The power of strong mentorship

15.07.20

by Editorial Staff

Davide del Vecchio, Senior Director, Group Cyber Security, explained why he’s so passionate about mentorship during a SHe CISO Exec.™ webinar. Read on for the highlights or watch below

15.07.20

by Editorial Staff

Davide del Vecchio, Senior Director, Group Cyber Security, explained why he’s so passionate about mentorship during a SHe CISO Exec.™ webinar. Read on for the highlights or watch below

Has a strong mentor altered your career path? Chances are, if you’ve had the opportunity to be guided by a mentor, you will have reaped the rewards within your professional life. After all, of those with mentors, 97% not only say they’re valuable, they are also five times as likely to get promoted than those who don’t receive mentorship.

Its advantages are two-way, with research also finding that mentors themselves are six times more likely to get promoted.

With this in mind, the important topic was up for discussion during a webinar earlier this month led by SHe CISO Exec.™, a global information security and leadership training and mentoring platform.

Our Senior Director, Group Cyber Security, Davide del Vecchio, was invited to share his own experiences of positive and negative mentorship, the qualities he looks for in new hires, as well as the importance of pursuing empathy and kindness at work.

Read on for snippets of the conversation as well as the relevant timecodes or watch the full video below.

On the importance of empathy and kindness

[8:10] “I love to think that every strategy needs to be customized around the people that make a company and I hope I customize the security strategy with two characteristics: empathy and kindness.”

On his career journey

[12:56] “I started dealing with security when I was six years old and my dad bought me a Commodore Amiga 500 and I basically wanted to win games, so I modified them to have infinite lives.

“That’s where I started, then when I was a teenager, I got access to the internet and I was able to speak and communicate with people that were similar to me.

“Then I started to be a Penetration Tester when I was 19 or 20 before working in Incident Handling and then as a SOC Manager. Next, a Group Head of Information Security and then as a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), so I grew up in the role.”

On the skills required within cyber security

[15:10] “We very often think security is an IT job, but I don’t think it’s an IT job. There is a strong technical aspect but there are a lot of soft skills that you need to train too – and what is very important is bridging the gaps in your skills... You need to always be curious and challenge yourself.”

I realized my life in the office is not the art of war, it’s the art of peace

Davide Del Vecchio, Senior Director, Group Cyber Security

On his recruitment technique

[22:16] “I start from the goals. I try not to visualize the person that I would like to have or the kind of person that I have in my mind, but I try to focus on our strategy and what we would like to achieve.”

On positive and negative mentorship

[26:25] “At the beginning of my career, I had a bad mentor and he was always quoting The Art of War. It’s about fighting, how to win wars, how to win discussions. I started with this mindset of having to go to the office and fight a war but when I left, I realized my life in the office is not the art of war, it’s the art of peace.

“In security, you have to create bridges with other teams because the war and the type of enemies you have are external from the company. You have already enough enemies in the cyber criminals, you can’t fight with your colleagues.”

[30:27] “The other experience I had was a colleague that I had at my previous work. She was the Head of Cyber Risk and she was extremely good at distilling complex technical risks into very easy words.”

“I always felt that the people who were not able to understand technical language were ignorant but then when I saw her behaviour, I had a shift in mind – it was enlightening. I said to myself, ‘no actually, I am the one who is ignorant because I cannot speak their language,’ so it was a great inspiration.”

On common mistakes when hiring a CISO

[55:36] “I would say one first big mistake that companies often make is they don’t hire the correct candidate that fits their needs. I don’t think there is the perfect CISO, I think there is a different kind of CISO or security person that is different for every company.”

On his advice for people working in security

[1:03:31]: “I think it’s very easy from a security point of view to criticize things and persons because in security we’re really used to breaking things. But the real question is that building things is way more complex than breaking them, so I think we should always try to step into the shoes of our colleagues that are trying to build things and help them to understand how they could build things that are more resilient. Always train empathy and believe in kindness.”

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