Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) was established in 2012 by Dr. Ambareen Siraj of Tennessee Tech University through a National Science Foundation grant, and in less than ten years, the organization has grown into a leading alliance between trailblazers from academia, government, and industry.

At WiCyS our spirit is “Together, We Thrive” as it beautifully illustrates our goals to grow and expand awareness about cybersecurity, support students, professionals, faculty, veterans, the BIPOC community, and mentor members discovering career choices. The WiCyS mission is to recruit, retain and advance women in cybersecurity.

WiCyS Member, Ricardo Lafosse, CISO, The Kraft Heinz Company, 2021 Chicago CISO of the Year Winner!

Please join WiCyS in congratulating our esteemed member Ricardo Lafosse, CISO, The Kraft Heinz Company as the 2021 Chicago CISO of the Year Winner!

Ricardo Lafosse is the Chief Information Security Officer for Kraft Heinz.  He is responsible for IT risk governance, OT security, incident management, technical disaster recovery, and determining enterprise-wide security policies and procedures.

Ricardo has more than 18 years of experience in information security. He started through local consulting, securing critical infrastructure at the Army Corp of Engineers, advancing as the inaugural CISO at the Cook County Department of Homeland Security, then CISO for Morningstar before becoming CISO for Kraft Heinz in Chicago.

He holds a Master’s in Information Assurance from Iowa State University as well as the Certified Information Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) designations.

Ricardo routinely presents on security topics at global conferences, including Defcon, MirCon, ISACA, CACS, and Secure World.

The Chicago-area Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of the Year Program, is conducted in association with the Chicago chapters of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), ISACA, FBI-InfraGard, Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), the Society for Information Management (SIM) and ChicagoFirst. View the article here.

This honor involves a rigorous process (Click here to view the process)

Ricardo stated, “One of cybersecurity’s biggest challenges is the skills gap for most organizations. As cybersecurity leaders, we MUST push for diversity and engrain these viewpoints into the fabric of our programs. Hiring people from diverse backgrounds improves our program because it provides a different viewpoint and way of thinking that we may not have considered before. WiCys is the platform to help connect and embrace diverse viewpoints in a collaborative, supportive, and friendly environment. WiCys amplifies the voice and passion of a diverse community and extends opportunities for career elevation and thought leadership. Being a mentor provides me the opportunity to share my experiences, guidance, and support but I also always walk away learning something new! As a CISO, I strongly support the mission and the passion the members exhibit and am honored to be amongst these amazingly talented individuals! We are stronger together!

Ricardo is an ally to WiCyS, committed to diversifying the cybersecurity workforce and paying it forward by devoting his time, talent, and attention as a mentor in the mentor/mentee program – he walks the walk!

Ricardo won the award at 9 am and by 2 pm was on the WiCyS mentoring MeetUp call discussing the launch of the 2021-2022 mentor/mentee program!


The WiCyS Mentor/Mentee program features a new matching platform allowing mentee-led matching for a more streamlined and engaging mentor/mentee experience.

The WiCyS mentor/mentee initiative cohorts that have 191 mentees and 755 mentors

Mentees, whomever you are and wherever you are in your cybersecurity career, your WiCyS community is here to support you as you march forward.

We are all continual learners and being engaged in a meaningful mentoring relationship can only help you sharpen your professional development skills, remain focused on intentional career outcomes, and open your mind to new ideas and possibilities!

The 12-month program is designed to upskill and up-level women in areas such as influence, negotiation, leadership, work/life harmony, communication, and much more to prepare for the next stage in your career.

Mentors, we know navigating through your thriving career has had some hiccups, bumps, and challenges along the way. And we also know that you have not only survived them but thrived! Your guidance, support, and experience are needed by so many.

No matter where you are in your cybersecurity career journey, your milestones will make a difference in a WiCyS member’s life. The reward of impacting lives is priceless!

This program emphasizes “growing together.” Mentorship aids in career success. Our program was developed to upskill and uplevel women as they prepare for advancement at all levels of their cybersecurity careers. WiCyS Mentors facilitate career advancement conversations, keep you grounded, and help you remain self-aware as you navigate your career journey. Together, we thrive!


Join us live at the 2022 WiCyS Conference on March 16-19, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Conference sponsorship received before November 15th will be discounted 10-15%. Learn more here. If interested in possible collaboration, connect with WiCyS executive director at [email protected].

Program Theme for 2022: Being Smart about Security and Privacy of All “Smart” Things

We look forward to seeing you at #WiCyS2022 in Cleveland, Ohio!

Together, we thrive! Let the WiCyS community lead the way.

Contributor: Dawn Kristy, JD, Founder & CEO of The Cyber Dawn, a cybersecurity awareness training and communications consultancy.

View the Original Article HERE