John Verry (00:38.887)
Hey there and welcome to yet another episode of the Virtual CSUN Podcast. With you as always, John Verrier, your host. And with me today, Larry Whiteside Jr. Hey Larry.
Larry Whiteside Jr (00:56.15)
Hey, how are you John?
John Verry (00:59.314)
I am good. I didn’t know if I should put the junior on there. It does say it on the screens, but I’d add it just in case you were sensitive about that kind of thing.
Larry Whiteside Jr (01:02.693)
Yeah, I’m not sensitive about it. My father, he, well, he’s not, unfortunately. Yeah, he’s not, unfortunately, because at the age of 40, he got murdered when I was 20 years old. Yeah, so, yeah, so it was a hard time for me. So I used the junior specifically because that’s my remembrance of him, right? That’s my.
John Verry (01:09.302)
Your father might be. Because he is the Larry Whiteside.
John Verry (01:19.874)
What? Oh, jeez. That’s trash.
Larry Whiteside Jr (01:33.554)
way to still always know I wasn’t the first. And so that’s a sort of call out to him.
John Verry (01:40.182)
That’s super cool, and if I move, for now you can’t see it, but back over here, because I’m kind of like the same as you, that’s my dad. So I try to honor my dad, and over here, I’ve got my mom’s stuff, both of them have passed. And so I agree with you, honor the people that made you who you are. And I was lucky to have him.
Larry Whiteside Jr (01:48.314)
Larry Whiteside Jr (01:55.072)
Larry Whiteside Jr (02:01.302)
Yep. I love it.
John Verry (02:06.102)
So I always ask before I dig into business, what’s your drink of choice?
Larry Whiteside Jr (02:10.914)
So, interestingly enough, for the last, geez, probably seven years, I have been hard on Tito’s vodka. Like, I was Tito’s, Tito’s all day, every day, everywhere I went. And I just got into old fashions maybe two or three months ago, and now I am old-fashioned heavy and I’m getting very particular.
Larry Whiteside Jr (02:41.058)
you know, a base for it, but I’m really into old-fashioned, I’m even looking at like smokers that I can have at home and things like that. So that’s now my drink of choice at the moment.
John Verry (02:52.142)
So first of all, you can’t go wrong with Tito’s. Tito’s at its price point, is absolutely the best vodka. And you buy an American if you’re into that. If you can, I like that. So I agree with you, I think Tito’s a wonderful vodka. And then on the old fashioned side, my son drinks a lot of old fashions and enjoys them quite a bit. So I was about to ask you if you were a rye or bourbon person for your old fashions. You know, I tend to favor. I’m a bourbon guy too, but I will tell you, a good rye,
Larry Whiteside Jr (02:56.879)
Larry Whiteside Jr (03:14.326)
Yeah, yeah, I’m a bourbon guy.
John Verry (03:21.71)
or even there’s a high point distillery out of Utah, does something called Berge, which is a blend of bourbon and rye. That’s kind of fun to have in there because you kind of get the depth and bite and burn of the bourbon, but you get a little bit of that spiciness that you get with the rye, which is kind of fun too. So anyway, if you haven’t done it, try a couple different ryes with it. Try a rye, try it. It’s kind of fun to see what the difference is. I was drinking with my daughter the other night and she just started drinking whiskey sours.
Larry Whiteside Jr (03:36.152)
Larry Whiteside Jr (03:42.729)
Yeah, I have not.
John Verry (03:51.31)
And we actually ordered whiskey sours differently to see how they would taste, right, with a bourbon and a rye.
Larry Whiteside Jr (03:55.854)
got it. Interesting. Well, it’s interesting, right? I did not realize how complex the space was of Brown liquors. Like, you know, and just being very, very open and honest here, growing up coming from an underserved community, Brown liquor to me was Crown Royal, right, growing up or, you know, Cavassier or Hennessy. That was pretty much the extent of my Brown liquor experience.
John Verry (04:04.609)
Larry Whiteside Jr (04:23.602)
And so I stopped drinking that probably a few years after college just because I would wake up with headaches because of my over consumption of it, right? But
John Verry (04:34.742)
All of those tend to be a little bit higher in sugar and sugar tends to feel like crap the next day, which is one of the reasons Tito’s is a great drink or a straight gin or something of that nature. You’re less likely to feel crappy.
Larry Whiteside Jr (04:37.703)
Larry Whiteside Jr (04:48.726)
Yep, and that’s what I found with Tito’s. I would drink Tito’s with lime and some soda water. And I was like, oh, this is amazing. I can drink this all day and be great. So I loved that. But then what I found was I was consuming that in an amount that was probably not to my best interest when I would consume it, right? And I’m like, okay, let me find something else that I sip on. And I tried my first smoked Old Fashioned in Knoxville, Tennessee.
John Verry (05:08.842)
Larry Whiteside Jr (05:18.874)
at a company dinner and I’m like, oh, this is good. Okay, this might work and I’ve been doing it since.
John Verry (05:26.402)
Yeah, welcome to the world of bourbon. It’s an awesome world and you’ll be amazed that your discovery journey will take a long, long time. I’ve been doing it a while and still haven’t gotten through, nearly gotten through everything I’d like to get through. So let’s get to business. Let’s get to business. So you’re an interesting individual and I was excited to have you on the show because both as the CISO of RegScale and as well as the president of Cyversity, you’re an exceptionally highly visible.
Larry Whiteside Jr (05:34.881)
Larry Whiteside Jr (05:38.346)
John Verry (05:55.374)
component of diversity. So you know you put a lot of time and energy into diversity. Why do you think it’s so important?
Larry Whiteside Jr (06:01.554)
Yeah, so for me, I think it’s important because diversity brings diversity of thought, right? So I shared a little bit about my background, right, of coming up in an underserved community. Reality is everybody has sort of a different lens. And diversity, the reality is there’s a couple of components to it. And I’m going to just be real transparent here. One, in cybersecurity, specifically, the importance of diversity is, for me, part of it is creating a
an equal socioeconomic opportunity, right? Like, you know, cyber, we get paid very, very well. And I think that there is a lot of opportunity for people from underserved communities to be able to create a lifestyle that will allow them to change the trajectory of not just their life, but their family’s lives for generations, which is what it’s enabled me to do, one. The other part that really benefits the community of cyber as a whole is this aspect of
a different way of thinking. And when I say that, what I mean by that is everybody sees the world through a unique lens. But if you are a person of color or a woman, due to the uniqueness of who you are and what you have to deal with based on your role, whether that be skin color or gender or both, there are certain things that you look at and glean a little differently than other people.
And so I’ll give you an example. So my fiance is a white female right now. Just the male-female dynamic, we obviously are gonna see certain components differently of how the world works. But when we walk into a store or when we think about things around the house, the way I look at risk and the way she looks at risk is completely different. She can leave a window open and go to bed and not really think about, well, it’s a window in the backyard, baby. What’s the big problem? And me,
I’m like, well, offense isn’t a barrier, right? Somebody can hop offense. So this aspect of how you view different things as it relates to regular life transfers into the field of cybersecurity around how you look at risk, how you gauge things and how you make decisions. And that right there is a thing that adds a lot of value to the field of cybersecurity as teams become or attempt to become more diverse because now they’ve got people looking at solving problems in a way.
Larry Whiteside Jr (08:23.138)
differently than others.
John Verry (08:26.422)
So I’m a huge proponent of diversity. I’m proud that we actually are more diverse by a fair amount than most organizations, both people of color and women and women and people of color in leadership positions in the company. I think it’s important. And I agree with you that your perspective, A, I think the more perspectives you have, the better off you are. B, I think even my perspective is shaped by the challenges that I saw with my wife. My wife is a woman in technology, not information security.
Larry Whiteside Jr (08:46.4)
John Verry (08:56.19)
brilliant woman and she put up with some crap that you can’t believe, right? You know, sexual harassment and things that someone shouldn’t have to go through, right? So to me, that always bothered me. Now, my daughter is a cybersecurity professional, so that’s kind of exciting. So I had a personal, like, you know, much the same when you say we all have different backgrounds and that brings a perspective, my perspective on diversity was shaped by what I experienced with my wife and now what I want to have happen with my daughter. So I couldn’t agree with you more.
Larry Whiteside Jr (09:23.949)
John Verry (09:25.818)
So I’ll ask you an interesting question. So, you know, obviously you’re an advocate of you’re a cybersecurity professional, but do you think that there’s a different value in different business functions? You know, so as an example, is there a different kind of value in a cybersecurity domain versus if we were talking about diversity in the financial domain or general business management or medical or something of that nature, or would you say that there really isn’t much of a difference?
Larry Whiteside Jr (09:56.942)
It’s, I don’t think there’s much of a difference at the core, right? You know, at the long tail of execution, of course there’s a difference, but at the core, it’s about processing things differently and thinking about solutions differently. So whether you’re a medical professional, whether you’re a talent scout, whether you’re going to utilize your experiences, your background, the things that you’ve gone through, the people that you’ve met.
the relationships that you’ve built, and all these different things that sort of shape your world and your lens, to see and make decisions in a way that’s unique and different than someone who doesn’t have those. And it’s that piece right there that is the core of all aspects of diversity, right? Because a lot of times when we think diversity, people automatically go to gender and race, right? The reality is diversity of thought.
is really the core of this. So when we start talking about neurodiversity, right? So people who may be on the spectrum of autism, right? There’s diversity of thought there, right? That can bring different lenses to the table as it relates to any particular profession. So for me, it doesn’t matter the profession, diversity in said profession, diversity at the business level, diversity at the technology level, whatever.
enables you to think and problem solve in a better way. And it’s statistically proven, right? The most successful financial companies, right? Or the companies who are the most successful and financially profitable, tend to always also be the most diverse at all levels because they are enabling the organization to not be driven in a myopic view or through group think, through a lot of people who look the same.
and think the same and come from the same background, but through some aspect of diverse thought and collaboration across different types of people.
John Verry (12:01.226)
Yeah, so in prep for the podcast, I like to do a little bit of research so I can say something and sound moderately smart, which is hard for me to do if you’ve met me. So I saw some statistics supporting what you said. So diverse management teams boost revenue by 19%, while 43% of companies that have diverse management exhibited higher profits, which is really cool. Now, what was interesting to me, though, was the second part of that study, because it kind of countered that in a weird way.
Larry Whiteside Jr (12:10.598)
John Verry (12:30.871)
John Verry (12:35.299)
it didn’t explain why we were that way, right? Because what they said was that, I know 78% of people believe diversity and inclusion offers companies competitive advantage, right? And they believe that teams that are diverse are 87% better at making decisions. So if indeed people believe that, and we have data that shows diversity, quote unquote, has an ROI, why do we still struggle with this?
Larry Whiteside Jr (13:02.43)
Yeah, so this is where the conversation gets hard for a lot of people. We as industries as a whole still struggle with this because the drive for diversity has to start at the top. Like let’s just flat, period, point blank, end of sentence, it has to start at the top. Now when you look at the top, right, when you look at the top it is
John Verry (13:28.734)
It’s old white guys. It’s old white guys. Yeah, exactly.
Larry Whiteside Jr (13:30.894)
it is largely white men. So though they are incentivized by the statistics that, hey, me doing this is going to make it better for my company and the people in the company, at the end of the day, in order to accomplish it, you have to get uncomfortable, right? Which means you have to bring people to the room that you may not be familiar with.
You have to bring people to the room that have different views. You have to bring people to the room that look different. You have to bring people to the room that just overall, holistically, are different than who you are. And in order to do that, that level of discomfort is not easy to do or even accept and be willing to be subjected to. So until the folks at the top.
are willing to get uncomfortable and allow themselves to be uncomfortable by doing this, right? Because it’s disruption, right? Disruption is uncomfortable. And so in order to do that, and that doesn’t mean, you know, go hire a DEI person. If you look, if you look holistically across the spectrum of people in the DEI roles, they are largely people of color, right?
And that’s because there’s a large feeling that someone of color is gonna understand the need and the desire and how to make that successful. But even people in those roles will tell you that in many organizations who have put that role in place, it is still a numbers game.
Right? So they do it for the optics because it looks good, but that component of actually feeling uncomfortable is not something they’re really willing to do yet.
John Verry (15:16.049)
John Verry (15:26.094)
Is that something that organizations, I mean, you know, from your perspective, the organizations that you’ve seen success with, is there, other than getting quote unquote a more progressive person, you know, into those leadership positions, is there something else that can be done to, I don’t know if the right word is educate, but you know, to address this issue, or is it really just a matter of that?
it’s going to take a little bit of time and we’ve got to get people that are a little bit more open-minded in the right seats to have this happen.
Larry Whiteside Jr (15:57.174)
Well, I like to use one word, it’s ally. We have to get people to understand the holistic importance of what allyship means, right? And allyship doesn’t mean just cutting a check to a cause and saying, I did my part. Allyship means being uncomfortable, enabling yourself to be part of the change that you desire to see.
outside because it is so easy to just write a check and say, I did my part. The name of my company is on this calls. We support, but if, if inside you are not enabling your leaders and you’re not forcing your leaders to, to make uncomfortable decision and making these types of calls, then you’re really, and again, organizations appreciate the, the funding it’s not saying don’t do that, but that’s not allyship.
Allyship is, if you think about the, and I’ll use two very specific ones, but you can apply this to pretty much any movement across the history of the world. But if you think about the women’s right to vote and you think about the MLK’s movement for civil rights, right, women’s right to vote, men were in the lines with women standing up marching.
It had to be very uncomfortable for those men who were standing up with those women because they knew that they had bosses and they had friends who did not believe what they were marching for. They wanted to hold women down, they wanted to keep women down. But they chose to be uncomfortable and they chose to be an ally and stand with them and be very vocal and forward about the desire to have equality for women. Right?
Larry Whiteside Jr (17:50.626)
Take that over to MLK. When MLK marched on Selma, it was not just groups of people of color that were marching. There were a lot, if not more, white people and non-people of color marching to Selma as part of the Civil Rights Movement with MLK. They marched through Selma, Alabama. You know how uncomfortable that had to be for them, knowing that they had people?
in that community that looked just like them, that they were likely friends with or family members with that potentially hated them, right? Because of the decisions they were making. That’s allyship. They allowed themselves to be uncomfortable. And so for the industry to change, whether you look at business as a whole, you look at tech, or you just look at cyber, there’s got to be some drive and people leaning in to say, I’m going to be.
I’m going to allow myself to be uncomfortable, to show my support for this, that’s going to enable it to move faster. But at this point, honestly, any step is a good step, as long as it’s a step forward.
John Verry (19:00.354)
So in cyber, I saw a statistic that really represents, I think, the under-representation. Blacks are at 9%, Hispanics are at 4%, Asians are at 8%. Is it the same issue that we’ve been discussing as to why those groups are underrepresented, or is there another issue there as well?
Larry Whiteside Jr (19:22.55)
Yeah, so in cyber specifically, part of the reason is lack of visibility. So there’s this old saying that if I see it, I can be it. So in underserved communities, especially the Black underserved communities, they see athletes. So they mimic that. They see music artists. They mimic that. So I did something years ago where I would go into a community.
Larry Whiteside Jr (21:13.383)
The problem is visibility. There’s an old saying, I can be it if I see it. Right. So in the undisturbed communities of people of color, right, they tend to see athletes, they tend to see musicians, they tend to see that as the example of what they can be. And I did this experiment, and I wouldn’t call it an experiment.
I found this out by something that I did. I used to go into black churches and I would go into black churches with the message that, hey, I wanna teach parents about cyber safety, right? So that they can share with their kids, right? Here’s how to be safe online because we were in this stage of more kids starting to go online, parents trying to understand what, you know, how to keep their kids safe. There were all these games and different things where kids could interact.
So part of what I would do though, is I would then ask parents, hey, what does success look like for your child when they grow up? When you think about your child, what are the careers that you’d love for them to have, that you would feel that is them achieving success in the workplace? That’s not an athlete, that’s not a musician, right? And you know the roles that they chose, doctor, lawyer.
John Verry (22:35.552)
Dr. Lawyer is my first two guesses, right?
Larry Whiteside Jr (22:38.343)
That’s it. They all went there first because that’s what they knew, even from the Huxtables, Dr. Rinaloya. So it’s this…
John Verry (22:46.242)
John Verry (22:50.006)
If they were older, they would have gone dry cleaners, right? I mean, you can work a George Jefferson reference into a conversation. It’s a good day, right?
Larry Whiteside Jr (22:56.842)
Right, right, but there was…
Larry Whiteside Jr (23:03.991)
Yes, and I absolutely love it. That’s so hilarious. But it’s that, that so, so for these underserved communities, if you don’t have a parent that knows about it or a parent who has a friend that knows about or a parent who has a family member that knows about or is in it, how will you know it even exists, right? So we’ve got it, we’ve got a, and we call it in cybersy, we call it an awareness problem. So
John Verry (23:06.902)
Larry Whiteside Jr (23:30.883)
One of the things that we really like to do is really push out the awareness of allowing people to see people of color and women in the field that are successful and doing well. And we like to push that on our social and push that out and share and go into communities. We’ve got chapters across the country, right? They going into schools and having these types of dialogues where people can see, right? I go do career days. They’re like, oh, you do cybersecurity? Oh, what?
Right? And because then you’ve also got this other falsehood that cyber security means you’re hacking. No. Right? That doesn’t mean I’m hacking. I go in a three-piece suit. Well, you do something like you’re not in a hoodie, you know. So this aspect of awareness of the field and what it is and that you too, as a person of color, as a woman, as a young girl, that you can be in it and be successful. These other stereotypical roles.
that your parents or others may drive you or push you towards aren’t necessarily the only options for you coming from an underserved community.
John Verry (24:34.358)
I think the other, there’s another component to it, at least in my experience, right? And this is kind of interesting because from a diversity perspective, we’re both talking about the two, are two different ways of getting to a joint belief. Part was with me, you saw I think there’s an educational component as well. There was one of my daughter’s favorite professors, he might’ve been a dean of some sort as well at the college that she went to. And we met with him when we were considering going there and he was…
particularly excited to and really sold us because he was talking about how they were trying to get women up to 20% Right, you know that was the goal. So I don’t know where they were They must have been a 10 or 15 percent or something of that nature So I think that’s a good example, right women are 50% roughly the population only 20% of them are going into engineering, right? So so, you know, what’s the disconnect or is society, you know our parents are they being influenced to go into more? traditionally female fields, you know
Larry Whiteside Jr (25:14.397)
Larry Whiteside Jr (25:32.243)
John Verry (25:33.666)
you know, medicine, marketing, sales, you know, whatever they, whatever they might be. And I would assume that you have this, a similar concept, and maybe it’s partially an awareness issue as well in underserved communities, because in addition, they probably don’t have enough, there’s not the financial capability to go to some of these more expensive universities perhaps as well.
Larry Whiteside Jr (25:52.955)
Yeah, so I can talk directly to that in a couple of ways. So one, as it relates to women specifically in schools, it has been shown, there are statistics that show that girls are dissuade from technical mathematical type education in the seventh grade, right? It literally starts in the sixth and seventh grade where they begin to get swayed away from that type of thing. And I’ll give you a real world example, my daughter.
My daughter has a cyber degree. Now, this young girl, right, well, she’s an adult now, but I still call her young girl anyways. She’ll always be my peanut. I don’t care how old she gets. Yeah.
John Verry (26:31.055)
Mine is the same thing. Mine is a cybersecurity consultant with a big four. And you know what? She’s still a girl. My little girl. I’m going to go ahead and close the video.
Larry Whiteside Jr (26:37.615)
Yeah, so, but when she was in fifth grade, she had a teacher where she would, in math it’s about, okay, they teach you a formula of how to solve a problem. Well, she didn’t understand the formula, so Khan Academy existed, I would work with her on Khan Academy. We just figure, she’d figure out how to solve it, but she would just use a different formula, but still show her work. And he would tell her she was wrong.
And he was marking all of her grades wrong. And I was like, I was mad. So I went to the school to talk to him and he was like, no, but I showed this woman. I said, well, are you grading her for solving the problem? Or are you grading her for memorization? Like, which one are we doing? And so because of that, and she had that type of experience up through seventh and eighth grade, but I was a constant champion for her. My ex-wife was a constant champion for her.
Continually affirming to her you’ve got this you understand this giving her the tool she needed right by the time She got to sophomore in high school. She Right because it was about problem-solving So she figured out how to solve problems in the way that worked for her but to get to the answer So she ended up with a cyber degree Despite being told constantly right that you’re not doing something right You’re not doing this right because she kept feeling that she just wasn’t good at math, right?
John Verry (28:01.35)
Yeah, that pisses me off specifically because engineering and that mindset, and I’m an engineer, my son’s an engineer, my daughter’s an engineer, my wife’s an engineer, right? So engineering is a phenomenal mindset. It’s a problem solving mindset. And to teach people that there’s one way to solve a problem is actually infinitely limiting them and teaching them the absolute wrong thing. There is no one answer to look, there’s a one answer to one plus one equals X, right? But in real world.
problems that we solve every day. You every day is a see-saw. You as the president, I think you’re the president of Cyversity, right? You know, there’s no one answer to any. And so this idea that we’re teaching kids in fifth and sixth grade, you didn’t do it this way, it’s not right. And that there aren’t alternative approaches to solve it is a terrible life lesson to teach someone in a formative point in their upbringing. Terrible.
Larry Whiteside Jr (28:49.167)
I agree. I agree. And you would be amazed at how often we hear this. There’s an organization that I do work with called Security Advisors Alliance, and they go into that. And it’s basically a group of CISOs from companies across the country that in different regions, we go into schools and work with, you know, sixth through eighth, sixth through 10th graders, right? Doing capture the flag events and doing different little exercises. You’ll be amazed at how often we find that this is a thing.
It is absolutely saddening. Now, the second piece you talk to about the barriers, the reality is this. As an industry, we have allowed HR and companies to create barriers that don’t need to exist, right? And that is all of these requirements that get put into job descriptions are absolutely barriers.
John Verry (29:37.598)
degree. A bachelor’s degree should not be a requirement in a cybersecurity field, in my humble opinion. Not in our…
Larry Whiteside Jr (29:41.603)
No, no, right. But what happens is when you automatically, here’s what’s happened, and I’ve had this conversation a lot with a lot of heads of HR. The number one relationship I make when I join an organization, right, as a CISO is my head of HR, because that’s how I’m going to grow and build my team. But so when I do that, what I found is a lot of times they put these, I’ll say requirements in place because the salary band,
Right? They all have salary bands. That salary band requires certain requirements from an HR perspective. And I say, listen, and I constantly say this and people laugh, but I’m dead serious, but a little tongue in cheek, we are unicorns. Cyber security practitioners are unicorns that we cannot be treated like the rest of the regular horses in the stable. So we have to create some mechanisms. But I say this, and I mean this wholeheartedly,
Cyber executives have allowed this because they have not gone in and really had these conversations with their HR teams. They have not had these conversations with their talent management teams to reshape the requirements, right? To enable them to hire more broadly because when you put a cyber degree, you automatically reduce your opportunity to get any diverse talent because there’s a cost associated with going to college and reality is…
most under, there’s a larger percentage of underserved people that aren’t going to go to college.
John Verry (31:13.118)
All right, so I think there’s really good reasons and we’ve experienced them and I personally will tell you that we are a much better company. The more diverse we’ve become, the better off we are as a company, more successful we’ve been, the faster we’ve grown. So huge, huge believer and I think I’ve got the data support’s been good for us. So if anybody else is listening and thinking, all right, you know what, let’s give this a shot. Someone in cyber, a CISO listening or a CFO who’s hiring in those positions is listening.
Are there any, what you would call best practices for people that are open to or looking to diversify their cyber security teams?
Larry Whiteside Jr (31:51.107)
Yeah, so number one is don’t do what you’ve always been doing. Expect something different, right? That’s the definition of insanity. And it shocked me in 2000 when I began having conversations with a lot of organizations who were, you know, we’re now in this work from home scenario, you know, pandemic has hit and people are like, we need more cyber professionals, right? We’ve not opened up the barriers.
of we now are allowing people to work from home, but I still can’t find any diverse talent. And I’m like, okay, so what are you doing differently than what you’ve been doing? Well, we put in there, diverse, highly recommended. Well, that’s like, so you’re doing the same thing, right? So number one is don’t think you’re gonna do the same thing and just change, right? Diverse candidates, highly recommended, it’s gonna work. That’s not a thing. So realize that you have to reshape.
how you go about sourcing diverse candidates. And you have to be very purposeful. So that means looking at different places, partnering with HBCUs, looking in geographic cities and areas and urban areas, right? For people that have posted their resumes from certain areas, right? In an effort to identify more candidates, right? That’s one big one, because you gotta have a better pool in order to hire. Number two is,
relook at how you write your job descriptions. The description of the job and the requirements, the mandatory requirements and the highly desired requirements are all very, very important. You cannot ask for an entry-level role for someone to have a CISSP and a year experience. Those things don’t go together.
John Verry (33:42.985)
I’m only laughing because when both my kids were going through the process, there is no such thing as an entry level position, right? Because the way they write the requirements, no one can meet them.
Larry Whiteside Jr (33:56.423)
Right, right, so just stop. And so really every organization, if you really wanna hire diversely, you have to look at your job descriptions and what they say and understand how realistic they really, really are to find a candidate. Because here’s the deal, I love ISC2. Claire is a really good friend of mine. She’s the president of ISC2. I love the organization. I think what they do,
and many other certifying bodies do is extremely important for our industry. However, again, we as an industry allowed them to become a barrier in our organizations because we started letting HR put them as mandatory requirements for job roles. And that’s not okay because those things aren’t free. The tests aren’t free, the training isn’t free, right? Like that stuff costs money. So anything.
that costs money, that becomes a barrier to entry, automatically begins to discount and exclude underserved people. So look at your job descriptions, figure out what they say, and ensure that they align to the people that you wanna attract.
John Verry (35:12.168)
So here’s your chance to kind of pitch Cyversity a little bit. Tell me what Cyversity is doing to help organizations and individuals overcome this diversity challenge we’ve been talking about.
Larry Whiteside Jr (35:23.271)
Yeah, so Cyversity, you know, I’m very thankful that myself and my other co-founders started this back in 2014. It’s been a passion project of all of ours. And, you know, Devin, one of my co-founders, Devin Bryan says, you know, our job that we have every day feeds the family, but Cyversity feeds our soul, because the work that we do here is so…
incredibly impactful and to see how it’s been able to change people’s lives has been more powerful than anything that I could have imagined ever being involved in. But as an organization, some of the primary things we do really is help people get from where they are to where they want to be. So if you are a veteran trying to transfer into cybersecurity, you are in college, you’re a nurse of somebody trying to transition into their first cyber role, right, we will help you find
the training that you need, right? We come up with a number of different training offerings through our organization that helps people get those early stage trainings and sometimes certifications to achieve your first job, right? We’ve got a job board and a number of things like that. Then for those who are in the field, right? Right, whether you’re mid, early stage, mid-career or an executive.
Our goal is really to get you from where you are to where you wanna be. If you’re early stage, you wanna become a mid-level manager, we’re creating programs that are helping people go from there to there. If you’re a mid-level manager, wanna be a CISO, we’re creating programs to help you understand what that’s gonna take to get to be a CISO and go through all of what we call the business skills that you need in order to accomplish that goal. We’ve got resume workshops and a number of different things like that.
But then the biggest thing that I think we do that I think brings value is we have a community There is nothing more important to me than community and relationships. I tell people all the time I’ve taken trainings. I’ve attended conferences. I’ve never learned more
Larry Whiteside Jr (37:38.287)
in any way other than my community. My community, right, me having a community of people that I can go to, communicate with, share my challenges, my struggles, get feedback on different things, topics related to where I’m at in my career, all of those types of things, because we have a mentoring program as well, I forgot to say. But this aspect of community and being able to have a community of people with a shared mindset who are coming together.
and sharing all of their life experiences together is honestly the biggest value for me because it gives us this way to really look out for each other and gives us this way where everybody in here becomes a resource for everyone else, right? Where in the general world, right, you may live in a neighborhood, right? And in your neighborhood…
You may know something about your neighbors, but you probably don’t know your neighbors real deeply. But your neighbors are your community, and you can likely go to them if you need mayonnaise, you need ketchup, or you need, right? Your neighbors are gonna come together to help you. That’s what the community of Cyversity has done, is we have a platform where you can go in and communicate and engage and learn from each other. And for me, that’s the most powerful learning that there is, is learning from others who are in the field.
experiencing things and you’re sharing your like and different experiences that you can then apply in your different roles.
John Verry (39:10.486)
Gotcha. Just out of curiosity, do you know a guy by the name of Gerald Orger from Simply Cyber?
Larry Whiteside Jr (39:16.272)
I do not.
John Verry (39:17.958)
You should probably know him if you want. I’ll make an introduction. Gerald’s a super smart guy. He’s a CISO somewhere, I’m trying to remember where. And he’s got a bunch of online training, same kind of thing, helping people, entry level people find jobs, walks together training, things of that nature. Really good guy, like another guy like you that has a day job and then has a night job, kind of feeds the soul the second way. He puts out a tremendous amount of content. I think he’s a…
I think he’s like minded to you. And I think that you might. And then do you know a young lady, a young woman by the name of Deidre Diamond? Okay. She’s fantastic. And for the people listening, Cyber SN is a great company. They’re one of the top cybersecurity recruiting companies. If you need somebody, there’s somebody that can go out and get you somebody good. But she’s also somebody who believes in diversity and believes in giving.
Larry Whiteside Jr (39:48.808)
Larry Whiteside Jr (39:57.499)
Of course, I know danger. Yep.
John Verry (40:15.818)
back to the community. All right, cool. So you know, Deidre, she’s great.
Larry Whiteside Jr (40:19.879)
Yeah, she’s a good friend. She’s a good friend. She just spoke on our conference a week ago. She’s, I love Daydream.
John Verry (40:26.444)
Yeah, yeah, she’s pretty hard not to like.
Larry Whiteside Jr (40:28.583)
John Verry (40:30.306)
would be the way I’d say it. Cool, so this has been awesome. If somebody wants to get in contact with you, what would be the best way to do that?
Larry Whiteside Jr (40:36.747)
LinkedIn. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. And so if you send me a LinkedIn message, I tend to respond to them.
John Verry (40:46.914)
Awesome. Any last thoughts, anything else you want to share before we say goodbye?
Larry Whiteside Jr (40:51.267)
Now for me, listen, I thank you for the platform that you’ve created and given me an opportunity to share my perspective. This is something I love doing. If you listen to this and can’t tell, I’m extremely passionate about this. It’s part of my lifeblood, right? It’s part of the reason I’m a big spiritual guy and I think that part of my purpose that God put me on this earth was to utilize my voice to share the importance of diversity and use me as an example.
John Verry (41:20.142)
Well, I think that the work that you’re doing is awesome. And if there’s something at some point that I can do to be helpful, because I’m a believer in your cause, I practice what you preach. So please do let me know.