11 Oct Ron Green Protects And Serves As Mastercard’s Valiant Cybersecurity Leader
Global payments technology company taps into a thought leader who leads with ease and grace
– Ruth Bashinsky, Senior Editor
Northport, N.Y. – Oct. 11, 2019
We should all take a page out of Ron Green’s book on leadership and winning.
The executive vice president and chief information security officer at Mastercard, a technology company in the global payments industry, is the type of leader who builds and develops his people and takes the time to invest in their success.
Named one of the most influential people in security in 2018 by Security Magazine, Green oversees a 650-person team that includes regional security offices that support Europe, Asia-Pac, Middle East Africa, and Latin America.
In his role as CISO, he is responsible for information security and physical security for nearly 20,000 employees worldwide.
Not an easy feat, but for someone like Green, who spent part of his early years as a platoon leader, he understands the value of having the right army in place to complete the mission.
Working together to protect the cyber environment and the safety and security of the Mastercard network is a testament of real teamwork.
“I get tons of support,” says Green, who points out that Mastercard’s CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga is also known for his security expertise and served as one of the members of President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.
“We are one of nine companies that bear the same accreditation that the FBI and other criminal labs carry that shows that there is expertise and quality in the work that we do,” he says proudly. “We do some pretty cool stuff.”
Earlier this month, Cybercrime Magazine had the privilege of interviewing Green on the campus of NYIT. The guest host was the prominent Dr. Jay, deputy CISO/VP of Cybersecurity Technology for Mastercard and former deputy CIO for the White House.
During the discussion, Green touched on a variety of topics including his time as a special agent in the U.S. Secret Service, and his previous leadership roles in the private sector at companies such as Bank of America, Research in Motion, Blackberry, and Fidelity National Information Services.
Unbeknown to some, cyber was not on Green’s radar as a youngster growing up in Philadelphia.
“I never saw cyber as a career field. I was going to be a cop. I grew up around cops my whole life,” says Green, whose father and uncles were police officers and whose great-grandfather was one of Philadelphia’s first black police officers.
After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a degree in mechanical engineering, Green was encouraged by his father to join a federal agency over the police force since the level of violence was different, he explains.
The younger Green followed his father’s lead and joined the U.S. Secret Service using his engineering skill set. It didn’t take long for his peers and supervisors to take notice that they had a rising star among them. He soon became part of the first team of people that got trained in computer forensics in a program run by the Secret Service, the IRS, and the Customs Service.
That was the start of Green’s flourishing cyber career as a special agent. His role was in the electronic crimes branch specializing in investigating cybercrime on international and large-scale operations.
“I loved being an agent,” says Green. “The base understanding that I have about cyber domain comes from my time in the Secret Service going from all of the layers and stacks and how data moves from one end to the other. And, how an enforcement entity would be looking at the evidence.”
After nine years serving as a cyber agent, Green moved into the private sector for family reasons, not an easy decision, he says, but a necessary one.
“A couple of years before I had been involved in a shooting. I had to shoot someone and when 9/11 happened I was working in D.C. and there was so much going on. I had a young family,” he recalls. “I was having a great time with the Secret Service but needed to think about the long term for my family.”
The move into the private sector, he explains, gave him more control over his schedule. “When you are in government, oftentimes you can be in situations that are pretty much life and death. You probably aren’t in those situations in the private sector.”
Now, Green puts that time he may not normally have had if he was still serving in the public sector to use empowering and inspiring his team to be the best they can be.
“We are fortunate to have people that are on our team. They are not fortunate to have us as leaders. They have great ideas and capabilities that can take you and your organization forward,” he says. “I have been at organizations where the right ideas were already there. They just didn’t have the voice. I am there to remove the hurdles.”
He encourages anyone fortunate enough to be in a leadership position to follow his lead: “Take the time to listen and to help them [your team members] develop those ideas and deliver on them.”
And, you’ll feel like you are winning too.
– Ruth Bashinsky is the Senior Editor at Cybercrime Magazine
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