Last year was my first year attending the RSA conference as a Forrester analyst, and I loved and hated it in equal measures. I am now a year older and wiser, and I’m so looking forward to so many things, including being in the beautiful city of San Francisco.

Conversely, if I’m 100% honest, there are things that I’m not looking forward to, such as the 15-hour flight each way, leaving summer to be in what I consider to be freezing cold temperatures, being around 90,000 people in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, and missing out on seeing sessions and people due to my punishing schedule.

That aside, let’s talk about my wish list. What am I most hoping to get out of this conference?

  • Seeing many of my old clients, friends, and Forrester colleagues and making new ones. When you’ve been in security for 20-plus years (OMG!) and have had the privilege to know and work with so many brilliant people, as you know, your network can become like a family. Last year, I saw people I hadn’t seen for years and made many new connections that have been mutually helpful through the course of 2019.
  • Celebrating, finally, the focus on the human element and meeting as many people as possible who champion this space. As I’ve just spent the last four months evaluating the security awareness and training market, I’m seeing some serious innovation in this market and can’t wait to talk to as many vendors and practitioners about this as possible. I am also so thrilled that the whole theme of this year is devoted to the human element. This year, I’ve made a conscious effort to publish and keynote on the harder soft stuff: culture, leadership in security, managing toxicity in teams, retaining talent, and CISO/security mental health and burnout. I’m hoping this conference will feed me with inspiration on these topics.
  • Celebrating diversity and inclusion and supporting any related event/keynote. I remember last year that I was blown away by the number of women from my various networks who came out in droves from all over the world to see my humble presentation. In turn, this year, I plan to pay it forward and support my diverse network in whatever way I can. I am hoping to see even more tweets about queues to the female bathrooms.
  • Championing my region and bringing back global learnings. I am not sure that I can do my job well without bringing the global perspective and learnings to my region. Conversely, I know many of my global clients and colleagues have benefited so much from my passion for Asia Pacific, specifically our geographic, political, regulatory, and security maturity diversity and how they impact our security programs. I often feel like a translator — a trend that may be huge in the US doesn’t always translate well in my region, and conversely, we want to leapfrog and catch that latest trend.

OK, I’ll stop now. I still have a (small) handful of slots left to catch up, so if you haven’t reached out, please do and we’ll see how/if we can connect. I can’t wait to see you.