You would think that as a software architect that focuses on DevSecOps and being secure by design, that I would've attended an RSA conference before 2022. What is RSAC? It's the preeminent cybersecurity conference in the world. 2022 was my first, and I was hooked from the time I landed. This conference is known for its sense of community and inclusion and the willingness of industry cybersecurity experts to share their experienced stories.
In looking over the schedule, a few talks caught my eye, and one in particular stood out: A talk by somebody named Alyssa Miller that included ideas on how to use threat modeling exercises as a way to build team culture. This is a technique that I had been using. Time to listen.
As I snuck in the back a little late and trying to make my lemon yellow blazer slightly less visible, Alyssa Miller took the stage in what I can only describe as the most high powered thigh-high pink boots I have ever seen. Now, THIS was a woman I had to know.
She dove into her content and I found myself nodding along and being that person that takes pictures of the slides. I gobbled up the content and more.
Alyssa exudes an energy that is hard to describe and one that I was clearly benefiting from. This is a powerful voice for transparency and authenticity in cybersecurity who started out as that hacker kid and continues to be a lifelong hacker.
Her "I'm just going to be who I am" mentality has made her a rising star in the cybersecurity world. Perhaps that stems from that no nonsense culture from being brought up in the Midwest.
Alyssa was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her father was a Comptroller for a small HVAC company called Iron Fireman. It was founded in 1917. Applying that Midwest practical mindset for him meant utilizing the most accessible technology available. He seemed to love it and was up to the challenge of supporting his company's upgrade of their computer systems. It was the early 1980s, and as his colleagues took their winter holiday, Alyssa's father brought home that new computer system and a precocious four-year-old got her first taste of the world of tech.