ISE® Success Stories

Scott Howitt
ISE® Central Executive Award Winner 2012
Returning ISE® Judge

Most people wouldn’t consider Retail to be the most security-forward industry, so I was startled when one of my technology solution providers suggested nominating me for the ISE® Award. I was aware of T.E.N. and the ISE® Award at a high level, but didn’t have much in-depth knowledge. My interest piqued, I looked at the previous winners and saw that two colleagues who I respect and spend time with at other events were past winners. If they found this award important enough to participate in, I reasoned that this must be something I need to get involved in.

As they announced the finalists during the award ceremony, I thought: “Wow! These guys are really good! There is no way that I will win because they really know what they are doing.” You can imagine my surprise when they called my name. I felt extremely honored to be named the 2012 ISE® Central Executive of the Year. I entered the information security field eight years ago, so having this recognition from peers who I have tremendous respect for made me feel like I had arrived. More important, I was excited for the team. Information security is a team sport and the only way you’re going to be successful is to have a great team behind you. The award lifted up the team and it was gratifying to come back and celebrate the success with them.

The best part about the T.E.N. ISE® Experience is the opportunity to build your network and learn how others are solving their information security challenges. There are conferences aimed at security practitioners who are solving technical issues, which is important to our industry, but that’s not what I need help with. I know how to solve the tactical issues. What I need is to be able to meet with senior-level executives who can help me to be more strategic, and that’s the type of people I meet at a T.E.N. event. Having the opportunity to hear peer presentations, learn what they are doing and speak with them one-on-one is invaluable.

Receiving the ISE® Award also helped me to establish relationships with technology solution providers. We’re investing in our information security program and undertaking many new projects. Before receiving the award, I had to seek out solutions. It’s helpful to have solution providers that might not have approached us reach out to me because of the innovative things we are doing at JCPenney.

I’ve seen some organizations that are just looking to make a profit from the information security community. With T.E.N. it’s all about contributing. They are interested in being active members and think outside the box to find new ways to bring value to the community. The T.E.N. team is a great group to work with and I feel like they are an extension to my team. Since receiving the award I’ve had the pleasure of hosting several ISE® Private Dinner events and delivering the keynote presentation for the 2013 ISE® Central Event. I thought I had a great network before, but it’s 100% better now because of all the people that I have met through the T.E.N. events. If you want to increase your visibility within the industry and expand your personal network, submit a nomination to the ISE® Award. Winning the award opened more doors into the information security community than I thought possible. It can be the same for you.