Viasat veteran lives a life of service

Former Marine joins Viasat as director of Global Security Services

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Bridget Guerrero and her family live near Tempe, AZ

Bridget Guerrero knew from a young age that her life would revolve around serving others. She credits that early sense of purpose to her parents.

As Viasat’s new director of Global Security Services, she believes she’s found her perfect role.

“My dad served in the Marines before I was born,” she said. “It transformed his life. A lesson he took out of it was service to others, so he raised us with those ideals. My mom was also very focused on supporting others.

“So, whether I served in the military or my community, they were proud of me for committing my time and talent to worthy causes.”

Not only is Guerrero a former Marine, her father, husband and son all were, or currently serve as, Marines. Her son’s wife is also currently serving as a Navy corpsman.

Upon graduating college, Guerrero was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines. She served for 10 years as a communications and intelligence officer, and served her final tour in an Army Special Forces unit. While there, she became the Marine Corps’ first female military freefall parachutist.

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In 2000, Guerrero and a team of two other female U.S. Marines were the first Americans to win the World Military Pentathlon championships in Berlin, Germany.

“Those experiences really shaped me,” she said. “But at 10 years, people usually decide to stay in for a full career or transition. I decided to move on.”

Post-Marines career

Her time as a civilian did not last long. In 2001, she was training to be a search and rescue emergency medical technician when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Guerrero was called back to active duty as a reservist.

In response to the attacks, she worked with the Department of Homeland Security to stand up an intelligence unit. That work included developing processes to identify credible threats to U.S. infrastructure. At the time, threats against oil and gas pipelines, electrical grids, American landmarks and other key infrastructure were overwhelming the government.

Working with other security, intelligence and defense agencies, Guerrero’s organization would determine the threats’ validity, and coordinate with partner agencies to warn officials and support threat mitigation.

“I was able to apply the things l learned in the military to the public sector,” she said. “It was a very meaningful job, and it was important for me to be able to serve in another way following the 9/11 attacks.”

While doing that work, Guerrero met and married an FBI agent. The couple moved to Bucharest, Romania, where he had accepted a position at the U.S. embassy as an FBI legal attaché.

“The first Sunday we were there, I met a handful of Catholic nuns who instructed me to report to them the following morning to work on asylum seeker and refugee issues,” she said. “These ladies were extremely energetic and driven to help others. Learning from them was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

The couple then moved to Turkey where Guerrero launched a nonprofit for asylum seekers and refugees modeled after what she’d learned from the nuns. Her organization created resources for refugees seeking critical services, helping them obtain food and medical support, learn English and secure clothing.

She was formally recognized for that work by the U.S. Secretary of State in 2008 and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2006-2009.

When the family moved back to the U.S., Guerrero — now a mother of three — went back to work in security. She first founded her own company and then went to work in the private sector.

Discovering Viasat

While working as senior manager of global security at GoDaddy, she spotted the ad for a similar post at Viasat. While she was happy at GoDaddy, the post intrigued her.

“As I started interviewing, I realized I could be very passionate about the mission at Viasat,” she said. “With a son and daughter-in-law actively serving in the military, the idea that I could indirectly contribute to their safety and success felt like the right next move.

“And after being away from the communications field for so long, catching up on the advances in satellite communications technology deliverables for the private sector was also very exciting.”

Guerrero joined Viasat in July. As director of Global Security Services, much of her work is focused on Viasat’s international expansion.

“I’m responsible for scoping and supporting the corporate security requirements globally as we grow and helping to build programs that align with Viasat security standards,” she said. “With this global growth, we need to be deliberate in building programs that support employee life safety, facility security and our intellectual property protection at scale.”

She’s also stepped up to take over leadership of the company’s Veterans Alliance, which supports veterans through recruitment, career growth and care of their families.

“I look forward to continuing to foster the sense of community Viasat veterans have already created here in the United States,” she said. “I also think we can find some interesting ways to bring in Viasat employees who have served their countries in other parts of the world where Viasat now operates.”

Outside of Viasat, Guerrero chairs the Overseas Security Advisory Council’s Women in Security, a U.S. Department of State organization that encourages diversity and inclusion in the security field.