The awards offered the chance for our community to recognise peers going the extra mile to enhance security in the region. Individuals could be nominated in four categories: Senior Information Security Professional, Information Security Practitioner, Up-and-Coming Information Security Professional and Woman Information Security Professional; with submissions being judged by members of the Europe, Middle East and Africa Advisory Council (EAC).
Impressively, over 200 submissions were received and after much deliberation, the nominations were shortlisted down to the four winners; after the judges scored against the following criteria: Expertise, Dedication, Impact, Innovation, Leadership and Community Engagement.
The ceremony itself was presented by (ISC)² Chief Operating Officer, Wesley Simpson, who had flown in from our Florida headquarters especially for the occasion; along with Chair of the EMEA ISLA Judging Committee Tamer Gamali, who respectively made his way to the United Kingdom from Kuwait.
During the awards, the seven finalists, who had travelled from the UK, Ireland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Kenya themselves, were congratulated in front of close to 300 cyber, information, software and infrastructure security professionals who were in attendance, as well as the 700 plus around the world watching live via Twitter; for their commitment to both supporting and advancing our field of practice. Additionally, they each received a Lego Creator Tower Bridge, paying tribute to the award ceremony’s location of London.
Below we have outlined the stories behind the winners’ successful nominations; though we also wanted to use this opportunity to highly commend our three finalists: Melanie Oldham, Managing Director of Bob's Business (United Kingdom), who was put forward for Woman Information Security Professional; Bridget Kenyon, CISSP, Head of Information Security at University College London (United Kingdom), who was nominated for Senior Information Security Professional; and André Koenegras, CISSP, Security Consultant at Motiv ICT Security (Netherlands), who was shortlisted for Up-and-Coming Information Security Professional.
Read on to discover the winners’ stories and what made them stand out from the vast number of notable entries received this year.
Patrick was recognised for his work in increasing diversity and promoting women in cybersecurity through education, community development and encouraging career transitions. Through hosting bespoke workshops, Skype sessions and mentoring, he has worked tirelessly to help women succeed in the industry. His work has directly seen three women transition into cybersecurity roles at a bank in Luxembourg.
Patrick said: “This award is for all of the supporters, mentors, hiring managers and candidates in the diversity effort! I am very pleased to have won, especially on behalf of CyberWayFinder, and the women who entrust us with their careers in joining our three-year programme. I am also grateful to the industry, particularly SWIFT, who are one of our key partners and the most engaged and always pushing us to do more and expand our impact in the field.”
Brencil has won the Up-and-Coming Information Security Professional award. Over the past 12 months, Brencil has mentored university and high school students around Kenya, teaching them about cybersecurity, as well as educating campus students at Serianu Limited. At just 26 years old, she has motived many young people – particularly girls – to venture into the cybersecurity field.
Brencil commented: “I can’t believe that I am the one who has won! I didn’t expect it and it was an honour just to be nominated. I have come all the way from Kenya, and was excited to be part of the whole experience. To find out I have won too is just amazing!”
Denise has been commended for her tireless work to improve the information security community within PwC, and hosting regular events; each of which have seen over 200 people attend. She has excelled in her work in engaging the community and destroying the barriers that have historically prevented people in getting involved in cybersecurity. Denise has also been hailed as someone who regularly goes above and beyond in the security community, exploring creative ways to engage the community and creating a real buzz in the sector.
Denise stated: “I never thought I would win, especially when considering the other finalists’ impressive credentials. To be up against such strong nominees, and to be on par with them is amazing. I am absolutely delighted to receive this award, as the nomination was made by my peers. It means a lot to me to know that the work I do is so highly regarded.”
Peter has won the Information Security Practitioner award for is work in implementing formal cybersecurity processes at ICON, including supply chain risk assessments and navigating compliance with GDPR. He has successfully aligned cybersecurity to the business’ goals and objectives, and has ensured that cybersecurity is embedded into every part of the organisation. Peter is deemed as someone who goes beyond ‘satisfying a requirement' and complying with obligations. He has also been called a positive influence on others, with colleagues saying he ‘inspires people to do better and strive for higher standards, as his enthusiasm and energy are infectious’.
Peter remarked: “I’m delighted and honoured to be awarded one of the first EMEA Information Security Leadership Awards. The awards are a great initiative, offering the chance for professionals to recognise one another. I want to thank everybody who nominated me. It has really taken me by surprise how highly my colleagues and peers think of me.”
If you did not attend the Summit this year, don’t worry as you still have the chance to be part of the celebration. As the awards were live streamed on Twitter, this means you won’t miss out as you can now replay the full ceremony via Periscope.