Joyce Brocaglia: Delivering Extraordinary Cybersecurity Talent to Enterprises

Joyce Brocaglia

Alta Associates is the most prominent national executive search firm specializing in Cybersecurity, IT Risk Management and Transformational technologies. Alta’s track record of filling CISO roles and building technology and risk teams is unprecedented. Their ability to place qualified and diverse candidates is unparalleled.  Fifty percent (50%) of searches are filled with diverse candidates, ninety percent (90%) of those hired are from the first slate of candidates presented and most positions are filled within 90 days. The company accredits this to its deep industry knowledge, expansive trusted network and highly capable recruiting team.

An Experienced Business Leader

Joyce Brocaglia is the Founder and CEO of Alta Associates. As a serial entrepreneur for the past three decades, she has founded and led companies with a shared mission to build world-class organizations, advise executives and advance diversity in leadership. In 1986, Joyce founded Alta Associates and today the company is a leader in placing executives in Cybersecurity, IT Risk and Transformational Technologies and building the teams that support them. In 2002, she founded the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy (EWF); a membership organization dedicated to engaging and advancing women leaders in their field.

This year, Joyce founded BoardSuited™ an innovative executive education company, designed to prepare senior executives for Public, Private, Non-Profit and Advisory Board candidacy and service. BoardSuited™ offers executives the comprehensive preparation they need to obtain their first board seat with the convenience of a self-paced, online learning environment they seek. As Founder and CEO, today Joyce leads all three organizations and takes great pride in the impact her companies have had on advancing diversity in leadership, long before it became a common corporate initiative.

Human Capital – A Company’s Greatest Asset

Alta’s executive search experts ensure that corporations succeed in hiring hard to find Cybersecurity, IT Risk and Technology talent. “The top three success factors in business are people, process and technology. There’s a reason why people come first.” According to Joyce, “If you don’t get the people right the rest doesn’t matter. No tools or technology will replace strategic security leadership and diversely talented teams.” The demand for cybersecurity and transformational technology talent is immense. That means competition for the most qualified executives is fierce. As companies are digitally transforming, the selection of uniquely qualified leaders in Cybersecurity, IT Risk and Digital Transformation are essential to the success of building resilient and secure corporations. Human capital is the company’s greatest asset and retaining Alta Associates gives corporations a competitive edge.

Lessons Learned that Lead to Success

In 1994, the Russians hacked Citibank and they hired the first-ever CISO, who retained Alta to build the first information security team. Over the past 25 years, Joyce has met and advised leading technology, privacy, risk and cybersecurity experts and gotten a birds-eye view of the challenges they face, the organizations they needed to build and the vastness of their responsibilities. By helping these leaders as they advanced, she learned how to manage through adversity, stand firm in her beliefs and speak truth to power.

A Trusted Industry Insider

Alta’s seasoned team of specialized recruiters have trusted relationships with diverse and highly sought-after cybersecurity, risk and technology experts. Alta not only partners with companies to find the most qualified executives, but also assists them in creating job descriptions, advises them on diverse hiring practices and educates them on market compensation. Through the Alta Advantage, a proprietary recruiting process, the company gains an understanding of each client’s unique requirements, provides a qualified slate of candidates within two weeks of launching the search and fills roles in record time.

Elevating the CISO Role

Joyce believes the role of a cybersecurity executive has moved from a back-office function to a true senior leadership position. Many of the CISO searches Alta perform are for companies who are elevating the role and need to replace their existing CISO with someone who can develop and implement a holistic approach to risk management while defending against increasingly more complex attacks. These leaders are also required to articulate solutions in a language that business leaders understand and to provide value.

Finally, many of Alta’s clients are seeking an executive who can also be the face of information security, who can increase the credibility of the department, influence the culture of the organization and effectively partner, sell and deliver their security initiatives globally to diverse businesses with varying risk tolerances. Not only are CISO’s now presenting to the Board, but boardroom compositions are also changing to include executives with cyber expertise. That’s why Joyce created BoardSuited™, to teach professionals how to best prepare and position themselves for their first board seat.

Matching Cyber Leaders to Corporate Culture

Joyce says that the reasons compelling an organization to seek a new security leader vary. It might be the result of an executive leaving, reaction to a breach, a recent audit report, or the business simply requiring an elevated strategy and more advanced leadership skills. The compelling event for hiring a new executive need to align with the characteristics, qualities, and experiences of the candidate who will most likely succeed. If the search for a CISO was prompted by the public exposure of a major breach, the newly hired executive will need to be immediately credible and able to quickly assess the current state, in order to safeguard the company and regain trust in the marketplace. Often companies recognize that the talent that got them to where they are today is not the talent to take them forward. They now require an executive with proven strategic vision, executive management, and leadership skills. Alta Associates strength is understanding a client’s culture and reason for filling a role. What sets Alta apart is its ability to identify and deliver candidates whose specific skills, motivators and qualifiers are the right matches.

Word of Advice to Women Business Leaders

When asked for advice to budding women business leaders in the cybersecurity industry, Joyce said, “You need to be an integral part of a powerful community as well as set your sights high on achieving a status that will make you stand out from the crowd. In order to achieve these goals, first, join an organization that will amplify your voice, highlight your skills and advance your career. The Executive Women’s Forum actively engages women in programs and initiatives that build trusted relationships and increase their capabilities, network, and confidence. Our Rising Leaders Forum for millennials and LIFT mentorship program, along with our national conference and regional meetings are all designed to develop and advance women leaders.”

“Second, the momentum in achieving corporate board diversity is gaining strength, as is the demand for digital and cyber expertise at the board level. Now is the time to prepare yourself for board service. As successful as you are, the path to the boardroom is a road less traveled and the network, education and skill set that got you to where you are today, will not get you there. Preparation for your first board seat is a new road, requiring a new map. BoardSuited™ is a comprehensive online course that teaches you how boards operate, member roles and responsibilities, and the general knowledge you will be expected to know. Through the program’s robust curriculum, tools, assessments, and insights from seated Board Members and C-level experts, you will learn how to leverage your experience, assess and develop your network, and sculpt your professional profile in a way that creates a personal road map to your first board seat,” Joyce added.