To simply state that this RSA was a success for ICMCP would be a gross understatement. With the amount of nervous energies, uncertainties and heightened expectations preceding our two formally scheduled RSA 2015 events i.e. our Monday April, 20th panel presentation on “Building the Bridge across the Great Minority Cyber Divide” and our Tuesday April 21, Membership
Breakfast Meeting the leadership team left RSA pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming successes of the events far exceeding everyone’s expectations.
The formal events notwithstanding, the richness and substance of the vast networking opportunities the conference created for ICMCP should significantly propel ICMCP into the next critical stages of growth.
Recapping the panel’s abstract… “Cybersecurity has been identified in the USA as a key national strategy priority and globally as one of the most
serious economic and national security challenges. Sadly however, there is global underrepresentation of minorities in the fast-growing discipline of cybersecurity. “Grassroot” efforts to increase the number of minority students pursuing cyber security degrees is critical.” ICMCP’s Executive Vice President Larry Whiteside Jnr did great job moderating our panel of esteemed and passionate speakers which included Joyce Brocaglia, Executive Women’s Forum (and ICMCP Board Member), Lisa Foreman-Jiggets, Women’s & Girls CyberJutsu and Renee Forney, Executive Director, Cyberskills Management Support Initiative, DHS. The insightful panel discussions highlighted notable ongoing grassroots efforts in the private sector as well as government-led initiatives focused on ‘bridging the divide.’ The panel also addressed several of the pervasive challenges being faced by minority students in middle school and high schools to include the early images into the minds of minority students and further ingrained by media of what cyber security practitioners “look” like and what they do. Great questions coming from the very-well represented audience included 1) What can be done about the “Standards of Learning” (SOL) being applied in US schools to help raise awareness and exposure 2) What can be done about creating more pathways into cyber for existing minority IT practitioners looking to break in.
The ICMCP “Member Meet and Greet Breakfast” at RSA 2015 was a marquee event for our organization not just because of the infancy of ICMCP
as an organization but also because it was our first public “coming out party”…and what a “party” it was. Organized by our Corporate Events
Chairperson, Bernice McCullum, sponsored by CyberPoint LLC and with outstanding program management support donated by ICMCP Strategic
Advisory Board Member Marci McCarthy and the T.E.N. Staff, the “ICMCP RSA Coming Out Party” was an overwhelming success especially in light of the significant hurdles the team had to overcome with location and timing. The fears stemming from a slow start of a paltry 25 pre-registered attendees were soon addressed with an over-capacity turnout of 42 attendees none of whom left the breakfast early to attend the opening day keynotes.
The successes of the Panel and the Member Breakfast aside, the networking among members and between members and non-members during the week-long RSA Conference was a thing of beauty as hurriedly made Vista-Print ICMCP business cards were flying all over San Fran.
With our RSA ‘maiden voyage’ now in the rear view mirror, our laser focus is on our Spring 2016 National Minority Cybersecurity Conference where the expectation for an even more flawless delivery on an even grander scale but I’m confident of the team’s ability to deliver!
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”… Martin Luther King, Jr.