Me and my job

How do you describe your job to average people?
In partnership with our business leaders, my job is to accelerate Sallie Mae's growth with innovative and agile security solutions, which are effective and efficient for our customers, employees and shareholders – being mindful of our regulatory and legal obligations.

Why did you get into IT security?
As an engineer, I enjoy solving complex problems. Early in my career, I became involved in national defense working on security. I found that security presented some of the most challenging puzzles to solve and so I looked for opportunities in systems security. I then had an opportunity to work in financial services information security and, wow, a short 30 years later here I am. So in a way, IT security chose me and I stuck with it because it has always been very rewarding and invigorating.

What was one of your biggest challenges?
Being able to drive to a decision and crisply move forward, and having the mental discipline to focus on solving the problem not the edge cases. Yogi Berra said it best: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

What keeps you up at night?

Change in cybersecurity continues at a staggering pace. Keeping pace when everything seems to change every day is daunting to say the least, and the possibility of a failure always looms large on the horizon. Building a rational and stable security program that ensures a successful outcome is a big concern.

Of what are you most proud?
Building effective high performing teams. Security is a team sport and success depends on a group of highly motivated specialists working seamlessly together. There is nothing more gratifying than assembling a talented team and then being a part of it.

For what would you use a magic IT security wand?

That nations around the globe would develop the thought leaders and experts, cooperate and aid enterprises who fall prey to cyber criminals and then, and only then, create rational laws that alter the trajectory of cyber crime.

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