CISO Stories Podcast: Fixing the Talent Shortage - Cybersecurity Talent Initiative

June 23, 2021 |

As threats to the nation’s security grow, there remains a substantial shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals. The federal government and private sector can work together to fill their open positions and attract the next generation of motivated mission-driven cybersecurity leaders.

Special guest Alexander Niejelow, SVP for Cybersecurity Coordination and Advocacy at Mastercard, joins the podcast to discuss the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative, a public/private partnership which provides up to $75,000 in student loan assistance for individuals hired by private sector companies after developing skills through a two-year program with the federal government - check it out...

Alexander Niejelow
About the Guest

Alexander Niejelow

Senior Vice President, Cybersecurity Coordination and Advocacy at Mastercard

Alexander Niejelow is senior vice president for cybersecurity coordination and advocacy. In this capacity, Mr. Niejelow is responsible for coordinating cybersecurity matters across Mastercard’s business units and departments, as well as the company’s global safety and security advocacy efforts.

Mr. Niejelow previously served as senior vice president of public policy and data protection since joining Mastercard in February 2016. In this Role, Mr. Niejelow was responsible for policy efforts in the areas of cybersecurity and global data management, while also leading the company’s industry partnerships on technology policy issues.

Prior to joining Mastercard, Mr. Niejelow was director of cybersecurity policy on the National Security Council at the White House, where he focused on efforts to advance the Administration’s cybersecurity, technology, and trade policy priorities. He also served as chief of staff to the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, where he helped coordinate the U.S. Government’s intellectual property policy and enforcement strategies beginning in 2012.

Before joining the White House, Mr. Niejelow was counselor and senior advisor to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Department of Homeland Security from 2010 to 2012. In this role, Mr. Niejelow advised the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner on matters of international trade policy and operations and worked extensively on agency initiatives aimed at trade facilitation, U.S. economic competitiveness and global supply chain security.

From 2008 until joining the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Niejelow worked in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Mr. Niejelow holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Duke University.

About the Hosts

About the Host

Sam Curry

Chief Security Officer at Cybereason

Sam Curry (@samjcurry) is CSO at Cybereason and is a Visiting Fellow at the National Security Institute.  Previously, Sam was CTO and CISO for Arbor Networks (NetScout) and was CSO and SVP R&D at MicroStrategy in addition to holding senior security roles at McAfee and CA. He spent 7 years at RSA, the Security Division of EMC as Chief Technologist and SVP of Product.

Sam also has over 20 patents in security from his time as a security architect, has been a leader in two successful startups and is a board member of the Cybersecurity Coalition, of SSH Communications and of Sequitur Labs.

About the Host

Todd Fitzgerald

Vice President, Cybersecurity Strategy at Cybersecurity Collaborative

Todd Fitzgerald (@securityfitz) has built information Fortune 500/large company security programs for 20 years. 


Todd serves as VP, Cybersecurity Strategy and Chairman of the Cybersecurity Collaborative Executive Committee, was named 2016–17 Chicago CISO of the Year, ranked Top 50 Information Security Executive, authored 4 books including #1 Best Selling and 2020 CANON Hall of Fame Winner CISO COMPASS: Navigating Cybersecurity Leadership Challenges with Insights from Pioneers (2019), ground-breaking CISO Leadership: Essential Principles for Success, as well as contributions to a dozen others. 

Todd held senior leadership positions at Northern Trust, Grant Thornton International, Ltd, ManpowerGroup, WellPoint (Anthem) Blue Cross Blue Shield/ National Government Services, Zeneca/Syngenta, IMS Health and American Airlines.

CISO Stories Podcast

About The CISO Stories Podcast

The Cybersecurity Collaborative, in conjunction with Cybereason, is proud to present the CISO Stories Podcast. Each week CISO Stories takes a deep dive on security leadership with top security professionals from across the public and private sectors who share their insights and expertise with the community.

The Cybersecurity Collaborative is a unique membership community enabling cybersecurity leaders to work together in a trusted environment. To learn more, visit:

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