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We are Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran from the Hacker Valley Studio podcast. We explore the human condition to inspire peak performance in cybersecurity. Join us on our quest to find inspirational stories and knowledge to elevate ourselves and our communities.
137 Episodes
In this episode, we welcome Chani Simms, Managing Director of Meta Defence Labs as well as Founder and Chief Architect of She Ciso Exec.  Chani tells us the story of her rise from tragedy during childhood to being triumphant today.   0:00 Intro 1:03 In this episode with Chani Simms 2:22 Chani shares a bit about her background 3:35 Exposure to IT 5:24 First cold call experience 6:24 Chani’s early years in Sri Lanka 12:25 How did Chani recover from the trauma 13:08 What gave Chani hope 16:24 How a specific billboard spoke to her 18:12 Surprises along the way 20:35 Superpowers 23:00 Emotional intelligence 25:40 Having a good relationship with others 28:43 Chani’s advice to others 31:08 Connecting with Chani   Links: LinkedIn: Twitter: Website: TedX Talk: Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Learn more about our sponsor AttackIQ and enroll in The AttackIQ Academy!  
Vote here: It might seem impossible... but we need an incredible amount of votes to have a shot to win this People's Choice Webby. Who would have thought that two black cybersecurity professional with home studios, would have a shot against these huge media companies. But this prize is more than the trophy or the title. We are representing cybersecurity. We are representing the independent creators. We are representing the underrepresented. The audacious part... We believe we will win this thing. 30 seconds of your time can put us in the history books.
In the studio today is Jimmy Sanders, a mentor, technician and all-around leader.  Jimmy is the head of information security at Netflix DVD where he secures data and systems from cyber threat while building resilient compliance programs across technology, financial services, and healthcare organizations. Jimmy is here to talk about what we are worth in technology and cyber security.  He is always full of advice and knowledge and is always promoting positive change in our community.  To start this podcast, Jimmy shares a little about his background and how he came to the role he is in now for Netflix.  Along with his career background, he shares all the organizations he is involved with. Jimmy talks briefly about what happened to him that encouraged him to go 120% and then some in this career choice.  He didn’t find his passion in technology until 12 years after graduating college.  You will hear how the possibility of never walking again affected his work ethic.   Allan and Jimmy talk at length about those 12-years where Jimmy was stumbling, bouncing from college to college, to flunking out of college.  It took those years for him to discover how the absence of passion can truly feel.   The show closes discussing knowing how to recognize opportunities and taking them.  In addition, they talk about how important it is to know your worth, recognize your value and that everything in life or work is negotiable.  You will only be better than your job description if you make it that way.   Key Takeaways: 0:00 Intro 1:27 Episode begins 2:28 Jimmy Sanders introduced 2:40 Jimmy shares his background 4:20 Jimmy shares how he made his way into cyber security 6:28 What happened to Jimmy that got him going headstrong into cyber security 8:57 For 12-years, Jimmy stumbled through life – what did he learn and do? 10:40 Journey into his career choice and how it skyrocketed 13:00 How does Jimmy stay fresh and on top of advancements 14:54 Jimmy shares his “superpower” 17:55 Making the most of opportunities and getting into that mindset 20:15 Jimmy shares how to know your worth and understand your value 23:35 Negotiations when looking for a job 25:10 Jimmy’s hopes and objectives for the Technology Collaborative Summit which Cyber Ranch is hosting 27:26 Advice to those questioning their value in their cyber security job 28:55 Thank you and how to keep in touch   Links: Sign up for the April 27th event 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM Pacific Time: Jimmy Sanders on LinkedIn Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek.  Vote for Hacker Valley Studio to win a Webby!  
In this special announcement, we talk about the Webby's, the incredible honor it is, and the stiff competition we are up against.   Vote and help make our dream become reality here:
In this episode, we welcome Gabriela Ariza, a cybersecurity practitioner, influence, and wealth builder.  We talk about her incredible story and how she got into social media influencing.  Gabi started her IT journey in web development and then decided to transition to cybersecurity.  She now works in protecting and analyzing government infrastructure for state and county governments across the United States.  In addition, Gabi has founded a non-profit called HaITian Common Space.   0:00 - Intro 1:04 - In this episode 2:03 - Gabi introduced 5:42 - The story of where Gabi felt the magic for cybersecurity 7:07 – Special segment on CNBC 9:10 – Mindset of earning and saving 12:28 – Influence of parents 14:54 – The launch of Gabi’s nonprofit 15:50 – Superpowers 17:34 – Goals 22:23 – What’s next 23:17 – The impact 24:39 – Thank you 24:52 – Connecting with Gabi   Instagram: fab_millennial Website: Nonprofit: Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek. Vote for Hacker Valley Studio to win a Webby!
In this featured episode of Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Sarah Groen, founder and CEO of Bell & Bly Travel, a luxury travel advisory firm. Bell & Bly Travel helps executives, entrepreneurs, and their families take a holistic view of their vacation planning, allowing them to save time, enjoy amazing experiences they can't plan on their own, and make lasting memories with loved ones. Sarah is a contributing columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine and is the host for the Luxury Travel insider podcast. In most of our episodes, we talk about work, the grind, and getting better every single day.  In this episode, we talk about something a little different; talking about taking time for yourself and maximizing vacations and time off, time with family, friends, and time for experiences.   Sarah is no stranger to experiences; she has traveled the world and is an expert at planning vacations.  We brought her into the studio to talk about getting the most out of our time off.   Her background is varied; she has an extremely random resume. She is from South Texas and lives in Houston.  She started in the financial world but wanted to get off the corporate rat race track because she didn’t enjoy what she was doing.  She went back to business school, not knowing what she wanted to do, but focused on entrepreneurship.   After school, Sarah went back to Houston and did many things, such as investing in an energy software startup and being an accelerator that she co-founded.  She worked at Uber - launching and running UberEats in Houston and Phoenix.  Finally, Sarah realized that if she was going to put that much time and effort into a business, she wanted it to be her own and build her own equity.  So, she started looking into companies to invest in and buy.  She finally began to focus on her passion for travel.   She describes herself as crazy about travel and shares how many countries she has visited and continents - and it’s a lot!  She is always thinking about where she is going next.  It all started due to her early experience where at 15 she went to Germany for an entire summer.  She loves planning travel for families who have kids at that age which is an impetus to loving travel.  This love led her to use all her free time for travel. Sarah loves all her travel experiences for so many reasons.  Trips fulfill you in many different ways.  Her ability to share what she loves led to her acceptance at Stanford.  Travel reminds her that she is so small in the world.  There are so many other ways to think and live, that when she travels, she is reminded of that.   As the episode progresses, Sarah describes how travel benefits the mind and health.  There is a lot of research that shows how vacations and travel is good for you.  People need it!  One example is neuroplasticity.  If something brand new happens, you will remember it more.  This keeps your brain more agile and to be more creative.  Travel puts you in a different environment and helps create new neuropathways. It is a fact that Americans are skipping tons of vacation days; there are millions of vacation days left on the table.  As that number goes up, all sorts of things are happening such as anxiety, mental health issues and other things that are symptoms of working too hard. In order to plan travel for groups, they bring people in and ask multiple questions to get to the bottom of what’s most important about this vacation and why.  What helps them relax.  This helps discover what is needed most by the travelers.  Making the most of the vacations is different for every person.  Some want to do everything, and some don’t want to do much at all.   The needs are different for everybody!  Luxury travel means something different, however.  She hesitates to put the word “luxury” in marketing, etc.  Generations want different things and luxury means true customization.  People don’t want to feel like a number anymore.  She is catering toward personalized and customized things.   What does customized mean?  How does it get specific?  What do people look at?  Sarah can do and plan things that are “ungoogleable.”  There are so many experiences that can be customized based on interests and passions.  These are “behind the scenes” and not amongst the packed tours that one encounters when on typical vacations. Sarah shares how networking is important in the role as a luxury travel planner.  She specializes in clients’ needs and wants, and they plan the world.  That can only happen through fantastic networks and partnerships. They have worked with them and keep up with them on a regular basis.  They have vetted partners in every corner of the world, and are kept up-to-date and help curate these specific itineraries and ideas.  Doesn’t matter if it is art or basketball, they make it happen due to their network. How people spend their money is personal, but don’t save it for a day you are never going to spend it.  If there is something you want to do, make a plan to make it happen.  Lay out what you want to achieve in your travel bucket list, and make a plan.  Pencil the experiences in that you want to have! Travel has changed alot since Covid-19.  Don’t let it scare you off when you are planning travel.  Hotels and airlines and tour operators have adjusted to safety protocols.  Safety is different for all people and their wants in regard to the degree of risk they are willing to take. Booking and cancellation policies have flexed greatly.  Those dream trips can be planned almost risk-free right now.   When it comes to food, it is trending to having more local cuisine experiences.  For instance, going to the market, following a local expert, going to different places and trying different things.  It is food combined with stories and history that is the trend.   Sarah is planning our “Think Week”, and we were excited to hear what she had in store for us.  She has our interests and general information based on the forms sent to us.  The next step is a call to hear what changes from the form and speaking in person.  This gives a true vision of what might make sense and then talk about options and possibilities.   Impactful Moments 0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio   1:26 - This episode features Sarah Groen   2:25 - Where they met Sarah   2:44 - Sarah’s background is extremely varied   3:19 - Where the entrepreneurship started   3:57 - Decided to start focusing on her passion - travel   4:14 - Why travel?  What does it mean to her?   5:19 - Most memorable travel experience?   7:40 - How good travel is for you   10:35 - How people get the most out of time off?   13:04 - What does luxury travel mean for clients?   17:57 - How important is networking in this type of role?   20:23 - What would you say to our listeners who want to dip their toes in luxury travel?   22:08 - How travel has changed due to Covid-19.   25:36 - How food fits into travel    27:58 - What’s in store for our “Think Week”   29:29 - Best ways to stay in or get in touch with Sarah Links:   Learn more about BelleAndBlyTravel   Luxury Travel Insider Podcast on all platforms   @Sarahgoesglobal on Instagram   Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.   Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.   Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.   Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek.
Anne Marie Zettlemoyer is Vice President of Security Engineering and Divisional Security Officer at MasterCard. She’s a mentor to many cybersecurity practitioners and a visiting fellow at the National Security Institute at George Mason University As far back as elementary school, making sure everyone was treated properly and respected was important for Anne. In college, despite not knowing the first thing about cycling Anne’s determination to do the right thing led her to participate in a 600-mile charity ride to raise money for research towards a vaccine against HIV.  Anne Marie started in Business and holds an MBA in Organizational Behavior and Corporate Strategy, she started on the business side and worked under many titles like Analyst, Controller, Auditor, and Strategist. About 12 or 13 years ago she fell in love with Security because it speaks to her mission of protecting and defending others.   Ron shares about how mentors have helped him learn cybersecurity and asks Anne Marie about when she’s helped others climb the security mountain. Anne Marie recalls being the only woman presenter at a Cybersecurity conference and receiving a certain lack of respect until she demonstrated exactly how much expertise and experience she had. She spoke to some other women in attendance and encouraged them to apply themselves in the same field assuring them that they could also succeed, two years later one of the people she encouraged had become Senior Security Engineer. Chris asks about what it means to her to be able to show up with others now and whether she had someone like that for her own journey. Anne Marie shares about having to fight for everything herself. She expands that talent, grit, and many things are distributed throughout humanity but opportunity isn’t equally distributed. Anne Marie believes that those with the capability to find those who simply need an opportunity and lift them up have a certain responsibility to do so. That they can lift up those who will also lift up others. Ron asks Anne Marie about what it takes to make a great leader and supporter today. Anne Marie speaks a bit about leading from quiet influence and measures success more by effectiveness. The conversation shifts to how trust is needed when working to communicate risk and security decisions depending on who you’re working with as not everyone will share the same perspectives and backgrounds. Chris asks Anne Marie for a piece of advice for someone who may need someone to show up and protect them and she urges us to try new things, learn new things, expand our own possibilities. Anne Marie speaks about how showing up and trying to reach out can be enough to open new doors. 1:01 — Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio our guest this episode is Anne Marie Zettlemoyer. 2:43 —  Anne’s amazing fluency in business and how she fell in love with security. 4:37 — The call Anne feels to respect others and make sure they’re respected.  6:48 — The causes to fight for even without complete preparation for the journey ahead. 8:58 — The extremes of a ride to do the right thing, and a helping hand to get you up a mountain. 11:30 — How you can never know the power of showing up for yourself. 13:30 — The power of showing up for others and being the only woman there. 15:34 — Two years after being the only woman cybersecurity presenter at a conference 19:04 — Anne shares about having to fight for everything herself.  20:30 — The responsibility for those that have the heart to find and uplift others. 22:00 — The conversation moves to topics about networking and great leadership. 24:00 — Why having a sense of humility is necessary for a leader and building a network. 25:30 — Learning to not re-invent the wheel. 27:20 — Creating a rounded perspective to build comprehensive solutions. 28:50 — Why you need trust from the folks you’re trying to protect. 31:00 — Advice for someone listening that needs someone to protect or stand up for them. 32:45 — Trying new things one step at a time can be enough. Links You can find Anne Marie Zettlemoyer on her Linkedin or her Twitter    Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor AttackIQ and enroll in The AttackIQ Academy!
Saam Motamedi is a General Partner at Greylock, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Saam has  always found joy in finding individuals with the ideas and perspectives needed to become leaders and seeing them grow. As a student, Saam built student led organizations and nurtured the talent in his peers so they could grow as leaders. Saam started his professional journey on the product side of the industry working for a startup company, BladeIQ. The organization was an early adopter of machine learning and made innovations in the Customer Relationship Management solution market. The company was later acquired by Salesforce and their technology was integrated into the Salesforce CRM solutions.  Saam shares that he enjoys helping entrepreneurs go from technical insight to an initial product. His superpower is leveraging his insight into how products and software solutions fit into the larger economic ecosystem. Saam also has success with helping companies continue to develop their products while bring new offerings using planned strategy. Ron asks Saam how he sorts through companies that are focused on artificial intelligence or machine learning in order to find great opportunities and people. Saam elaborates that he is focused less on the theoretical applications of these tools and more on how they are used to solve problems for customers. Saam provides perspective on the value of end user input in improving the quality of machine learning itself. Chris asks Saam about advice about product market fit and how to ensure the company has the right timing. Saam shares that timing varies across customer segments. It is important to not only understand what customers want but be able to see what customers should want or what they’re going to want. The conversation touches upon how COVID-19 has shifted the venture capital landscape. Saam tells us that the amount of interesting ideas and products has actually increased, and that entrepreneurs need to understand what their own story is and how it is even more relevant today than perhaps two years ago. Ron asks Saam about the most exciting technology to him today. Saam remains enthusiastic about machine learning technology helping better decisions being made as well as automation helping free up time and more of the workforce to focus on higher valued tasks. Saam lets us know that it’s never too early to talk to Greylock and that some of the most impactful investments have been based on an idea and an understanding of the market the entrepreneur was aiming to disrupt.    0:00 — Intro 01:21 — Welcome Back to Hacker Valley today in the Studio, Saam Motamedi. 04:30 — Saam’s superpowers: understanding products, markets and people. 06:30 — Saam’s experience with the product innovation side 08:13 — Network building and finding talent 10:28 — Seeing the entrepreneur in people even before they see it in themselves 12:37 — Investing in solutions to important problems and not the technology they’re using. 14:17 — Creating a learning engine that actually learns over time 15:55 — Advice on having the right team and the right idea at the right time. 18:37 — Timing requires predicting what customers are going to want 20:09 — How the pandemic has shifted the entrepreneurial and VC landscapes 23:05 — Customer interactions and brand ambassadors shifting to digital channels 25:00 — Crawl before you walk before you run: how to grow a company 27:04 — Getting the right attention, standing out in a digital sales landscape 29:00 — Showing off your product and continuing to grow without high touch interactions  31:34 — Saam shares how security is more relevant than ever 33:10 — If you’ve got an idea and imagination it’s never too early to start talking to Greylock. 35:32 — Understanding your own story to build your own company. If you want to stay up to date with what’s going on with Saam you can follow him on twitter Saam Motamedi (@saammotamedi) or find him on linkedin Saam Motamedi - General Partner - Greylock Partners. Check out Greylock Partners to find out more about this venture capital firm and read their blog to learn more about what they’re doing.   Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek. 
Ashish Rajan is a Cloud Security leader, podcaster, investor and fashion expert. He’s the Melbourne chapter leader of the OWASP Foundation and the Head of Security & Compliance. Ashish makes full use of his expertise and shares his knowledge as founder of a Cloud Security academy as well as in his weekly Coffee with Ashish which streams on Twitch, linkedin and YouTube.  Ashish shares that while doing his weekly cloud security livestreams from the streets of Melbourne he became a recognizable person. Dressing with the intention of presenting something different to people Ashish began changing the way people look at him as a cybersecurity person. Ron asks Ashish about people understanding his value and how that can be conveyed through being confident with self image and comfortable in your own skin. Ashish speaks about the difference that presenting a new image of a security expert makes in his own career, that sometimes folks in the industry don’t necessarily communicate enough with people who don’t already have that knowledge base and so there can be a gap. The conversation moves to how Ashish’s interests overlap and have grown throughout his cybersecurity practice and professional growth, he began meeting people more into sales over coffee in order to make more connections with other forward thinking professionals. Ashish’s mindset is that goals have to evolve especially when you’re able to meet them ahead of schedule, he applies this successfully to his Coffee with Ashish weekly show. Chris asks Ashish about his innovative mindset and a time he’s had to overcome an obstacle. His journey overcoming that is inspiring, after being let go from a job Ashish still believed there was reason to invest in the ideas and company. From there he began putting his time and energy into the cloud security academy and cloud security podcast using the motivation gained after that setback put in front of him as motivation to teach others how to fish in the cyber ocean. Ron and Chris talk with Ashish about legacy and Ashish shares that planting seeds will be the legacy he hopes for. Ashish hopes that making significant impact on other people’s lives in a positive way will become his. Ashish shares that finding mentors aligned with the goals that you have, starting on your goals will pay dividends.  Impactful Moments 0:00 — Intro 2:05 — Welcome to Hacker Valley Studio with Ashish. 4:15 — Origin story of a Tinkerer and mastering the cheat codes. 6:10 — Trying new things and trying to innovate them creatively. 7:45 — Unintentionally stumbling into the fashion world. 9:00 — Transforming into an extroverted Security person. 10:33 — Diversifying Cybersecurity with fashion and putting yourself out there. 12:40 — Being comfortable in your own skin after putting yourself out there. 13:33 — Following in the footsteps of your parents. 16:00 — Discovering more than just security and learning how to sell. 18:00 — The organic origins of Coffee with Ashish. 20:00 — Overcoming obstacles and teaching others to fish.  22:10 — Making the right investments in helping other people. 24:10 — Ashish leveling up constantly and what’s next. 26:20 — Ashish’s advice for stepping into your own personal strength. 28:00 — The very online future and making your own media hub.   Links: Connect with Ashish on LinkedIn and check out his podcast Coffee with Ashish. Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. If your experience with compliance has sucked, check out our friends at ByteChek and see what they can do for you.
Paul Rivera is the president and CEO of Def Logix, he built his own company from the ground up. Paul was born in the Bronx, NYC and grew up in both Queens, New York and Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas.  The two areas he grew up in couldn’t be more different and he faced a lot of social anxiety. In middle and high school Paul felt there was a difference between the things he worried about and the concerns of his peers. Young Paul would rather figure out how to improve himself than impress others with something more material.  Eventually at the age of fifteen Paul quit school and instead began going to the library. There he spent time reading on his own. He went from reading science fiction to learning about the physics, chemistry and math behind it. In his twenties Paul moved back to New York for college and was working while attending school. Following in his hero Mr. Spock’s footsteps he took classes in: Logic, Philosophy and Computer Science. Paul fell in love with programming after building his own calculator application by using coding. Programming was a way to use computers to build things from his own imagination and engaging his creative side. He got his Computer Science degree in his mid twenties. Paul speaks about the difference between New York City and the Dallas Fort Worth Area and some of the interpersonal differences moving to a less diverse area and not fitting in. Ron asks Paul what the missing puzzle piece that led him on the education path he chose. The conversation between Paul, Ron and Chris touches on different ways of learning and thinking. Paul shares about the school of hard knocks and researching, he shares about having to research excessively can lead to potential missed opportunities.  Chris asks about a challenge he faced building Def Logix. Paul talks about finding his way as a significant contract closed out, dealing with employees being discontent and having to conceptualize Def-Logix 2.0. Our hosts Ron and Chris speak about the burnout that can happen when tasks aren’t aligned with purpose. Paul shares that he enjoys creating solutions more than other tasks that are typically aligned with being at the top of a company. Paul had to learn to delegate more in order to grow the company. Towards the end of our conversation Paul shares some of his experiences with public speaking, something he was very uncomfortable with at first. It was necessary for him to get out of his comfort zone in order to keep growing. Impactful Moments During the Show 00:00 — Intro 01:35 — Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio and welcome to Paul Rivera. 03:05 — Learning the science behind the sci-fi. 04:25 — Why Paul quit school at 15 and his path back to education. 06:00 — Calculators and falling in love with programming. 07:40 — Thinking differently about clothing. 09:05 — Thinking outside the box with logic AND intuition instead of logic OR intuition. 10:31 — Paul’s key way of learning. 12:20 — Paul on building his own company and challenges faced. 14:20 — What would change if he closed shop and started again? 16:30 — The harebrained ideas, creating solutions and finding joy. 18:30 — Growth and getting out of your comfort zone Links You can find Paul Rivera on LinkedIn Check out Def-Logix a cybersecurity company that does research and development, software development and secure networks.  Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.  Check out ByteChek they can help you establish your security program, automate your readiness assessment, and complete your SOC 2 audit faster.
In this episode we continue our conversation with Lee Kemp, a three time World Champion in Wrestling (1978, 1979 and 1982 all in the 74 kg weight class) and held the record for being the youngest World Champion. In addition to being a champion wrestler, Lee is a father, a wrestling coach, a public speaker, and an author. He learned many of the skill sets needed to navigate his life on the mat. A child of the 60’s, he was adopted at the age of 5, before adoption learned how to find his own contentment in the situation he was in. From a young age Lee learned how to focus on what’s important and tackle whatever he needed to get done. Our conversation with Lee Kemp resumes with Chris asking Lee a question about representation. Lee shares that there were other Black wrestlers that were successful before him and while Dan Gable was a direct inspiration he saw additional championship inspiration in Black wrestlers. Lee found representation and inspiration to one day own his own business working for Tom Burrell of Burrow Communications. He shares tremendous insight about race relations in the USA being further complicated by suppression of stories, like that of the mathematicians from Hidden Figures. When Lee’s family left Cleveland in 1968 they moved to Chardon, Ohio; this was almost an entirely White community. Growing up there Lee saw his family being accepted into this community and learned that mutual respect was possible. We ask Lee about what someone who wants to be a champion needs. Lee explains that putting your focus on someone else that is successful can help and that finding inspiration is a truly important thing. Listening is important, if someone like Lee tells you the steps that you need to take to truly become a champion it’s important to take the advice as a whole.  Being the best isn’t the only measure of achievement, for Lee going for something with all your heart is meaningful. After winning World Championships and global competitions two years running Lee was on track mentally and physically to become an Olympic champion, but in March of 1980 President Jimmy Carter announced that the USA would not be participating at the Olympics. Lee explains how that opportunity being taken away impacts him even now. 40 years later the 2020 Summer Games have been delayed and Lee speaks a bit about that showing how the grit to be world champion endures.   Impactful Moments During The Episode 00:00 — Intro 01:00 — Welcome back to Part 2 our conversation with Lee Kemp. 01:33 — Looking at what types of representation mattered to Lee. 03:49 — Representation making a difference on a professional level. 05:50 — Lee speaks about Tom Burrell, advertising and race. 06:59 — Seeing your own value and everyone seeing each other’s humanity.  07:53 — We’re all the same race. 08:39 — The examples that parents set.  10:10 — Leaving Cleveland and moving to Chardon in 1968. 12:09 — The respect Lee’s father received from his community. 13:24 — Lee speaks about the importance of listening and empathy. 15:22 — Putting yourself in the right environment to be a champion. 17:07 — Taking advice and finding motivations. 18:31 — Going for something with all your heart.  19:50 — A story of “Things not happening.”  21:04 — Resiliency and the Tokyo Olympics, lessons learned. 22:25 — Thanks to Lee Kemp and for listening to Part 2 of the Grit of Being World Champion Links: Learn more about Lee Kemp and pick up his book Winning Gold.  Watch the great documentary Watch Wrestled Away: The Lee Kemp Story | Prime Video. Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek.
Our special guest this episode is Lee Kemp, a three time World Champion in Wrestling (1978, 1979 and 1982 all in the 74 kg weight class) and held the record for being the youngest World Champion. In addition to being a champion wrestler, Lee is a father, a wrestling coach, a public speaker, and an author. He learned many of the skill sets needed to navigate his life on the mat. A child of the 60’s, he was adopted at the age of 5, before adoption learned how to find his own contentment in the situation he was in. From a young age Lee learned how to focus on what’s important and tackle whatever he needed to get done. Lee’s childhood with his adoptive family involved a lot of hard work. His family moved from the city to a rural neighborhood and he worked on a farm. There was a certain strictness his father held, if farm work needed to get done it had to get done. Over the summers of Lee’s youth, he learned about finding contentment in hard work and became comfortable being uncomfortable. Lee started wrestling in high school in the 9th grade and made the varsity team in the 10th grade, his first season in varsity he won as many matches as he lost. The summer between the 10th and the 11th grade year was the turning point for young Lee. He attended a Wrestling Camp that the wrestler Dan Gable was at right before the Olympic games of 1972, what he learned from Dan Gable at that camp became the catalyst for Lee becoming a different wrestler and different person. Lee gained a new mindset from that wrestling camp with Dan Gable. Coach Lee went on to win the state championship as a junior in high school, defeating the defending state champion.  As the episode progresses, Ron and Chris ask Lee about his philosophies on consistency. Lee describes that at each point in his journey to be a champion wrestler he took every opportunity to learn more about his game and his opponents. While Lee was in wrestling camp with Dan Gable, he was the only willing volunteer that would allow Dan to try out wrestling moves on him. Lee knew that if he could understand how one of the greatest wrestlers performed offensively and defensively he could at a minimum learn something new and potentially incorporate it into his style. Lee’s determination has always been contagious and a positive influence to his community. An example that Lee shares is the story of his wrestling teammate Pat Christenson. Before defeating Dan Gable, Wisconsin had a drought of national champions in wrestling. Pat Christenson shared with Lee after defeating Gable he realized he could aspire to become a world champion also. Impactful Moments During The Episode 01:30 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio. 01:56 - Introducing the three time world champion Lee Kemp. 03:04 - A child of the sixties and learning how to give back. 04:18 - Understanding where you come from and learning to be content. 07:01 - Characteristics of grit. 08:43 - Overcoming the biggest roadblock to success. 11:08 - Finding a worthwhile goal as a high school wrestler and learning from the best.  12:26 - The inflection point towards success for wrestler Lee Kemp 14:24 - The fateful wrestling camp experience of 1972. 16:25 - Watching your camp coach from the summer with Olympic Gold. 17:28 - Lee Kemp finds the opportunity to wrestle against his former wrestling camp Coach, the gold medal winner Dan Gable. 19:05 - How Lee stayed focused on wrestling Gable despite detractors and distractions. 21:20 - Finding a different mindset, finding a different Lee Kemp. 22:51 - Taking little steps of confidence towards goals. 24:11 - Lee Kemp being in the moment wrestling in the last 30 seconds against Gable. 25:53 - From being in the moment to being part of the moment.  27:30 - The reaction to breaking expectations 29:00 - A rivalry that couldn’t be played out in competition, an unofficial match between Kemp and Gable 31:00 - Moving mountains 32:57 - Inspiring future wrestling champions at University of Wisconsin 34:30 - Having a mindset and attitude for making things possible 36:30 - Thank you for listening to Part 1 of Lee Kemp on Hacker Valley.   Links: Learn more about Lee Kemp and pick up his book Wrestled Away. Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek.
Introducing the Cyber Ranch Podcast and Allan Alford! Allan Alford is currently the Chief Technology Officer/Chief Information Security Officer at TrustMAPP. Allan Alford is a member of the Hacker Valley family and has launched a new show called the Cyber Ranch Podcast. Allan has been a CISO at a number of different companies and has a wealth of knowledge in Cybersecurity. Has about 20 years of Cybersecurity and has a background in product security.  Allan is a tinkerer and a second generation information security practitioner. His father was a systems operator/administrator who specialized in Systems Security, his father brought their first IBM PC into the house while Allan was in middle school. Since that moment, Allan has always been interested in technology and had a group of friends who had the brand new tools of the time like the TI-99, TRS-80, IBM PC and Apple IIe. He and his friends were porting and writing games, hacking and war dialing. Allan’s mother was a school teacher and had house rules about television time, and so with an hour of TV a week Allan’s primary form of entertainment was reading. In high school Allan took a creative writing class where he found a passion for storytelling and reading novels. Before entering college Allan was confident in his technology skills and decided that studying Humanities would make a greater impact for him. While studying, Allan learned that there were many parallels between the study of humanities and technology. There was a vocabulary, grammar, and structure by which things operated that had a consistent set of rules. Allan learned that the correct application of grammar and vocabulary helped all things work properly.  As the episode progresses, Allan shares while reading books, articles or other word based sources there’s a sort of internal voice that is within his mind that reads the words ‘out loud,’ however once he’s immersed in the book or text that the subvocalization fades and there’s a much more immediate type of onboarding of the information, the non-conscious reading voice. Chris shares that he describes this as the flow of learning. Allan also speaks of lucking into a prime slot on the KTCU college radio station and how he found his groove djing by deconstructing threads of music. He would put together his set by starting with a popular song and tracing it back from influence and inspirations.  Allan also shares his thoughts on the importance of networking - And not all networking starting points being equal. With his success now he tries to create bridges and conversations through his network that promote the exchange of ideas and further conversations for people, Allan is hoping to do the same with his podcast - The Cyber Ranch. Professionally he’s embarking on a new journey as the Chief Technology Officer at TrustMapp and is currently learning how to be a great producer of Security technologies.    Impactful Moments During the Show 0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio! 01:30 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley studio and welcome to the Cyber Ranch podcast 02:30 - Allan’s Professional Adventuring Card 03:00 - Allan’s tinkering background and a second generation info security professional 04:30 - Writing and porting video games as a youth, growing up as a STEM kid 05:35 - Creative writing opening the world to storytelling 06:50 - Going to college already knowing about Computer Science 08:40 - Practices and techniques for learning rapidly and staying sharp 10:30 - Understanding the fields of vocabulary and grammar 11:56 - Conscious reading voice, non-conscious reading voice and flow 14:14 - From reading to producing work that people could consume 16:00 - DJ Deconstruction, how Allan put together a primetime radio set on KTCU 17:00 - Networking without inherited connections 19:20 - How networking works for Allan now 22:20 - Networking misunderstood, the traps of the output side 24:00 - Allan’s 70/30 rule for career advancement 25:30 - CISO and CTO parallels 27:30 - What motivated Allan to start his own cyber security podcast 29:30 - For someone entering the Cybersecurity world from a non-technical background Links Connect with Allan on LinkedIn Allan Alford - CISO & CTO - TrustMAPP Check out The Cyber Ranch Podcast! Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor AttackIQ and enroll in The AttackIQ Academy!
Lindsay Lee is the founder and managing member of Authentic Ventures. Authentic Ventures is an early stage VC firm based in Oakland CA. Lindsay has worked many years in the investment industries as well as venture capital and ran a direct investment fund. Authentic ventures is a new kind of firm focused primarily on women and under-represented minority founders. Authentic Ventures is focused on building its own network of women founders of more diverse backgrounds and entrepreneurs who really want to see success translate into more opportunities for their communities. Coming from modest beginnings and raised by immigrant parents from the West Indies, his parents really solidified the importance of education. Lindsay has worked in investment banking as an analyst alongside graduates of Ivy League schools, there he learned about his own determination to excel even in tough working conditions while learning as much as possible. After graduating from graduate school Lindsay started an ill-fated technology start up in 1999; funding was hard to find in the early naughts (00’s) especially for Black founders. After pivoting to working in asset management companies Lindsay joined a family office where he built and managed a portfolio. He reached a turning point there where he was able to look at public and private investments and assess the landscape. Lindsay decided he wanted to differentiate himself and focus efforts on really approaching investment in his own way, to invest in “early stage companies,” as opposed to series A or series B companies. A peer at another firm told him that it was going to be double the effort and twice the financing to get it off the ground. Lindsay’s drive and the network he was a part of propelled him through the challenges.  The conversation touches upon the “rules of the game” for galvanizing new ideas and bringing new products and companies into the market. He speaks about the roles that entrepreneurs, lawyers and investors have in capital markets. Lindsay found his calling as an investor was one where he was a coach, rather than an entrepreneur who is trying to score goals all the time. Lindsay describes how his focus was on cultivating relationships and community in order to grow an interconnected network that would allow for long lasting impact in the landscape while also bringing success to his firm.  He shares that the one thing he’s had to get right is finding A+ people to work with. In his approach as an investor he is trying to set the table for women of color and reserve, or build, a seat at the table that allows for success to be shared.  Lindsay believes this focus will lead to more opportunities for more diverse teams. For folks interested in becoming an investor or entrepreneur Lindsay speaks about the importance of team building and utilizing the connections they already have as capital. He also urges people to not ignore the skills they’ve gained by applying themselves and that those skills plus knowledge of the space they’re focused on can create something that’s meaningful.  Impactful Moments During Podcast 00:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio, introducing Lindsay Lee of Authentic Ventures, a VC firm that invests in seed and early stage companies. 02:30 - Building a more diverse inclusive VC network and culture.  04:30 - What the exploration of VC was like for Lindsay and what were some of the motivations for moving in this way in that sphere. 06:45  - Why it’s important for diversity that a firm like Authentic Ventures exists in Silicon Valley and the tech community. 07:20 - How VC firms can help create more wealth across communities of color and gender. 09:30 - The journey to VC and what exploring that world looked like for Lindsay. 10:00 - Entrepreneurship as a sport: who are players, rule-makers and play callers. 11:45 - Taking the long view on cultivating good investments and finding the right people. 12:20 - Starting his own thing in VC, differentiating himself and dealing with uncertainty 14:27 - What immersion in VC is like, navigating changing landscapes 15:15 - If you’re looking for a challenge, investing is a good field; things not going to plan. 15:45 - Why you need to find A+ people. 17:20 - Staying humble and grounded in VC 18:14 - What creates success in entrepreneurial endeavors 19:30 - Why Authentic Ventures has a culture of good energy 20:45 - Studying and data in VC, compounding experience and knowledge, the value of having a community 22:40 - Trying to find ideas and company with momentum 23:20 - No free lunch in investing? What does a margin of error mean in this VC world. 24:45 - Why VC firms learn about the founders, how to scrutinize the methodology 26:00 - If you’re an entrepreneur why you should get to know a VC fund outside of funding events. 27:00 - Being an early believer in trailblazers 28:00 - Authentic Ventures tries to win together, with the right people 29:25 - Lindsay talks about not starting out on First or Second Base and making an impact that helps his community. 30:35 - Having something to prove as an analyst at investment banks 31:45 - The best lesson to learn as an investor, understanding the people, connecting with people that share your values. 33:30 - Why there’s no substitute for excellence or hard work. 37:23 - Staying power and determination: “Get your money right.” 38:30 - Staying in touch with Lindsay Lee and Authentic Ventures   Stay connected with Lindsay Lee by checking out Authentic Ventures Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek.   
In this episode of Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Chris Parker, creator of WhatIsMyIPAddress. His website now reaches six million monthly visitors and began as a necessity to solve a technical problem, which you can probably guess, determine his IP Address. WhatIsMyIPAddress predates Google and was often found through the search engine AltaVista. For years, the site was simple, straightforward and didn’t have any graphics or markup (HTML). At some point, Chris stumbled upon a Content Management System (CMS) called Geek Log but quickly learned with the amount of traffic that it was best for him to manually code each page on his website. For quite some time Chris maintained the website, answered questions from users about IP Addresses, and created more content without receiving any monetary compensation. The advent of Google AdSense led Chris to realize that he could make a profit for hosting his website. Chris’s website is in the top 3,000 websites on the Internet and was managed out of his home office for over 8 years. As you can imagine, he received traffic from users across the world and was even the target of some cybersecurity attacks. However, keeping the functionality on his website simple, the biggest threat Chris faced was Denial of Service (DoS). After moving his website from his home to a CDN provider that blocks malicious traffic and bots, Chris saw a 90% reduction in web traffic to his website. This led Chris down the path of creating content about security and configuration. With such a large audience, Chris decided to start the Easy Pray podcast and help listeners learn how to avoid becoming easy targets for scammers and fraudsters online and in the real world. Chris recalls a story of a fraud group that scammed victims by telling the victim that they’ve won the lottery in their country but are unable to withdraw the winnings because of citizenship. This scam is not uncommon and has caused hopeful individuals to lose thousands and sometimes their entire life savings. Chris has set out on a mission to inform others of these scams and create awareness about online safety.   Impactful Moments 0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio 1:44 - Introducing Chris Parker, Creator of WhatIsMyIPAddress 5:11 - Was the naming of the website intentional or was it incidental? 6:04 - Adapting and digital transformation 7:29 - Malicious traffic and cyber attacks 10:39 - Creating a more safe Internet with the Easy Pray podcast 12:43 - Unfortunate spam and scamming stories 15:18 - More about Chris’s goal to provide education to his listeners 18:40 - Learnings and takeaways to avoid being scammed 24:02 - Tools that Chris is using to grow and scale his business 26:51 - How to stay up to date with Chris Parker   Links: Learn more about Chris Parker and visit his website and podcast. Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek.   
In this featured episode of Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Jeff Cook, Co-Founder, and CFO of ByteChek. Jeff has over 10 years of experience in both accounting and auditing and has set out a mission to “make compliance suck less” Jeff began his career at accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. In 2002, the firm surrendered it’s license to practice as a CPA which forced Jeff to consider working at other firms. This surprise turned out to be a blessing as it made him transition from New York to Washington DC. After his transition, Jeff worked in public accounting and auditing for 12 years and began starting IT auditing practices and SOC practices at large accounting firms.  While working at a cybersecurity firm, Jeff met his co-founder AJ Yawn. The two worked on numerous SOC engagements together - which gave them the confidence to scale their ideas and efforts to make compliance suck less. Despite 2020 being the beginning of a global pandemic, the two decided to persevere and form their company ByteChek. As the episode progresses, Jeff describes his partnership with AJ as dynamic and fluid. Jeff brings to the table a deep understanding of accounting and auditing challenges and solutions. Jeff admires AJ’s ability to be a leader and rally the troops to ensure everyone is moving in the right direction. Besides complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, Jeff and AJ are also great friends and check-in together to help each other grow personally outside of work. Jeff describes his superpower as his ability to work under pressure. When there’s deadlines and a surplus of work, Jeff leans on his experience as an accountant. While working as an accountant, each year in January through April (tax season) Jeff had to practice his discipline of working under pressure with clear deadlines from his clients and the government. Additionally, Jeff has spent years practicing martial arts, and describes it as a great technique to use to clear his mind in all situations.   Impactful Moments 0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio 1:41 - This episode features Jeff Cook, Co-Founder, and CFO of ByteChek 2:26 - Jeff’s background and start in accounting and auditing 5:08 - Thriving in business as a founder during a global pandemic 8:31 - Jeff’s superpower and where it began 11:16 - How to overcome your kryptonite and core emotional challenge 13:58 - How martial arts has helped Jeff as a practitioner 17:48 - Parallels between cybersecurity, chess, and martial arts 21:21 - Getting comfortable with discomfort 28:14 - Wisdom from Jeff for leveling up as a entrepreneur and practitioner   Links: Learn more about Jeff Cook and connect with him on LinkedIn. Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek. 
Hacker Valley Studio presents: We Are Here - an audio journey and series exploring black excellence in technology and cybersecurity. In part three of this series, Ron and Chris interview Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, serving as the U.S. Representative for New York's 9th congressional district since 2013.  Congresswoman Clarke’s parents immigrated to Brooklyn, New York in the 1950s from Jamaica. Being born from immigrant parents and witnessing the transformation of the country during the civil rights movement helped shape her worldview. Congresswoman Clarke mentions that the nurture from her family and community sparked her interest in public service at an early age. Congresswoman Clarke recalls being a child and looking up to her pediatrician, Dr. Thompson. Congresswoman Clarke could see herself being like Dr. Thompson and that led her to pursue her interests in STEM in grade school and college. When Congresswoman Clarke went away to college she made a commitment to come back to Brooklyn and use her education to help others As the episode progresses, Congresswoman Clarke mentions her parents were engaged in the community out of necessity. They wanted to be able to navigate the United States and create community for her and her brother. Congresswoman Clarke’s mother started her community outreach at Parent Teacher Association meetings and was encouraged to run for political office after some time. In fact, Congresswoman Clarke became the first and only child to succeed a parent in political office.  Congresswoman Clarke describes community as essential and building communities is done through education. Digital transformation has enabled all generations to collaborate on common causes that they previously wouldn’t have had the opportunity to. An example that Congresswoman Clarke provides is narrowing the education gap for children of color. Through technology, parents have been working with government agencies and private organizations to provide more resources to schools in need.     Impactful Moments: 0:00 - Hacker Valley Studio presents We Are Here Pt 3 0:52 - Congresswoman Yvette Clarke on Hacker Valley Studio! 1:56 - Early life and how Congresswoman Clarke made it into office 3:38 - What inspired Congresswoman Clarke to help others 7:21 - Surprises while in office and servicing the public 13:35 - Congresswoman Clarke’s story of perseverance 16:36 - The importance of community and how to influence yours 24:40 - Education and mentorship 27:51 - Using technology to course correct and amplify your voice 31:59 - Sage wisdom for embarking on your personal journey     Follow Congresswoman Yvette Clarke on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.
Hacker Valley Studio presents: We Are Here - an audio journey and series exploring black excellence in cybersecurity. In part two of this series, Ron and Chris host a mastermind conversation with Tia Hopkins, Charles Nwatu, AJ Yawn, and Kelvin Coleman. In this special conversation, we discuss ExIST, a framework to promote excellence in the pursuit of human endeavors like hobbies, careers, and finding purpose. Explore As humans, we’re always on the brink of discovery. Watching a documentary, witnessing someone perform a piece of art or a eureka moment might be all that it takes to pull you in a new direction to explore a new topic. Learning something new can be like stepping into a new world that you’ve never experienced. This leap can be exciting, scary, or even uneventful but always leads to discovery.   Tia Hopkins began exploring technology since she can remember. One of her first memories of her interest in technology was when she noticed her mom stopped buying her toys because she would take them apart to understand how they worked. Tia took a giant leap into the new world of technology when she took apart her family and realized that she had to put it back together before her mom found out. Tia has explored many facets of technology from working with Internet Service Providers, IT teams, and Managed Detection and Response teams. Immerse After deciding which world to ExIST in, the next step to understanding and mastery is immersion. This is surrounding yourself in a new topic or idea and learning what it means to succeed in that arena. In sports, this might be watching a professional game and learning more about the rules. In cybersecurity, immersion may be reading blogs on the topic or watching YouTube videos that explain a focus area. While immersing yourself in this world you’ll identify the mindset needed to remain there and grow.   Charles Nwatu’s advice on immersion is to not be afraid to fail - It's the only way you succeed. Not giving yourself the opportunity to take the shot is even worse than failure itself. Learn how to consume content in any way that works best for you - read, listen, watch everything you possibly can. Identify ways that help you articulate what you’ve learned to others. Study After learning the rules and where the boundaries exist in the new world, the next step is to study. Using tools, knowledge, examples and mentors to improve your capabilities. If you’re learning about a topic with subtopics, you may need to re-immerse yourself in areas that you’re weak on. In this phase of the framework, you're using your new capabilities to rapidly learn and improve.   AJ Yawn provides the advice of staying focused and ignoring the results. To Focus AJ often implements the  90-90-1 rule. And it's taking 90 days spending the first 90 minutes of your day, focusing on ONE thing. Whenever AJ is trying out a new endeavour he ignores the results for the first 90 days, even if there’s no visible improvements. When picking up anything new the focus should be on the attempt rather than the outcome. Translate / Transform  Translation is expressing the sense of wisdom into language. During this part of the ExIST framework, you’re using the collection of experience and wisdom to create, innovate, or teach. Taking your developed ability and bettering the lives of others.   Kelvin Coleman has always been an advocate of teaching others and promoting the people in the cybersecurity industry. Kelvin can recall researching and reciting state capitals that he’d take to his meetings to build a rapport with city and state government stakeholders. While the name of a state capital or mascot may not seem critical, it helped his customers understand that he does the research and cares about doing what is best for everyone.   Impactful Moments 0:00 - We Are Here a series exploring black excellence in cybersecurity 1:13 - Kelvin Coleman, the strategic mastermind 1:50 - Tia Hopkins, the technical juggernaut 2:25 - Charles Nwatu, the wise warrior 3:00 - AJ Yawn, the empathetic CEO 4:28 - ExIST, a framework to promote excellence 5:40 - Explore 22:14 - Immerse 56:09 - Study 1:10:10 - Translate/Transform 1:20:12 - Sage wisdom from our mastermind group 1:25:20 - How to keep in touch with our amazing guests   Stay In Touch Kelvin Coleman on LinkedIn Connect with Tia Hopkins on LinkedIn and Empow(her) Cybersecurity Follow Charles Nwatu on LinkedIn Stay connected with AJ Yawn on LinkedIn Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.   Get your start in cybersecurity with SANS through their Diversity Cyber Academy! Applications are now open, and SANS is looking for the best and brightest to diversify the field! The SANS ICMCP Diversity Cyber Academy is available for current college students, college graduates, and career changers who are not already working in cybersecurity. Those interested can go to or if you’d like to learn more about what SANS is doing on the Diversity and Inclusion front please visit
Hacker Valley Studio presents: We Are Here - an audio journey and series exploring black excellence in cybersecurity. in part one of this series, Ron and Chris interview Patrice Washington, one of the world's most popular podcasters and authors. This episode in the series is a story of ascension. As we begin the episode Patrice mentions although she has a background in education, she’s here because of the hard work she put in during uncertain times and stepping into the unknown.  In 2009, Patrice was in her mid 20s and graduated from the University of Southern California with a business degree emphasizing entrepreneurial studies. During her senior year she started a real estate and mortgage brokerage and grew it to a seven figure business by 25. Everything changed for Patrice after becoming a mother and experiencing the housing crisis shortly after experiencing so much success. Between ages 25 to 28 years old, she went from seven figure business owner to being on the bathroom floor, bawling and snotting and crying scraping up change in couch cushions. Patrice describes that “doing all the things”, “checking all the boxes”, or “being the one” is not the path to professional or financial success. From following her faith and reading scripture she was reminded, “What good is money in the hands of a fool if they have no desire to seek wisdom?” Patrice had a lot of knowledge, information, education but I didn't have wisdom. Which is how to apply knowledge, when to apply education, and with whom to apply education. Since March, 2009 Patrice has been on a mission to go everywhere she can and teach others that the journey is not just about chasing money, it’s about seeking wisdom. What helped turn around Patrice’s life was an unlikely encounter with blogging mothers at Starbucks that gave her the idea of sharing her story through blogs. She was instantly reminded of her first grade teacher. Patrice recalled Ms. Boynton saying, “Miss Cunningham, you know something, you have a responsibility. To share with your friends is not enough. You have to share what you know to everyone, so that everybody moves forward”. That’s what Patrice started to do with the blog, she began commitment to share everything that she has learned. When Patrice began writing and speaking she began embracing her gifts. At the start of her career she was writing, speaking and educating others with real estate but later realized that her gift was in sharing information and teaching others in a broader way. Patrice began asking herself, “How can I feel the same joy I felt to help others get to the aha moment when buying a home but without the real estate transaction?”. She searched for answers and found examples but none done by a black woman. Though this was discouraging, there was enough supporting information to let her know that if she stepped into the unknown she’d define her own success. Redefining your wealth and life is done through being intentional. It starts by doing what you adore and not being too tied with how much it pays. Setting intentions through your day, calendar, and time is a great place to start to begin understanding what you enjoy and what you can make into a career. Your career is not the only aspect of your life that generates wealth, your well-being is the vessel that guides you to wealth. Redefining your wealth and life means that you’re putting your health as a top priority.   Impactful Moments: 0:00 - Intro 0:52 - Patrice Washington on Hacker Valley Studio! 1:55 - Patrice’s background and dedication to hard work 6:04 - Going from seven figure business to zero and redefining wealth 9:47 - Identifying and applying purpose 15:08 - Dissolving the need for validation from others 20:32 - What others can do to disassociate their purpose from money 26:36 - Investing in your health NOW, not when you’re sick 31:15 - Advice for embarking on the journey of redefining wealth   Pre-order Redefine Wealth for Yourself: How to Stop Chasing Money and Finally Live Your Life's Purpose Connect with Patrice Washington on LinkedIn and Twitter Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.
In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Tia Hopkins, Founder of Empow(H)er Cybersecurity with the focus of empowering mentoring, educating, and providing opportunities for women of color. Tia is also VP, Global Solutions Engineering at eSentire. The episode begins by Tia describing her early interests in technology. She began exploring her interest by taking apart her family computer - After her mom found out that she disassembled the computer, she quickly learned that she had to reassemble it before there were consequences. Early in Tia’s career she worked at phone companies installing DSL, IT operations, and managing technology focused teams. Tia has always been a doer and problem solver which led to resistance when first being called to become a leader. She was initially concerned that if she wasn’t hands-on with technical issues that she wouldn’t be as effective as a leader. However, she discovered that as a leader she can leverage her experience to have a broader impact through her team.  As the episode progresses, the cast chat about “Happy Accidents”. Tia had the opportunity to get involved with the Social Movement project by a coincidental conversation with a stranger at a cybersecurity conference many years ago. The premise of the project is 4 days to change the world. Tia’s challenge during the project was to solve racism issues by bringing brilliant minds together. Tia mentions that the challenge is a tall order but great minds in the world can solve any problem. During COVID-19, a lot has changed for Hacker Valley Studio - Ron and Chris used to record in the same studio but now record separately due to the lockdown. Despite this difference in production, HVS has been able to scale and grow by dividing and conquering tasks. Tia can relate to this sentiment because without COVID-19 she likely would have not started Empow(H)er Cybersecurity. In addition to starting her foundation, Tia has also started a PhD program. When asked her about her superpower, Tia describes her ability to get things done. As a former athlete, Tia has a growth mindset and is determined to accomplish her goals.   Meaningful moments in the podcast: 0:00 - Intro 1:51 - Tia Hopkins on Hacker Valley Studio Podcast 2:39 - Tia’s background and start in technology 4:24 - Tia’s perspective on being a leader 7:17 - Induction in the American Football Hall of Fame 9:01 - Social Movement Season 2 14:30 - Developing and working on your craft 16:50 - What has changed since COVID-19 19:00 - Tia’s Superpower 24:13 - Personal resiliency techniques 28:47 - How to stay in touch with Tia Hopkins   Links: Connect with Tia Hopkins on LinkedIn. Follow Empow(H)er Cybersecurity on Twitter and LinkedIn Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio. Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon. Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter. Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter. Learn more about our sponsor AttackIQ. 
Comments (1)

Nick Olson

I needed this! hands down favorite episode!

Feb 8th
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