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Is Your Organization Supporting Paths to Develop Women as Leaders?

Zainab HameedIs your organization supporting women in reaching leadership positions? Why is this important?

A global study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that corporations that went from having no women in corporate leadership to 30 percent in leadership roles saw a one-percentage-point increase in net margin — which translates to a 15 percent increase in profitability for a typical firm.

Having a culture that supports women growing as leaders in the organization is important, whether you are a female leader and want to make a good career decision or you are a leader who recognizes the importance of a diverse leadership team as a key factor in increasing long-term profitability.

The following signs are indicators of an organization’s emphasis on creating an inclusive culture and providing equal opportunities to men and women for advancement and recognition.

Setting the Tone at the Top
Like other cultural cues, the tone at the top drives this culture and availability of key roles for women. To evaluate top leadership’s commitment to diversity, ask the CEO the following three questions:

  1. Do you think diversity is important?
  2. What is the direct impact on profitability when women occupy leadership positions?
  3. Are there any cultural benefits, or other benefits, to having an affirmative diversity program?

The responses would immediately provide a good understanding of the organization’s culture regarding inclusivity and diversity.

Current Gender Balance in Leadership Positions
According to ISACA’s Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap, 30 percent of women say they are facing unequal growth opportunities and only 59 percent of women say their employers have a program to encourage the promotion/advancement of women. Organizations need to provide support for women to grow to leadership positions.

Ask the following to assess the situation for your organization: Are there women in leadership roles in the organization? What percentage of a management team are women? What functions do they represent? Are females employed only in support roles only or do they also occupy business critical roles?

Having female leaders also serves to provide role models for other women aspiring to careers in technology-related fields.

Formal Diversity Programs and Women’s Networks
Diversity programs and women’s networks indicate that there are formal and informal channels of support for women. These programs help in retention by giving women a forum to discuss specific challenges, create strategies to overcome them and hence contribute to the overall growth of women within the organization.

Women in Middle Management
Just having women at the top is not enough. To foster a gender-inclusive workplace, women need to be hired, supported and trained for all levels and groomed to reach top positions. This is only possible if women are present in middle management, leading teams and driving value for business. This is where they also build their networks and acquire sponsors to help them grow to leadership positions.

Mentoring Programs
Are women part of mentoring programs, as both mentors and mentees? Are women given equal mentoring opportunities? Growing to a leadership position requires one to be a high performer, but also requires mentors and sponsors to help them navigate through the challenges. According to the Tech Workforce 2020 research, a top obstacle in career advancement for women is lack of mentors.

Enabling Policies
According to the Tech Workforce 2020 research, there is a gender perception gap. Men seem to think more is being done to recruit, retain and promote women than women think is being done. Sixty-five percent of men say their employers have a program to encourage the hiring of women, whereas only 51 percent of women agree.

Does the organization have policies that support the needs of women, especially to attract more women and grow them into leadership positions?

Does the organization support working from home; flexible time; support for child-care, especially in emergencies; and have recruitment policies that encourage women to apply, as well as other policies that would help to attract and retain women and provide an environment in which they can thrive?

Does your organization meet the above criteria? Have leaders in your organization embedded a culture to empower and elevate women? The above indicators help employees to understand and evaluate the nature of the organization better, or help leaders who want to assess their organizational culture and attract a diverse pool of talent to make the company more successful.

Whatever the vantage point, you will be creating a more profitable organization by having more women in leadership roles.

Saluting the Spirit of Volunteerism That Made CommunITy Day a Success

David SamuelsonOn ISACA’s first CommunITy Day on 5 October, 2019 – a day in which our global professional community came together over one day to volunteer in their local communities – the passion, creativity and industriousness of ISACA’s professional community was on full display.

It started with a simple idea: the suggestion of a day of giving across the globe in which ISACA’s rich legacy of volunteerism can help every local community. Be careful what you ask for.

All around the globe, ISACA members, staff and, in many cases, their families, banded together and gave their time and talent to strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives. While statistics alone cannot fully convey the day’s value, the participation of 90 volunteer teams, representing 49 countries and contributing more than 6,000 volunteer hours, provides a sense of how much was accomplished and a benchmark for continued growth. A few of the social images from the day are included with this post, but I encourage you to visit the ISACA CommunITy Day Impact page on Engage for a more extensive recap of the day’s many triumphs.

Below are just a handful of examples:

  • In Hong Kong, ISACA members used their tech skills to give a smartphone tutorial to seniors.
  • In Luxembourg, an ISACA group came together to crowdsource historical transcripts and learn about digital safety.
  • ISACA members in Melbourne gave blood and volunteered at the Australian Red Cross blood drive.
  • In Kenya, members supplied donations and helped with clean-up at Heritage of Faith & Hope Children’s Home, a school for needy children. Interestingly enough, a newborn calf at Heritage (pictured) was named “ISACA,” in honor of the volunteer effort during CommunITy Day.
  • ISACA members in Atlanta, Georgia (US) joined the 1 Million Meal Pack initiative with the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team to pack healthy meals for children and families in need.
  • In Valencia, Spain, ISACA members gathered to do a beach clean-up and promote environmental awareness.

Whether through advancing digital transformation, diligently protecting customer data or otherwise enabling secure and effective implementation of technology, ISACA’s professional community makes a major difference for our enterprises every day. As important as our professional community’s work is – and in our world, it becomes more important with each passing day – this can-do spirit and desire to make a difference is not limited to our professional roles. The resourceful characteristics that allow ISACA community members to thrive in our jobs, and the volunteer spirit that is evident every day as part of ISACA, has easily translated to making meaningful contributions in the communities in which we live and in our personal lives.

On our inaugural CommunITy Day, ISACA’s professional community and staff pulled together to make an especially profound impact, one we should all be proud of, and that can serve as a reminder of the remarkable potential of ISACA’s global network to be a powerful force for good in the world.

ISACA’s SheLeadsTech™ Second Day of Advocacy in DC: Paving Pathways for More Women and Girls in Tech

More than 60 women and men gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on 7 October for the SheLeadsTech program’s second annual Day of Advocacy. Featuring presentations on issues facing the tech workforce and women in the field, plus congressional visits, the Day of Advocacy allowed SheLeadsTech professionals to connect their own experiences with policy and expand their networks. ISACA also launched its “Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap” study at the event.

The mission of SheLeadsTech is to increase the representation of women in technology leadership roles and the tech workforce through raising awareness, preparing to lead, and building global alliances. In addition to visiting 19 congressional offices representing nine states and the District of Columbia, SheLeadsTech professionals met with staff from the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (Subcommittee on Science and Technology) and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and Internet). The SheLeadsTech delegates were able to share their experiences with members of Congress to bring to life the issues that women face in the technology workforce as well as discuss three proposed pieces of legislation: the Building Blocks of STEM Act, the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act and the Cyber Ready Workforce Act.

  • The Building Blocks of STEM Act (S. 737, H.R. 1665) would create and expand upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education initiatives at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science.
  • The 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act (H.R. 1591, S. 1299) would empower school districts to better engage girls, young women and minority students in the STEM fields. It would also provide funding for local school districts to create the necessary infrastructure for enhanced STEM learning early in a student’s academic career.
  • The Cyber Ready Workforce Act (S. 1466, H.R. 2721) would establish a grant program within the Department of Labor where grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to workforce intermediaries to support the creation, implementation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity.

Staff from the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology noted that constituents sending letters of support for legislation is critical for Congress to understand the grassroots interests and individual perspectives from professionals in the tech field. 

ISACA released its “Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap” research in conjunction with the SheLeadsTech Day of Advocacy. The study found that women professionals in IT often feel stuck in their current positions and are unsure of what steps can be taken to advance their careers; they believe that more women in the tech workforce will allow for more role models and mentors. Additionally, the report found that 49 percent of women say their employers have no programs that focus on recruiting more women into tech roles.

One SheLeadsTech delegate from the Washington, DC, area, noted that she is the highest-level woman in her company “and shouldn’t be,” as she has been in the field for a decade and is in middle-management. “No one ahead of me is tackling diversity and inclusion.”

ISACA CEO David Samuelson visited US Sen. Dick Durbin’s office as well as the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and joined delegates from Washington, DC, as they visited their representative. He explained that the SheLeadsTech program has been a grassroots movement from ISACA’s global membership and is leading the drive for more leaders in the technology workforce. “The cybersecurity battlefield needs diversity of thought to actually win,” he said. “It requires differing skill sets, amplified skill sets. We won’t win without women.”

Visiting the Hill, attending the morning keynote and panel sessions, and being able to network with other SheLeadsTech participants allowed for women and men to engage with policy and personal career goals. “This was such a unique experience,” said attendee Jeanette Snook, cybersecurity analyst for Visa, Inc. “I’ve lived [in the DC area] for years and have never visited my members of Congress to discuss issues. I want to make a difference and take it back with me to my role and for others.”

ISACA Well-Positioned to Advance Learners’ Journeys

Nader QaimariI am the product of a liberal arts education. On the surface, what I learned in school has very little relevance to my day to day right now, yet, when you dig deeper, the communication and critical thinking skills that education instilled in me helped in ways beyond measure. To be fair, though, I am not protecting an organization against a cybersecurity attack, writing the next AI algorithm, or planning security measures for my organization’s network. Those skills would likely have to come from different places.

In 2019’s Inside Higher Ed survey of chief academic officers at public and private colleges and universities, the percentage of provosts rating their institutions as very effective in preparing students for the world of work ranged from 41 to 45 percent, with community colleges giving themselves the highest marks. This is down significantly from 2014, when the number of those strongly agreeing hovered around 56 percent. Is academia beginning to realize what hiring managers already know? In fact, many of us are surprised that the number is even that high. At this point, companies are hiring for fit more than anything else, accepting the fact that most skills have to be taught on the job.

Having spent the past 21 years working for businesses that support educational institutions with products and services, I have a first-hand account of the challenges these institutions face as they try to adjust to meet the needs of the changing job market. Some of them are making great strides, adjusting their curriculum by infusing courses and degrees that are aligned with market needs. In fact, my children’s elementary school recently became the first in the nation to implement an AI curriculum. On the other end, however, the majority continue to run as they always have, complacent with the fact that after high school, kids will need to relearn things in college, and after college, young adults will need to learn things on the job.

This presents an opportunity. Having started recently as ISACA’s Chief Learning Officer, I am tasked to help determine which solutions and services we can provide to help address this skills gap in areas where it is most pronounced, such as cybersecurity, risk, privacy, artificial intelligence, and many other terms that are not even yet mainstream. As an association with leading certificates and certifications in a number of these areas, I am confident we can play a role to bridge schooling to work in a way that has not been done before. We have the ability to connect students and institutions to jobs and opportunities through our vast, global chapter and member network, in areas with the highest worker demand, unlike anyone else. We also can help these students as they embark on their careers, supporting them all the way to retirement, with professional learning opportunities that meet them right where they are.

To do this, we are embarking on a global project to study and document a learner’s journey – from middle school to retirement, in a number of key areas that fall within ISACA’s domain. This will help us determine ways that ISACA can support these pathways – from a CISA looking to expand his or her expertise to learn the intricacies of blockchain, to the high schooler who may bypass college altogether to earn a cybersecurity practitioner certification. It will also help inform how jobs may be changing – how does the work of an auditor change in an AI-driven world? What are the ethical implications of all these technological advances and what training and controls need to exist to keep it all in check? Further, it will help inform the types of products we develop. Because today’s students consume content differently in school than previous generations, how will this affect how they want to learn when on the job in the future? Do we need to create more bite-size learning content? Should we be assessing performance through real-life scenarios as opposed to simply knowledge of subject matter?

Stronger collaboration between the academic and corporate worlds is long overdue. Associations such as ISACA, which operates in one of the fastest-growing and most exciting domains, can facilitate and expedite this collaboration. We can also do good in the process. Underrepresented communities can be lifted with the right training. We can connect high-demand jobs with candidates all over the world, presenting them with opportunities they never even knew existed. We can provide skills-based training, coupled with core, general education, and aligned to specific company demands – no shiny objects, no technology frills. This is the future of learning.

Will Women in Tech Benefit from Millennials Weighing in or Exiting Out of Overdemanding Tech Cultures?

JJ DiGeronimoThe tech industry has been burning through talent and losing IP for decades, but this is usually after years or even decades of contributions. Some suggest it is based on work-life balance challenges, but a recent ISACA study, Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap, highlights how millennials factor into this equation, too. Consider:

  • 39 percent of tech talent under age 30 are planning to leave in the next two years
  • 49 percent of tech talent under age 30 already have changed jobs

Given the often demanding workloads and tight deadlines in the tech workplace, new talent may not be as interested in accepting the tech workplace culture as it sits today:

  • 64 percent of respondents report experiencing burnout or stress in their current roles. Heavy workloads (61 percent), tight deadlines (50 percent), long hours (48 percent) and lack of resources (40 percent) are the top causes.
  • Those 30 years old and above are more willing to endure career stress and burnout conditions than those below 30.

This research comes at an interesting time, as companies are verbalizing their commitments to attracting diverse talent and advance more women within organizations. With new programs, recruiting efforts and mentorship programs, the unpinning of the tech culture is lurking in every corner.

Layering diversity programs on top of unhealthy cultures is like adding good code to bad code. Eventually, the bad code will impact the good code leaving users frustrated and disengaged.

With mass exits of women in tech around the age of 35 and millennials considering alternative job paths before the age of 30, the next generation talent pool will be in high demand.

How will your culture rank, especially for women, as they already make up 46.6% of the overall labor force and make up the majority of the college-educated labor force?

Based on the data collected in Tech Workforce 2020: The Age and Gender Perception Gap, there are several notable gender trends that must be addressed:

  • Many women feel they must work harder than their colleagues to demonstrate their skills (according to 49 percent of women compared to 44 percent of men).
  • Women feel underpaid relative to coworkers (22 percent of women say their organization has unequal pay for the same job, compared to 14 percent of men)
  • Women are not receiving sufficient resources to sustain their careers (66 percent say they have the resources they need, compared to 72 percent of men)
  • Women are facing unequal growth opportunities (30 percent of women say they have unequal growth opportunities, compared to 23 percent of men)

What is for certain is the current culture of tech is not sustainable. As the ISACA research highlights, there is no shortage of potential starting points to invite and retain diverse talent.

A few tips to get started:

  • Share the data with your executive team and board
  • Identify ways to interview a cross-section of talent in your organization to gain specific insights and action-based activities (hiring a diversity or culture expert could be beneficial)
  • Prioritize activities and gain buy-in from strategic leaders
  • Engage people throughout the organization to be part of the shift
  • Remember, without executive support and engagement, these activities are useless

Now is the time!

About the author: JJ DiGeronimo, the Founder of Tech Savvy Women, shares effective leadership and inclusion strategies to retain, develop and advance professional women in tech. With two books to advance professional women in the workplace, DiGeronimo has been quoted in numerous publications, including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Inc. Magazine.

The 2010s: A Decade of Growth and New Focal Points for ISACA

The 2010s have seen remarkable growth at ISACA.

From the debut of the CRISC certification to the addition of the CMMI Institute to the creation of the SheLeadsTech program and the added emphasis on providing cybersecurity resources, as underscored by the launch of the Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX), we are drawing near to the close of what has been a dynamic decade in ISACA’s 50-year evolution.

“You see the importance of the work ISACA is engaged in moreso than ever,” said member Erik Rolland.

Added Marios Damianides, 2003-05 ISACA board chair: “It’s been terrific to see that adaptability and that forward-thinking.”

Find out more about ISACA’s arc in the 2010s on ISACA’s 50th anniversary site in a recently released video: “ISACA in the 2010s and Beyond.”

Five Ways to Identify Early Leadership Opportunities as a Young Professional

Morgan Kay PhelpsIt has been said that leadership cannot be learned and that it is an innate ability. While that may be true to a degree, there are steps young professionals can take to hone their innate leadership abilities through experience early in their careers. If you are seeking to be seen as a potential leader or how to attain future leadership positions at your company or organization, here are a few steps you can take to position you on the right path.

1. Grow Your Network to Grow Your Potential Leadership Opportunities
While leadership opportunities available to you may appear to be narrow based on your limited experience or conversely may seem endless if you are at a large organization or school, use your creativity to uncover the right leadership opportunities for you. Consider expanding your network and looking for leadership opportunities by joining and becoming active in student or professional groups, industry organizations, nonprofits, or even community groups that fit your interests. You can grow as a leader while also giving back to your company, organization and community.

2. Connect with Leaders You Admire
Look around your life and workplace for leaders you want to learn from and boldly ask them to serve as your mentors or sponsors. Take time to meet with them regularly – it can be 30 minutes once a month over a cup of coffee. Prepare in advance for your conversations so you can make the most of your time and theirs. Ask specific questions to obtain their advice from their own experience. You do not know if you do not ask – they were once in the same position that you are. They may also be able to provide ideas for leadership opportunities that could be a good fit for your skills and interests as they get to know you better. You do not have to forge a path to leadership alone – look to leaders in your reach and expand your circle as you navigate your own path to leadership.

3. Learn the Difference Between a Mentor and a Sponsor – and Seek Both
Large companies may have a formal mentorship program that matches you with a mentor, but this is certainly not mandatory for mentorship. Mentoring can take many forms – it can be informal or formal, it can last a season or length of a career, it can be strictly professional or evolve into a friendship. Both mentors and sponsors can support your career growth – while a mentor serves as an advisor and sounding board, a sponsor serves as an advocate. A sponsor can help open doors for you to leadership opportunities both inside and outside your company. Both types of relationships can be utilized to grow your leadership skills and opportunities – and can also serve as a growth opportunity for your mentors and sponsors.

4. Know Your Strengths, Weaknesses and How They Both Can Be Opportunities for Growth
Some leaders are powerful persuaders and others are influential speakers, while the best leaders possess both skills. You may already be well aware of your strengths or need some assistance in articulating them. Either way, it is prudent to do an assessment of your strengths to determine what kind of leadership role is right for you. Having an unbiased perspective of your strengths and weaknesses (which can also be considered areas for growth) can be useful to tell the story of who you are as a potential leader. Ask your peers, managers, mentors and friends to validate your strengths. They may help you see past your blind spots and uncover leadership skills you did not realize you had.

5. Determine If/What Leadership is Right for You and Continue to Re-Assess Your Decision
The final piece to figure out is what type of leadership is the right fit for you. You can do this by following these tips and using your experiences to determine your ultimate leadership style goal. You may find leadership fits your personal life but not your professional life or vice versa – or that leadership does not interest you at this point in time. Your goals may change over time as you continue on your career journey, depending on what opportunities present themselves. Remain open to new opportunities that may push you out of your comfort zone and re-assess your decision as you move forward professionally to determine if you are still headed in the right direction.

Editor’s note: For more resources for young professionals, visit www.isaca.org/young-professionals.

Trsar Family Helps Ensure ISACA’s Growth in ‘Good Hands’

Editor’s note: As ISACA celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, we are telling stories of the members, volunteers and staff who have contributed to ISACA’s growth and global impact. Below is an excerpt from a feature article on the ISACA staff father-son duo of Terry Trsar and Tim Trsar. Read the full feature article on Terry and Tim in the ISACA 50th Anniversary Story Gallery.

Terry Trsar was instrumental in building many of ISACA’s most well-known programs. His son, Tim Trsar, is helping take them to new heights.

Collectively, the affable father-son duo continues to leave a significant imprint on ISACA’s trajectory of growth and expanded global impact.

Terry Trsar worked at ISACA for 20 years, beginning in 1995, overseeing many of ISACA’s core areas, such as conferences, training and certification, and serving as chief professional development officer for many years. Tim Trsar, one of his four sons, started in ISACA’s marketing department in 2016, less than a year after his father retired. Suffice it to say, there is plenty of talking shop when the two get together.

“I think it’s kind of cool that Tim is involved in programs that were initiated back when I was there building them with other staff and teams,” said Terry, sitting alongside Tim on a recent afternoon at ISACA’s global headquarters. “When he talks about the CACS conference or some of our certification programs or training weeks, it makes me feel good that they are still vital ISACA programs that are doing well and that remain in good hands. They’re in Tim’s good hands, and everyone else’s good hands. I get excited about that.”

Following in the footsteps of mom or dad can be a tough sell for children, who often are eager to chart their own path. Going to a different college, moving to a different area or choosing a different line of work is often the preferred approach. Not so for Tim, who was thrilled to follow his father’s long and distinguished career at ISACA.

“I’d say it was sort of the opposite of being resistant,” Tim said of pursuing a career at ISACA. “I looked up to my dad.”

In the case of the mark Terry left on ISACA, there is plenty to look up to. It’s fitting that Terry began his time at ISACA in a different millennium, given the dramatic evolution that has unfolded since. Terry recalled attending his first ISACA conference shortly after he started in 1995, and members of the ISACA board added an outing to see “The Net,” a movie set in the rudimentary days of the internet in which a floppy disk played a key part in the plot. Just like the internet, ISACA has progressed remarkably in the years since, with Terry helping to drive that growth. Both ISACA’s staff size (around 20 when he started) and membership (around 15,000 when he started) are now roughly 10 times as large today.

“I love to build. I’m always building something, always doing something, so ISACA was perfect for me when I came because it was still fairly young and we had a lot of growth ahead of us,” Terry said. “There were always things to do and build. I loved it because it was like being an entrepreneur. I enjoyed that immensely.”

He also initially found the close-knit nature of ISACA’s modestly sized staff, working in close quarters in ISACA’s former Rolling Meadows, Illinois, USA, location, appealing. Whether it was in the early days converging on the fax machine to listen for the hum of incoming CISA exam registrations as the deadline neared, planning conference programs, or a range of other team efforts, the back-and-forth made the job fun.

“I think you’d hear this from anybody that you’d bring in here from the time that I worked here – the fun for all of us was working with the other staff because it was all extremely collaborative,” Terry said. “We all had our specific responsibilities, but we all worked together on many projects, and the volunteers were a big part of that and just a blast to work with.”

Tim, growing up as the second-oldest of four Trsar brothers, picked up on his dad’s passion for his job, and developed an especially favorable view of ISACA while traveling with the family to various ISACA conferences. Young Tim even helped stuff bags at one CACS conference in Chicago, foreshadowing his whatever-it-takes approach to his current role as marketing manager.

As Tim grew older, Terry detected that he would be a great contributor at ISACA, and helped set the opportunity in motion with some of his former colleagues.

“I knew Tim would be a good fit [at ISACA] because he is very creative, very passionate about his work, and the one thing I think you have to be above everything else at ISACA is able to multitask, and Tim is the ultimate multitasker – believe me,” Terry said. “You should see what his life is like, when he used to play in a band and work several jobs. He always has a million things going on at once.”

Today’s ISACA has a much larger, more sophisticated and more specialized marketing function than during Terry’s time, and Tim quickly carved out a niche marketing ISACA conferences as well as assisting the marketing team with video and other creative elements.

In between assignments, Tim hears plenty about his dad from many ISACA colleagues who fondly recall working alongside his father: “Great guy.” “Problem-solver.” “Knowledgeable.” “A joy to work with.”

“When I first started, I would report back to my dad all the nice things that people said about him: ‘I talked to so-and-so today and they said all these nice things about you,’” Tim said. “And then it turned out I was having the same conversation with everybody.”

The Digital Age: A New World of Purpose-Driven Opportunity

Jon DuschinskyEditor’s note: Jon Duschinsky, an entrepreneur, social innovator and firm believer in leading a purpose-driven existence, will be the closing keynote speaker at ISACA’s EuroCACS/CSX 2019 conference, to take place 16-18 October in Geneva, Switzerland. Duschinsky recently visited with ISACA Now and shared his thoughts on why being purpose-driven is more realistic than ever in today’s digital age. For more of Duschinsky’s insights, listen to his recent appearance on the ISACA Podcast.

ISACA Now: Why is being purpose-driven so important for professionals?
Purpose-driven means that you’re clear on what you do, you’re clear on how you do it, and most companies and professionals are pretty clear on those two today. The bit that tends to get lost in all this is why. Why has this group of human beings come together in this corporate structure to do the thing they do? And if the answer of that is to make profit, that is not the why. That is a result of the why. And so purpose-driven companies are companies that have understood what that why is and have gotten really clear what their purpose is – why they get up in the morning, why they work, why they innovate, why they create, why they make their product, why they serve their customers. … And the truth today is you make more money by making a difference.

ISACA Now: You have been described as a serial entrepreneur. What do you find so intriguing about entrepreneurship?
I kind of go through life encountering with curiosity, seeing things, seeing concepts, seeing ideas, and drawing connections between them – perhaps connections that others haven’t seen before or connections in new ways, and then from that being able to sort of articulate a vision to turn that connection into something that can be communicated and articulated – ‘What if we did this?’ – and then it’s really about enrolling and inspiring others to say ‘Oh, that would be cool, why don’t we all try and do that together?,’ because the first thing about entrepreneurship is you can’t be an entrepreneur on your own.

ISACA Now: In one of your past presentations you cited a statistic that nearly half of all jobs will be replaced by technology in the next 10 years, at least in some regions. What comes to mind when you think about that type of jarring possibility?
What’s happening is that today we don’t need people to work the machines anymore, and that’s the seismic shift. Shifts of that scale and their ripple effects are going to be felt in every family, in every community, in every company. There’s a lot of talk about how the US and other developed countries are heading toward massive levels of structural unemployment. That is false. I do not believe we are going there. … What we need to get as the humans are no longer needed to work the machines is to then tap into something that is fundamentally human, which is that when we are given a little bit of freedom from needing to work the machines, when we’re given the breathing room from needing to ensure our basic survival, then humans are free to seek more meaning. … We are seeing this new world of opportunity where human beings are actually given the time and the space to be able to pursue the things that matter most to them.

ISACA Now: What are the biggest keys to successful communication when it comes to social innovation in the enterprise setting?
The keys to communication come back to this idea of clarity on the why. It’s very easy to talk about what you do and how you do it. But actually, the communication at that level is fairly transactional, and it’s about the process and it’s about the what we’re doing. It’s a set of tasks. We’re communicating at a tactical level. When you get real communication, when you get real connection, what you get is something called enrollment. It’s buy-in. When you really communicate effectively with people, you get  not just their understanding of them sitting there nodding and they know how to execute the tactics or the process, but you get their buy-in at almost an emotional level with the thing that you’re sharing. They really get it. And to get it you have to understand not just what it is and how it works, but you have to understand and be aligned on why it’s important. That’s the really critical piece, and it’s what differentiates so many companies that do this.

ISACA Now: How will the educational system need to adapt to keep pace with the evolving technology landscape?
When I spend time with CEOs and business leaders, they’re fairly unanimous in the [opinion] that the educational system, at all levels now, is not fit for purpose. … We need education systems and education styles that enable young people, and this starts very young, to grow into their creativity rather than having it tested and normalized out of them. That’s the first thing. The second thing is that we need to have a realignment between higher education and the needs of the workforce, which means that the two have to be much more closely aligned. 

ISACA’s Global Impact To Be Celebrated on ISACA CommunITy Day

Melissa SwartzOn 5 October 2019, ISACA will conduct its inaugural ISACA CommunITy Day, a day of global service for ISACA members (through their chapters) and staff to give back to their local communities. We will track the hours served, people participating, opportunities offered, and places helped as we all strive to have a positive impact on the world. Watch this video from ISACA CEO David Samuelson inviting you to participate.

Many ISACA chapters have enthusiastically jumped into this initiative, contacting partner charitable organizations and setting up volunteer opportunities for their members to join. Anamika Roy, CommunITy Day Lead for the Chicago Chapter, is excited to get involved, saying, “The Chicago Chapter is organizing a range of interesting and fun opportunities to engage members of various interests and ensure that there is something for everyone. We are working to volunteer and support hunger, education, animals and health.”

The St. Louis Chapter was the first to enter an opportunity into the sign-up tool for their members to opt in. When asked why they see this as so valuable for ISACA’s membership, St. Louis Chapter CommunITy Day lead Karey Barker responded, “ISACA has a vision to be a ‘world-changer.’ It is up to us as individual chapters to hold ourselves accountable, to do our part, and help ISACA in its mission to positively impact the world.”

Download these participant instructions or follow these easy steps:

  1. Create a Helper Helper account to sign up for activities hosted by your chapter or track any independent volunteer service you do on ISACA CommunITy Day.
  2. Give back to your local community on 5 October 2019. (In future years, ISACA CommunITy Day will be the first Saturday in October annually.)
  3. Confirm your hours in Helper Helper when you are done volunteering to be included in ISACA’s global impact statistics.
  4. Follow our impact using #ISACACommunITyDay and post your own photos and videos to your social media accounts and your Helper Helper account. Use these handheld signs to highlight your activity or location in your pictures: download A4 or download 8.5” x 11”.

Members of the Melbourne Chapter quickly created their accounts in Helper Helper, the sign-up tool specifically for this event, and are already getting involved giving back. The chapter board has been planning their participation in this day since they got a sneak peek at the Oceania Chapter Leader Meeting in April. As chapter leaders Anthony Rodrigues and Ashutosh Kapse see it, “ISACA Melbourne Chapter’s greatest asset is its members who make valuable contacts, strengthen leadership skills, learn more about the organization, contribute to the profession’s knowledge base, and help fellow members develop professionally. ISACA CommunITy day is an opportunity for our member base to come together with a defined purpose and objective to have positive impact on the broader community.”

ISACA staff members are eager to participate as well. On 5 October you will find staff teams packing seeds for Feed My Starving Children; running or walking a 5K for AIDS research; sorting and stocking donations for ReStore, the home improvement warehouse that supports Habitat for Humanity, and much more.

ISACA has had a positive impact on the technology community for 50 years, and now, in our 50th anniversary year, we are highlighting the ways our global membership lives our values and has a positive impact on the world around us. Barker summed up the event perfectly: “CommunITy Day - a worthwhile endeavor to honor ISACA's past 50 years and make a difference locally and globally for the next 50!”

Learn more about ISACA CommunITy Day and help ISACA be a world-changer. Contact volunteer@isaca.org with any questions.

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