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2021 Professional Awards Recipients

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2021 Professional Awards Recipients

2021 Professional Awards Recipients

Community Manager

Meet the Recipients of the 2021 (ISC)² Professional Awards


The (ISC)² Global Achievement Awards celebrate individuals whose excellence, leadership and volunteer efforts have significantly advanced the cybersecurity industry and contributed to our vision of inspiring a safe and secure cyber world. The professional awards are divided into three categories to acknowledge professionals through all stages of their careers. All honorees will be recognized during (ISC)² Security Congress


(ISC)² Rising Star Professional Award

This award recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of an up-and-coming professional who has made a significant impact in the information security industry early in their career.



Kathryn M. Murphy

Kathryn was nominated for her instrumental role in the U.S. Department of Defense initiative Comply to Connect (C2C) which ensures all devices attached to the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) are identified, authenticated and controlled.




Alexander was nominated for contributions to the delivery of a successful and secure sale of K+N’s UK contract logistics portfolio to XPO. We connected with him on how he is feeling today and what he is looking forward to.


"The award means so much to me. For me, it is a symbol of hope. If I can change the world for the better just a little bit, everybody can. It is always worth it to work on your dreams. At some point in the future in one way or the other, I will work on changing the landscape of cybersecurity to a more understandable and graspable domain. Security should be felt and understood as a norm for everybody. There is a need for practical solutions." 


(ISC)² Mid-Career Professional Award

This award recognizes an individual who is at the mid-career stage and has demonstrated commitment and achievement in managing or implementing a vital component of a cyber, information, software, infrastructure program/project.



Diondria Holliman, CISSP

Diondria was nominated for her contributions and work on Global Data Protection Programs related to USB Block & Code-Signing efforts. We asked her what she sees as the biggest challenge for cybersecurity today and what possible solutions there are.


"Cybersecurity not only has a serious talent shortage but also lacks diverse input at the senior leadership level. These challenges are exacerbated by the pandemic leading more women in tech to either scale back their careers or leave the workforce for better balance which in turn puts them at a greater disadvantage when they are ready for upward mobility. There are two barriers we will need to address that hinder women from rising into leadership roles (1) subconscious bias towards women being great executors and super-doers (2) executive-level sponsorship to open doors beyond mentorship. By 2030, we are trending to see even less diversity in cybersecurity at the C-suite and director-level. Change requires an intentional shift in leaders, cultures, and systems. To strengthen the results of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity (ID&E) efforts, I wholeheartedly believe the missing factor involves companies linking executive-level compensation to the success in achieving those ID&E goals with both short-term and long-term incentive programs. Diversity breeds more diversity. Therefore, opening opportunities to all capable individuals will inspire others to see themselves excelling in cybersecurity too, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or any other factor."



Neha Malhotra, CISSP, CCSP

Neha was nominated for managing the implementation of an ambitious global vulnerability management and secure configuration management program that has an organization-wide impact. We asked her how she continues to grow and develop her skills.


"I am very serious about ensuring continuous upskilling and learning, both at the job and outside work. Also, because of my inquisitive nature, I don’t limit myself to one or a few topics or domains as I strongly believe everything within security is so interconnected. I very often use (ISC)² resources, like Immersive courses being one of the best resources for in-depth insights, Brighttalk webinars and Infosecurity magazines that cover an amazingly wide range of cyber trends and topics relevant to senior professionals as well as to help professionals navigate the cybersecurity career maze. An additional benefit of course are the CPE credits that we get from these resources which is the icing on the cake! I also attend security conferences and webinars, listen to podcasts, participate in workshops and read cyber news and research articles to get abreast of the cybersecurity trends and threat landscape. I am very much looking forward to the Security Congress 2021 and since it is a virtual conference this year, we all can attend it from any corner of the world."


(ISC)² Senior Professional Award

This award recognizes an individual who has significantly contributed to the enhancement of the information security workforce by demonstrating a leadership role in an information security workforce improvement initiative, program or project.




Marouane Balmakhtar, CISSP

Marouane was nominated for his work as a Principal Technology Strategist on 5G Cybersecurity and Security Awareness at T-Mobile.





Soney Paul Bahanan

Soney was nominated for his contributions to enabling the Abu Dhabi Health Information Cyber Security Standard within NMC Healthcare to uphold privacy and security, thus enhancing security and public trust. We asked, what prompted their initial interest in cybersecurity and what they love about their job today.


"During my career with Cognizant Technology Solutions Ltd, I was part of a major merging project between two leading UK banks. My then line manager gave me an opportunity to oversee the security operations of the merger from the client side. It allowed me to critically evaluate security controls around identity and access management, network and communications security, applications, and infrastructure security to identify the vulnerabilities and propose defensive strategies against cyber threats that sparked my interest in cybersecurity. Information security is constantly evolving and each day is new learning which is something I love about my job. The work is challenging and I feel it is a never-ending quest wherein one has to constantly find new ways to offset the obstacles."



InJung Kim

InJung was nominated for being the driver of AI Security initiatives and R&D and being an advocate of industry growth and public awareness as a Senior Researcher with The Affiliated Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI).


All honorees will be recognized during (ISC)² Security Congress which starts tomorrow. There is still time to register