ISE® Success Stories

John Graham
ISE® Southeast Executive Award Finalist 2012
ISE® Southeast Executive Award Winner 2016
ISE® North America Executive Award: Commercial Finalist 2016

Over my many years of attending the ISE® Programs since we spoke for my initial Success Story, participation in the ISE® Awards continues to be a morale boost for my team and myself. Having the awards sitting on our shelf invites others to ask us about what we have done to earn the reward, which is a big deal and a great opportunity. We can consistently share our achievements and success, revealing to others and reminding ourselves that our hard work has paid off and will continue to do so in the future.

The biggest development I’ve seen for my team over my years participating in T.E.N.’s events is the broadening of our network of peers across all manner of companies. This has given us many opportunities to freely reach out to others to consult for advice and discussion on security matters. I could not tell you the number of ISE® Programs, Private Dinners, and other T.E.N. events that I have been to, especially when the programs are held close to home. It’s really insightful to meet with other executives and share information and strategies—because it aids us all in growing and improving within our organizations and staying one step ahead of the game. That sort of consistent exchange of knowledge—both at the programs and amongst one another afterward—is incredibly valuable to a security professional.

The ISE® Programs and events always bring current and evolving information and topics to the table, which is a great benefit to my own personal career growth. I can stay on top of all the biggest challenges in information and cyber security, and by collaborating with my peers on the issues, I’m able to formulate plans to circumvent these challenges before they become a threat. But not only is the current information useful—the presence of vendors at the ISE® Programs who offer solutions that are adapting to these issues and aiding us in preventing them is a particularly important facet of the event experience as well. I thoroughly appreciate that the environment cultivated by T.E.N. and their sponsors is one of discussion and connections rather than sales and pitches. I look forward to meeting vendors at ISE® events because I know it will be a learning experience, not just a business card exchange.

T.E.N.’s ISE® Programs and events serve a very important purpose for information security. Our adversaries consistently connect with one another to share ideas, tools, and information in order to refine and strengthen their manner of attack on organizations today. As such, it’s vital that we also maintain consistent contact to exchange what we know to not only keep the pace, but maintain the advantage. Our teams and our personal careers can be hindered or helped depending on the amount of sharing and collaborating we are willing do with one another, and the ISE® Programs provide a blend of “business” and “personal” to create an environment where we are all ready to help one another and learn together. I cannot think of any other security events that can do what T.E.N. does in that aspect.

The best way to gain the full experience of the ISE® Programs is by submitting a nomination to the ISE® Awards. After many years of attending T.E.N.’s events, I can assure you that you have nothing to lose and only to gain from trying. The submission process itself is a valuable way to reflect upon your or your team’s progress and accomplishments and see how far you have come in your goals; and at the ISE® Programs and Awards, you can share that success with others and not only earn a well-deserved sense of accomplishment, but also aid others by providing an example they can follow. Some may fear that this kind of award process and event will lead to criticism and negativity regarding the challenges they have faced thus far, which is what we in security are accustomed to. But I’ve attended these events for years, and I can assure you that isn’t the case—the attitude of everyone involved is always positive and uplifting, so we can help one another strive for more. The ISE® Programs are a healthy, exciting, and rewarding experience for any security executive and team to participate in, and I look forward to attending future events for years to come.