James D. Grisham 

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James is a 20+ year cybersecurity industry veteran who has been in the technology space since back in the day when 8088s and Compaq “Luggable” were still cool. He started working with computers around age 8, built his first computer at age 14, then started his own business servicing computers when he was only sixteen. James joined larger corporations later in his career so that he could gain knowledge that working solo could not provide. 

James maintains several certifications, degrees from regionally accredited universities or colleges, and stays current by going to conferences, vendor presentations, and meetups. Today, James serves as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for several small companies – part-time, volunteers for CSNP, and holds a regular “day job” that ties in with the security expertise he has gained over time. 

Rohit Gupta 

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Rohit currently serves as an investor at a cybersecurity-focused venture capital firm called ForgePoint Capital. In terms of background, Rohit previously graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Business, spent a few years in product management at a cloud security startup called ShieldX Networks, and led pre-seed and seed investments in Cybersecurity at Plug & Play. Rohit stated that “Cybersecurity can be opaque and nondiverse at times, and I’m passionate about addressing these issues as a mentor and guide,” which brings him a great deal of excitement!  

Nikhil Joshi  

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Nikhil has earned more than 25 years in the Information Technology industry, with rich experience in the insurance, banking and financial services, as well as healthcare and life sciences, commercial, manufacturing, and public sector industry domains. As a recognized industry expert and thought leader, Nikhil continues to drive innovation within his current role, as well as with peers in the industry. This innovation involves relentless automation enabled by a strong dose of artificial intelligence and machine learning, a clear-headed look at processes across the lifecycle, reliability through quality engineering and security thereby striving to achieve the trifecta of speed, quality and cost.  

Nikhil has actively collaborated with C-level executives, alliance partners, system integrators, product owners, amongst others, developing strong relationships that have enabled drive mutual success. He is a lifelong learner and believes strongly in the pursuit of servant leadership. Nikhil holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in India. This is accompanied by several certifications in Cybersecurity, Information Audit, Governance, Project Management and Quality Assurance from premier institutes around the world. 

Newab Kabir 

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Newab works as an independent information security consultant, developing Cybersecurity programs for small and medium sized businesses. 

Newab became aware of CSNP’s progressive initiatives and active membership base. With his extensive experience in the field, he felt that “being able to mentor aspiring Cybersecurity professionals to build their careers would be a fulfilling opportunity”. 

Brian L. Sanders 

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Brian Sanders joined the U.S. Secret Service in 2000 and was involved in the creation of the Electronic Crimes Task Force in the Houston Field Office. The formation of these task forces became mandated in 2001, and Brian jumped at the chance to help build the infrastructure from the ground up. Except for a 5-year assignment protecting Former President George W. Bush, Brian has been investigating electronic crimes ever since. Brian holds the EC-Council's CEH, as well as the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications. 

Brian has investigated and prosecuted cases involving child predators and child exploitation, all types of online-based fraud, Insider Threats, Business Email Compromise (BEC), Ransomware, and network intrusion/unauthorized use. His experience and perspective have enabled Brian to provide training to companies and individuals around Cybersecurity. With the US Secret Service, Brian spent the past 7 years exclusively investigating crimes and assisting businesses with their incident response plans, employee education, and security implementation both before and after a cyber incident. 

For Brian, mentoring is an opportunity to help others, using his own mistakes and resulting education as a learning tool. He states “At the same time, I fully expect to learn as much as I impart. My goal is to assist you in making the decisions that will help you in achieving your aspirations.” Brian quotes former President George H. W. Bush, who once said, “No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others” and Brian firmly believes this statement to be an absolute truth. 

Goni Sarakinov 

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Goni holds 20 years of experience in Cybersecurity and 10 years in privacy. He has been playing around with computers since the mid-1980’s and has been a self-employed consultant for most of his professional life. 

Having gained exposure to infrastructure and application security aspects, he made the decision to focus on security architecture and incorporate his interests in privacy regulation into the security architecture that he worked on for enterprise and SMB clients. Goni officially left IT entirely in 2000 to focus in Cybersecurity. He maintains certifications focused skills needed to be successful as a consultant, and stays current by going to conferences, vendor presentations, and meetups. For Goni, mentoring has become an opportunity to provide knowledge, know-how, and wisdom to others and hopefully learn something along way. He says “Mentoring is about you and what you would like to become, where you would like to go, and how you would like to get there.” 

Sai Sharma 

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Sai is a security analyst for an MSSP. Worked in both internal-facing situations as well as external-facing environments with customers, Sai has spent much of his security career involved with SOC (Security Operations Center) operations. He works on things like alert lifecycle, SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), and more. Sai has a passion for SIEM and Digital Forensics & Incident Response (DFIR) and would like to pursue that in the future. He has gained SANS GCDA (GIAC Certified Detection Analyst), GCIH (GIAC Certified Incident Handler), and is currently working on the GCFE (GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner). 

Sai says, unlike the majority of the people in the space, he is “not native to technology but rather was a Mechanical Engineer. One of the things that kept me going is the hunger to learn, the ability to ask things I don’t know, unlearning bits I don’t fully understand, and mainly saying “I don’t know”. The reason I mentioned those is that no one person can know everything, and the ability to say “I don’t know”, and also the passion for doing required work, asking, & learning those things had served me well.” 

Sai volunteers for two other projects of CSNP: Hack The Box and Bootcamp, where he builds his leadership skills in the space. Sai holds a Master’s Degree in Information Assurance, and is currently working on several Digital Forensics certificates and tools. 

Goni Sarakinov 

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Jessica is an Information Security Consultant working as an Independent Contractor. Holding a strong background in GRC, Jessica specializes in Information Security and Network Security Engineering. Her skills and experience have allowed her to fill a wide variety of roles, from Virtual CISO (vCISO) to Penetration Tester. 

Jessica feels that she has been lucky and blessed to have had a number of mentors over the past four years. The support and guidance she’s received from the infosec community has been invaluable. She is incredibly grateful for the support, and is committed to paying it forward by offering her time and guidance to others. Her hope is that one day, she will be able to make a difference in someone else's life like so many members of the Information Security community have made in hers.  

Jessica holds: CISSP | CompTIA Network+ | CompTIA Security+ | Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate | MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals | MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals | MTA: Mobility and Device Fundamentals | Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals 

Bill White 

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Bill started his career selling personal computers, but soon realized he was better at figuring out how computers worked than he was at selling them. He was eventually thrown into the back room to install disk drives and memory upgrades, and quickly excelled as a technician. 

After managing service centers for two of the largest national computer reseller franchises, Bill joined the corporate world as a senior network support engineer. After a few successful years there, one of his superiors asked him if he would be interested to join a computer and networking company.  Young and ambitious, I took the leap and left the corporate world to “be my own boss”, and eventually landed back in-house reporting directly to the CISO. Today, Bill is an InfoSec Architecture Analyst for a fortune 50 company, where he leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to architect preventative, detective, and responsive solutions that keep customers and company data secure.  

For Bill, “mentoring is my attempt at giving back and paying it forward. I have made a LOT of mistakes in my professional career - None of them so serious that I could not recover, but I would have loved to have been given some foresight from a mentor with hindsight. I’ve explored many of the roles in Information Security and IT, so I can offer my input in a wide range of areas.”  

Holding dual degrees in Network Administration and Network Security, Bill also holds the CISSP, CISA, CRISC, and GPYC certifications. He started learning Python a couple of years ago, and is branching out into Agile Development and DevOps to help architect the next generation of security solutions as code. Bill feels that he is “the poster child for (the over 50 league) “Growth Mindset”.”