ISE® Success Stories

John Masserini
2014 ISE® North America Project of the Year Award Winner

While these days, there are countless organizations who provide networking opportunities to those in the Information Security profession, I am very lucky to have been involved with T.E.N. and ISE® programs for quite some time. For years, T.E.N. has been a leader in the recognition of security executives and teams, developing a well-deserved respect from the entire industry. Judged independently by those who “sit in the seat,” the ISE® Awards are truly about industry leadership and identifying truly groundbreaking executives and teams. 

Without a doubt, this is the single most positive aspect about winning ISE® Award - the recognition for the team.  It is a way to show how their hard work and perseverance pays off with an industry-wide appreciation of everything they had accomplished. Additionally, the internal recognition from management and board members has provided a platform for various members of my team to gain additional visibility. The recognition and respect of the ISE® Awards are truly second to none. 

One of the often unrealized benefits of the ISE® Project of the Year Award is how it causes you to honestly reflect on the success of the effort and how it impacted the overall organization. The MIAX team had spent the better part of 18 months designing and implementing a truly world-class solution; however, it took a partner of ours to submit a nomination for our project. The team was so focused and ‘heads-down’; they never took a moment to appreciate what they had accomplished.   

When our name was called, we were both shocked and elated. Many teams work behind the scenes, rarely getting the acknowledgement of those within the industry. Winning the 2014 ISE® North America Project of the Year Award put a beautiful stamp of accomplishment on all of the hard work the team has done over the past 18 months. A lot of their work was done after hours or without any fanfare and the ISE® Award is a perfect example of how hard work, determination, and cooperation are valued traits across any industry.  

One of the greatest benefits to receiving the ISE® Award is the ability to show that what we all try to do every day is not only achievable, but truly does add value to the company. Since winning the award, we have had countless companies and organizations visit us to see how we have integrated the various solutions and achieved the overall goals of the Information Security Program. We have also seen a tremendous amount of press and board visibility. It is one thing when I speak about my team and their accomplishments; but it is another thing when you win an award alongside some amazing competition. Winning the award was a testament to the project’s credibility and value.

Overall, the quality of the nominees truly reflects the best the industry has to offer. It was quite remarkable to see such a gathering of industry leaders in the same room, and honestly, each of the executives and projects deserved to win. Being able to say we won among this group of nominees was truly an amazing and humbling experience. When I look at the ISE® events, the ability to network with folks around the country really stands out. ISE® Programs bring together my peers, across all industries, who understand the challenges I face. You would be hard pressed to get this experience at any other event.

If you are considering a nomination, I have one key piece of advice. Remember it is quality over quantity that will prevail in the end. Don’t be discouraged by things that are beyond your control like the size of your company or budget. Some of our fellow nominees had security budgets that are orders of magnitude larger than ours, but in the end, it’s the quality of the project and the impact to the company that are the biggest influencers. Focus on putting your best foot forward and don’t worry about the competition. If you have a project that you think is worth it, the visibility of being nominated alone is worth the time and effort. Just fill out the nomination form and you never know what will happen.