ISE® Success Stories

Todd Fitzgerald
ISE® Central Executive Award Finalist 2005
Returning ISE® Master of Ceremonies

The year was 2002 and I was presenting at the Computer Security Institute Conference. I had stepped into the exhibit hall during a break to learn more about the solution providers when I crossed paths with Marci McCarthy. As we walked around the vendor booths, Marci shared with me her vision of a new leadership recognition and networking program for security professionals.

At the time, the role of a CISO or information security function within an organization was fairly new, but I could tell that Marci had a vision as to the critical role that CISOs and information security would play within an organization. She was passionate about the need to establish a forum where security leaders would not only be able to network and collaborate, but also to be recognized for their accomplishments. When Marci asked me to present on information security topics during the executive forums I was only too pleased to give my support. My role soon expanded to include serving as Master of Ceremonies and Judge. Helping to bestow awards on extremely deserving information security leaders was a role that I found to be quite enjoyable.

Participating in the ISE® Award Programs gave me an opportunity to compare myself to the top-notch nominees, finalists and winners and to learn from their successes. In 2005 I reflected on my professional accomplishments and industry contributions and decided to submit my own nomination. When they called my name to receive the finalist award, I was both surprised and humbled by the experience.

Being named a finalist immediately increased my visibility within my organization. The company surprised me with the unprecedented action of holding a Todd Fitzgerald Day. The celebration increased awareness of the security program company-wide and helped people to see the importance of information security. I have since authored or co-authored 3 books on information security management, governance, and leadership as well as contributed to several other publications.

One of the biggest benefits to participating in the T.E.N. programs is the ability to meet and collaborate with people that you may never have an opportunity to meet otherwise. There is so much that we as security leaders need to know and there is never a shortage of things to learn. Getting out of the office and getting to know other practitioners in the field is invaluable. Because the events draw security executives from all types of organizations and industries, you open yourself to a lot of different perspectives around security that you might never have thought of.

I continue to present on information security topics, and participate in the T.E.N. events, but the secret is that with every engagement, I make it a point to learn something from participating with the audience that I didn’t know before. What are you doing on a day-to-day basis that seems to be so insignificant that you take it for granted? There are actually tidbits of knowledge in those activities that other people could learn and benefit from. And imagine what your peers might be doing that you could benefit from. I absolutely recommend participating in the ISE® Award Program and finding out.