Associate Director of Operations and Business, Capacity & Resilience Program
What is your role at GCA?
I joined the team as Associate Director of Operations and Business working with the Capacity & Resilience Program to advance identified communities’ cybersecurity capacity and improve their resilience to cyber risk. This involves identifying opportunities and subsequently working with internal teams and external partners to effectively deliver tools and solutions to end user communities, alongside ensuring that the program’s impact is measured and communicated.
What brought you to GCA, and what does GCA’s mission mean to you?
I’ve always been motivated professionally with a desire for impact and solving complex and evolving development challenges. I was most drawn to the GCA’s commitment and established expertise driving its mission that focuses on an inescapable aspect of our lives as we interact with the internet and all connected technologies. I strongly believe that cybersecurity and access to tools and information to improve and maintain cyber hygiene does not have to be a privilege to only those that can afford it. I look forward to supporting CGA’s commitment with existing communities and growing our footprint in new areas to make cybersecurity resources, tools, and solutions more widely available and accessible.
How has your expertise/past work experience helped you at GCA?
For the past few years, I’ve been working in international development focused on projects strengthening the cybersecurity resilience of different communities and stakeholders in developing nations and emerging markets to allow them to use connected technologies safely. This often involved a holistic approach to strengthen digital and cybersecurity ecosystems by working with government agencies, small businesses, and vulnerable communities around issues like cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, advancing enabling environments through legislation, building capacity for incident response, and improving cybersecurity awareness. The in-depth technical nature of this work taught me a lot about challenges faced by different communities – whether they were resource or capacity constrained, while also gaining insight into economic and social opportunities from successful prioritization and investments in cybersecurity.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
It’s difficult to boil down to one place, but I’ll opt for two. The first has to be in the country of my birth – Vardzia, Georgia. The ancient cave city is of course steeped in history, but the valley also has a unique microclimate of fresh air, crisp water in the river Mtkvari, and natural hot springs. I have nothing but great memories from every visit.
The second place is probably Hampi, India. The incredibly relaxed atmosphere, very unique landscapes, mixed with the ruins of a fallen empire make it a very fun place to explore.
What’s the last book you read?
A Land So Strange, the Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca, by Andres Resendez. I’m just fascinated by stories from early encounters between Europeans and Native Americans, with their observations and perceptions of the ‘New World’ as it once was. This book details a rare and very unique story of a group of shipwrecked Spaniards that walked across North America after a failed attempt to colonize Florida.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I like to be with my family and spend as much time outside in nature whenever possible. Cleveland has one of the best constellations of managed green spaces in the country, and I enjoy hiking and foraging, with the latter being something I picked up during the pandemic when options for things to do became limited.