Diversity, equity, and inclusion within tech, infosec, compliance, and other STEM fields still have a long way to go.
According to Wired, BIPOC make only 5% of the workforce in major tech companies. Using recent census data and current job openings, Zippia estimates Black cybersecurity analysts make up about 8% of the workforce while in regulatory compliance, it’s closer to 7%.
Nevertheless, many groups and organizations are working towards ensuring equal access, pay, and support for Black professionals interested or currently in security and compliance. In this piece, we thought we’d highlight a few of those organizations that are great to connect with at any point in your career.
Whether you’re just getting started and need some guidance or looking to listen in on the latest topics and trends from other Black professionals in the space, here’s a good list to start with.
Career Growth and Mentorship
If you’re interested in having a network for job openings, guidance, training, and other career development opportunities, you might find an organization that fits those needs below.
Cyversity—formerly known as the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals—aims to educate and empower women and underrepresented minorities in the cybersecurity industry.
They provide mentorship opportunities and grants and scholarships for advanced degrees or certifications, as well as facilitate career development for their members.
2. National Association of Black Compliance & Risk Management Professionals
The NABCRMP provides a space where Black professionals—including their experiences and contributions—in compliance and risk management are nurtured and empowered. The organization helps highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion to building comprehensive and effective risk management programs.
As a member, you’ll have access to training, networking and job opportunities, leadership and professional development, as well as a library of the latest regulation changes and topics.
3. Empow(H)er Cybersecurity
As the name suggests, Empow(H)er Cybersecurity aims to empower women of color entering or currently in cybersecurity through mentorship, education, and career guidance. They provide a safe space for women to develop and test their skills, connect with other women in the space, and build the confidence to take bold action in their careers.
Follow them on social media for helpful webinars where women in the industry tackle and discuss some of the latest trends and changes they see within cybersecurity.
4. Snyack Academy
If you’re looking for training in cybersecurity or tech in general, Snyack Academy developed curricula for underrepresented minorities to develop their skills and work towards their goals alongside mentorship.
Their cohorts usually last about three months depending on the curriculum and are provided on an ongoing basis.
Networking and Events
The organizations below also provide excellent mentorship, job and career development opportunities, and training. However, we’re including them separately as they put together recurring events for both members and the general public.
5. Information Technology Senior Management Forum
Formed about 25 years ago, ITSMF is focused on increasing representation of Black professionals in information technology management and executive roles. Some of their partners include AWS, Capital One, Deloitte, and Microsoft among others.
Their robust calendar of events offers general networking meetups for professionals outside of their Forum, executive and associate member meetups, and a bi-annual symposium. The symposium invites executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders to drive thought-provoking sessions on all things tech across various industries.
6. Blacks United in Leading Technology International
BUILT International was founded to build equity for Black professionals in tech. Their members—a list of nearly 10,000 professionals—can take advantage of benefits like discounts in technical trainings, mentorship and recruiting connections, speaking opportunities, and informative regional and virtual events.
They have over 23 chapters and typically host 10 or more events per month so be sure to check out their calendar.
7. Black Data Processing Associates
BDPA was founded over 40 years ago to enable Black Americans and other minorities to participate in STEM fields and information technology. They offer educational programs, monthly tech and career talks, scholarships, and an annual BDPA Conference and Career Fair in Atlanta (with virtual access).
The conference hosts panels with executives and entrepreneurs, technical workshops and competitions, professional discussions, and entertainment.
8. Blacks in Cybersecurity
Blacks in Cybersecurity started as a meetup and conference series that has branched out into mentorship opportunities, training, and community outreach and support programs. In addition to providing resources for professionals, part of their mission is to encourage participation of Black communities in cybersecurity. This work is essential in keeping our communities aware of security best practices and nurture the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
Check out their site and sign up to get an invite into the conference series, training, programs, and ambassador opportunities.
People to Follow
If you’re looking for leaders in security and compliance, here are a few our team recommends you follow:
- Boyd Clewis, Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer at Baxter Clewis Consulting
- Ife Davis, Security, Risk & Compliance/Privacy Consultant at Confidential
- Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope
- Mosi Platt, Senior Security Partner for Governance, Risk, Compliance & Assurance at Netflix
- Jimmy Sanders, Information Security at Netflix and Director at Information Systems Security Association
- Marcus Scott, Director, Cyber Governance & Risk at Capital One
- Blaise Wabo, Healthcare & Financial Services Director at A-LIGN
Although not an exhaustive list, the organizations and leaders above will provide a good starting point to expand your connections into the world of security and compliance. In your search, you’ll also find other organizations, podcasts, and resources out there that aim to support women, LGBTQ+ members, students, or people transitioning to a career in these industries.
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