Service on a board of directors is a natural career step for C-level executives, but many CISOs have challenges in landing their first board position. Nevertheless, the increasingly complex threat landscape and the spiraling costs of cyber-crime mean that many boards are actively seeking people with cybersecurity expertise to join their ranks. As a result, opportunities for CISOs to join boards may be more numerous than ever. But like any career move, securing a board position requires preparation and work.
Joyce Brocaglia is perhaps best known as the founder and CEO of Alta Associates, an executive search firm that specializes in cybersecurity and IT risk. She is also founder of the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management, and Privacy, one of the world’s most prominent and influential women’s business organizations. And she recently launched a new executive education company called BoardSuited, which provides a self-directed curriculum that helps cybersecurity leaders to prepare and position themselves for a seat on a nonprofit, advisory, or corporate board of directors.
The initiative is off to an impressive start. Just a month after its launch, universities, associations, and other business organizations are already expressing significant interest in bringing BoardSuited to their members and clients through an affiliate program. The CISO Collective recently had a chance to speak with Joyce about this new offering and how CISOs can prepare to join a board.
Q: What prompted you to create a program like BoardSuited?
A: I have spent almost my entire 35-year career advising executives, building world-class organizations, and developing leaders. In recent years, I have been asked the same question over and over by EWF members and Alta clients alike: “Joyce, how do I get a seat on a board?” It makes sense that I am hearing that question from both groups, because we’re seeing a new surge of interest in diversifying boards, and companies are also beginning to recognize the value of having someone with cybersecurity knowledge as a board member.
When I looked around at the courses that were available, I found that most of them were for people who were already on boards, and covered some aspect of how to be a better director. These courses usually had barriers to entry as well: applicants had to be approved to take the course, or they had to be a member of a corporate board association. So, I wanted to eliminate all those barriers and create the kind of program that enables people to start earlier in their career so that they would have time to develop the skills and talents that are needed on a corporate board.