Category: Rising Star
Name: Michelle Wilner
Title: CEO, Co-Founder
Why nominated: Michelle Wilner is more than president and CEO of Virtis. As a cybersecurity researcher/cyber hygiene evangelist, she advocates for security best practices and social engineering awareness in enterprise, women's networks, and major social media platforms.
Profile: Professionally Wilner has 20 years of experience in the industry, and throughout her career she has championed inclusiveness and diversity for women and minorities. Knowing that women are extremely underrepresented in technology, generally, and cybersecurity, especially, is what inspires Wilner to promote STEM careers and cyber security certification paths for women.
This certainly played a role in Wilner helping found Virtis, a full-service, woman-owned, client-centric, cybersecurity consultancy firm. She is also a member of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.
On the personal side of her life, Wilner is the mother of twins and has served as a PTA president in her school district, where she partnered with her local schools to adopt guidelines for cyber safety for families and children, online etiquette, and anti-bullying policies. She believes that the best cyber safety practices come from the best cyber education and recognizes the need to keep STEM courses up to date and accessible through state-of-the-art technology. To that end, she engages in local fundraising efforts. She also regularly works with young women in high school to inspire them to succeed in their STEM courses and consider careers in cybersecurity.
What colleagues say: “Michelle has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the cybersecurity industry through continuous career development, professional achievements, and dedication to great customer outcomes. Michelle works in an extremely collaborative way with partners and customers giving us the tools to successfully build our business and create successful measurable outcomes for everyone. She is highly driven, both personally and professionally, setting a high bar around her with outstanding communication, engagement, leadership, and support. Michelle has earned a reputation as a recognized leader in the industry, and also acts as a role model/mentor to other aspiring women in security.”
- Joel Schluter, Virtis CTO/Co-Founder