ISE® Success Stories

Brian Wrozek
ISE® Central Executive Award Winner 2008

When I first heard about the ISE® Award, the thing that stood out for me was the fact that it’s a regional award. The idea of participating in a competition focused on a region where I spend a lot of my time appealed to me. I also liked the peer-driven aspect of the competition. Knowing that my nomination would be judged by a panel of peers who are the best in the industry meant much to me than receiving votes from a nameless body of judges.

The personal touch that the T.E.N. team brings to the award ceremony makes you feel like you are part of something special. Never losing sight of the hard work and achievements of those in attendance, the T.E.N. team perfectly blended recognition with celebration to honor the nominees, finalists and winners. Between the nominees, previous award winners and nominees, and other attendees, the collection of security talent in attendance at an ISE® award ceremony is was very impressive. Being with the best of the best, I truly felt like I was someone special.

When I was named the 2008 ISE® Central Information Security Executive of the Year I couldn’t help feeling a personal sense of pride. Unlike electrical engineering or architecture, which are established disciplines with set standards, information security is a relatively new field. Sometimes you can have the sense of making it up as you go. Receiving the award gave me the validation that I was on the right track.

The greatest benefit to receiving an ISE® Award is that it instantly raises your credibility and, by that happening, it opens up new possibilities. Supervisors and managers see you differently and start thinking, “Wow, we have someone special in this role.” As a result of the industry recognition, information security was elevated within my organization, leading to new opportunities to move the security program forward.

Winning the ISE® Award also helped me to expand my personal network. Most industry conferences don’t provide many chances to build long-term relationships. You might run into someone in passing that you would like to get to know, but between distractions and tight schedules, the best you can do is trade business cards. Once you are back in the office, things get busy and you wind up never calling the person. Being able to meet some of the brightest security minds and build long-term relationships, and even friendships, is one of the things that I deeply value about the T.E.N. events. I like the fact that with T.E.N. you feel like you are part of a special community. The ability to reach out to people who I just met and have them take my call, or asking T.E.N. to help facilitate a relationship for me, is invaluable.

As a profession, we are so forward thinking, looking to the next attack vector and compliance issue, that we often forget to step back and consider all the good things we have done. I didn’t think that I had accomplished much, but when I filled out the nomination form, I realized that I had. Take a step back. Do some self-reflection and look at all the things you have accomplished. You may think you haven’t done anything special, but fill out the form and submit your nomination. Give yourself a chance to be recognized by your peers in a way that you deserve.