Visionary Leadership Award Honorees

The Cyber Security Summit has given awards to top leaders in industry, government and academia since 2015. In 2018, the awards program was expanded to include a wider array of visionaries. The goal is to recognize innovative people at all levels who help develop and foster strategies to protect critical systems and data.

The winners are recognized at the Visionary Leaders Awards Dinner in conjunction with the Annual Cyber Security Summit. Along with recognition for their accomplishments, award recipients will get a brief opportunity to share their innovative strategies with their peers and attendees of the Summit.

Visionary leaders from across the cyber security ecosystem are eligible to receive awards, which are known as “Morrie Awards.” The awards are named after Robert Tappan Morris, the American computer scientist who notably created the first computer worm on the Internet. He later went on to make significant contributions to computer networking as well as co-found the funding firm Y Combinator and become a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Congratulations to the 2021 Visionary Leadership Award Honorees

Once again, the 11th Annual Cyber Security Summit’s Visionary Leadership Awards occur against the back-drop of COVID 19.

Sadly, the pandemic has perpetuated the need for a virtual celebration of their contribution to cybersecurity. But this does nothing to dampen the impact their work has on moving the needle to better secure our businesses, organizations and nation states. We are excited to celebrate all our Visionary Leadership Awardees on Wednesday morning at the opening session and again in-person in the spring! Along with recognition for their accomplishments, award recipients and VLA All-Access ticket holders are invited to a VIP reception on April 21, 2022.

Visionary Academic
Leader 
<strong>DR. AMBAREEN SIRAJ</strong>
DR. AMBAREEN SIRAJ
Professor/Director, CEROC;
Tennessee Tech & Founder, WiCyS

DR. AMBAREEN SIRAJ

Professor/Director, CEROC; Tennessee Tech & Founder, WiCyS

Dr. Ambareen Siraj is a professor of Computer Science and the founding director of Tennessee Tech’s Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center (CEROC). She has served as the leader on several NSF and DoD education and workforce development grants. Dr. Siraj’s research focus is on security in cyber-physical systems, Internet of Things, situation assessment in network security, security education and workforce development.

Visionary Security Program
and Oversight Leader
<strong>JOHN VALENTE</strong>
JOHN VALENTE
Security Consultant

JOHN VALENTE

Security Consultant

John has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. His professional IT career includes Citibank, Pepsi, Dell, Best Buy, and 3M, before retiring in late 2019. John’s career has focused mainly on Information Technology Infrastructure, architecture and management. He serves as a CXO Executive Advisor for Zscaler and on the board of advisors for Pacer Center.

Visionary Governance, Risk
and Compliance Leader
<strong>KUMAR DASANI</strong>
KUMAR DASANI
Director, Cyber Security and
IT DevOps, Medtronic

KUMAR DASANI

Director, Cyber Security and IT DevOps, Medtronic

Collaborative leader and trusted advisor to the business on cyber security and privacy risk identification, risk management and risk reporting. Dedicated, and results-oriented leader with proven experience in cyber security and privacy governance, third-party risk management, risk assessments, data privacy and regulatory compliance across multiple industries.

Visionary Security Awareness
Program Leader 
<strong>TALYA GEPNER</strong>
TALYA GEPNER
Director, Target Corporation

TALYA GEPNER

Director, Target Corporation

Talya Gepner is a Director in the Cybersecurity Risk organization at Target. Talya leads Information Security awareness and training for the Enterprise and high-priority groups. Her projects include compliance training, phishing awareness, National Cyber Security Awareness month campaigns and other risk-focused initiatives.

Visionary Security
Operations Leader
<strong>DEBRA STAFFORD</strong>
DEBRA STAFFORD
Security Manager, Minnesota IT Services

DEBRA STAFFORD

Security Manager, Minnesota IT Services

Debra leads the state’s enterprise identity and access management team dedicated to building an environment where employees, contractors, partners and citizens manage only one credential to access State resources. Deb is building a framework of processes, policies and technologies to manage digital identities and secure access for all state technology solutions.

Visionary
Student
<strong>ALEX HEPP</strong>
ALEX HEPP
Student, Metropolitan State University

ALEX HEPP

Student, Metropolitan State University

Alex Hepp is a graduate student at Metropolitan State University in the Cyber Operations program researching the application of artificial intelligence to honey pots to better detect malicious activity. In his professional career, he currently serves as the Chief Information Officer for the City of Hopkins along with teaching cybersecurity as a community faculty.

Visionary Governance
Champion 
<strong>JIM NASH</strong>
JIM NASH
State Representative, Minnesota
House of Representatives

JIM NASH

State Representative, Minnesota
House of Representatives

Rep. Jim Nash is a 4th term member of the MN House of Representatives serving the communities of Western Carver County. He also works in the cyber security industry for FRSecure and advocates for cyber security everywhere. When not working at the House or FRSecure he loves to hunt, fish, and cook. Nash lives in Waconia with his wife and 6 children.

Visionary Applications
Security Leader
<strong>JAY JACOBS</strong>
JAY JACOBS
Chief Data Scientist, Cyentia

JAY JACOBS

Chief Data Scientist, Cyentia

Jay is a Co-founder and Chief Data Scientist at Cyentia Institute, a research firm dedicated to advancing the state of information security knowledge and practice through data-driven research. Jay is also the lead author for the Exploit Prediction Scoring System (EPSS) and is co-chair of the EPSS special interest group at FIRST.

Visionary Global
Leader
<strong>MALCOLM HARKINS</strong>
MALCOLM HARKINS
Chief Security & Trust Officer, Epiphany

MALCOLM HARKINS

Chief Security & Trust Officer, Epiphany

Malcolm is responsible for enabling client growth with optimal information security infrastructure, systems, policies, and processes. Malcolm was previously the Chief Security and Trust Officer at Cylance as well as Chief Security and Privacy Officer at Intel Corporation. Malcolm received a BS in Economics from UC Irvine and an MBA from UC Davis.

Founders Award 
<strong>KEVIN MANDIA</strong>
KEVIN MANDIA
Mandiant

MANDIANT

Kevin Mandia, CEO

Kevin Mandia is the CEO of Mandiant, a global security company that helps organizations develop more effective and efficient cyber security programs, instilling confidence in their readiness to defend against and respond to cyber threats. A security industry pioneer, he led the first company built around cyber incident response. With more than 20 years in information security, Kevin has actively been on the front lines helping organizations respond to breaches.


Congratulations to the 2020 Visionary Leadership Award Honorees

This year’s award winners are very special friends of the Summit. Amid a relentless pandemic, they have demonstrated greatness in securing our global infrastructure and developing future visionary leaders. And without their support, this 10th Anniversary would not have been possible. When so many were saying, “table it for another year,” these cyber warriors kept pushing the Summit forward recognizing that cybercriminals weren’t taking a break and that global thought leadership must never be sidelined.

While next year we will recognize award winners across all categories, this year we threw out the guidelines to honor this distinguished selection of leaders whose contributions to Summit have been immeasurable.

<strong>JILL ALLISON</strong>
JILL ALLISON
Chair, Board of Directors, WiCyS MN Affiliate; Security Consultant, Shuriken
<strong>ANNE BADER</strong>
ANNE BADER
Founder, The International Cybersecurity Dialogue LLC
<strong>SEAN COSTIGAN</strong>
SEAN COSTIGAN
Professor, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies; Director and Co-founder, ITL Security
<strong>TIM CROTHERS</strong>
TIM CROTHERS
VP Security Solutions, Target
<strong>LOREN DEALY MAHLER</strong>
LOREN DEALY MAHLER
President, Dealy Mahler Strategies
<strong>MATTHEW J. HARMON</strong>
MATTHEW J. HARMON
Cyber Defense Infrastructure Architect, Global Technology, Accenture Security
<strong>DAVID LA BELLE</strong>
DAVID LA BELLE
Security Business Systems Analyst, NorSec
<strong>DAVID NOTCH</strong>
DAVID NOTCH
Enterprise Security & Cloud Architecture, Medtronic
<strong>CATHARINE TREBNICK</strong>
CATHARINE TREBNICK
VP Equity Research (Security and UCaaS), Colliers International

Congratulations to the 2019 Visionary Leadership Award Honorees

Academic Leader Award: 
<strong>Christophe Veltsos</strong>
Christophe Veltsos
Professor, Minnesota State University Mankato
Applications Security Leader Award: 
<strong>Mike Kijewski</strong>
Mike Kijewski
CEO, MedCrypt
Global Security Leader Award: 
<strong>Andrew Borene</strong>
Andrew Borene
Senior Director, Symantec National Security Group; Director Homeland Security Program at George Mason University Law School
Governance Champion Award: 
<strong>Suzanne Spaulding</strong>
Suzanne Spaulding
Senior Adviser, Homeland Security, International Security Program, CSIS
Information Technology Audit Leader Award: 
<strong>Mary Frantz</strong>
Mary Frantz
CEO, Enterprise Knowledge Partners, LLC (EKP)
Security Awareness Program Leader Award: 
<strong>Jerrod Montoya</strong>
Jerrod Montoya
Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, Open Access Technology International (OATI); President, InfraGard Minnesota Chapter
Security Operations Leader Award: 
<strong>John Israel</strong>
John Israel
Security Operations Manager – Security Operations Center (SOC), Incident Response, and Forensics, State of Minnesota
Security Program And Oversight Leader Award: 
<strong>Jodie Kautt</strong>
Jodie Kautt
Vice President, Cyber Security, Target Corp.
Founders Award: 
<strong>National Cyber Defense Leadership<br> Center for Internet Security, Inc. (CIS®)</strong>
National Cyber Defense Leadership
Center for Internet Security, Inc. (CIS®)

For bios and more information on the 2019 awards, please click here.


Congratulations to the 2018 Visionary Leadership Award Honorees

Academic Leader Award: 
<strong>FAISAL KALEEM</strong>
FAISAL KALEEM
Metro State University, Professor, Department of Computer Science and Security, Executive kaDirector, MN Cyber
Application Security Award: 
<strong>JENNIFER CZAPLEWSKI</strong>
JENNIFER CZAPLEWSKI
Director, Target Product Intelligence team lead
Emerging Technologies Award: 
<strong>TODD CARPENTER</strong>
TODD CARPENTER
Adventium Labs, Chief Engineer
Global Security Leader Award: 
<strong>BRADLEY BREKKE</strong>
BRADLEY BREKKE
Mayo Clinic, Chief Security Officer (Interim)
Governance Champion Award: 
<strong>COL. STEFANIE HORVATH</strong>
COL. STEFANIE HORVATH
Minnesota Army National Guard, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the MN Department of Military Affairs; Executive Director Enterprise Services, Minnesota IT Services
IT Audit Award: 
<strong>STEEN FJALSTAD</strong>
STEEN FJALSTAD
Midwest Reliability Organization, Security and Mitigation Principal
Security Awareness Program Award: 
<strong>CHRYSA FREEMAN</strong>
CHRYSA FREEMAN
Code42, Manager, Security Governance Risk & Compliance Awareness
Security Operations Award: 
<strong>NEAL DAWSON</strong>
NEAL DAWSON
State of Minnesota, Minnesota IT Services, Vulnerability Management Director
Student Award: 
<strong>RICHARD KETELSEN</strong>
RICHARD KETELSEN
Metropolitan State University, Student
Visionary Program Leader Award: 
<strong>JIM O’CONNER</strong>
JIM O’CONNER
Cargill, Chief Information Security Officer

For more information on the 2018 awards, please click here.


Congratulations to the 2016 Visionary Leadership Award Honorees

In 2016, the Cyber Security Summit presented two Visionary Leader Awards – one for the private sector and one for the public sector. The individuals honored have made lasting contributions to improving our nation’s security.

Visionary Award for Public Sector: 
<strong>CHRIS BUSE</strong>
CHRIS BUSE
Deputy Legislative Auditor, Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
Visionary Award for Private Sector: 
<strong>BRIAN ISLE</strong>
BRIAN ISLE
Senior Fellow, Adventium Labs; Senior Fellow, University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute

Read published articles at prweb.com: Chris Buse | Brian Isle


Congratulations to the 2015 Visionary Leadership Award Honoree

<strong>DR. MASSOUD AMIN</strong>
DR. MASSOUD AMIN
Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota

For more information on the 2015 award, please click here. View Dr. Massoud Amin’s current bio at massoud-amin.umn.edu.