Interview with Dr. Kelley Misata, President and Executive Director of The Open Information Security Foundation

Blog Post | October 29, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Dr. Kelley Misata, President and Executive Director of The Open Information Security Foundation.

Credit: Dr. Kelley Misata

Dr. Kelley Misata is a cyber and information security executive with 15+ years of experience in strategic initiatives, business development, community and customer growth, marketing, and communications. Today, she is expanding her groundbreaking dissertation research on the security preparedness of nonprofits into a new venture, Sightline Security, missioned to helping underserved enterprises and community sectors. Her current role as President and Executive Director of The Open Information Security Foundation and past role as Communications Director at The Tor Project allows Kelley to spotlight her expertise in open source and network security. Proven success bringing complex cyber and information security principles to business and non-technical audiences, Dr. Misata is an expert in bridging the gap between technical and non-technical. A business-minded researcher with a groundbreaking dissertation in the information security of nonprofits, she continually draws on current trends and conversations in information security and privacy to create strategies that intersect people, process, and technology. Dr. Misata holds a Ph.D. in Information Security, a Masters Degree in Business Administration and Marketing, and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.

Hi Dr. Misata! How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

I have been involved in cyber and information security since 2010 as a result of a personal event.  Looking in the rear-view mirror, I see today that what happened to me put me on this path for (maybe) what I meant to do – empower and inspire people to come into the fold of cybersecurity.  Yes, it can be scary, complicated, and overwhelming, but if I can do it – you can do it!

The theme for this year’s Massachusetts STEM Week is “See Yourself in STEM,” with a particular focus on the power of mentoring. How can we help more young people see themselves in STEM?

We can help more young people by keeping a “seat at the table open” for them – meaning diversity of thought, experience, and ideas is as valuable as a passion for computing and security.  Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how your “superpowers” and skills fit in – it is my hope as a mentor to help people discover their path and value their contribution.

Interview with Sonia Arista, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Everbridge

Blog Post | October 28, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Sonia Arista, XYZ. Sonia Arista serves as Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Everbridge, with global oversight of operational and product security and compliance. She brings over 20 years in IT program management and consulting in the areas of governance, risk and compliance, with the last 15 years focused on enterprise data protection.

Credit: Sonia Arista

Prior to joining Everbridge, Sonia was the Healthcare CISO and vertical lead for Fortinet and was a prior CISO at Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children where she was responsible for the development and management of Information Security programs.  She has also been contracted to serve as an interim CISO for several healthcare-related entities like Wellforce, Nuance Communications and Verscend Technologies. Her experience in information security leadership includes board-level advisement, incident response, and rapid program alignment to support growth associated with mergers and acquisitions.

Originally from Houston, Sonia graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Business Administration, then moved to the Boston area 20 years ago.  She recently completed her Executive Masters in Cybersecurity at Brown University. She contributes time as a professional mentor to young professionals seeking a career in security, and guest lectures for organizations promoting women in STEM and minority advancement.

Hi Sonia! How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

20 + years – I love how cybersecurity is pertinent in every facet of our professional and private lives.

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Interview with Kevin Powers, J.D., Cybersecurity Advisor, Researcher, and Professor

Blog Post | October 27, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Professor Kevin R. Powers, J.D., Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky. Kevin is the founder and Director of the M.S. in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance Program at Boston College, and an Assistant Professor of the Practice at Boston College Law School and in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management’s Business Law and Society Department.

Credit: Kevin Powers

With over 20 years of combined law enforcement, military, national security, business, higher education, and teaching experience, he has worked as an analyst and an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, law firms in Boston and Washington, D.C., and as the General Counsel for an international software company based in Seattle, Washington. Along with his teaching at Boston College, Kevin is a Research Affiliate at the MIT Sloan School of Management and he has taught courses at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was also the Deputy General Counsel to the Superintendent. Kevin also is a Senior Cybersecurity Advisor for the national law firm of Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips, LLP, serves as a Trustee for the Board of Boston College High School, as a Director of the Board of Reading Cooperative Bank, and as a Member of the Boston College Law School Business Advisory Council. From 2016-2017, he was the Panel Lead for the Collegiate Working Group for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). Kevin regularly provides expert commentary regarding cybersecurity and national security concerns for varying local, national, and international media outlets.

Hi Dr. Powers! How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

10 plus years. What I enjoy most about cybersecurity is working with others to resolve problems. Every day, things change and there’s a new challenge. It’s about not only protecting governments or businesses; it’s about protecting your community, family, and friends.

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Interview with Brian Bartholomew, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky

Blog Post | October 26, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Brian Bartholomew, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

Credit: Brain Bartholome

Hi Brian! Can you tell us a bit about your background in Cybersecurity?

I got my start as a tier 1 analyst in a monitoring center working night shifts in 2000. From there, I joined the State Department in 2001 working for the Computer Emergency Response Team focused on defensive roles and investigations. I soon became interested in the offensive side of things and subsequently joined the Red Team performing penetration tests on various systems within the government. In 2009, I moved to the Middle East on a different government contract. In 2012, I moved back to the US where I began working with iSight Partners to help produce cyber threat intelligence products for various private customers. Finally in 2015, I joined Kaspersky where I’ve been with the Global Research and Analysis Team ever since.

How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

It’s been about 20 years since I got my start in the industry, and not a day goes by where I don’t say to myself “How did I even get here”. I think what’s most exciting for me is this field has so many opportunities and different skill sets for people to branch out into. I’ve always had the opinion that when the day comes that your job gets boring, it’s time to pick up the books and learn a new skill set. This industry provides us with so many choices to pick from there’s no reason to ever have a boring job.

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Interview with Bryan Vermes Senior Manager, Employee Experience and Social Impact at Mimecast

Blog Post | October 23, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Bryan Vermes, Senior Manager, Employee Experience and Social Impact at Mimecast, a company that provides cloud cybersecurity services for email, data & web.

Credit: Bryan Vermes

Hi Bryan! Can you tell us more about your background in cybersecurity?

I have grown up in the Greater Boston area, with the privilege of being able complete both my undergraduate and MBA degrees at Suffolk University. Starting out at City Year, a Boston-based non-profit, I’ve had a deep appreciation for non-profit work and supporting our communities. In my role today, at Mimecast, I am able to lead many of our North American corporate social responsibility programs. Additionally, I support internal communications, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement surveys, and new employee onboarding.           

I’ve been working in the cybersecurity industry for slightly over three years. I love it, because you get to be surrounded by purpose-driven people that are committed to the common good. At the end of the day, we’re here to ensure that all members of our community can safely enjoy their digital world. On top of that, working in technology comes with working alongside incredibly creative minds that are always challenging you to think of new solutions.

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Interview with Kathy Kountze, CIO at Eversource Energy

Blog Post | October 22, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Kathy Kountze, CIO for Eversource Energy.

Credit:Kathy Kountze

Hi Kathy! Can you tell us a bit about your background with cybersecurity?

I am the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Eversource Energy. Eversource is an energy company, with 8,000 employees, that provides gas, electric, and water services to 4 million customers across New England. I have been the CIO at Eversource Energy for 10 years, where I am responsible for the company’s technology areas, including cybersecurity. We have approximately 1000 information technology employees in our department who provide technology support for Eversource. 

I have been heavily involved in cybersecurity since the early 2000’s when it started to be a critical function within IT organizations to address security risks within companies. Much has changed since then with cybersecurity events happening almost daily to companies all over the globe.

Awesome! What do you love most about cybersecurity?

I enjoy assessing the cybersecurity risks and challenges and working with my security teams on minimizing those risks and protecting our company. Our company keeps the power on in homes and businesses, provides warmth through gas heat when it’s cold outside and makes sure people get clean water all day, every day. Keeping our company and other important companies, like banks and hospitals, operating by protecting them from cyber security breaches and hacks is very rewarding. The services we provide are critical for people to have productive, comfortable lives. I enjoy being a part of ensuring that happens for all of our customers.

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Interview with Wendy Willner, Security Technical Specialist at IBM

Blog Post | October 21, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Wendy Willner, Security Technical Specialist at IBM.

Credit: Wendy Willner

Hi Wendy! Can you tell us a bit about your background in Cybersecurity?

Hi! I’m Wendy Willner. I graduated in 2017 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering! After graduating, I took an exciting opportunity to work for Boeing in San Antonio, Texas. While I enjoyed my time at Boeing, in March of 2018 I took an exciting opportunity to join IBM. I’m currently working at IBM in our Cyber Security organization. I am focused on assisting our clients in deploying Cybersecurity software and maturing their Cyber Security posture.            

I have been working in Cybersecurity for two years and I LOVE IT. I really enjoy that the field is always evolving, meaning there are always new and exciting things to learn and challenges to solve. Additionally, it’s extremely gratifying to know that I am helping teams “Stop the Bad Guys.”

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Interview with Maria Lewis Kussmaul, Founding Partner at AGC Partners

Blog Post | October 20, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Maria Lewis Kussmaul, Founding Partner at AGC Partners.

Credit: Maria Lewis Kussmaul

Maria, a Co-Founder and Partner at AGC Partners, leads the firm’s investment banking efforts in the IT security sector. A recognized domain expert, Maria is a frequent contributor to industry events, panelist/presenter at the RSA Conference, Member of Massachusetts Governor’s Cybersecurity Strategy Council, Security Innovation Network (SINET) Advisory Board Member, Naval War College Roundtable Participant and has facilitated numerous “Blue Sky” strategic planning sessions with leading security teams. Prior to co-founding AGC, Maria was a co-founder, general and venture partner of Castile Ventures, a seed and early stage venture capital firm. Maria’s early Wall Street career spanned three firms – Smith Barney, Shearson Lehman and Cowen & Co., culminating as global head of Cowen’s data networks & Internet investment banking activities. Working for nearly 40 years as a sell-side equity analyst, venture capitalist and investment banker, Maria has advised on hundreds of telecom equipment, networking, Internet and security transactions. Previously, she was named to the Institutional Investor All-American Research Team for 13 consecutive years. Maria holds a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University, an M.B.A. from Wharton School of Business and a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She was the 2013 recipient of the Boston Joseph Wharton Award.

Maria is a Trustee and Vice Chair of the board of the Museum of Science (MoS) in Boston, MA, and Chair of the Museum’s Discoverers’ Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors to Boston Baroque.

A former marathoner, Maria now restricts her running to shorter distances and is a women’s running coach with 261 Fearless, a global women’s social running network. She has adopted the annual Washburn Climb of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire’s highest peak, as her chief fundraiser for MoS. Maria and her husband Wes are empty nesters and reside in Boston, MA.

How long have you been involved in Cybersecurity? What do you enjoy about it?

I have been involved in Cybersecurity as an investor or advisor for more than 25 years.  I enjoy the dynamics of the sector.  It is the only IT sector with an adversary and tends to attract sincerely mission driven professionals.

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Interview with Akshay Bhaskaran, Senior Cybersecurity Engineer at Visa

Blog Post | October 19, 2020

Hi guys! This is Jael Whitney, volunteer for Kids in Tech. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month and #MassSTEMWeek, I’m going to be talking to professionals all across the cybersecurity industry about the future of STEM. Today, I’m interviewing Akshay Bhaskaran, Senior Cybersecurity Engineer at Visa.

Credit : Akshay Bhaskaran

Tell me about yourself and your passion for Cybersecurity!

I got my undergrad in Information Technology from India, after which I came to the US to get my Master’s in Cybersecurity from Northeastern University, Boston. With good technical knowledge and hands-on experience in the field, I did two internships (or research work) focusing on different domains of Cybersecurity. Now, I am working as a full-time cybersecurity engineer in a fin-tech company.

I’ve been in this field for almost 6 years now, and I’m always passionate and excited about what I do. One great thing about Cybersecurity is you can choose a career path aligned with your interest. If you’re a person who likes to break things, you can be a red-team person focussing on how to break (or attack or bring down) the assets, and if you’re one who loves to secure things and respond to any breakage, you can be the blue-team guy. But, there are more than what a red- or blue-team plays in Cybersecurity, and the widespread opportunities in this field makes it a “hot” one in today’s fast growing world.

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Creating STEM Environments for Women to Thrive: Olu Ibrahim

Blog Post News Article | October 9, 2020

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Olu Ibrahim, Founder & CEO of Kids in Tech

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

As fundraising becomes more professionalized, as a collective, our industry [the non-profit industry] is neglecting the human element of the work we do. Rarely do we have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops that invite us to step back, explore and embrace our humanity. We must center, explore and embrace our humanity in fundraising. Fundraising for social change is about a lot of heart work. It is the heart work that will change our world for all. I too love data and the information it provides but let us keep that in mind.
 
It’s so easy for women to get in that space where you’re just everything to everyone all the time. We should be telling women and girls to take care of yourself, because that way, you’ll have more to give to those around you.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

My greatest professional challenge has always been to make sure my staff and board have meaningful opportunities for them to grow and learn.  Speaking of growth, growing our organization so we can serve more kids especially during COVID-19 and beyond is also a huge challenge. 

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