Security Leadership at the GSO 2025 Event

June 20, 2023
Ray Bernard provides describes the GSO Event’s approach to addressing the security leadership topic.

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of interviews with the session leaders of the upcoming GSO 2025 event Aug. 16-17, 2023, at the LinkedIn headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. The event is named with a future date because it takes a 3- to 5-year look ahead at where security leadership and security technology are going. Registration is open now.

John Dobberstein, managing editor for, asked Ray Bernard to describe GSO Event’s approach to addressing the security leadership topic. Bernard is co-founder of the GSO Events, a noted security consultant and author, columnist for Security Technology Executive magazine and writer for Security Business magazine and SecurityInfoWatch.

SIW: Ray, tell us a little bit about how the security leadership topic is addressed at this year’s GSO 2025 event at LinkedIn Global Headquarters.

Bernard: This summit is a special two-day meeting for just 50 security practitioners, about where security leadership and advancing security technology are now, and where they are going.

One good question is, ‘What exactly can we say about leadership that’s more relevant to you than what you have already read or heard?’

So, you’ll hear directly from successful chief security officers and senior security directors, about their journeys to the senior security position. What did they learn along the way? What does security leadership mean at each level in the organization? What do they wish they had known when they were at the same organizational level that you are now?

As author John C. Maxwell points out, 99% of all leadership happens not at the TOP but in the MIDDLE of an organization. This means no matter what level your current position is – leadership is a very relevant topic.

Maxwell also explains effective leadership in three simple words. Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.

This is personal leadership, and it is extremely important whether you are currently a vice president or CSO, or somewhere else in the organization.

If leadership is influence, that’s good news because have already been influencing people. That’s part of how you got where you are now. This means that expanding your influence – in ways that matter even more for you, the people you engage with, and your company – does not require big changes in your thinking – just important small ones.  

It’s like a photographer getting the focus just right on a camera lens. Small tweaks can make a big difference in what you can see clearly.

One purpose of the GSO event is to provide a close and more personal perspective on leadership for you, and to identify what’s helpful and what’s not about common thinking on leadership, which is mostly what you’ve probably been exposed to.

Why do we focus on your personal leadership mindset? These three statements from John Maxwell sum it up:

  • The only person you should compare yourself to is you. Your mission is to become better today than you were yesterday.
  • Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today.
  • Successful people don’t have any fewer problems than unsuccessful people; they just have a different mindset in dealing with them.

 To find out more, go to the GSO website at I hope to see you there! 

About the Author

Ray Bernard, PSP, CHS-III

Ray Bernard, PSP CHS-III, is the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (, a firm that provides security consulting services for public and private facilities. He has been a frequent contributor to Security Business, SecurityInfoWatch and STE magazine for decades. He is the author of the Elsevier book Security Technology Convergence Insights, available on Amazon. Mr. Bernard is an active member of the ASIS member councils for Physical Security and IT Security, and is a member of the Subject Matter Expert Faculty of the Security Executive Council (

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Follow him on Twitter: @RayBernardRBCS.