Christina Wesely, Security & Compliance Lead, looks out for Upland employees and customers with dedication and flourish. She has used her lifelong love for computers to streamline how Upland handles customers’ requests and assures them that their data is in trustworthy hands. Her can-do attitude took her from the EIT team to Security & Compliance, and she now leads a small but mighty team that spans across North America.
Learn more about her impressive career growth and why her work in Security & Compliance is crucial to Upland internally and externally.
Q: Who, what, and where are you?
A: My name is Christina Wesely. I am the Security & Compliance Lead, and I am based in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Q: What is your day-to-day work like?
A: I’m responsible for managing and responding to customer questionnaires and requests when it comes to the security within all of Upland’s applications. I have two people under me that I manage as well; they help with all these customer requests. Then I’m also responsible for helping with annual System and Organization Controls (SoC) audits that we do on all our applications.
Q: What do you wish people knew about Security & Compliance?
A: We’re not the bad guys. The reason we do what we do is to help Upland grow in the right direction. A lot of the times, the things that we implement, like annual security awareness training, are not convenient but they’re necessary to keep Upland safe and secure.
Q: How did you start working at Upland?
A: I graduated with my applied science degree in 2013. For about a year I tried to apply to jobs to get my hands wet in the field that I went to school for. Mid-2014, I had a recruiter from Upland reach out to me as I had submitted my application for an EIT role. I’ve been here for a little over eight years now and it’s been a great experience for me.
Q: How has your applied sciences degree come in handy working in Security & Compliance?
A: I graduated with a focus in computer information because I really love computers. I’ve been tinkering around with them for a long time now. Finally, I just told myself, “Go get your degree, and we’ll see where it leads you.” I got the degree, and I was able to jump into that IT Help role. When I moved into Security & Compliance, having that background in computer information helped me. I had taken some network security classes, so I knew a little bit when I started with the Security & Compliance Team. However, in just the four or five years I’ve been with the Security & Compliance team, I’ve learned a lot more. It’s never the same. It changes daily, and that’s just so exciting to me.
Q: You’ve been at Upland for about eight years, how has your career grown?
A: I started with the internal IT help desk. I worked with IT for three years, did some cool things. I was able to go down to the headquarters in Austin a few times to do some IT stuff and meet some of the upper management people that work there. Again, I worked on that team for about three years and then Rochelle Delley, our Chief Security Officer, came over to me and asked if I would ever be interested in coming over to the Security & Compliance team. I’m the type of person where change is kind of scary to me. I was quite comfortable in my responsibilities on the IT team. I tossed the idea around and finally just said “OK, I’ll apply for it.” And he hired me!
Q: That’s so exciting! Facing change is always scary, but how do you feel about switching teams?
A: I’ve just flourished. I’ve learned so much.
Q: Can you tell me a time you felt like a part of a great team, a well-oiled machine?
A: Through my career history, I’ve always been a part of good teams. Honestly, this Security & Compliance team is one of the best teams that I’ve ever worked on. I’m not saying that just because it’s my team! We’re small, but we’re mighty. With just 12 people, we deal with Upland’s entire business. Seeing my team come together is a great vibe because everybody raises their hand, and everybody jumps in. Everybody lifts each other up. I’ve honestly never seen most of them because we’re all remote, and I’m the only one here in Lincoln. Having such a connection with a remote team is very cool.
Q: Tell me about a success you’ve had.
A: When I first came to Security & Compliance, there was really no process on how to organize and answer customer requests. We just didn’t have any procedures down. I utilized two of Upland’s applications: FileBound and Qvidian. It took about 6-8 months, but now it’s seamless. Our contract administrators submit the request to us through FileBound. We grab the request and I assign it to who needs it. We use Qvidian as a question-and-answer repository. We have hundreds of questions and answers under each product from previous questionnaires that we can pull from. Having these tools in place really helped to streamline our procedures. Also, as we always say, we like to drink our own champagne. When customers see us using our own applications, it proves that we trust them.
Q: Why is security so important at Upland?
A: Dealing with the nature of our applications, we process customer data. In turn, the customer trusts that we do the right thing when it comes to protecting their data. It’s important to have all the security protections in place that we do have. The SoC audits just helps to solidify our security posture within our environments. When our customers see that we have SoC reports, they see that as a plus. They know that we must have our ducks in a row to conduct and complete those audits. It just helps to give them that warm fuzzy feeling that we know what we’re doing, and we have all their data protected.