Podcast - The New CISO Podcast Episode 84: Are You Ready to be a CISO? Why Mentors Matter with Mark Weatherford - Exabeam

The New CISO Podcast Episode 84: Are You Ready to be a CISO? Why Mentors Matter with Mark Weatherford

Podcast Transcript | Air Date January 26, 2023

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Listen to Steve and Mark discuss what it means to be coachable and the importance of experience:

The White House Basement (1:33)

Host Steve Moore presses his guest Mark Weatherford on a meeting he attended in the White House basement.

Mark was initially instructed to use this meeting as a learning experience to see how things worked. Unexpectedly, John, the National Security Advisor, asked Mark his thoughts on an issue, and Mark answered on the spot. 

Strong Leadership (6:44)

John asking Mark a security question showed strong leadership because it allowed Mark, who was new to the team, to be included.

When you’re the CISO in charge, you should bring a team lead or a middle manager to meetings, so they can learn and provide input. This type of experience will allow them to build skills and develop confidence, which they will need as they climb the cyber security ladder. 

Mentorship Advice (10:29)

Mark advises younger leaders to always look for opportunities to mentor people. Generally, Marks tries to be available to those who ask him to chat about leadership and security. 

However, younger people need to be willing to ask for help.

The Mentorship Exchange (16:10)

Steve asks Mark what people should expect from mentorship lunches. Is it just lunch or something more pressing?

Mark explains how in his case, he was friends with his mentor, so they mostly just enjoyed meals together. However, his mentor would ask him questions about work to see how he could help. Of course, different dynamics operate differently, but the main thing mentees should consider about themselves is, “am I coachable?”

Steering The Mentee (19:47)

Mark and Steve discuss how to guide mentees away from vanity. Nowadays, new security professionals may focus more on the job title than actually becoming a leader. 

Mark then further explains what it means to be coachable: a willingness to take in the tough feedback to improve.

In the Meeting (21:24)

When Mark meets with potential mentees, he’ll give them a homework lesson and ask them what their goals are. He will also ask them what efforts they’ve made to achieve their goals.

With so many CISO opportunities out there, people are getting jobs without putting in the hard work, prefacing the importance of experience.

The New CISO (24:08)

To Mark, being a new CISO is a wide-open field. One must understand the job’s responsibilities and be creative with their resources. Ultimately, being a new CISO means having the experience that validates your position in the role.

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