ISE® Success Stories

Donna Nemecek
ISE® Northeast Executive Award Finalist 2013
ISE® Northeast Project Award Winner 2013
ISE® North America Project: Commercial Award Winner 2013

I actively attend the ISE® Private Dinners, and it was at one of these events that I was inspired to submit a nomination for my team. Marci McCarthy, CEO & President of T.E.N., spoke whole-heartedly one night about the ISE® Awards and the message hit home with me. She was speaking about the nomination process and how successful project nominations have made the greatest positive impact on their respective organizations through risk management, data protection or regulatory compliance. This was a lightbulb moment for me. My team was working diligently on a project that I thought was really making a difference. I knew others were probably struggling with the same issue, so I nominated my team!

The whole process was a positive experience that empowered us as information security professionals. We all benefit in working together to understand the current risks in this threat landscape, which continues to become more challenging. We were all beaming and excited to win the awards at both ISE® Northeast and ISE® North America; however, we all acknowledge that just being nominated amongst such a distinguished group of peers was an honor. The ISE® Award Program became an avenue to share our success. Whether we won or not, we knew we had a really great project and we wanted to share our experience.

The prestige of winning ISE® Northeast and North America Project of the Year Awards led to some great relationships and opportunities. We believed our project was a grass-roots approach, but it was great to see the ground swell of follow-up meetings after the events. Being nominated and winning kept my information risk management program relevant. We have all grown professionally and our team has really grown. There has been a lot of career enrichment and movement into other projects. For me personally, I can now sit at the table with a whole voice. It gives me the opportunity to help others. As a result of winning the ISE® Award, I have also been able to participate in more speaking engagements and have been asked to participate on more panel discussions at information security and data protection conferences. 

Being involved in with T.E.N. and the ISE® Awards also helped to advance relationships with technical solution providers and the clout behind the ISE® Award gave us a better negotiating position. It is rewarding when a solution provider comes to you in the early stages of product development to bounce off ideas. We have become influencers in product development.

The caliber of professionals working at T.E.N. is very high. They organize a seamless event featuring relevant discussions and the right combination of vendors and executives. You really get a lot out of these events. It is very hard to pick the most valuable thing about the ISE® experience because there are so many worthwhile aspects; however, building great relationships in the current security environment – which has only become more challenging – is definitely one of the most important. Having a strong network of colleagues and peers is invaluable.

If you are considering submitting a nomination for yourself or your team, trust that you will benefit from the experience and the results. From the nomination submission process to attending the ISE® Awards Gala, you will grow personally and professionally. As a result, you will build the strong foundation that will help you maintain a relevant career in information security.