ISE® Success Stories

Mark Connelly
ISE® Northeast Executive Award Winner 2011

When I first learned about T.E.N., I was more interested in networking and educational opportunities than an award program. Because it takes a concerted effort to break from work to attend industry events, my focus was on finding a group that had a high level of executive participation, provided good content and included the opportunity to speak with solution providers. I had heard about T.E.N. and after visiting the website, attending some meetings and talking with CISOs who were participating, I knew I found a group that delivered all three.

The best part about the ISE® Experience is the people. We never get enough time to network, so being able to meet security leaders from across the region and build lasting relationships is extremely beneficial. Between the content of the presentations and insights gathered from talking with security executives and vendors alike, an ISE® event gives you knowledge that you can use right away. I find it especially valuable to invest time with the vendors. Because they talk to hundreds of customers and deal with hundreds of threats, you can get a Reader’s Digest version of threat intelligence in a very short period of time.

Submitting a nomination for the ISE® Award was an easy decision. In addition to being impressed with the T.E.N. organization, I liked the fact that the award program drew a high caliber of participants from a cross section of industries. I also knew some of the people from the financial services industry who were previous award winners, and liked what they had to say about participating. I was both humbled and ecstatic to receive the 2011 ISE Northeast Executive of the Year Award. To be recognized by people who are knowledgeable about security and have judged your efforts as being worthy of an award is a true honor.

Within my organization, the ISE® Award increased our credibility with senior management. They paid particular attention to the fact that the security program was recognized by a notable peer group. Senior management knows that there are issues. What they want is to be confident that someone who knows what they are doing is managing it. Winning the award affirmed for them that the security organization was being led by someone who they could trust.

Winning the award also drove my career forward. I can attribute the position I have today to meeting a recruiter as a result of the recognition I received at the ISE® Award ceremony. Engaged by a major global organization, he was looking for top-level CISO talent to establish an enterprise-wide information security operation. The showcasing of my achievements through the ISE® Award gave him the confidence that I was a top candidate for the position.

Beyond the technology and the education opportunities, the heart and soul of any professional community is the people. Within the information security community there is an understanding that we are fighting a common battle in an asymmetric war. The ability to meet with peers and expand your network, form relationships and build mutual trust, share ideas and experiences and know that each person will respect that trust is invaluable. Invest some time at an ISE® event. Submit a nomination. There is so much to be gained.