Eskenzi PR has today announced the winners of the eighth annual Security Serious Unsung Heroes Awards. The event took place last night at Balfour St Barts in London and celebrated the UK’s cybersecurity professionals, teachers, lecturers, leaders and those working to make the industry not only more secure, but also more diverse and healthier for employees. Key sponsors included KnowBe4, Cyber Security Navigator, Pulse Conferences, Bora and the Zensory.
“These awards are so different from other pay-to-play industry awards – they’re all about the real people in cybersecurity. The cyber professionals quietly going about their jobs, protecting our businesses and our country and importantly, ensuring that these people are looked after and that new and diverse talent is coming up through the ranks,” said Yvonne Eskenzi, lead organiser for the event and director of Eskenzi PR.
Whether educating the next generation of cyber talent or the public, fighting cybercrime on the frontlines or mentoring a peer, the Security Serious Unsung Heroes Awards acknowledge the people who go above and beyond to keep us safe online. Winners this year included:
Cyber Writer: Michael Hill, UK editor, CSO Online
Best Educator: James Bore, director, Bores Group and tutor at CAPSLOCK
Data Guardian: Sarah Clarke, owner, Infospectives
CISO Supremo: Shan Lee, CISO, DocPlanner
Diversity Champion: Rebecca Taylor, Threat Intelligence Knowledge Manager for the Counter Threat Unit, Secureworks
Security Leader/Mentor: Stuart Coulson, Cybersecurity Ecosystem Project Manager, University of Manchester
Rising Star: Kieran Baumann, penetration tester, DigitalXRAID (highly commended); Elise Ghent, president, CyberWomen@Warwick and Hedvig Mareng, president CyberWomen@Coventry (joint winners)
Cybersecurity Wellbeing Advocate: Nikki Webb, global channel manager, Custodian360
Best Security Awareness Campaign: Bank of Ireland
Security Avengers: National Crime Agency
Best Ethical Hacker/Pentester: Matt Lorentzen, principal consultant, Cyberis
Godfather/Godmother of Security: Ian Glover, ex-president of CREST (highly commended); Mike Gillespie, MD, Advent IM (winner)
The evening’s awards were presented and compered by Clive Room, director of Pulse Conferences. The Judges for 2023 were: author and world-renowned people hacker, Jenny Radcliffe; CISO at DocPlanner Group, Shan Lee; Holly Foxcroft, head of neurodiversity in cyber research and consulting at Stott & May Consulting; lead organiser and director of Eskenzi PR, Yvonne Eskenzi; Javvad Malik, lead security awareness advocate at KnowBe4; Stephen Khan, CISO of Cognizant and president of ClubCISO; and Alan Jenkins, founder of Cyber Security Navigator.
Nominees and their guests attended the celebratory evening hosted on the 18th of October 2023 in London, thanks to sponsors which made the Security Serious Unsung Heroes Awards free to enter and to attend, setting it apart from other industry awards.
“What a great event the Security Unsung Heroes Awards was this year. There are a lot of good people out there doing amazing work and it was fabulous just to be on a list with them,” said Stuart Coulson, Cybersecurity Ecosystem Project Manager, University of Manchester and winner of the Security Leader/Mentor Award. “Whether that is during my day job at the University of Manchester as part of DiSH Manchester or whether it is just generally as a friend to people who need a nudge in the right direction. My call from the stage was to the mentoring community to keep doing what you do; we all do change people’s prospects, which is important… reach out to those nominated for an Unsung Heroes Award and get them to mentor you. You won’t regret it.”
Elise Ghent, joint winner of the Rising Star Award and president of CyberWomen@Warwick, said of the evening: “A fantastic night filled with wonderful people worth celebrating. It was a pleasure connecting with each and every one of them.”
This year’s Diversity Champion, Rebecca Taylor who is Threat Intelligence Knowledge Manager for the Counter Threat Unit, Secureworks echoed the sentiment: “I had a fabulous time at the event. I am still entirely flabbergasted to have been shortlisted let alone to have won Diversity Champion. It was wonderful to meet so many inspiring individuals and to celebrate alongside them. These awards truly are special, giving a platform to so many fantastic individuals in cybersecurity, who often go unseen and unsung.”