and vice president at Sevatec, Inc. explains how to balance transparency and privacy in social networking as well as why he uses LinkedIn.

What is your background?

I grew up in the Northern Virginia area and graduated from FT Hunt high school and the United States Naval Academy. I spent the next fifteen years as a nuclear submariner on fast attack submarines during the cold war. In 1995 as part of the “peace dividend”, I retired early from the Navy and started my next career.

I worked at some of top high technology companies during the “dotcom” era (1995 to 2001) such as America Online, Powersim, UUNET, and OneSoft. After 9/11, I went into federal government to the Treasury Department. When the Department of Homeland Security was created in March 2003, I became CIO of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) Directorate.  I left the Federal government in March 2008 after being the CIO of the Preparedness Directorate and National Protection and Programs Directorate.

I helped create for ACS the Homeland Security and Defense Line of Business and left ACS after their purchase by Xerox in 2009. I am currently at one of the top small businesses supporting the Federal government called Sevatec. Headquartered in Falls Church, VA., Sevatec, Inc. is an SBA 8(a)-certified, externally-rated Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 3 and ISO 9001:2008 certified management and technology services firm.  Sevatec was founded in 2003 on the concept of “Seva” or, a commitment to serving others, as the central principle of its way of doing business and nurturing relationships with clients, employees, partners, and community.  Our mission is to provide leading strategic management consulting and technology solutions that optimize performance and return on investment for our clients, while passionately preserving and delivering a commitment to “Seva” in all we do.

How would you describe your on-line and off-line brand?

I have crafted my brand by using both online (social media) and off line (i.e. speaker engagements) to become a trusted advisor on applying technology to business challenges. I bring to the market a unique insight shaped during my time as a leader in the military, high tech, federal government and government contracting market places.

How have you used social media to help your company?

I am a very big advocate for LinkedIn and Facebook. When I left the Department of Homeland Security, I told everyone the best way to reconnect with me was via LinkedIn. My LinkedIn network has grown to over 2,800 contacts with connections in both government and commercial leadership. I have found this is a great way to create virtual relationships that leads to business partnerships.

What advice would you give someone looking to build their personal brand?

You must determine what you want your personal brand to stand for in the marketplace. Once you know who you are than you must communicate your brand by both on-line and off-line. You must balance your privacy vs. transparency. I always believe that organizations like governments or companies jobs will always come and go in your career but that the people you meet in this journey are most important. So I invest a lot of my personal time in my personal networks.

What are some common mistakes executives make when trying to create their brand?

If I can’t find someone online it gives me clue into their business outlook. I also find that Facebook is blending both your personal and professional life. I share more of my personal life like family and activities on Facebook while sharing more of my professional successes on LinkedIn.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I recently appeared on a NBC TV show in January titled “Breached: A Cyberattack in America”. It was hosted by JJ Green of WTOP radio and the guests were VADM Mike McConnell of BAH  (former U.S National Director of Intelligence, Roger Cressey President of Good Harbor Consulting (a former member of the United State National Security  staff, where he held the position of Director for Transnational Threats from November 1999 through November 2001) and myself.

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