There’s no doubt that 2020 has proven to be a challenging year for individuals, families, and organizations across the globe. At ReliaQuest, we’ve always valued community roots, and this year especially we’ve been on the lookout for opportunities to spread positivity, help others, and give back in any way that we can. Join us as we look back on – and ahead to – some of the opportunities we’re most thankful to be a part of this year.
Investing in the future
Through multiple outreach programs, including Junior Achievement and 3DE, we’ve helped foster the awareness and interest of cybersecurity at a fundamental age – for Elementary, Middle School, and High School students. Just this fall, our ReliaQuest team members have spent around 390 hours, with eight different schools, providing the students with professional business coaching, mentoring, and feedback virtually. We are grateful knowing this work is helping attribute to a 100% increase in academic performance, 81% increase in improved discipline, and 50% increase in school attendance through 3DE.
As a founding partner of Think Big for Kids, we’ve worked with students from Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay to provide career exploration, a mentorship program, on-site visits, job shadowing, and event sponsorships. Without being able to host in-person events this past year, our team got creative and hosted our first ever virtual career showcase to expose underprivileged kids to some of the opportunities that could propel their future careers in cybersecurity.
Spearheading new initiatives to further impact students in our community, ReliaQuest launched ReliaQuest Cybersecurity Labs at the University of South Florida in 2018, funding the program through a $1 million, 3-year commitment. The 4-week course gives students across all majors the opportunity to learn the fundamental skills needed to prepare them for careers in cybersecurity. More than 180 students have graduated from the program since its inception, and we are thankful to have hired over 30 of these students as both interns and full-time employees at ReliaQuest.
This past year, individual ReliaQuest employees have also taken initiative to develop creative, virtual ways to educate the younger generations on cybersecurity. Our very own Marcus Carey, ReliaQuest Enterprise Architect, built a virtual, immersive environment similar to an escape room that gamifies realistic security challenges. This experience, called the Intrusion Room™, was developed over 3 days in Marcus’s home office to allow anyone the opportunity to test their knowledge, hands-on, with only an Internet connection. In partnership with 3DE, Marcus opened the Intrusion Room up to 10th and 12th graders to see who had what it takes to be a hacker, as well as speak to them about his early career path and cyber security tips and tricks. The Intrusion Room was so well received, Marcus has provided the link so teachers at multiple 3DE schools could give it a try.
Giving back any way we can
When we can support our customers, partners, and teams, we jump at the chance – and this year was especially important to show our support. Over the course of the pandemic, we sent meals from restaurants operated by our Hospitality customers to help fuel the front-line workers at our various Healthcare industry customers as they fight the pandemic. We are so grateful to have had the ability to support our customer base outside of cybersecurity efforts during times like these. These organizations aren’t just customers, but rather a partner whose teams are viewed as an extension to one another.
We were so grateful to receive a note back for our support of the team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta:
On behalf of our staff, along with the kids and families we serve, THANK YOU for supporting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta during this unprecedented time. We are ever-mindful of how Covid-19 has impacted our community’s businesses. We also recognize that this time has provided the opportunity for our community to rally together and help one another. And support like yours’ has helped Children’s remain well-equipped to stand strong during these trying times.
Fostering partnerships to aid our communities
In the pre-COVID world, ReliaQuest took time every Friday afternoon to bring in lunch into our offices for employees to enjoy a meal together. When the company moved to a work-from-home model this past March, we continued this effort a bit differently with Uber Eats credits. It didn’t take long, though, for our team to realize that there were people and communities that needed this more than we did.
In natural ReliaQuest fashion, a team member spoke out about giving people the option to forfeit their meal credit and instead donate that amount to Feeding America, a charity focused on assisting local communities with meals through the pandemic. We are so proud of our employees, opting themselves into a program that allowed ReliaQuest to donate meal credits to Feeding America instead of their own pockets (or rather mouths!).
ReliaQuest will team up with Feeding America once again this month to provide meals to families in need this Thanksgiving. To keep things interesting, we’ve organized a Virtual 5k Turkey Trot with our team and ReliaQuest will sponsor one family for each employee that participates!
Additionally, this holiday season we’re partnering with charities in our local communities to provide gifts to foster children and families in need. Over the last three years, ReliaQuest has also supported organizations such as OnBikes, where our team lends a hand to build bikes for foster children during the holidays. Although this season has been postponed due to COVID-19, we look forward to the bike build rescheduled for Spring 2021 and can’t wait to see what new doors open in the coming year for our company and teams to donate, volunteer and get involved with next!
From our team at ReliaQuest, thank you to the charities, organizations, and workers who have devoted countless time and energy to ensuring our communities’ health and happiness during this challenging year.