GSX+ kicked off this morning with a keynote from Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Columbia (2010-2018) and recipient of the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts in bringing Columbia’s 50-year-long civil war to an end. The GSX+ virtual event that will take place all this week through Friday, September 25.

President Santos gave a powerful keynote, taking a global perspective on leadership and security during this time. Speaking to security professionals across the globe, Santos said leaders must “be careful during this time to not use history and past experiences to extrapolate or predict the future because we are navigating in unchartered waters. There is no precedent for what we are going through.”

He said, that because these times are completely new and unchartered, the traditional tools that we are used to addressing situations will only have limited impact and the consequences we will see will last a long time and will not be shared equally.

“In this pandemic, so far the only certainty has been precisely uncertainty,” he said.

Santos urged security professionals to take a number of steps to secure their organizations, communities, cities and countries during this time and one of those steps was to never lose hope.

“Good leadership is needed. This is an opportunity for good leadership. We are seeing a new leader emerge, [one that is] more compassionate, more empathetic, more trustworthy, more effective,” he said.

The keynote session wrapped up the morning with a Q&A, on which Santos called for leaders to focus on reducing conflict, and to take a proactive role in their organizations. He called for leaders to listen and to have empathy for everyone within their organization, including stakeholders, customers, employees and even communities.

“Every company must start doing this job of making a much more attractive environment for these types of changes. And must also participate in the discussion of what this ideal path should be,” Santos said. In other words, change needs to start with us. To start with the security professionals and the security leaders in organizations to ensure business continuity; to ensure a stronger organization and to ensure safety, security and equality in a post-pandemic world and into the future. 

GSX+ will have a theme for each day of the conference, tomorrow’s being resiliency. For the rest of today, GSX+ visitors can expect more than 25 sessions throughout the day, including Expecting the Unexpected: a Playbook for Unknown Events; Bridging the Gap Between Physical and Cyber Security, and How to Recruit and Retain Gen Z in Security. The day will wrap up with a Welcome Reception at 3:30 pm Eastern which will include live music.

To sign in to GSX+ sessions or to see recorded sessions you may have missed, visit