Everyone who is now a security professional has a story about how we got here. Some of us may have been on a direct path because we were basically pushed out of the womb being able to perfectly whistle-phreak your way into anywhere you wanted, and some of us came to it a bit more indirectly.
But whatever the journey, I’m sure that there are a few moments that stand out to you as being critical points – your own collection of “Sliding Door” moments – which, should you have chosen differently, or that critical mentor hadn’t appeared, or you hadn’t watched that movie, or you hadn’t been at that event…
…things would’ve turned out differently.
Maybe, somedays you think that might’ve been for the better, but really, if you’re reading this email, you know yourself that at any moment on any given day, if this profession wasn’t something you were invested in, passionate about, and committed to, you could always make a different choice, and go off to climb mountains, drive race cars or even…
…“get away from it all” to become the proverbial chicken-raising, goat-herding hermit living off the grid in some countryside, somewhere in the world.
But those moments…the experiences…the mentors…the events…whatever it was that put you on your path, you probably wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I know I wouldn’t. I mean, I already wrote about my day at Bell Labs back in 1994, and that was pretty amazing, but there were others too:
My parents who insisted I take BASIC at the local Junior college and learn to program on a TRS-80.
My parents who also bought, for the family business, an original IBM PC in 1980, with color, a modem, a word processor, and eventually, Lotus 123, which I used to plan my Star Frontiers adventures, track the business performance of my MegaCorp, and even made my own character sheet and checkbook templates (much to the chagrin of my parents since I would use up a lot of paper for these).
My Computer Studies professor, the year I was an exchange student in Australia, Mr. Stuart, who introduced me to my first structured programming with Apple Pascal on a Mac Plus.
Mr. Walters, the “hard ass” who made us use GOTO as our first assignment in my first University programming class with Turbo Pascal 5.5.
To more recent people that have had a big impact:
Jon Colombo, a colleague who introduced me into the whole security writing and speaking scene, and probably is who is most responsible for me doing as much infosec today since as a direct result of publishing an article, I ended up on stage with John Sherwood at a security conference in Croatia…that led me to get to meet David Lynas and Andy Clark and the rest of the COSAC family which have done more for me than I can ever really repay.
What’s your path?
Who are your mentors?
And how valuable were they to you?
If you hadn’t been able to have the opportunities you had, would you be able to be where you are today, reading this email (or post, once it makes it to the Blog)?
So here’s the thing: I was having a chat with a friend of mine, who pretty-much defines the word “bad ass fighter” based on what she’s been going through lately, and she was telling me about an event they’re organizing which gives 300 College-level students an opportunity to open 2 days with national and international cybersecurity and privacy professionals to inspire them and give them the potential opportunity to become the next versions of us…
…in an environment where there were over 5,000 applicants for 50 spots in a cohort to attend a similar, international study program and where the local currency is ~3,500 to the USD and any kind of similar event is a challenge to attend.
This one’s free, and it’s located in Cartagena, Colombia, and it’s hoping to have the same massive impact this year as it did last year. Here’s the link to the event (in Spanish):
But there’s a problem, which is why I’m sending this out.
At the last minute, one of the major corporate sponsors decided they were going to pull out, leaving the Board in a bit of a pickle in terms of sorting out the final costs of the event.
It’s a non-profit organization, founded by a global community of cybersecurity and privacy professionals, and, apart from knowing Diana, I have no involvement – and no benefit – out of this event or this email.
They don’t need much, but if you were of a mind to pay forward a bit of opportunity for some potential fellow cybersecurity professionals, it would really save the day. There’s no payment/donation page, so anything you wanted to send would go directly to the hotel via Zelle or credit card.
It’d be useful for you to probably coordinate with Diana directly on this, and if you aren’t connected with her on LinkedIn already, you probably should be: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianacandela1337/.
If you can help, I know it would be really appreciated, and it would potentially make a big difference in someone’s future career. However, there’s not much time left, as the deadline for doing this is the 5th of September.
As I said, they’re in a bit of a pickle.
If you can’t, well, that’s cool to. Feel free to forward the request along if you like, or, at the very least, just send a silent “Thank You” to the people who got you where you are today.
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive