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Caribbean Security & Resilience Awards winners announced

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The Caribbean Security & Resilience Network is delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Caribbean Security & Resilience Awards. The Top 10 honourees have been selected based on their experience, qualifications and contributions to the security community, by an esteemed panel of expert judges.

The Top 10 Caribbean Security & Resilience Award winners are:

Peter Bäckman – Executive Director and Founding Partner of TEDCAP

Peter Bäckman is the Executive Director and Founding Partner of TEDCAP. Author, speaker and Global Security Influencer with over 30 years of experience working in the Caribbean, Europe and the Latin American region. He is also the Assistant Regional Vice President for the Caribbean region and a member of the Mentoring Committee of ASIS International. 

From his start as a private contractor, he pioneered intersectoral security strategies, being the first private contractor to be assigned the protection of the Swedish Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and lead the pilot for the Swedish Police witness protection program. Later, expanding into several business sectors such as industry, food and beverage, real estate, tourism and finance.

As Corporate Security Director for a major Latin-American asset management firm, he was highlighted as an effective leader, always leading from the front and setting the best example for security-risk management professionals at all levels. His extensive experience in security project management, risk assessments, crisis management, business continuity and strategic security led to the creation of the Corporate Community Resilience Program. 

In addition to his experience, Bäckman’s inquisitive nature has kept him updated with certification and courses from Harvard, Barna Management School and others, in order to learn the most effective and practical, current and future business management trends in areas of risk management, information security and crisis management. Combining his experience and his international contacts, Peter is the go-to source for strategic security solutions in the Latin American region.

Kwailan M.F. Bridgewater CGEIT, CRISC, ISO 27001LI – Cybersecurity professional

Kwailan M.F. Bridgewater is a cybersecurity professional who is recognised by her peers as being a determined, focused and driven leader. She is known for her unwavering love for mentorship and motivation of others, creating harmonious team-oriented environments and servant leadership. She pairs these natural traits with a broad range of professional experience in project management, networking, disaster recovery, risk management, governance and information security.

In 2021, she was approved as the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter for the Caribbean Cyber Security and Privacy Association (CSPA). Since her appointment, she has used her abilities to build relationships with other industry leaders and coordinate the delivery of multiple virtual knowledge transfer sessions designed to provide free information security guidance to security professionals and the general public in the Caribbean region.

Prior to her appointment as President of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter, she facilitated the AWAKE2020 |TRINIDAD Virtual Cyber Security Conference in partnership with Bluewaters Technology Group and delivered webinars on cybersecurity to key stakeholders in the Maritime sector.

Kwailan has over fifteen years’ experience in information technology and currently holds multiple globally respected credentials and certifications such as the CGEIT, CRISC, ISO 27001 Lead Implementer and certificate in Cybersecurity Auditing. At present, she works in the financial sector as a Manager – Information Security Architecture and is working towards certifications in cloud security while she seeks to continue to provide avenues for professionals in the region to connect and learn from others internationally.

Lysandra Capella – Dutch Caribbean Cybercrime Fighter

Lysandra is a cybercrime fighter in the Dutch Caribbean, her passion lies in finding answers and solving mysteries in order to better defend against cybercrime and protect organisations from becoming victims of attacks.

Having worked in cybersecurity for over 11 years, Lysandra has a proven track record communicating business strategy with senior executives and translating these cybersecurity needs with technical staff. She has led teams in areas such as perimeter security, network infrastructure design, system audits, Web server security, Web application assessments, risk assessments, penetration testing and database security.

During her spare time, she puts on her cape and turns into a cybercrime fighter helping protect the Dutch Caribbean. Lysandra is a frequent speaker at conferences in the Dutch Caribbean, where she tries to spread security awareness within the community. In 2020 she published her first booklet on Amazon called “Cybersecurity Lessons from COVID-19”, in this booklet she uses the COVID-19 measures examples as a gateway to illustrate the importance of cybersecurity controls.

As cyber-criminals are very creative and very fast to deploy new tactics, she strongly believes that the only way for us to stay one step ahead and find new ways of stopping them is for us to be learning continuously. As a certified ISACA instructor and an instructor in Training for SANS (AUD507) she tries to guide students on how to protect themselves and their organisations. Lysandra, herself, holds an extensive collection of over 30 industry certifications including CISSP, CISA, CISM, CRISC, PMP, GCCC, GCFE, GCWN, GCIH.

Rosa Damaris Diaz de Tejada – IT Risk Technical Coordinator at Superintendencia de Bancos de la República Dominicana

Rosa began her professional career in 1986, studying at the Dominican University O & M, where she had the opportunity to work on implementing the selection of subjects and scanning of notes for the Department of Registration, where she stayed until December 1991. 

The doors were opened to work in the Superintendency of Banks, where, to date, she has carried out the functions in the Technology Department as a Programmer, Analyst and Designer; Department of Risk Management and Studies: Systems Auditor to Financial Institutions, Operational Risk Specialist, Information Regime Division Manager and currently as Technical Coordinator, in charge of the Operational Risk Division.

Among her functions Rosa is responsible for evaluating the level of compliance by the supervised entities with current regulations, collaborating with the construction and implementation of different regulations and instructions according to the scope of application, as well as the Manual and Calendar of Regulatory Information Requirements; as well as providing talks and workshops to the institution’s internal staff and to the country’s financial intermediation entities.

Rosa is the founding member of the ISACA Chapter of Santo Domingo, occupying the function of Secretary and current President. This position has allowed her to participate as an international representative of the community of this association.

Gavin Dennis CISSP, CISM, CASP, eWPT, CySA+ – Director

Gavin Dennis is a Jamaican and an internationally experienced cybersecurity professional who has numerous companies in North America (including the Caribbean) Europe, Asia and Africa.

He holds several cybersecurity certifications and is a Director at the Caribbean Cyber Security and Privacy Association Ltd (registered in Jamaica), an association helping to transform the Caribbean into an international cybersecurity and data privacy hub for the world.

Gavin is innovative and has helped to develop several cybersecurity resources such as a Digital Library for Caribbean IT professionals and multiple websites that educate people on cybersecurity.

David Gittens – Consultant

David Gittens (MSc Information Systems Management) is an independent cybersecurity consultant with 15 years of dedicated experience in cybersecurity, working in various cybersecurity roles. He has held senior positions in information security organisations and is the founding President of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), Barbados Chapter. David has also headed the Anti-fraud committee of the Barbados Bankers Association. He has had the pleasure of being professionally developed in world-class organisations such as IBM, CIBC and RBC. He has also benefitted from active participation and/or training in organisations such as ISACA, ISC2, HISP, ISSA, the Internet Society and the CSA.

David spends a large percentage of his professional time volunteering. This includes providing volunteer services to international security associations, government agencies and other reputable organisations; locally, regionally and internationally.

One special area of volunteering for David is the work which he does as the Education & Events Director for ISSA Barbados. In terms of educating the public in Barbados and the wider Caribbean on cybersecurity, he has made numerous presentations, sat on various cybersecurity and privacy panels and has worked with the Ministry of Education and the UN to deliver a nationwide cybersecurity awareness programme.

Currently, David is the holder of several international information security and privacy designations, including CISSP, HISP, CISA, CISM, CRISC, CCSP, CHFI and CDPSE. He credits his unwavering faith in God for his success in many difficult, if not seemingly impossible, certification journeys, as well as other meaningful successes in his field.

Stevez Gomes – Founder and Director of Operations at KloudFyre

Stevez Gomes is the Founder and Director of Operations at KloudFyre, a Managed Security and Technology Services company based in the Virgin Islands. He is a member of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA BVI), in which he helps to promote a secure digital world. Previously, Stevez has worked for several years at Travelopia, supporting the technology and digital transformation for its Caribbean locations.

Stevez has participated as a speaker at several forums and events, promoting awareness of privacy and security. He is an advocate for smart classrooms and cyber awareness in schools. This drive, combined with a unique partnership with security leader Fortinet, the local business community and KloudFyre, digitally transformed two K-12 schools in the territory with plans to assist more in the future. When he is not exploring outdoor hiking trails, he mentors and shares his knowledge in security and technology with aspiring professionals.

Capt. (Ret’d) Garth A Gray, CPP, PCI, PSP – Director of Operations at Guardsman Group Limited

Captain (Ret’d) Garth A Gray, CPP, PCI, PSP has spent all his professional life in the security industry, spanning both the military and private sectors.

Throughout those (almost 30) years, he has used his training and experiences to develop a deep understanding of both strategic and operational level security risk management. 

A Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) and Physical Security Professional (PSP), he is Director of Operations for Guardsman Group Limited. He has designed strategic security risk management solutions for both private and public sector organisations in Jamaica. 

He is passionate about volunteerism and professional education and has dedicated significant time and effort working with the ASIS Jamaica Chapter to produce world-class online CPP and PSP Certification Review Courses, which have seen students from Jamaica, the Cayman Islands Trinidad, St Vincent, The British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and The Bahamas.  

Capt. Gray is a recipient of the 2020 ASIS Professional Certifications Board’s Regional award for contribution toward the advancement of ASIS Security Designations. He is presently the Chairman of the Jamaica Chapter of ASIS and is also an Assistant Regional Vice President for ASIS Int’l Region 7B.

Capt Gray believes ‘A rising tide raises all ships’ and as such works closely with the other regional leaders to continuously increase ASIS membership, engagement and certifications across all the chapters in the region. He is happily married to Lititia Myers-Gray and has one son, Alexander.

Niel Harper – Cybersecurity expert

Niel Harper is a globally recognised expert in cybersecurity, IT risk management, privacy & data protection, ICT policy & regulation and digital transformation. Leadership and advisory experience in over 20 countries with organisations such as AT&T, Bemol, Canonical, CIBC, Deloitte, European Commission, Internet Society and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), among others.

Niel serves/has served on a number of non-profit board roles, including with ISACA, TEN Habitat, and Vouch Digital. Recipient of the ISACA Technology for Humanity Award and recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. He holds fellowships with the American Registry for Internet Numbers, British Computer Society, CIFAL Miami, OECD Technology Foresight Forum and the Royal Society of Arts.

He is a member of the World Economic Forum Expert Networks on IT, Cybersecurity and Risk & Resilience. Master of Laws (LLM) in Internet Law & Policy, University of Strathclyde; Master of Business Administration (MBA), University of Leicester; Postgraduate Diploma (PgD) in Telecoms Regulation & Policy, University of the West Indies; and has completed executive education programs at Florida International University, Nanyang Technological University, University of Oxford and Boston University. Niel possesses industry certifications in engineering, IT auditing, cybersecurity, privacy & data protection and business continuity management.

Norval West – Information Security Manager at Sutherland Global Services

Norval West is a seasoned professional, with expertise in cybersecurity and a proven track record in developing and managing enterprise information security programs. He has over 25 years’ progressive experience in information systems development and management, with the past nine years dedicated to information security.

Norval is currently employed as an Information Security Manager at Sutherland Global Services, with responsibility for its security operations in Jamaica. He is also the President of the ISACA Kingston Chapter, where he managed the launch their first chapter conference in July 2021 and provided strategic leadership on several other initiatives delivered in Jamaica.

Norval provides volunteer service to the Government of Jamaica as a member of one of its Public Audit Committees and serves on the Saint Andrew Settlement, which is an outreach program providing social development activities in the community of Majesty Gardens Jamaica. Norval holds a MBA from Manchester Business School, a BSc in Computer Science from the University of the West Indies and multiple certifications from the SANS Institute, ISACA and ISC2.

Awards reaction

Commenting on the announcement of the Top 10 winners, Awards organiser, Malcolm B. Reid, FBCI, CPP, CFE, Global Security and Resiliency Expert, said: “I am extremely pleased with the overwhelming response to the first-ever Caribbean Security & Resilience Awards. Congratulations to our winners and a special thank you to our judges. The initial idea for these awards was conceptualised over a decade ago during a conversation between myself and Grant Lecky over lunch. Fast-forward to 2021, this year’s awardees represent the top security talent within the region, as well as the rich diversity of people, skills and culture. It was indeed a pleasure working alongside Grant Lecky, Bonnie Butlin, Matthew Bull and Jamie Sanderson-Reid to make these awards a success.”

The Caribbean Security & Resilience Network would also like to thank the esteemed panel of judges for generously donating their time to the awards. The judges were:

  • Ehab Tarabay – ISSA BVI Chapter
  • Gerard Lake
  • Dwight Robinson – ISSA Barbados Chapter
  • Lizbeth Plaza – WOMCY
  • Khyam Abdulah
  • International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO)

The event’s organisers would also like to thank the following organisations for their support:

  • ISSA BVI Chapter
  • BCMIE Caribbean
  • ISACA Trinidad and Tobago Chapter
  • ISACA Santo Domingo Chapter
  • ISSA Barbados Chapter
  • WOMCY
  • ACFE Trinidad Chapter
  • IFPO
  • ASIS Dominican Republic Chapter
  • ASIS Dutch Caribbean Chapter
  • ASIS San Fernando T&T Chapter
  • ASIS Port of Spain T&T Chapter

For more information, please contact Grant Lecky at grant.lecky@gmail.com or Matthew Bull, Editor of International Security Journal at matthew.bull@intsecurityjournal.com