We can’t brag enough about our biggest competitive advantage: Our people. They’re some of the smartest, most talented, most interesting people on the planet – and we’re not exaggerating. In fact, if you knew even half the things our employees are up to in their spare time, it would blow your mind.
The Secret Life of RV reveals some of the coolest things our employees are doing outside of work. (Read: THIS is where we blow your mind.)
Secret Life: Andre Mintz
Chief Information Security Officer/World Renowned Salsa Champion
Q: Hi, Andre.
A: Hi, Arvy!
Q:We’ve obtained some ultra-rare, leaked footage of you, pictured below. Care to comment?
Alexa, play Tiny Dancer
A: I think those moves speak for themselves.
Q: Sounds like they’re saying, “I’m a World Salsa Champion who’s taught Salsa around the world for more than a decade…”
A: Wow, good ears. That’s right. I’ve performed at World Salsa Congresses in Puerto Rico, Cuba, New York, LA, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina, all over Europe… and I may have won a few awards. Before coming to Red Ventures, I even opened a dance school to teach Salsa. And then I got to do even more travel with the students on my professional dance team.
Q: Holy FOMO. Of all those places, which was your favorite?
A: They all have so many different memories and meanings. But it’s worth mentioning: those memories wouldn’t exist without Salsa. I was to able to visit all those countries because dance became my common language. You can go Salsa dancing anywhere – even if you don’t speak the language – because everyone understands and follows a shared structure. And it doesn’t matter where you happen to be. You name it, you’ll find a tight-knit Salsa community.
Q: Wow – so you can dance all night with somebody, even if you can’t ask them where the bathroom is?
A: Oddly specific, but yes. Salsa is an interesting thing – it’s one of the most inclusive underground communities you could ever find. When you’re on the dance floor, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from. You’ll find people from every walk of life, every level of education, and every level of income dancing together. And they probably won’t cross paths again outside of that dance. I’ve always been awestruck by this phenomenon. At a certain time, everyone comes together, you dance for a couple hours, then everyone goes back to their life. Though that’s not always the case…
Q: We’re sensing a story here…
A: I actually met my wife Salsa dancing. We didn’t know it then, but we grew up just 15 minutes from each other – she was in Staten Island and I was in New Jersey. We both traveled and lived all around the world before we met at a Salsa party in Seattle.
Q: Taco ‘bout a spicy love story. So spill the beans: Who’s the better dancer?
A: Well, I taught her. She was on my dance team for a while. But I won’t answer that question on record.
Q: We’ll leave it at this: Salsa’s been a big part of your life. When did you first start dancing?
A: You might as well ask, “when did you first start walking?” I’ve been dancing from the time I could stand in my crib. In New Jersey, Salsa is everywhere. It permeates the streets. You hear it out your window. You hear it all the time. I have family of Latin descent, so I always had Salsa playing around the house. But it all started with my grandmother and mother dancing with me.
The beauty of Salsa is that it’s something you can do your whole life. I dance with my three and my five year-old daughters, and I dance with my mom, who’s nearly eighty. It’s something you can do at all ages.
Q: That’s so special! And you’ve been able to take this talent all around the globe – from New Jersey to Seattle. Speaking of cross-country moves… how’d you wind up at Red Ventures HQ?
A: I moved to Seattle with Microsoft back in 2004. But my whole family is here in the Southeast – same with my wife’s family. Turns out, 3000 miles is a long way. So, we’d always talked about moving back to the east coast. When I came across Red Ventures, I’ll admit I was completely shocked. As someone who’s worked in the Pacific Northwest and in Silicon Valley, I honestly thought it was a scam. (To be fair, I’m paid to think that way.) But I thought, “there’s no way a company that looks like the GooglePlex happens to be based out of Fort Mill, SC.”
And to add insult to injury, this all happened at the time your infamous April Fool’s day video was going around social media. I was genuinely excited to have lunch on the lazy river…
Q: We are so sorry about the lazy river. It was a PRANK. (The minotaur, however..)
A: In all seriousness, when I came to campus for my interview, I fell in love with the concept and the people. Red Ventures gets in your blood. It was intriguing and compelling and interesting enough for me to sell my house, uproot my family and move. I was completely bought in.
Q: Ca-ching! Here at RV, you’re the CISO/CPO. That’s a lot of letters. Please explain.
A: I protect the three most important aspects of Red Ventures: our people, our information, and our reputation. That’s everything from the physical security of our global offices and data centers to privacy regulations across Europe, Brazil and the U.S. This also includes information security. We keep the hackers out, so you can focus on doing your job.
In other words: if something goes wrong and there’s someone to blame, that someone is probably me.
Q: Whew, that’s a lot. But like Salsa, it sounds like you’ve been in the Security game for a while. Have you found any similarities between the two?
A: Interestingly enough, yes. I pride myself on having one of the most eclectic, diverse, and inclusive teams in the company. The way we’ve created our own micro-culture – here at RV and in the way we approach Security – is very similar to the Salsa world. With Salsa, it doesn’t matter if you’re a neurosurgeon or a freshman in college. If you’re a great dancer, you’re a rockstar. That’s how our team is, too. Stereotypes just don’t work.
Q: Thank you, Andre. And if you get the choice… I hope you dance.
A: And you, too. Really. Everyone should try it!!!
There’s no such thing as too many secrets. Next, read all about insta-famous photographer Riley Arthur’s diner-themed passion project.
About the Author:Kara Robertson | Creative Producer
Kara is a Clemson grad and creative producer who joined the RV Corporate Communications team in 2017. She manages INSPIRED, creates all kinds of content for the Red Ventures brand, and wears more orange than medically recommended. (Go Tigers!)