The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 91 Show Notes – Women in Security Pt8

Hope you’re well. We’ll jump right in! Episode 91, and Part 8 of the Women in Security Series!

Women in Security Series Quick Recap

Brad and I started the Women in Security Series in mid-June, and to be honest, we didn’t know what to expect. The purpose was to help people (including ourselves) learn more about the topic of women in the information security industry. Two guys like us are NOT experts on the topic, nor will we ever be able to articulate experiences as well as the women who live it. Why not learn by listening to women tell us about their experience and opinions?

No expectations and no plan.

Neither of us have ever done a series like this before, but we’ve both become pretty good an “winging it”. We didn’t know who would be interested in talking with us, but soon after we got started, we had many women volunteer their time to share with us. We were blown away by the graciousness of so many.

We started safe, with women we work with at FRSecure. We kicked things off in mid-June (episode 84) with FRSecure’s Chief Operating Officer, Renay Rutter, and let things sort of develop from there.

Seven weeks later (so far), and we’ve been privileged to have discussions with seven INCREDIBLE ladies with diverse backgrounds. We’ve had a Chief Operating Officer, a 35+ year veteran, a career-changer with a couple years’ experience, a non-profit CEO, a college-student studying cybersecurity, a veteran corporate Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and an expert practitioner who bridges the gap between K-12 and post-secondary cybersecurity on the show so far!

What started with no expectations and no plan turned into something really special. We’re grateful for the time we’ve spent with these women and we’re both MUCH better off for it.

Here’s our guest line up thus far:

  • Episode 84 – Renay Rutter (an information security business/IT executive)
  • Episode 85 – Lori Blair (a 35-year information security veteran)
  • Episode 86 – Victoria Fogarty (relatively new to the industry)
  • Episode 87 – Kristin Judge (founder and CEO of the Cybercrime Support Network, SC Media “Women in IT Security Influencer” in 2017, former Director of Government Affairs at the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), thought leader, and all-around amazing information security expert)
  • Episode 88 – Andrea Hatcher (Senior majoring in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations at Pennsylvania State University)
  • Episode 89 – Judy Hatchett (Information security corporate leader and expert formerly with Accenture, Best Buy, SUPERVALU, 3M, Fairview Health Services, and current VP, Information Security and CISO at Surescripts)
  • Episode 90 – Amy McLaughlin (Information security leader and expert in education, having served with the State of Oregon, the Consortium for School Network (CoSN), Chemeketa Community College, and Oregon State University)
  • Episode 91 – Theresa Semmens (today’s show) (Chief Information Security Officer at the Nevada System of Higher Education, former AVP/Chief Information Security Officer at the University of Miami, and former Chief Information Security Officer at North Dakota State University)
    /not-yet-confirmed (information security executive in healthcare, CISO in higher education, or senior information security sales executive)
  • Episode 92 – Lee Ann Villella (Senior Enterprise Security Sales Consultant at FRSecure, Program Director for the Minnesota Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association, and member of the Cyber Security Summit Advisory Board Committee)
  • Episode 93 – TBD/not-yet-confirmed (information security executive in healthcare, CISO in higher education, or senior information security sales executive)

Seriously, this is an amazing lineup of information security professionals! These women represent our information security industry extremely well, and we’re honored to speak with them on our show!

Here’s what we’ve done so far…

Women in Security Series – Part One

We kicked off the Women in Security series on June 15th, and we couldn’t have chosen a better first guest! Renay Rutter, FRSecure’s COO, got the series started by sharing the experience, wisdom, and insight she’s gained over her 30+ year IT career. Renay expressed how important it has been for her to be strong throughout her career, and in her opinion, women need to be strong to survive in the information security industry. This was a great show!

If you missed this episode, you can catch up here;

Thank you Renay!

Women in Security Series – Part Two

We kept things in the FRSecure family for week two, hosting Lori Blair. Lori is full of information security knowledge and wisdom! She started her career in the industry in 1985, working for the federal government. Over the next 35 years, she’s traveled the world helping organizations with their information security needs and held various leadership positions. She’s excelled everywhere she’s gone and even found time to raise children along the way! Today, Lori is a Senior Information Security Consultant at FRSecure, tackling difficult challenges and mentoring other women.

I have a TON of respect for Lori, and her opinions carry weight for me (and many others). It’s not just her experience that makes Lori amazing, she’s a wonderful, practical, and level-headed person who loves mentoring others. This is a can’t miss episode, go give a listen here;

Thank you Lori!

Women in Security Series – Part Three

We welcomed up and comer Victoria Fogarty to the show for Part Three. Victoria is an Associate Information Security Analyst at FRSecure, where she started her career in 2019. She possesses natural gifts for this industry, and her perspectives were fresh. She’s intelligent, relatable, and an excellent communicator. She did a great job explaining how she researched a career in information security while she was an Insurance Adjuster, a job she disliked. Her journey is pretty cool so far, and her future is VERY bright! She even shared a shocker (at least for Brad and me) in this episode. Definitely worth the listen!

If you missed episode 86, here it is;

Thank you Victoria!

Women in Security Series – Part Four

Kristin was our first non-FRSecure guest in the series. This was a great interview! Kristin shared how she got her introduction to information security while she was serving as an elected official (Washtenaw County Commissioner). She has an incredible journey so far, especially considering she has only been in the industry for a little more than 10 years.

She held some very exciting roles before founding the Cybercrime Support Network in late-2017. Her passion for helping people is inspiring, and we’re looking forward to making a difference in this industry together!

Learn about Kristin Judge, her journey, her opinions, and her work founding and running the Cybercrime Support Network in episode 87. If you missed it, go give it a listen;

Truly an amazing person; we loved chatting with her!

Thank you Kristin!

Women in Security Series – Part Five

It was a pleasure having Andrea join us in this episode! She is a Senior at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), majoring in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations. She is an avid listener to our show who contacted us through email about a question she had. She was shocked and VERY appreciative when we asked her to join us. We were pleasantly surprised by how well-spoken and determined she was.

Andrea has an incredible future ahead of her in the information security industry! Here’s her take on things in episode 88, WARNING: You’ll be impressed!

Thank you Andrea!

This brings us to today’s episode…

Women in Security Series – Part Six

Judy Hatchett is truly a top-notch, no nonsense information security leader. She’s the first woman on the show with the title Chief Information Security Officer and we were very grateful to spend some time with her. Judy’s path through the information security industry took her through big corporate America (Best Buy, 3M, etc.) before she decided to tackle some of the difficult challenges in healthcare. We first met Judy back when she was the CISO at Fairview, and now we cheer her on in her new role at Surescripts. You’re going to love her perspectives and opinions!

You can catch Part Six with Judy here!

Thank you Judy!

Women in Security Series – Part Seven

I was first introduced to her though my good friend (and co-worker) Ryan Cloutier. Together, they do great work at the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN), as well as deliver compelling talks at conferences and collaborate on cool projects. Ryan talked her up so much that I sort of thought he was full of it. Could this person be as good as he said she was? Really?!

Yes, yes she is! She’s the real deal and her name is Amy McLaughlin. Here’s some stuff about her:

  • The Director of Information Services at Oregon State University
  • Adjunct Faculty (Psychology) at Chemeketa Community College
  • Cyber Security & Network Consultant & Project Lead at the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN)
  • Home improvement expert (seems like it anyway)
  • A wonderful person and friend to many!

Since we first met, I’ve gotten to know Amy pretty well through our frequent visits on the Daily inSANITY Checkin and I’ve grown to really appreciate her common sense approach to life (and information security).

Thank you Amy!

Women in Security Series – Part Eight

Today we introduce you to someone very special to me personally and someone special to all she touches in our industry, Theresa Semmens! I first met Theresa when she was working at North Dakota State University (NDSU), where she spent 14 years as their Chief IT Security Officer, Chief Information Security Officer and Director of Records Management. That’s three titles in 14 years and mostly at the same time!

From NDSU, she took the Chief Information Security Officer job at the University of Miami and now she’s the Chief Information Security Officer at the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). She’s an incredible asset to our industry and a really good person to be acquainted with!

She even wrote a nice review for the cover of my book. That’s like extra, extra credit! 😉


Let’s get to the show, shall we?

Brad’s leading the show this week, and these are his notes…

SHOW NOTES – Episode 91

Date: Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Episode 91 Topics

  • Opening
  • Introducing Our Special Guest: Theresa Semmens (Chief Information Security Officer at the Nevada System of Higher Education) 
  • Catching Up (as per usual)
  • Women in Security
  • News
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs

[Brad] Welcome back! This is episode 91 of the UNSECURITY Podcast, and I’m your host this week, Brad Nigh. Today is Monday, August 3rd, and joining me as usual is Evan Francen.

[Evan] Some sort of motorcycle adventure story…

[Brad] We have our 8th guest for the Women in Security Series this week. Theresa Semmens. Welcome Theresa!

[Theresa] She’ll say something informative or nice, I’m sure. (I don’t know Theresa, but Evan does, so I’m pretty confident in this.

Some idle chit-chat here maybe.

[Brad] Before we get started, let’s recap our week.

Catching Up

Quick discussion about last week, the weekend, or whatever else comes to mind.

  • How are you guys?
  • Tell me about your weekend quick.
  • Anything in particular that you’re excited about?

[Brad] As is custom around here, we spend a few minutes catching up before we dive head first into things. Evan, what you been up to?

[Evan] Cue Evan

[Brad] And Theresa, how about you? What have you been up to?

[Theresa] Cue Amy again…

[Brad] I’ll say some stuff about the weekend or something too. 


Women in Security, Part Eight

[Brad] This is the eighth week of our series discussing the topic of women in the information security industry. We’re definitely starting to see some patterns, but we’re still getting new and interesting insight every week. I’m going to speak for Evan here and say that I’m really looking forward to today’s discussion.

Really, this is an open discussion between myself, Evan, and our guest. Once again Theresa, thank you for agreeing to be here with us this morning.

Some starter questions or things for us to think about…

Do we have a shortage of women in our industry? If so, what’s the big deal?

Open Discussion (~30 minutes)

  • How did you get started in this field (information security)?
  • Tell us how you got to where you’re at today.
  • What’s it like being a woman in our industry? Have you experienced the “bro culture”? If so, can you share the experience with us?
  • We hear a lot about various women’s issues in our industry, and one of those is we don’t have enough women working in our industry. What’s your take, do we have a shortage of women?
  • What can we do better in recruiting more people, and specifically more women in our industry?
  • Do any other women’s issues come to mind?
  • What can people do to help? How about Brad and I?

[Brad] Thank you Theresa. Good information and things to think about. Much appreciated! How about some quick news stuff?


[Brad] Alright, here’s some newsy things that I thought were interesting this past week:

Wrapping Up – Shout outs

[Brad] That’s it for episode 91. Thank you again Theresa for joining us and making the eighth installment of the Women in Security Series a really special one.

Do either of you have shout outs to give this week?

[Evan and/or Theresa] We’ll see.

[Brad] Thank you to all our listeners! Keep the questions and feedback coming. Send things to us by email at If you’re the social type, socialize with us on Twitter, I’m @BradNigh, and Evan is @evanfrancen. Theresa, is there a particular way you’d prefer people to find you?

Lastly, be sure to follow our show on Twitter (@UnsecurityP), and follow the companies we work for, SecurityStudio (@studiosecurity) and FRSecure (@FRSecure).

That’s it, talk you all again next week!


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