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40 Under 40 - Class of 2021
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 2 weeks ago

Alicia Dietzen, 31

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KnowBe4, general counsel
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

Alicia Dietzen

31

General Counsel KnowBe4 Inc.

Alicia Dietzen is not afraid of a little hard work. And that’s good, because if she was, she’d be in trouble.

Dietzen is the general counsel for KnowBe4 Inc., a rapidly-growing cybersecurity firm in Clearwater. She started in the job, in 2016, as the only attorney on staff.

A lot has happened since then, and today KnowBe4 is a publicly traded company with a presence in 11 countries and $207 million in annual revenue —up some 750% from when she started with the firm. Managing that rapid growth required an attorney who could shepherd the company through the complex and sometimes confounding world of compliance.

That attorney, you may have guessed, was Dietzen.

She learned by doing and as KnowBe4 moved forward — making sure the company met all the requirements needed to not only go public, but to stay compliant under the law once it did. And as the company has grown, it isn’t just at KnowBe4 she needs to watch over, but all the companies brought into the fold have to learn to follow the rigorous rules of a public company. (KnowBe4 went public in April, raising $152 million.)

“I just kept learning and teaching myself, reading books and trying to make sure I could support the business through its growth,” says Dietzen, now with a staff of 12.

“Personally, I didn’t have a lot of down time," she adds. "I love work, and when I consider work-life balance it’s doing things that help me with my profession and help me with my career. I don’t mind prioritizing my career.”

She credits that work ethic to her mother, an attorney. She did criminal defense in New Orleans for years before marrying and starting an environmental oil company out of Louisiana with her husband. Dietzen’s mother eventually became the company’s in-house counsel and then a patent attorney. Dietzen’s father was no slouch either. Along with running the company, he secured 22 patents.

Dietzen says growing up when her and her brother — also an attorney — weren’t in after-care, they were at the company's office.  

“When we’d come home from school, we were spending time in the office,” she says. “So our whole lives our mentors, being our parents, were always working, always dedicated to their careers, and found great success from that hard work and dedication.”

Birthplace: Lafayette, Louisiana

Years in the area: 8 years

Marital Status/Children: Married in September!

Alma Mater/Degree: Stetson University - BBA/Stetson University College of Law – JD with International Law Concentration

What community group or organization are you most involved with? Association of Corporate Counsel. I recently joined the West Central Florida Chapter Women’s Committee.

What's the weirdest job you've ever had? I once did a family business internship where I worked part of the time in the family's interior design business and part of the time in the family law firm. It was an exciting summer!

What's your top tip for being productive? Keeping well-organized processes for knowledge management, setting quarterly objectives and key results (OKRs/KPIs), and measuring performance with statistics to ensure any decline in productivity does not go unnoticed and can be fixed right away.

If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? I would be a travel agent. I love to travel and everywhere I go I build out elaborate itineraries and spend a lot of time researching the location before I visit.

What's your favorite off-hours activity? Riding my bike with my husband. We live along this amazing bike trail (Pinellas Trail) that spans across multiple cities in the Tampa Bay area.

Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? No movies for me! Just Netflix. Mostly watching reruns of older movies.

What's the top item on your bucket list? The item on my list for 2021 is getting married and going to Hawaii for our honeymoon.

What's your favorite podcast? It is hard to pick a favorite but I will often find a TED Talk podcast, whether it be in technology, business, science,or a number of other topics.

Where is your happy place? Louisiana. Although I have been living in Florida for many years, Louisiana still feels like home every time I visit. Great food and a vibrant culture.

Describe yourself in three words: Creative, driven, and dedicated.

Who is your mentor for your career and why? My mom, Carolyn Dietzen. She is also an attorney. She has taught me so many valuable life lessons. She is also the reason why I went to law school, which ultimately led me to my current career path. I get my work ethic from her.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? There are so many lessons that I have learned from my mom, but just to name a few that have influenced my professional life:

-No matter what profession you are in or how competitive it is, there is always a need for hardworking professionals that go above and beyond.

-Ethics and integrity come before all else.

-Never settle. There is always room for improvement.

-Be confident and don't fall victim to imposter syndrome. Dedicate yourself to becoming the best at what you do and the confidence will come naturally.

-Time is your most valuable resource and one thing that you can never get back.

-It is ok to prioritize your career if that is what makes you happy but find balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle in ways that will support your career.

 

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