The Cyber Talent CIO Forum

A Virtual Event: Wednesday, July 21, 2021 @12:30 - 5:05 PM Eastern Time
Join technology, business and cybersecurity leaders rising to the Cyber Talent Institute's 25x25 Challenge to discover and train a diverse new generation of 25,000 cyber stars by the year 2025.
CIOs of FedEx, Mastercard, General Dynamics IT, Harman and Raytheon Technologies sharing what works.
If you have any questions, please send an email to

Register to attend



  • How CIOs are taking on the diversity challenge in cyber talent - and discovering new approaches.
  • How organizations are changing the way young people think about jobs and careers in cybersecurity.
  • How innovative ideas and programs can help recruit entry-level talent
  • How large organizations recruit and retain the best cyber talent
  • How young people themselves view the cybersecurity profession
Hear what's working today in hiring high-potential, entry-level tech and cyber talent from enterprise CIOs and digital leaders from FedEx, General Dynamics IT, Harman International, Mastercard and more.


Moderator: Maryfran Johnson | Executive Director, CXO Programs, Cyber Talent Institute

July 21, 2021

12:30 p.m. to 5:05 p.m. ET

Welcome Remarks and Opening Keynote Panel: Growing America’s Cyber Skills Supply with the 25x25 Challenge

12:30 – 1:05 PM ET

Alan Paller | President, Cyber Talent Institute, and Founder, SANS Institute
Essye Miller | Board member, Cyber Talent Institute, and former Deputy CIO, U.S. DoD

As one of the world’s fastest growing industries, cybersecurity is already a $167B global market, due to the accelerating intensity and sophistication of cyber attacks against businesses and governments alike. The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation’s 25x25 Challenge is to discover & fund the next generation of diverse, homegrown “cyber stars” in today’s U.S. high schools, colleges and universities. Producing 25,000 talented young cyber pros by 2025 is an ambitious but achievable goal – but only if CIOs, CTOs and other senior business technology leaders are ready to hire this new wave of entry-level talent. In this lively and informative exchange, you’ll learn how and why this innovative new approach – starting with a gamified approach to cybersecurity education -- is America’s best shot at solving the ongoing cyber skills shortage and welcoming a more diverse wave of tech talent into American industry and government.

The CyberStart Sensation: How an Online Game Can Revolutionize American Cybersecurity Education

1:05 – 1:40 PM ET

James Lyne | CyberStart Founder

As the inventor of the CyberStart game that got 200,000 young Brits interested in cyber and tech careers, James Lyne knows how much fun matters. This self-described ‘massive geek’ designed a digital game that rewards curiosity, tenacity and quick thinking in students who start out with zero knowledge of computer science. Yet once they fall in love with this on-demand, self-paced learning course (disguised as a series of puzzles to solve) they pick up real-world programming skills that can lead to scholarship dollars and open up new career pathways. In this fast-paced, entertaining session, James will take us through the ‘shock and awe’ learning discoveries made via CyberStart’s success, which drew large percentages of girls and minority students across the UK. He’ll wrap up with an inside look at what 3,000 American students are learning this summer at the virtual Cyber Foundations Academy – and what’s next for CyberStart America.

Student Video

1:40 - 1:45 PM ET

Enterprise CIO Panel: What Works Now and What’s Next in Hiring Entry-Level Cyber Talent

1:45 – 2:35 PM ET

Rob Carter | EVP and CIO, FedEx
Kristie Grinnell | Global CIO, VP IT & SCM, General Dynamics IT
Nick Parrotta | Chief Digital and Information Officer, HARMAN International
Ed McLaughlin | President, Technology & Operations, Mastercard

For FedEx CIO Rob Carter, the search for high-potential digital natives to hire into his increasingly diverse technology and cyber operations teams is a never-ending quest. For CIO Kristie Grinnell of General Dynamics IT, the mission to attract much greater diversity in thought, gender, race and talent into her IT ranks is just as vital to the future of this major federal defense contractor. Ditto for Mastercard's Ed McLaughlin, president of technology and operations for the $15 billion global payments company, and Nick Parrotta, CIO of Harman, the audio electronics subsidiary of Korean tech giant Samsung. Each of these powerhouse CIOs taps into various pipelines of tech-savvy talent – but never stops scanning the horizon for more innovative ways to recruit and hire promising young people into their enterprises. In this practical exchange of hiring strategies that work today – everything from talent incubators, upskilling programs and internships to STEM partnerships with local schools and nonprofits – these experienced leaders will share what’s working well now and what they hope to see next on the horizon.

Student Video

2:36 - 2:40 PM ET

Diversifying the Tech & Cyber Talent Pipeline: What Business & Technology Leaders Can Do Today

2:40 – 3:15 PM ET

Tarika Barrett | CEO, Girls Who Code
Vince Campisi | SVP, Enterprise Services & CDO, Raytheon Technologies

The data tells a story that needs to be rewritten. Today, women make up less than 25% of the tech workforce, with less than half of that being women of color. Yet, we know that the value of diversity – whether gender, race, education, or life experience – is a critical success factor for advancing business. As the CEO of Girls Who Code, Tarika Barrett is reinvigorating the story of the talent pipeline, opening up new career directions for more than 450,000 girls globally. Vince Campisi is a member of the Girls Who Code board and chief digital officer for Raytheon Technologies, a company that is actively working to increase diversity within the talent pipeline. In this session, these two passionate advocates for greater equity and inclusion will explore the many ways technology and business leaders across every industry can do their part today to reimagine and expand the future of high-tech hiring.

Hiding in Plain Sight: A Home Team Advantage in Future Cyber Talent Recruiting

3:15 – 3:45 PM ET

Ruthe Farmer | Chief Evangelist, CSforAll

Of all the countries in the world, only one has the largest and most diverse population, a common language and a shared culture. “That’s a global competitive advantage that we in the U.S. have,” says Ruthe Farmer, chief evangelist at CSforALL, the non-profit devoted to making advanced computer science and cybersecurity education available in every high school. “Now is the time for us to incubate the home team. We must invest in it.” That investment got under way in late 2019 with the launch of an innovative public-private partnership with the U.S. Air Force Junior ROTC, which has 545,000 high school students enrolled nationwide. In this session, Farmer will talk about the talent pipeline potential of this “home team” advantage and how the momentum is growing again after the setbacks of the pandemic year.

Student Video

3:46 - 3:50 PM ET

Send in the (Cyber) Marines: One Teacher’s Experience with the CyberStart America Game

3:50 – 4:20 PM ET

Paul Jornet | First Sergeant USMC (Ret.) at Monty Tech (Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School)

"This has been a challenging school year as a Marine Corps JROTC instructor,” says Paul Jornet, echoing the sentiments of teachers everywhere about the educational drawbacks of remote learning during the pandemic. For this retired Marine, who runs a summer program for cadets at Monty Tech in Fitchburg, MA, one of the notable bright spots for students weary of online classwork was the engaging novelty of the CyberStart America game. The entertaining, self-paced nature of this learn-as-you-play introduction to computer science and cybersecurity opened up unexpected career paths to a diverse group of students “who had no idea they might have this talent,” Jornet, says. Marine JROTC programs across the country will soon be able to offer up to 32,000 cadets the same shot at discovering their own potential to become the cyber defenders American industry needs. “With the right expectations, maybe 25% of those kids will get engaged. That’s a great start.”

Cybersecurity Clubs on Campus: Where CIOs Can Find the Next Wave of Cyber Talent

4:20 – 4:50 PM ET

Haya Arfat | Cybersecurity Scholarship Assistance Director at the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, and student, Texas A&M

As early as 7th grade, Haya Arfat knew she wanted a career in computer science. Yet by her sophomore year in a Plano, Texas, high school, she was looking for something more inspiring than a career in software development. Haya found her calling in a CyberStart competition, captivated by this gamified approach to the fascinating world of cryptography, web app exploitation and password-cracking. Now in college at Texas A&M, she joined one of the largest, most active Cybersecurity Clubs in the country. In this fast-paced session, Haya will talk about her experiences as an early-career cyber pro and the value of hands-on experience with real-world cybersecurity tools outside the classroom.

Student Video

4:50 - 4:55 PM ET

Closing remarks

4:55 - 5:05 PM ET