At the legal helm of Entrust Datacard, Lisa Tibbits embraces creative solutions to help the data security company protect customers’ identities in more than a hundred countries.
Supported by a team with a wide spectrum of legal expertise, Tibbits’s business acumen has helped her excel in her role as senior vice president and general counsel of Entrust Datacard. As an in-house lawyer, Tibbits enjoys the dive she can make into strategy, as well as utilizing creative ways to solve problems across the business.
Adept at maneuvering within various legal jurisdictions, she loves working internationally. “I have traveled the world negotiating deals, building relationships, and learning more than I ever imagined,” Tibbits says.
As a private company headquartered in Minnesota, one of Entrust Datacard’s strategies is growth by acquisition with an eye for long-term gain. This strategy allows the company to analyze the market, see where it is going, and make investments in what it understands to be upcoming opportunities for business growth.
“We are a builder of businesses. We are always looking at opportunities that will extend our leadership position and ensure alignment with changing market demands,” Tibbits says. “We’ve been selectively aggressive in our acquisition strategies and we will continue to seek new acquisitions and partnerships moving forward that will help leverage our expertise and grow our business.”
This was particularly evident when Datacard Group acquired Entrust in 2014. At the corporate level, Tibbits was responsible for combining the legal team at Datacard Group, with the Entrust legal team headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. Tibbits knew it was important to have the two formerly separate teams communicate as much as possible so that each group learned and understood the other’s business processes. The goal was to have a thoughtful and strategic way of integrating the two teams to create a combined process that worked well for the new joint legal team.
Leading this effort, Tibbits paired each person in the legacy Datacard Group team from the Minnesota office with a legal team member from the Ottawa office so they could learn from each other. “The team worked diligently in a very short amount of time to really understand the similarities and differences of each team,” she says.
With a strong focus on knowledge sharing, the teams quickly worked together to figure out compliance, best practices, and processes. Tibbits believes that the effort was extremely successful, and now as Entrust Datacard, the teams are integrated and successfully working together in the digital security space across the globe.
Tibbits believes the acquisition is highly relevant and integral to the strategic growth of the organization. She says that cybersecurity will continue to be a real issue for companies and individuals now and in the future. Cybercriminals are waging an increasingly sophisticated war on digital identities, and she recommends that the general consumers educate themselves on moving beyond just a password to leverage multiple factors of authentication when logging in to online accounts.
“It’s all about helping people keep their identities—and their data—safe,” Tibbits says. “There have been many discussions about how we can continue to address this issue, and it’s good to see that the US Cybersecurity Act of 2015 was enacted and an initiative to create a Cybersecurity National Action Plan is underway. This shows that government, citizens, and corporations are working to establish a real commitment for a long-term strategy in the fight against cybercrime.”
“It’s all about helping people keep their identities—and their data—safe.”
Entrust Datacard continues to grow worldwide in many other areas and markets, including operating in more than 150 countries. International legal expertise is a must, which makes Tibbits’s leadership and her team so important. Each member on the legal team is responsible for a primary region such as Latin America or Asia Pacific, as well as global responsibility for a specialty area such as real estate or mergers and acquisitions. This provides the team with exposure to a wide range of issues in domestic and international markets.
Entrust Datacard works with government identity programs in more than 150 countries, offering ePassports, national IDs, and driver’s licenses, among others. In the enterprise market, it creates business tools such as encryption technologies or credential issuance solutions. More than 500 companies use its authentication platform in more than eighty-five countries. “Today, virtually every consumer, citizen, and enterprise employee around the world touches our solutions in some way,” Tibbits explains.
As an influential lawyer, Tibbits has extensive experience that extends beyond working at Entrust Datacard. While working toward her law degree, Tibbits interned at a large firm and quickly realized that she preferred in-house roles, where she could become ingrained in the business and help drive strategy rather than specializing in a particular area of law.
After graduating from law school, Tibbits landed an in-house position at Rainforest Cafe restaurants. While there, she honed her knowledge in real estate, employment, and corporate law. “I really enjoyed being part of a very successful startup company,” Tibbits says. “It was challenging and exciting to be working at Rainforest Cafe. After I started there, I knew that going in-house was the best decision I made.”
Two years after she joined Rainforest Cafe, the company was acquired and moved its headquarters. Yet Tibbits cites the work she did at Rainforest Cafe as preparation for her transition into a completely new industry when she joined Entrust Datacard.
Now, Tibbits and her team at Entrust Datacard are positioning the data security company for continuous success for years to come. “Entrust Datacard is a thriving global company, and we look forward to what the future holds for us,” Tibbits says. “I’m very proud of my legal team and the colleagues that we have worldwide.”