Introducing Andy Iro, Citizen’s new VP of Central Operations
We caught up with Andy Iro, Citizen’s new VP of Central Operations to talk soccer, public safety, and what brought him to Citizen.
A Liverpool native, Andy was recruited to play soccer at UC Santa Barbara, where he went on to captain UCSB to an NCAA Division 1 championship. After college, Andy went on to become an MLS champion in 2008 with the Columbus Crew. After finishing out his professional soccer career in his native Britain, Andy turned to tech for his next steps.
Andy comes to Citizen following an accomplished career at a series of tech companies, including Uber and Compass.
Q: Tell us about what led you to join Citizen.
A: What drew me initially was my experience as a user. During the BLM marches in the summer of 2020, I found that it was really helpful in letting me know where I could join a rally or a march. It was super helpful when there were a lot of helicopters around to see where they were and what they were there for. I realized the app’s potential as I personally have gone through my own use cases, whether it be my own interactions with law enforcement, or just yesterday when my car was broken into and my wallet was stolen. When the opportunity came up to join, it was a natural fit.
Q: As VP of Central Operations, you’ll be working closely with our 24/7 team of analysts, specialists and agents. What are you most excited about working with this team?
A: A tech company at the intersection of public safety, community affairs, and breaking hyperlocal content is a very unique space. I think that Citizen has a really interesting opportunity to connect these things on the most basic human level of feeling safe and connected to others. People often think about their personal or family safety, but those are just building blocks to collective, community safety. If the neighborhood is safer, then I am safer. What I’m finding with Central Operations is a huge opportunity to merge the immediacy and relevance of safety notifications with story, content and positive action within the community. Bringing those factors together is the thing that excites me most about creating this product which really has the potential to be an amazing utility to users and their cities.
Q: What principles from your past experience do you want to apply to Central Operations at Citizen?
A: When you play sports on a team, specifically at a professional level, what’s often more important than the individual skill of a player is how each player understands the importance of their role within the larger team. People need to be given line of sight to understand their role, and the organization needs to be able to understand what roles people want and may be best suited to play. This is important now, but will become increasingly important and challenging as we grow the team.
The 24/7 nature of the Central Operations team means that there are a lot of people doing a lot of vital work behind the scenes, work which might not always necessarily be in the spotlight. There are of course moments, individual incidents or groups of incidents that are high-impact which prove the utility and superpowers of the Central team, but to build and grow a great Operations team, you can’t just focus on short term goals like a single championship – it’s about setting and standard and being consistent over time.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
A: My personal goal at Citizen is to amplify what is already an amazing product in a way that maintains integrity, speed, accuracy, and builds around what the users needs are in the hope of connecting people and communities around the idea of being safe.
I’m a person of color myself, and I’m well aware that black and brown communities are often the ones most affected by the incidents that Citizen covers in the US. But when I think about other use cases in this digital world where people are meeting online and traveling globally, or countries where democracy is less of a concept. Or where crime, theft and corruption are more prevalent, building a tech platform that can empower and protect global citizens — who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
If you’re interested in joining our team or learning more here: https://citizen.com/.