Language Translation
  Close Menu



Career Experiences, Mentoring: Creating Opportunities in Cyber, Celebrating Black History Month

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

When it comes to parties or parades, there's always a theme. It gives us a reason to celebrate.

And while it's true that the cybersecurity world isn't likely to get together anytime soon to host a parade or have a party on any sort of scale that draws a crowd, there is a theme to the activity we're seeing right now, in virtually every corner of the cyber world.

In a word, it's opportunity.

Everything from the advancements we see in technology to the progress that's made involving safer Internet protocols, especially as it involves protecting children and young adults, we see opportunity. The same is true with careers in cybersecurity and how many jobs are predicted to be created in the years to come. With it, comes the opportunity for mentoring and guiding young people to a more promising future.

Of course, as new opportunities emerge, it's because people have achieved success and, in some cases, are the first to do something that's never been done. In doing so, they made the most of their opportunities, even if it meant they did so while, at the same time, overcoming adversity.

In celebration of Black History Month, we noted in our most recent blog -- featuring Indiana State CIO Tracy Barnes' interview with Linda Cureton, known for her accomplishments as the first African American CIO at NASA -- the number of cybersecurity jobs is expected to rise as much as 31 percent through 2029.

Amid that promising forecast, Cureton shared her belief that the key to attracting people in any field is the desire that folks have for the community and seeing people like themselves. In offering her perspective, she pointed out the fact that "when you are the first, you don't have the benefit -- but you can give that benefit to others".

Following on Cureton's story, we are pleased to share with you -- and honor -- the careers and achievements of three African Americans, whose knowledge, reputations, and leadership in cybersecurity and IT are admired and highly respected, along with the tireless work and contributions they've made (and continue to make) in supporting humanitarian issues worldwide.

Among those whose stories we are pleased to share with you, include:

Veda T. Woods - Humanitarian & Global Cybersecurity Executive -- Veda Woods' strategic leadership spans over 22+ years of combined public and private sector experience in cybersecurity, data governance, cyber risk management, and threat/intelligence oversight. Her focus on policies and decision-making processes is centered on protecting and respecting human rights by design. As Founder/CEO of the Protect Us Kids Foundation, Woods leads an organization, whose mission is to provide youth with critical, life-saving tools for navigating cyberspace safely without falling victim to Internet predators.

Veda T. Woods - Humanitarian & Global Cybersecurity Executive

Devon Bryan - Managing Director and CISO of MUFG Union Bank & Co-Founder - International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals -- With a cybersecurity career that began as an officer in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) coordinating counter-information operations and designing security strategies, Bryan's vast senior executive management experience includes his work at the IRS, Federal Reserve System, ADP, and KPMG, before becoming Managing Director and CISO at MUFG Union Bank, one of the world's leading financial groups. Dedicated to giving back, Devon is the Co-Founder of the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of minority students (including women and major under-represented groups) pursuing graduate and post-graduate educational degrees in cybersecurity by funding scholarship opportunities.

Devon Bryan - Managing Director and CISO of MUFG Union Bank & Co-Founder - International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals

Renee Forney - Senior Director - Azure Hardware Systems & infrastructure Security at Microsoft -- Following on her work as an executive in the private sector, Renee worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and served as the Deputy CIO of Cybersecurity and Enterprise Operations at the U.S. Department of Energy. More recently, she worked as the Senior Director of Cyber Assurance at Capital One. Recognized for her noteworthy accomplishments in the betterment of online security and data privacy, she has forged meaningful partnerships with public and private institutions to educate youth about online safety, security, and privacy.

Rene Forney - Senior Director - Azure Hardware Systems & Infrastructure Security at Microsoft

One of the foundations of Black History Month is celebrating the achievements of African Americans. And while it's true that these are but three inspiring stories, their noteworthy accomplishments are vividly illustrated in the hard work of all cyber professionals of color.TOMORROW: Be sure to visit our blog for the 3rd part in our series celebrating Black History Month, as Linda Calvin representing Ivy Tech Community College shares her experience as an African American woman, who is a leader in cybersecurity workforce development, what we are doing as an education industry, and her involvement in making a path to a career in cybersecurity more available to African Americans, women, and other minority groups.