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Social Impact Tech: Leah Page of ADT On How Their Technology Will Make An Important Positive Impact

An Interview With Jilea Hemmings

ADT’s mobile technology, Safe by ADT solves two major challenges: it provides anyone in an emergency with discreet methods for summoning help and it enables the transfer of potentially life-saving information to 911, including data such as GPS location, gender, and hair color. By increasing the information available to emergency responders, it can enable faster response times and help save lives.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Leah Page.

Leah Page has 20 years of experience in product management and service operations for next-generation technology hardware and software solutions. She has a strong passion for product development and bringing new products and services to market.

In her current role as VP of Mobile Security & Strategic Projects at ADT, Leah leads the Mobile Security and Health business units. Her focus is on delivering tech-forward products from ADT that extend security beyond the home to meet demands of new demographics and customers. This includes the extension of ADT professional mobile monitoring services with new partners where end-users get help when and where they need it. Leah has ownership of Safe by ADT, an easy-to-use platform that can be integrated into third-party apps, and ADT-owned mobile safety app, SoSecure by ADT. Her role also includes managing the business that supports ADT’s senior customers with unique solutions to provide aging in place and meeting their personal security inside and outside of the home.

Prior to ADT, Leah held leadership positions at Cinch Home Services where she built a platform for matching service providers to IoT device needs, and Motorola Mobility where she drove product strategy and requirements definition for smart phones and mobile applications.

Leah graduated with a BS in International Business from the University of Southern California.

Leah currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband, 5 children, and dog named Charlie.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I am a native Floridian, born and raised in South Florida where I currently reside. When I was in middle and high school, my family re-located to Singapore and I spend many of my formative years there. It was an amazing place to live and gave me such a different perspective on life, culture, and society. Traveling to new places was a huge part of my youth and something that I enjoy doing with my family now. There is nothing better than exploring a new city, experiencing local traditions, and enjoying local flavors!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

In a previous role, my responsibility was product introduction and distribution in international markets. There was an issue with the brand trademark in a market that we were looking to develop. In this market, the law required the trademark to be negotiated from the current owner. I worked with a local law firm to set up a meeting with the current trademark owner at their local offices. We had spoken about the strategy, the negotiation, and the amount the company was willing to pay to get it back. After a long trip when I arrived at the law office, I was seated in a room and waited for the legal teams, a translator, and the person who currently owned the trademark. After some time, they showed up and the negotiation went way better than expected getting it back easily and for next to nothing. After the meeting concluded, I was reviewing the paperwork and realized that it was the wrong brand. The legal office had made a mistake and placed me in the wrong meeting room. It was eventually all worked out, but I laugh that there is a retail store brand out there that still owes me!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve had many great mentors and bosses in my career. I always take something from each one. In my current role, I am grateful to ADT’s CEO, Jim DeVries. He is a true believer in bringing security beyond the home and has been a driving force behind what we are doing with mobile security.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have a magnet in my office this sits in the center of my whiteboard. I use my whiteboard to think about new ideas and concepts, or solve problems with my team. The magnet reads, “Proceed as if success is inevitable.” It strikes a chord with me, as I often work on new and innovative projects where the outcome is yet to be determined. If you stay positive, believe in work, and do the right thing, then success will come.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  • Respect — It Is important to respect the people around you. People will have different perspectives on how to solve problems or how a customer may view a product. It is more important now than ever to respect these opinions and respect one another. Providing praise to teams and thanking them for their work in a meaningful way is an important part of leadership.
  • Loyalty — It is important to be loyal to yourself and your cause. To this day, I work with many people that I have known or worked with for decades. I think when you take care of people it creates a sense of loyalty and comradery that allows the team to achieve even the most difficult tasks.
  • Humility — Never act like something beneath you. Never say “that’s not my job”. I abide by an “all hands on deck” policy to solve problems and get things done. I think humility make teams more engaged and it allows people to know that their opinions count. Be the first one to take the pen, offer to take the notes — you’ll be amazed how much of a leadership role that automatically places you in.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive social impact on our society. To begin, what problems are you aiming to solve?

According to NENA, an estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 in the U.S. annually, often with limited location data. Some 911 callers are unable to verbally relay information that emergency responders need to assist them because they are unaware of their surroundings, traumatized, or in a dangerous situation that an obvious outreach for help may worsen.

How do you think your technology can address this?

ADT has developed a mobile safety technology platform that leverages the ubiquity of GPS-enabled mobile devices and the always-on, professional monitoring and emergency assistance of ADT’s more than 1,000 trained monitoring agents. The technology, Safe by ADT, is a data-driven, easy-to-use platform that powers our personal safety app, SoSecure, and can be easily integrated into third-party apps. Safe by ADT extends the safety and security of ADT’s professional monitoring services to its partner’s (e.g. Lyft, invisaWear, harbor) users within its mobile app experience.

This innovation represents a revolutionary new approach for ADT, the number one smart home security provider, in two ways. First, it extends protection away from the home to protect people, regardless of where they are. Second, by integrating the ADT technology and service directly into apps and devices, it’s a departure from ADT’s traditional single-brand approach.

Because Safe by ADT can be easily integrated into third-party apps, we are opening up a world of possibilities to add safety and security to other innovative products and services.

ADT’s mobile technology, Safe by ADT solves two major challenges: it provides anyone in an emergency with discreet methods for summoning help and it enables the transfer of potentially life-saving information to 911, including data such as GPS location, gender, and hair color. By increasing the information available to emergency responders, it can enable faster response times and help save lives.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I’ve always been inspired by ADT’s guiding principle that everyone deserves to feel safe. While that guiding principle pervades, there have been drastic changes in American labor and society that altered the way people interact with one another. Blind dates are set up with the swipe of a finger in an app. Spare rooms in our homes can be rented out the same day with a single click. Gig economies have transformed the service industry, enabling millions of strangers to receive or provide a service to one another on-demand through an app. With these conveniences also comes an increased concern for personal safety. My team and I saw this as an exciting opportunity to innovate safety solutions for today’s lifestyles and extend ADT’s trusted protection wherever people’s lives take them, whether they’re delivering groceries, taking a rideshare home from a night out or venturing out in a new city on a peaceful walk.

How do you think this might change the world?

While it’s easy to think of this innovation as simply reactive protection — for use in emergency — we like to believe that is more of an enabling technology. By giving users peace of mind, we can unlock myriad opportunities. We can enable new economic opportunities for people who might otherwise be nervous to drive for a rideshare or shop for a food delivery company. We can give a new resident of the city the confidence to explore new neighborhoods. We can open up new forms of mobility for the elderly or infirmed who might otherwise not be confident to venture out on their own. The opportunities are endless when you pair location-based devices with the trained, trusted and always-on professional emergency response teams of ADT.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I don’t think there are any unintended consequences when it comes to mobile security and how our highly trained Monitoring Agents handle incoming incidents. At ADT, we do our best to confirm that people that get in contact with us need help from police before we request that dispatch. One unexpected benefit that surfaced is that there are groups of people that prefer not to talk to 911 when they need the police or are scared that they won’t be taken seriously. In these cases, I am happy we provide a service that can reassure or get help to people that need it most.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

The first thing is that you need to be passionate about the positive impact you strive to make. Find a cause that is important to you and think about how technology can enable an answer to that problem. When I started to think about how security is personal to people and how they want that experience to be delivered, it became evident that the way ADT Monitoring Agents handle a situation must be relevant to that situation. Therefore, the team built a tool that allows for the interactions to be dynamic to the issue. We also added training that helps Agents to be sensitive to these new types of incidents. Think clearly about the issue you are trying to solve and then how to go about it.

Second, the technology needs to be intuitive. It seems obvious to say, but if technology inhibits the problem you are trying to solve or makes it too difficult to use, then the purpose can be blurred. In the implementation of ADT’s mobile security app, SoSecure, we have multiple ways — a widget, a time-based parameter, voice activation, or a digital slider button — that allow a user to request that they need help. It was important to prioritize these efforts so it was easier to have people that might be in a threatening situation be able to engage with us. The core of SoSecure is to enable people to get help, and our technology makes it as intuitive as possible.

Third, think about how your audience wants to engage with your product. For the mobile security business, we have added chat and video as ways to engage with our Monitoring Agents in a time of need. In designing the app, it was important to think about discreet situations, situations where a user wants to show what is happening, and situations that necessitate a speed of emergency help where every second counts. Remember to think about the engagement of that audience and the situational factors that will be around them when they are using the product, it will enable a better overall experience.

Forth, don’t be afraid to do things differently. It is important to understand the landscape, competitive factors, and the future of the cause you are passionate about. It is key to thinking about how things are done today, and how technology and an intuitive experience might disrupt that. Dare to think about how you might want something to work, about where your cause could go at the highest level, and then map your path of how to get there. Strive to put your flavor to something and make it different. Just because something has always been done one way isn’t always a great reason to keep doing it that way.

And last, have a great team! Surround yourself with people that care about your cause, surround yourself with people that you respect and admire. Remember to diversify your team with culture, tenure, and personalities. It will deliver a better product to a more diverse audience. If you are lucky enough to be in a leadership position, listen to them, get hands on with the right problems, and learn from those around you.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

There are so many small ways and big ways to help people in society. When you see a way that you might make a difference — a new idea, a platform to speak your mind, a way to fight for something you believe in — then don’t let anything stop you. Young people today are faced with many societal issues and I see what a large part of their lives it is to take a stand and speak their minds. I am always impressed and encouraged that this is now part of people’s lives at such a young age.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.

This is by far the hardest question — Kamala Harris, Snoop Dog, Mary Barra…. I could spend hours making a list. But I think I will have to go with Tim Cook. There is no doubt he has an amazing vision on where next generation mobile devices are going and the 10-year landscape. I want to know the year when I won’t have to look down at a screen or carry a phone. And although I prefer my MacBook and my iPad, I prefer Android phones, so it could be fun to have him try to convince me otherwise.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can follow our work on ADT Newsroom and on SoSecure by ADT page.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.


Social Impact Tech: Leah Page of ADT On How Their Technology Will Make An Important Positive Impact was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.