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ITSMF President’s Message August 2023

Dawn Jones |
August 31, 2023 |

Greetings, Family!

I recently witnessed ITSMF’s mission in action in the most powerful way. ITSMF was invited to meet with the White House Office of the National Cyber Director to review and comment on the President’s new Cybersecurity Workforce Development Strategy, in advance of it being released to the public. ITSMF had a critical seat at the policymaking table for this strategy. How we were invited is another story of the power of our network and what happens when people witness the impact we make with leaders through our Global Institute for Professional Development. Recent data indicates there are currently over 1 million cybersecurity professionals, but the demand exceeds the current availability of talent by as much as 32%. The National Cybersecurity Workforce Development Strategy has four pillars, designed to expand and diversify the cybersecurity workforce to meet the increased demand.

  1. Equip every American with foundational education about cybersecurity.
  2. Transform cyber education.
  3. Expand/Enhance America’s cyber workforce.
  4. Strengthen the Federal Government cyber workforce.

The full strategy can be downloaded here FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy, Unleashing America’s Cyber Talent | The White House

In response to the strategy collaboration, the ITSMF CISO Forum drafted an official statement that was mentioned and published by the White House on July 31, 2023.

ITSMF’s mission is to increase the representation of Black professionals in senior technology roles, including in cybersecurity and risk management, with a focus on driving organizational innovation and growth. Data indicates that there are approximately 500 Black Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) in the US. By 2026, ITSMF aims to raise the number of Black CISOs by 10% and increase the cybersecurity workforce pipeline by the same percentage.

A wise leader once shared their strategy for developing transformative partnerships and growing organizations. She said, “the key is to already be ready when you get that extraordinary call.” And we were.

ITSMF already established a robust CISO Forum so when the White House Office of the National Cyber Director asked for a statement, the Forum responded quickly. When we were invited to meet in person in Washington, DC with very short notice, once again, our CISO Forum, in partnership with the ITSMF Board, quickly identified esteemed representatives.

The ITSMF CISO Forum was established to (1) Strengthen the cybersecurity pipeline with Black talent, (2) Maintain a focus on emerging and disruptive technologies in cyber, and (3) Prepare future Black cybersecurity professionals to excel in senior executive-level cybersecurity roles.

For 27 years, ITSMF has been the premier organization for developing and convening the most senior Black technology executives on the globe. Our mission is now resonating in national forums in the most powerful rooms in the United States. I am excited about literally having a seat at THE TABLE and helping to inform and strategize about how to ensure that Black Technology executives are leading and preparing for the future of the Cyber Workforce.

I must also mention the Acting National Cyber Director is Kemba Walden, the first Black woman to hold this role. Another prominent Black woman, Camille Stewart Gloster, is Deputy National Cyber Director, Technology and Ecosystem Security, Office of the National Cyber Director, led the team developing the NCWES. Representation matters.

Thank you to the members of ITSMF’s CISO Forum: Octavia Howell, Jane Harper, John Gift, Michael Palmer, Gary Simms, and Robert Dixon. And to ITSMF member, Ron Meeting for your key support.

Thank you to Elaine Norman and Robert Scott for your leadership. And thank you to the members of the ITSMF Management Team for your diligence and promptness in responding to requests from the Office of the National Cybersecurity Director.

Thank you to the members of the ITSMF Board of Directors and to Rona Bunn and Ibrahim Jackson for representing the Board in DC last month.

Thank you to all of our members and GIPD participants and alumni who are cybersecurity professionals.  The work that you do every day is critically important and will continue to play a key role in the future of national security and America’s workforce.

I am so proud to lead this organization.

 

 

 

President and CEO, ITSMF

 

About Information Technology Senior Management Forum

Since 1996, Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) has been dedicated to increasing the representation of Black professionals at senior levels in technology to impact organizational innovation and growth. We do this by developing and nurturing these dynamic leaders through enrichment of the mind, body and soul. At its inception, only 3% of senior-level positions in the technology industry were held by Blacks. With a half-million new computer-related jobs expected by 2028, ITSMF is committed to increasing the number of qualified Black professionals for these positions. For more information about ITSMF, visit www.itsmfleaders.org.

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