I put off writing, and posting, this message. But now, the ISC2 voting opens tomorrow (November 16th) and I can wait no longer to share this very important message with the infosec community.

We’ve organized a massive write-in campaign for the ISC2 elections to place candidates on the board for the 2014-2017 term. I’m asking for all CISSPs to read and vote November 16-30.

First, let me say that I am one of the eight board-approved candidates on the ballot this year. I’m honored and amazed at the opportunity. It looks like I’m the only candidate not currently involved with ISC2 in some formal capacity at this time. Now, let me explain why I’ve decided to jeopardize my position with this crazy write-in campaign. #isc2WriteIn

photo-isc2-writein1-cWhy a write-in campaign?

ISC2 can be better. For several years now, I’ve been listening to the infosec community at large complain about ISC2 as an organization, and about the CISSP, as a certification. People I like and respect are completely disillusioned and disappointed in what should (and could) be the preeminent organization of our industry.

Many of the complaints are legitimate, and the members’ frustration is not unfounded. Some of the issues taken with ISC2 I can chock up to misunderstanding and/or very poor and ineffective communication from the organization. But this year – this year is different to me. It feels worse, more dismal and somehow hopeless. In an organization that currently has no term limits, the leadership has been recycled for (in some cases) more than 10 years. It’s resulted in a rut, stale programs, lack of diversity and missed opportunities for the type of growth desired by its members.

ISC2 is a good organization that has gone astray and diverged from the common goals of its members. We need to bring the ship back around, make a tack, and get on a course charted by the needs of members.

Here’s why the write-in campaign is happening:

  • Large segments of the ISC2 membership are ailing and miserable
  • The organization needs fresh blood and new brains
  • ISC2 needs to be revitalized and redirected, not destroyed and rebuilt or replaced
  • A successful board will be comprised of enthusiastic contributors ready to roll up their sleeves and make a difference
  • 1 or 2 people on a board of 15 is a muted voice; 5 or 6 people on a board of 15 is creeping toward majority
  • Any leadership team comprised of the same multi-term members will eventually hit a progress wall
  • A strategically-coordinated write-in campaign can be successful and will remedy these ailments
  • This write-in campaign is a chance for ALL unhappy members to affect a change!

Meet the write-in candidates and get details on the procedure here: Your ISC2 Election Write-In Guide.

Why now?

The time is ripe. We have a unique window of opportunity and the perfect storm of discontent to drive a positive change at ISC2. #isc2WriteIn

  1. First, as I said before, with all the griping that I’ve heard over the years from ISC2 members (most notably CISSP-holders), this past year seems to be the worst. It could be more prevalent in my sphere of visibility, but it is certainly a discontent that spans several continents.
  1. Secondly, I think that mass discontent lays the perfect and timely foundation for a write-in campaign, and I genuinely believe our members across the globe need this – they need a change. They need a miracle. No one has ever been successful with a write-in campaign before, but I believe we can, and we will — because we have to be. The members NEED this and I’m doing everything in my power to make it successful.
  1. The third reason for the “why now” is that if, by some chance, I do make it on the board this election, I will not be able to condone, advocate for, or in any way assist with or facilitate this type of shenanigans for the next three years, at least. I wouldn’t be able to show public support or promote ANY candidate – board-approved or otherwise. And, that’s with good reason. You don’t want an organization’s board members to show preference for any candidates in this type of election. The point being, this is the time for me to go out on a limb, jump off a cliff and shout to the CISSP world for a crazy call to action.

Can a write-in campaign work?

Absolutely! But only if you make it work. You, being the ISC2 members; the CISSP and other certification holders. There are more than 90,000 of us (voting members) across the world, but records indicate that only about 2,000  less than 1,000 will participate in the elections. Yes, less than 2% of you will vote. #isc2WriteIn

In an organization with more than 90,000 members, it was reported at a recent (ISC)2 member reception that voter turnout is low, never more than 1,000 voters so far. Our chances of a successful write-in campaign with that voter turnout are extremely high!

We have a massive network of CISSP-certified contacts and infosec media and thought-leaders, and we plan to use them to the full extent possible. Collectively, I think we have a reach of more than 63,000 people, and I feel confident that several thousand of those are ISC2-certified and eligible to vote. Meet the write-in candidates and get details on the procedure here: Your ISC2 Election Write-In Guide.

So the short answer is – this can work. Those of you that have been dissatisfied with ISC2 – you need to make it work.

Who are the write-ins?

I’ve spent the past several weeks seeking out people that could make a difference and gain the popular vote of the community. It wasn’t an easy task, because my direct experience with ISC2 is limited and I really needed input from others to know what, and who, would work best to serve the needs of the organization and its members. The project led me to meet some great people, and have great discussions.

The criteria for write-in candidates was that they be familiar with ISC2, have a genuine interest in helping the organization succeed, be willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever needs to be done, and have a passion and love for the industry and the members. It’s not my intention to burn the organization to the ground or attempt to cause a huge disruption by introducing unnecessary conflict to the board. An organization with 90,000+ members deserves better, and an organization that size would be stalled by ill-intentioned misfits. My goal was to find new people, new enthusiasm, fresh thoughts and leaders that understand the struggles of both the members and the organization and can help find some resolution in the gap between the two. And, by George, I think we did it! I think we have those people.

I feel confident the people recommended for write-ins will easily gain your respect and support. Meet the write-in candidates here: Your ISC2 Election Write-In Guide.

What about the people on the ballot?

It’s your vote. I’m one of those people on the ballot, so of course I’m not going to tell you to not vote for people on the board-approved ballot. In fact, I will propose no more than three write-in candidates. There are five slots to fill. You don’t have to use all five of your votes, you can pick just three, four, or even one person, to vote for. This write-in campaign is a way of offering you an option – it’s not a command or a demand. It’s your vote- and I expect you to vote for the candidate(s) that you believe will lead the organization well, regardless of whether those people are the ballot candidates, my suggested write-ins, or your own write-ins.

I am not (and will not be) telling you who to vote for. My call to action for you is that you PLEASE DO VOTE. Your vote matters, especially when less than 2% of the members are participating. And for those that have been discontent with the options, I’m offering additional options in a structured way for you to consider.

As yo consider the board-approved candidates on the ballot (again, including me) I recommend you look over this short guide detailing the past and present relationship of each candidate with the (ISC)2 board. You’ll notice a summary at the end where I’ve identified the 4 new candidates and the 4 candidates that have had longevity and/or strong leadership roles in the organization. That enlightening info can be found at Relationships of ISC2 candidates to the ISC2 board.

You can read more about me, professionally and personally, and hear my platform at http://securityuncorked.com/2013/11/who-is-this-person-running-for-isc2-board-jj. Feel free to post questions.

Also don’t miss the JJ’s Complete Unofficial (ISC)2 Voter Guidebook  which will serve as your central landing spot for all election content.

Your call to action

Take the five minutes to vote. If you’re one of the ISC2 members that has been disappointed or disenchanted with ISC2 as of late, then this campaign is for you, by you. Between November 16th and November 30th, you’ll need to log in to ISC2 and vote to fill five seats for the 2014-2017 term. Again, you vote for the candidate(s) that you believe will serve the organization well.

I’m going to provide you with no more than three suggested names to consider for write-in during the elections. Please note that the write-in names MUST MATCH exactly the records ISC2 has for that person. Detailed instructions for recommended candidates are coming in the next posts.

If you want to help spread the word, use #isc2WriteIn.

In the next few posts, I’ll be:

If you’re not happy with ISC2, and you don’t do something about it by voting, then I don’t want to hear your complaints in the future.

An explanation to my peers

It’s not personal. To my fellow board-approved candidates, I want to say this is not personal, nor is it meant to be a stab at you. I know each of you are more than qualified and you are each exceptional leaders in your communities. But sometimes there needs to be a change, and this is that time. The membership is desperate for their voices to be heard, and they need to be offered a path to affect change themselves and to regain some of the control they deserve.

To those of you on the board now that nominated me, and those on the review committee that approved me, I know this comes as a big surprise, and I genuinely hope you do not feel you made a mistake in selecting me as a candidate. This is not a rash move; it’s an extremely calculated campaign to improve ISC2, and I believe if nothing else, this will bring to light a severe desire for change amongst your constituents. If you were blind before, you will now see. I respect you all, and this is not an attack or dissent on you by any means.

I realize this move may jeopardize my future with ISC2; it may put my chances of being elected at risk, and it may alienate me from my peers on the board, if elected. There may be a backlash. There may be hurt feelings and retaliation. Before jumping in to this, I put a lot of thought behind it, and deep down, I know something has to change- something has to be done, and I believe I’m in a unique position to facilitate that change, even if at my own expense.

To my peers, and for those of you that know me personally and professionally, you undoubtedly know I don’t pull stunts like this just to rock the boat, or garner attention. I tend to fly under the radar most often, but I’m not afraid to step up and be the voice of the unpopular opinion when needed. I’m not afraid of anyone, I’m not intimidated by anyone, and if I feel something is right, even if risky- I’m going to go for it. And so, I’m going for it!

Even if you don’t agree with what I’m doing, I hope you understand why I’m doing it, and know it’s coming from a good-intentioned mind and heart.

— added —

JJ’s Complete Unofficial (ISC)2 Voter Guidebook  will serve as your central landing spot for all election content.

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Author, speaker, and recognized authority on network and wireless security architectures, Jennifer (JJ) Minella helps organizations solve technical problems and align teams.

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