Advisor Answers: Alan Bersin

At Zemcar, we have an amazing Board of Advisors with backgrounds that span children’s health, security, technology, and business. Transparency, safety, and security are our mission and, with that in mind, we thought it was important that you get a chance to know a little bit more about our team driving that mission.

Today’s interview is with Alan Bersin. Alan’s dedication to public service, education, and security aligns well with Zemcar’s brand promise to families. Alan has served as an Inaugural Fellow in the Homeland Security Project at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, as a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington D.C., as Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as Vice President of INTERPOL for the Americas Region and as a member of the INTERPOL Executive Committee.  He served through 2016 as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the International Policing Division Steering Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Alan was also appointed as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California by President Bill Clinton, and he has held numerous other distinguished state and local government positions, including serving as California’s Secretary of Education, Superintendent of Public Education in San Diego, and Chairman of the San Diego Airport Authority.


Q: What attracted you to Zemcar?

A: Having raised three daughters, I was delighted to learn of Zemcar’s service, which combines creatively and efficiently the elements of convenience, security, manageable cost and assured reliability. The practical reality of an on-call, nanny-on-wheels is one that my wife and I would have made much use of – had it been available when our children were growing up. We intend to use Zemcar for our grandchildren, as circumstances and opportunities arise to do so.

Q: What about your experience do you think will bring the most value to Zemcar?

A: As a father and grandfather, a former law enforcement official, and homeland security advisor, I bring the perspective both of a consumer and a supplier to the objective of improving Zemcar’s service.

Q: What else are you currently doing in your career?

A: Since leaving public service in January 2017, I serveat the global law firm of Covington & Burling as a Senior Advisor to the firm; as an Inaugural Fellow in the Homeland Security Project at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and as Global Fellow at Wilson Center in Washington D.C.   I am also the Chairman of BorderWorks, a consulting firm specializing in matters of Border Security and Management, including infrastructure projects on the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico.

Q: Besides Zemcar, what’s a “must have app” that you can’t live without?

A: Among the apps now crucial to making my daily life work more efficiently and effectively are: WhatsApp and Parkmobile.

Q: Do you think technology has made parenting today easier or more difficult?

A: As in most other realms of experience, technology can produce both results for parents, depending upon the way in which it is applied and permitted to impact our lives. It takes deliberate thought and requires careful planning to maximize the benefits of technology and minimize the potential downside of adverse effects.

Q: One piece of advice to parents?

A: As mothers and fathers discover in due course, parenting is an imperfect exercise to be sure, and can be managed by design only up to a point because of the emotional intensity (and complexity) of the relationship. Life happens. Parents should remain painfully aware and own up to the many mistakes they will make in raising their children. Unconditional love is the remedy to most of these errors and resolves most of them successfully. As my Mother used to say: “Whatever the question, love is a good answer.”