May’s CyberSmart Summit marked the 3rd iteration of this incredible event. This year’s Summit was an amazing success; I could see first-hand all the hard work that the CyberNB/Opportunities NB team put into making it a winner. The success of this year’s Summit was bolstered by an involved audience, great sponsors, a Cyber Defence Competition, IBM Security Cyber Day for Girls, a great venue, and a world-class lineup of speakers, panelists, and presenters.

Speaking of which, when was the last time you had a chance to attend an event and see a real-life astronaut (Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first female Hispanic astronaut in space, no less), experts from around the globe, middle and high-school teachers, retired principals, global powerhouses, and students all take to the same stage, exchange compelling and provocative ideas, and celebrate success together? I could sense the energy in the room, see the smiling faces, and hear the networking, laughter, and collaboration.

Our Top Takeaways

I was fortunate enough to share the stage with some amazing people, and have since had time to track all the great outcomes. As we continue to take stock of all the cool, innovative, and exciting concepts discussed during the Summit, here’s what truly stood out:

  • It’s time to flip the education model on its head – the student is no longer the customer. Employers are the customers and students are the product. If we aren’t teaching our students the skills and competencies that our employers are actually looking for how can we expect our students to be successful upon graduation?
  • Let’s take a good look at how we promote careers in cybersecurity. It’s not about engaging in a digital war – it’s about feeding curiosity, creativity, and solving problems together that affect the people we know and care about. It’s time to focus on the outcomes and possibilities – the technical jargon doesn’t work – it’s not attracting people, much less encouraging diversity. We need to empower people to connect with cybersecurity and see a fit.
  • Cybersecurity is foundational and affects all industries and sectors. A multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity is essential going forward, and that also means the challenge is larger than any one of us can solve. Let’s work together to tackle these challenges.
  • Leadership is something we all must demonstrate, both within our respective organizations and among external stakeholders.
  • Finally, a theme throughout the event: it’s about collaboration, innovation, and diversity. However – collaboration must be active – so let’s get there together. Or, as Dr. Ochoa put it: We must collectively dream big.

We sincerely hope this year’s attendees not only enjoyed the Summit but took something valuable from it. I know I did.

Click here for a video recap of CyberSmart 2019!

Mark your calendars for May 27-28, 2020, let us know what you thought about this year’s Summit, and help us make next year’s even better!

Written by Josh Waite, Director – Workforce and Compliance Programs, CyberNB

Cover photo by Stephen MacGillivray